Eimear Hutchinson: Give some time to yourself in your day... train for mini marathon

The Echo Virtual Women's Mini Marathon brand ambassador Eimear Hutchinson is preparing to get marathon ready... here's some more advice 
Eimear Hutchinson: Give some time to yourself in your day... train for mini marathon

Eimear Hutchinson getting ready to take part in this year's The Echo Virtual Woman’s mini-marathon.Picture: Dan Linehan

I FEEL a strange mixture of emotions now that the children are settled back into school. Despite the circumstances we found ourselves in over the last six months, we had settled into a nice little way of life in lockdown.

I’m not a creature of habit so the idea of the day rolling out ahead of me with all of its possibilities appealed to me. That said, I am so happy for them to have returned to a more normal and natural way of life, they need the social interactions of their peers, as do I, and we all needed a break from each other!

I am grateful to be able to carve out a little ‘me time’ amidst all the chaos of back to school too, it is greatly needed. We are just about settled into our new routine, the new drop off and pick up points, and times are beginning to feel normal.

I always approach September like it’s my ‘new year’, I set out some little goals for myself and find it a great time to reset and to get back into healthier habits that a lack of routine can sometimes let slide.

This year my first goal is get fit and ready to take part in The Echo Virtual Women’s Mini Marathon Cork later this month. It is the perfect timing because it means that, as the children settle back into their new routines, I have a great excuse to factor in my own time to exercise into the new layout of the day.

If your last six months has been anything like mine, it has been intense and, at first, I was great at getting out for walks in the evening for myself. However, as the summer wore on the bedtime routines seemed to drag out and before I knew it it was 9pm and I was too exhausted to do anything other than crawl into bed (or watch Selling Sunset!).

Eimear said now the kids are back at school, she is making more time for herself, including factoring exercise into her day. Picture: Dan Linehan
Eimear said now the kids are back at school, she is making more time for herself, including factoring exercise into her day. Picture: Dan Linehan

The evenings are drawing in a little lately but I, personally, think autumn evenings are the most beautiful. There is a freshness about them that gives you a little pep in your step and colour on your cheeks so you come home invigorated and happy.

We run a tighter ship around bedtimes once the girls are in school as sleep is one of the most important things they need at the moment. It means I have time then to look forward to getting out for a half hour around 8pm, when they are all pretty much settled for the night.

I’ve given out some useful tips if you are planning on taking part in The Echo Virtual Women’s Mini Marathon Cork over the last few weeks, but it’s nice to summarise them for those who are planning on entering and taking part.

The race is 6km, which is a lovely manageable distance to run or walk, you can do it at your own pace or set yourself a target, it’s totally up to you. I always find it useful to map out a few 6km routes and that is a lovely way to watch how your fitness improves as the routes get easier and more manageable over time.

The great thing about running or walking is that you don’t need much gear, a decent pair of runners is probably the single most important thing you need. After that, a good supportive bra and a comfortable pair of socks are good to have (because blisters are not good to have!).

Always remember to wear a high vis vest or jacket if you are heading out in the evening, even if the area you walk or run in is well lit up or it’s still bright outside it’s always good to be easily seen.

You will need a smart watch or fitness tracker to record your time and distance for the virtual mini marathon and there are any number of watches out there to suit everyone’s needs and budget.

The single best piece of advice Eimear says she can give is to 'pace yourself' when you are starting out. Picture: Dan Linehan
The single best piece of advice Eimear says she can give is to 'pace yourself' when you are starting out. Picture: Dan Linehan

For me, the single best piece of advice I always give to anyone starting out running is to pace yourself. Start off ‘stupid slow’ and you are less likely to end up running out of steam after a short distance. We are all full of energy when we first set out but if you’re only working up your fitness it’s very easy to end up puffed out quickly if you start off too fast. This can mean that you’re stopping and starting and you’ll only end up frustrating yourself and it’s often one of the main reasons people give up running. It’s like the saying goes, ‘slow and steady wins the race’.

So if you are ready to give yourself a great excuse to get fit, get healthier and get some time in the day for yourself, I really think The Echo Virtual Women’s Mini Marathon Cork is the perfect aim this September. We don’t know what the next few months will bring but what we all know for certain is that we need to be healthy and exercise is one of the best things we can do for not only our physical wellbeing but our mental wellbeing also.

HOW TO TAKE PART...

To sign up, you can register for free on https://theechominimarathon.ie

When you are registering you will have the option to purchase a souvenir medal.

We are encouraging people to do the 6K on September 20, adhering to all government guidelines and you can upload your results and download a certificate of completion.

If you can’t complete your 6K on September 20, you can also do it from September 18 to September 27.

September is like a ‘new year’ — a good time to set out some goals... so why not take part in The Echo Virtual Women’s Mini Marathon, writes Eimear Hutchinson

As the children settle back into their new routines, I have a great excuse to factor in my own time to exercise into the new layout of the day.

Eimear writes a weekly Parenting and Lifestyle column in The Echo, WoW! every Wednesday.

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