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I'm a runner and a writer trying to make sense of life through words and movement.

Runners Need Exclusive Women's Event



These have to be the worst event photos I have ever taken, I mean I don't even have a picture of Nina with her eyes open! I am actually quite ashamed...but I digress because, despite the awful photography, this was an awesome event!

Hosted by Runners Need, this event was all about inspiring women in their running, whatever their experience or goals - and once the speakers were done, it was hard not to feel fired up! 

First up was Nina Anderson, a coach and athlete, if you need someone to get your training on track Nina is the woman to talk to! Seriously inspiring, and endlessly sensible, Nina shared the three things that she believes every runner should keep in mind, and because I think they are awesome I wanted to share them with you - 

1. whatever you do ask how does what I'm doing relate to my goal?

I love this, it is something so simple, but so often we don't really think why  we are doing sessions and whether they are really helping us achieve what we want to achieve! Moving forward I will definitely be making every session count! 

2. strength and conditioning is really important

Academically I have always known this, practically it is my weak spot - literally! However, Nina spoke so passionately and convincingly about the importance of being strong in terms of injury prevention (and I do not want to deal with that again!) by the end of the evening I was inspired to push myself out of my comfort zone and I'm really looking forward to getting some muscle! 

3. keep a training diary

Every runner is individual and different things work for different people - what works for you inevitably involves a little trial and error, so keep a log and see what works! I already do this to some extent using Nike+ to record my runs, and sharing the odd post about how things are going, but moving forward I plan to keep a more detailed week on week training log so that I can track how stuff is going.

After Nina had answered all of our questions on everything from getting faster to periods her physio Carla Lodewijks shared her thoughts on injury prevention for runners. Always a hot topic, I was really interested to hear what Carla had to say, and while a talk can't replace a consultation with someone qualified, the points made were too good not to share - 
  • capacity and requirements
Simply put, if the requirements of your training exceed your capacity you will start to breakdown and risk injury. I had never thought of injury prevention in this way before, but it makes so much sense! If you increase your capacity (by doing lots of strength and conditioning!) you will be able to deal with bigger loads and alter this balance. A real thinking point!
  • Running is a linear symmetrical sport, but you aren't symmetrical
Shift around in your seat all day? Cross your legs in the same direction all the time? Yep, me too and it means I am way more asymmetrical that I think, and so are you! Challenge yourself to think about how you sit and move your body, be aware and work on how you can redress the balance.
  • glutes
The most important muscle as your glutes help you to stabilise as you land so your knees and ankles don't wobble around (risking injury!)...how to make the most of your glutes? Strength and conditioning (seeing a theme here?!).
  • footwear
Make sure you are wearing the right shoes and that if you are wearing a supportive shoe that your foot actually over pronates and it isn't your gultes letting you down!
  • over training
So many runners just want to keep going and do more - I know I do! However, this does leave you exposed to risk and Carla made the great point that if you are doing the right thing you don't have to actually run that much to reach your goals! 
  • Stretching and recovery
Simply put eat well and sleep enough - two things that we all know, but so often overlook! 

Little of what Carla shared was new to me, but as I embark on a new challenge (all will be revealed next week!) it was a timely reminder to be sensible and look after myself! Coupled with Nina's talk I left the event so fired up and excited to start training it was unbelievable! 



As well as expert talks we were introduced to Nike's brand new bra line and the Lunarglide 6 shoe (which I really want to try!), and were reminded how brilliant Shock Absorber Bras and Yurbuds headphones are! Oh and there was cake and fizz!

This was a fantastic event, informative and inspiring, friendly and informal, with an amazing goodie bag - and it was free! There is one more event scheduled in London on 6 August 2014...and there might even be a few tickets left! 

Bupa Great Birmingham Run - Getting Started

The National Lottery Anniversary Run