Knowing your limits, and learning to surpass them

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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Surely it can’t ever be easy, no matter how many times you’ve done it before, or how much training you’ve put in. Yet thousands of people of all ages and abilities turn up year after year to run, walk or limp their way across the finish line of the Dublin City Marathon.

And credit to them. It’s not the chill of the weather and the challenge on the day itself that they brave; it’s the weeks and months of meticulous preparation they’ve had to put themselves through to get to that point. Those long runs in the darkening evenings, or even in the early mornings; the aches and pains of overworked limbs; the foregoing of a those trips to the local bar on a Friday or Saturday. It’s a remarkable feat of dedication.

But every marathon runner knows that the harder you work and better you prepare leading up to the event, the easier it will be on the day and the more satisfaction you’ll get from the achievement.

Proper preparation not only means getting the runs in – it means paying close attention to diet, nutrition and healthy practices. Knowing how to read your body, and how best treat it, are essential for helping you get the most from it.

Whether you’d like to prepare for a marathon-type event, improve on previous performances, or help others in their preparation, the material covered on courses in fitness, health and nutrition can help. Along with learning how to assess fitness levels and evaluate one’s current state of health, such programmes will provide valuable information about lifestyle, how compatible it is with your goals and what changes you may need to make. Generally this means learning how to compose a diet that consists of foods that are balanced in their growth, maintenance and repair of the living body without harmful excesses.

Of course learning about diet and lifestyle need not be solely related to sporting performance; it is also about optimising your health. However, it doesn’t hurt to have a long-term goal in mind, or challenge to overcome. Any marathon runner could tell you that.

Frank Bolger

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