Dermot & Dave

4 Simple Steps To Help Improve Your Running

So you’re taking on a challenge and want to get into more of a routine when running? Well, look no f...
Stewart Griffin
Stewart Griffin

1:47 PM - 13 May 2019

Dermot & Dave

4 Simple Steps To Help Improve Your Running

Stewart Griffin
Stewart Griffin

1:47 PM - 13 May 2019

Listen to this episode

So you’re taking on a challenge and want to get into more of a routine when running? Well, look no further than some KISS advice from fitness instructor Ronan Murphy.

Ronan, who is behind & @vkngbuilt joined Dermot and Dave to offer advice for runners of all levels.

He also checked in on Today FM's Róisín Reilly who is running the Vhi Women's Mini Marathon in just under three weeks, to see how her progress is going.

Here's all the info Ronan passed on:

Keep It Simple (KISS) - this applies to the approach, the nutrition and the recovery. You can get lost in a myriad of advice and techniques on the web, a lot of which can seem daunting and in some cases put you off the whole idea altogether.

What you need to do is this:

1. Warm up before a run

2. Cool down after a run

3. Eat right before a run

4. Eat right after a run

There you go! Told you it was simple. It’s the oldest form of exercise in the world… and they didn’t have the iPhone or HR monitors when they started.

The physical aspect of a run.

Your body goes through a lot when you’re running, a combination of the cardio system working to oxygenate the blood which in turn then oxygenates the muscles and de-toxifies them. The energy system which breaks down glycogen for energy and uses it to keep the system working on a higher than usual level. And then there’s all the other systems working away in the background too i.e; immune system, nervous system etc..

With all of these systems working overtime they’re a drain on the body’s energy stores and as such need to be cared for, both before and after a run.

1. Warm Up Before a Run

It’s easy enough to warm up before a run. If you suffer from a tight lower back, which a lot of runners do, then try and activate the glutes with ‘Bridging’.

Warm up the hamstrings with Cross body straight leg hi-kicks x 20 and then some walking lunges x 20.

Walk for about 100 metres incorporating some arm swings and bounds and gradually build up to a slow jog. After about 400 metres in total you should now be nicely warm and can start into your running pace. You’re off!

2. Cool Down After a Run

This is important as you want to give yourself the best chance for the next run. A tight muscle can lead to a niggle and in turn an injury so it’s important to ‘reset’ the system after a run.

Pay particular attention to the hips, glutes, and lower rear leg i.e; ‘calf’ area.

Google the ’Kneeling Hip Flexor’ for the hips, the ‘Pretzel Stretch’ for the glutes and ‘Standing Achilles Soleus Stretch’ for the lower leg.

Try to hold each stretch for 45-60 seconds.

If you’ve time, throw some planks in too for that extra bit of core work. You can always do more core work ;-)

3. Eat Before a Long Run

You gotta get the fuel in… You wouldn’t drive a car without fuelling up, so why the body? Don’t fuel up at your peril… you WILL get sick as the immune system will become suppressed and the muscles WILL shut down a LOT earlier.

If you’re 3+ hours out from a run get slow Release a Low GI meal in. Emphasis on carbs if it’s a long one.

Pasta and chicken with pesto would be ideal.

If you’re 1-3 hours out from a run get a Low to medium GI meal in. Peanut butter on a bagel is spot on. Enough fats and protein in the peanut butter and you’ve got some low GI carbs with the bagel (try and keep it brown / whole wheat)

If you’re just out of bed or 1 hour out from a run get a higher GI meal in, a quick release of energy. A banana or a Smoothie would keep you going for the run and then you can fuel up with a bowl of porridge, seeds and blueberries afterwards.

Eating During a Long Run

Glucose gels, an energy drink, hell – some jellies if you can stomach the solids. However, this is only if needed. If it’s not an endurance run for you i.e; a long distance that will tax you then no need to fuel during the run.

Water throughout.

4. Eat After a Long Run

This is where people get really confused with info online etc.. Keep It Simple!

Look at a dinner plate and apply the following;

25% should be protein for muscle repair i.e; any lean meat / eggs / beans for the veggies out there

25% should be leafy greens / veg and fats for Vitamins, Iron and glycogen i.e; leafy salad with olive oil / feta cheese

50% should be a complex carb to fuel up and restore the glycogen store i.e; potato, pasta etc..

Why fats (good fats!)? They help absorb iron more efficiently. They support the immune system and they’re also high in energy contributing to glycogen stores…. Eat sparingly… They’re much higher in energy than carbs.

There you have it. Eat right, mobilise right and you’ve half the battle won!

Oh, and without having to say it, hydrate throughout your day… small sips, over the course of the day… between 3-5 litres on endurance days. Sounds like loads, right? You’ll get used to it!

So, where are you now in relation to the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon…

By now you’re 3 weeks out from VHI women’s mini marathon.

