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Q and A with Olympic runner, Liz Yelling

(47 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 02-Jun-10 12:32:39

Liz Yelling and the GirlzRun team of experts will be joining us on Mumsnet to answer your questions on all aspects of running. This can include anything from how to get started, nutrition, injuries, running while pregnant or breastfeeding or getting back into running after a baby and juggling parenting and running. Liz is also happy to answer personal questions about how she manages to combine being a mother with being an olympic athlete. She's aiming for her 3rd Olympic Games in London 2012.

Suziewee Fri 04-Jun-10 11:44:27

Hi Liz,

I ran the London Marathon in April and felt pretty strong and great most of the way round. I didn't hit the wall and really enjoyed myself. I really enjoyed the training too but the trouble is my motivation has just gone. How do I get myself motivated again after living and breathing the marathon for the best part of 6 months? How do you get yourself going again after a major event?

I also want to lose some weight so I can get faster but its just not happening. I don't like dieting as I feel hungry and therefore don't have the energy to run. What is the best food to eat that gives you energy but keeps the weight down? Any advice would be great.

Best of luck from me too smile.

fluffles Fri 04-Jun-10 14:48:49


I am interested to know whether you think that mass participation 'recreational' road running events are good for athletics in this country? Or are they bad for 'proper' atheltics and running, or have no effect at all?


Doyouthinktheysaurus Fri 04-Jun-10 15:06:48

Hi Liz,

I've entered the Brighton Marathon next year and at the moment most of my running is on trails. What proportion of running should be done on roads in preparation for the marathon. Do I need to switch all my runs to the road?

Also do you think it is possible to achieve the level of fitness needed to survive the marathon on 3-4 runs a week? At the moment I do 4 runs and can't see a way I could fit in a 5th and live to tell the talegrin

Many Thanks

AmpleBosom Fri 04-Jun-10 23:33:22

Hi Liz,

I'm really thinking about starting running, i have never tried it before! I have a very large chest (A few sizes past a G cup blush ) and am currently breastfeeding, can you give me any advice for me on how to get started? I'm thinking two sports bras is the way forward grin

Thanks and good luck in the olympics!

MathsMadMummy Sat 05-Jun-10 08:16:40

Hi Liz,

Mine's similar to some other questions I suppose. I've never run before (although I was fairly decent at sprinting in school) as I find the impact too much. I can use a cross-trainer 'til the cows come home but when running the shock of my feet hitting the pavement actually hurts! It may have something to do with my weight blush. I'm breastfeeding too, and am a J cup, so I always feel like I need to run holding them down!

Is this problem something that can be overcome? Or should I forget about it for now, and focus on other low-impact exercise until I've lost weight?

Thanks - and best of luck for the Olympics. Will see you there if we have any chance of getting tickets!

racmac Sat 05-Jun-10 08:35:50


Im doing a half marathon in 2 weeks time and Im getting there - my long term goal is to speed up as im slow

Any tips on how to improve my speed? and keep it up at distance

newgirl Sat 05-Jun-10 22:43:27

Hi - I'm a big fan!

Good luck with the training for the Olympics!

My question - I've built my fitness up using your book and I've run a marathon. I really enjoy running which I never thought I'd say. However, I never seem to lose any weight - how can this be?! Too many cakes? How do I work out how much to eat and have the energy to do everything I need to do?

AlCrowley Sun 06-Jun-10 21:52:24

After DS was born, I started running and was up to a comfortable 11k before I fell pregnant with DD. I'm now 5 1/2 months post my second c-section and 10 weeks into training. I'm only managing around 5.5k a run at the moment. Partly down to not having enough time to run and partly down to my fitness. I'm also breastfeeding.

Tried my first 10k today and while it went OK, I had to walk after about 7k due to calf cramp and a numbness which I seem to get in my middle toes (and sometimes fingers too) as I run.

Is this likely to be down to dehydration? Pre-race food? Breathing? Is there anything I can do to prevent/help it? I've had a gait analysis and have proper running shoes.

Obviously, after 2 csections, my core strength is probably a bit weak too. Should I be working on this to help my running?

ExpatAgain Mon 07-Jun-10 08:53:11

(doyouthinktheysaurus - i did this one, fab route but like you had mainly run off road and I DID suffer - back ache, leg tears etc. Think tbh I should have done much more roadrunning. I managed training on 4 x a week though, no less)
Anyway, hope that helped but over to the expert, sure LIz knows much more than me.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Mon 07-Jun-10 12:50:59

Thanks for the advice ExpatAgain, I feared that I may have to take to the roads.

I just find road running so much more tedious than on the Downs.

