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Flora Mini Marathon

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Paula Mee - Dietician

Carl Cautley - official trainer for the Flora Mini Marathon - Fitness Together Gym

In 2008 it is estimated in excess of €10m was raised by the participants bringing the total since the race started in 1983 close to €100m.

The event has no equals in its appeal. Women of all ages representing every county and every walk of life take part in this great Festival of Women. No pressure is put on anyone - all the participants have to do is get fit enough to walk, jog or run the 10k. It is up to each individual to set her own target. Every finisher is a winner - and receives a commemorative medal and ribbon to mark the achievement.

For more info visit

Paula Mee has been organising a diet plan for the women who are running the marathon for CF Ireland. For more information contact

Nutrition advice for marathon training:-

Eating for Training:

What you eat before, during and after training will dictate how much you get out of your exercise session. If you're skipping meals or snacks, you may find yourself struggling long before you should be, and tiring easily.

Eating Before Training:

1. Eat 2 - 4 hours before working out - allows time to digest food so you'll feel more comfortable.
2. Eat Low GI foods - minimise problems of low blood sugar levels during long training sessions.
3. Don't avoid eating before exercise - If you attempt to train on an empty fuel tank, you can't perform at your best.

What to Eat:-

The more you exercise or train, the more carbohydrate you need. But it's not a case of eating just any old thing close at hand. You need to be fussy about your carbohydrates!

. Breakfast cereals / porridge
. Bread / crackers / crispbread
. Rice / noodles
. Pasta / cous cous
. Potatoes
. Peas, beans and lentils
. Root vegetables

Pre-exercise snacks (eat up to 1 hour before exercise)

? 1-2 portions of fruit
? Handful of dried fruit
? Glass of smoothie
? Pot of low-fat probiotic fruit yoghurt
? Oat-based cereal bar

Water and Fluids:

Just a 2% reduction in your body weight through dehydration causes a 10 - 20% loss of performance. It will also make you tire earlier than you should. Higher losses cause nausea, dizziness, vomiting and can even ultimately cause heat stroke.


It is important to drink plenty of fluids through the day to ensure proper hydration before you begin to exercise. When you start to exercise, you can drink 150-200ml every 10-15 minutes during vigorous exercise.

Drinking while Exercising:

If you are training for less than one hour, water alone is enough! But if you are planning to run for longer than 1 hour, consuming 30 g - 60 g carbohydrate per hour can help you keep going. This carbohydrate helps to keep your blood sugar levels steady and fuels your muscles, particularly in the last few kilometres, when glycogen reserves will be low.

Sports drinks, diluted juice and high-juice squash are often a better choice than plain water because they contain carbohydrate. This means that they not only provide fuel for your exercising muscles but they also speed up the absorption of water into your bloodstream.

Remember however, that if you are aiming to lose weight, you might be better to drink plain water during your training. That way you will avoid extra calories !

The Last Week

Well done. You're nearly there! The feet may not be blister free, but hey... the end is in sight! Here are some tips to bear in mind for the mini marathon day itself.

Breakfast suggestions for that morning - (Try have this at Approximately 8am - stop for a break if you are travelling.)

o Porridge with raisins and honey or cereal with low fat milk and chopped banana

o Wholemeal toast with sliced banana or yogurt and fresh fruit

o Bottle of water for the journey to the start line.

Lunch suggestions (eat no later than 12 especially if you are running competitively)

. Wrap with hummus and salad vegetables , banana and low fat yoghurt
. Homemade vegetable soup and chicken salad sandwich, with a little light mayonnaise
. On the run - good handful of nuts, 2 pieces of fruit and a low fat cereal bar with dried fruit and seeds

Drink before you race - drink 500 ml of water or diluted fruit juice during the two hours before the race. Don't take a sports drink at this stage!

During the Marathon:

You need to start drinking after the first 20 mins instead of trying to rehydrate later. As a rough guide, aim to drink 100 - 200ml (about 3 - 6 gulps) every 20 minutes or according to thirst levels.

Use whatever drinking method you have trained with. It's especially important to drink plenty in hot or humid weather.

Slow down to drink at the designated drink stations along the way. Don't be tempted to miss out the early drinks stations to gain time - dehydration later will slow you down even more.

Choose the right drink:

If there's a choice, select plain water for the first hour and a dilute drink or sports drink after that. However, if you are not used to sports drinks, stick with plain water on the day as the sports drink may give you cramping and a dry mouth.

Training and Preparation Tips - Carl Cautley

18 Day's to Go:-

1. Based on training to date decide on whether to walk, walk-jog or
jog full race.
2. Set yourself a realistic "time" goal to complete the race.
3. Train every second day for between 30 and 45 minutes. Intermediate Standard - A combination of walking (3 mins. off) and jogging (2 mins. on)
Advanced Standard - A combination of jogging (3 mins. off) and running (2 mins. on)
4. Resistance training on days between.
5. One day full rest.
6. Sunday 30th May, aim to do 60 mins in total of the above (Point 3).
7. If using brand new runners change them today, otherwise use current runners for race day.
8. Start thinking about race day. Visualise start, middle and end.

Week before Race:-

1. Sunday 30th May should be your last tough training session (60
mins. in total)
2. Rest day Monday
3. Tuesday to Saturday, 20 to 30 mins (3 of the 5 day's)
4. Light resistance and stretching on day's between.
5. Start hydrating, 1.5 to 2 litres of water per day.
6. Little or no alcohol this week.

Day before Race:-

1. A light stroll and stretches.
2. Energy levels should be high.
3. 4 to 5 small meals during the day, last meal 7pm to 8pm.
4. Bed early.

Race Day:-

1. Out of bed 2 to 3 hours before start time.
2. Breakfast should be carbohydrate rich; a combination of porridge, banana, brown bread toast, peanut butter. Don't over eat.
3. An apple or pear 1 hour before race.
4. Sip water through out.
5. Depending on ability, race shouldn't take more than 40 mins to 100 mins in total. Water or Carb rich drink during race will be adequate.

Number 1 Rule:

1. Enjoy the experience of being part of the World's largest Women only race and don't put yourself under too much pressure to break personal best times.