You should be comfortable over 6-7km. In fact you should be able to play around with your times over these distances. Shorter distances at a higher pace etc…

It’s good to mix up the distances and times. It’ll benefit your longer runs.

You should now aim to get to the 8km mark over the next week or two.

The last week of the run up to the event (pardon the pun) you should start to ease off the distances and ‘taper’ i.e; Shorten the distances with each run.

Wrap it up 2 days before the event, so the last medium run should be on Thursday, about 4-6km.

Rest Friday and do a short slow run on Saturday.

If you’re not feeling fresh throughout the run then you’re pushing too hard. It’s literally a ‘loosening out’ run to keep everything on par. You shouldn’t be looking to burn fat, increase times etc..

Carb loading

It’s the process of topping up the glycogen system, the fuel your body needs to keep going during an event like this.

Only 2 days of it, 3 max (if you’re new to running) is enough. Don’t worry, if you do it right you won’t ‘gain fat’. This will replenish the depleted glycogen stores and ensure you’re topped up for the big day. So this means incorporating more carbs into each meal for the Friday and Saturday. Go for it, you’ve earned it!

Do some other work like core work throughout all of this process – oh and hydrate too.

Best of luck on the day, you’re doing it because you enjoy it. #releaseyourviking , do #vikingtraining , get #VKNGBuilt and Keep her lit!

Some of you sent in your queries… I’ve answered them below… applying the KISS format to them all. I hope it helps!

Lads, I’m in the same boat, I was doing well but work got so busy and now I’m all over the place with my training. Is it too late to make up what I’ve lost? I’m currently at about 5km without stopping?

5km is perfect at this point. If you can stretch it out to 6.5 / 7km then I would be quietly confident you’d get the 10km on the day. Use this 3 week gap to get the hydration, nutrition up to spec and you’ll have enough energy to keep you going. The body doesn’t forget within a few weeks, you’ll be back on track after your first run. Don’t forget the stress busting ability of a workout too. If you can’t get out of the house for a run then do a home workout of squats, lunges, planks, high knees, push ups and burpees. Try and do a routine for the same length of time it would take you to run 5km. This will massively help your cardio system for the next time you get out for a run.


I was doing so well but then I pulled a muscle in my leg and it’s really set me back, how can I avoid that happening again?

Emphasis on the pre and post run stretching / mobilising. Pay particular attention to the pulled muscle area in both pre a post run situations. Give it some extra work and stretch time. Run, slowly and for shorter distances, on it IF it’s not painful. You may have some discomfort when running on it initially but it shouldn’t be anything more than that. If it is, stop and get yourself sorted with a therapist.


I only signed up for the mini marathon this week, am I better just run/walking it? My level of fitness is okay but not amazing.

It all depends on what you’ve completed in the past. If you’ve done a 5km and would be confident in doing one this week then I can’t see why you can’t target the 10km. 3 runs a week for the next 3 weeks: 1 short and fast i.e; 3km, one medium i.e 5km, one longer one i.e; 6/7km. If you can get them along with the right pre and post run work then you’re on to a winner. Little tip on the day would be to run with someone who is confident in running the full distance and are happy for you to tag along and use them as a pacer. If they go to fast then don’t be afraid to drop off and use someone else who’s running around your pace.


Any options for veggies/vegans?

Everything is the same as above but replace the proteins with fish, eggs tofu, blackbeans and lentils (Lentisl are awesome because they tick the Iron requirements box too, usually found with the greens and veg portion of a meal – a double header)


I find I get STARVING when I'm there something I can snack on?

During the run? Then you’re talking glucose gels, energy drinks etc.. If you mean during the process of training for a run like the VHI Womens Marathon (plug count points 1000!) then you can incorporate nuts and seeds in as your snacks i.e; almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds etc.. However, if you eat right in the lead up to the run and then post run you’ll find the hunger pangs will dissipate. If not then maybe look at portion size and increase slightly. Also, have a look at the level of fats in your regular diet. Is it enough? About 40 grams a day


My hips are so tight...any stretches for it?

If you Google ‘Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch’ and ‘Pretzel Stretch’ then you’ll find a load of sites and Youtube videos on how to do them. This should sort the problem for you and mobilise your hips nicely. Pay particular attention to them in the post run phase. It’s a very common issue for runners. You could also Google ‘kneeling wall quad stretch’ for extra super bonus points. Can be painful though!


I rolled my ankle last week, it's grand but it's kind of sore on long runs? What can I do to build up strength?

This is a very common one. Right, here’s the fix in three steps.

Step 1 – get a pillow / cushion

Step 2 – Stand on pillow with weak ankle while other leg is off floor

Step 3 – Keep it on one leg as long as you can

Super Secret Step 4 – If it’s too easy close your eyes

Do this as often as possible, along with ‘figure 8’ movements for bullet proof ankles



Read more about

Ronan Murphy Running ToedFit Vhi Mini Marathon

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