Will you be doing another marathon Expat? I've got my eye on Beachy Head marathon if I can get through Brighton but we shall see... the hills, the hills...grin

Catilla Mon 07-Jun-10 13:36:28

I'd like to add to the theme of some earlier questions about motivation to keep going. Before the age of about 30 I could never run - legs just felt so heavy and I was a bit asthmatic. I have done other sports though, eg. rowing at university and quite serious horse riding.

After having children there was even less chance of getting to a gym or team activity or anything regular, so I tried running as a way to exercise with minimal equipment/planning. I started with tiny walk/run/walk between lampposts and used Couch to 5k to get going a bit further. I bought some proper shoes and did the Race for Life and another local 5k last summer in around 40 mins. Had to walk a bit but not as much as I thought, and felt really good! Through the winter it's depressing, and I can't venture far in the evenings, and just as I got going for spring I got ill.

Now when I go out I find it very hard to stay motivated to do the same thing again and again. The first few times are OK, but building up to longer sessions and continuing to go out several times per week seems hard. Initially I guess I have an excuse not to do too much and can exceed my plans, but soon I "ought" to be doing more and the lazy me kicks in again. I also find it hard to make time for stretching and core work (which I need for my achy back and flabby tum!) - it's usually about midnight when I remember I should try to do a little bit most days :-(

Basically, I'd love to hear any tips you have for sustaining motivation and interest when essentially lots of repetition is required, and I'm not really a natural runner.

Thanks for coming to Mumsnet!

liath Mon 07-Jun-10 20:12:58

I've found that with my running if I go out just before my period is due then I feel terrible - legs like lead, wading through treacle etc. I'm not really as fit as I'd like but is this something that plagues professional athletes too? I can't imagine anything worse than training hard for an event and then it all going to pot because of hormones.

Also, have you read "Born to Run" and do you have any views on the barefoot running movement that seems to be taking off a bit at the moment? Thanks.

hatwoman Mon 07-Jun-10 21:53:37

doyouthinktheysaurus I did the london marathon last year and I did about 80 per cent or more of my training off road - some on trials and some on completely soft ground. I have no idea if this is advisable and I'm sure liz will respond but for me, it was fine.

FiveGoMadInDorset Tue 08-Jun-10 12:23:51

Good luck with training for the Olympics.

Any idea what the best shoe for running/walking is preferably not many pounds.

Herecomesthesciencebint Tue 08-Jun-10 12:52:38

Hi there,

just wanted to ask about progress and time.I am building up to my first half marathon and now running about 12 miles on a weekend 9slow but steady!)

I usually do one other short run in the week and a class 9bodycombat) but really cant fit much else in without it having a huge impact on the rest of my life. i can only train in the evenings once DH home which is after 8 so thats my evening gone really. So 3x weekly is my max.

Is it possible to keep getting better with this amount of training or will it be terribly slow going?good look in 2012!

WilfShelf Tue 08-Jun-10 15:40:50

Actually, I've got another question, but not about me.

DS1 (11) is a little bit into running: he's done a few charity runs and is quite keen on taking it further. Since (see further up the thread!) I don't run, I'm wondering if a club is the best bet?

Are there junior athletics clubs and how does it all work? Sorry, I realise you don't need an Olympian to answer this one but since you're on... grin

When do we get the A's back?

MoshiMoshi Sun 13-Jun-10 20:38:10

Hi Liz,

I have decided to shed my trainer of choice for the past ten years (Asics Gel Kayano recommended for over-pronation) and get something more neutral and try and work on my gait and physiological weaknesses instead to balance out my biomechanical inefficiencies (phew!) I am 37 and suspect that as I get older, if I wish to continue running (and I am hoping to run into my 60s and onwards!) I will have to get the whole anti-pronation shoe/orthotics combination at some point, but for now I really want to work on getting my body back into shape (after having had 4 children in 6 years) and feel what is going on instead of blissfully pounding away the miles in hyper cushioned support shoes and ending up with some over-use injury.

What are your views on this and do you have any tips on this sort of approach? I don't think barefoot running is for me but I guess it is a step in that direction in acknowledging that I want to avoid the usual approach to trainers.

Many thanks!

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 16-Jun-10 10:03:25

Many thanks for all your questions. We've sent them over to Liz and the team and will be linking to the Q and A from this page later this week. We'll sticky the thread when it's up, so do check active convos.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 22-Jun-10 15:51:52

Liz and the Girlzrun team have answered your questions. You can see the full archive here

ExpatAgain Tue 22-Jun-10 16:08:17

well she didn't answer mine! Might not bother next time, hmm.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Tue 22-Jun-10 16:25:45

Thankyou to Expatagain and Hatwoman for answering my question about off-road training for a road marathon because Liz didn'twinkgrin

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