When you work long hours in the city, keeping fit and taking care of your own wellbeing can all too quickly take a back seat. It can be hard to find the time and difficult to gain access to the right resources. This was exactly the problem that Alison and Barbara, Founders of Workout @ Work, stumbled across during their increasingly hectic schedules working as Lawyers in the capital. So they decided they would do something about it!
Today I chat to Alison in more detail about the idea behind their company as well as the new Stamina Training programme they are launching specifically for busy city runners of all levels and experience. Perfect with the upcoming London Marathon as well as other long distance events over the coming months. So read on to find out more, including how you can get involved, as well as pick up some top tips if you're currently preparing for an event and are after some training and race day advice ...
1. Hi Alison, could you begin by giving us a brief introduction into the idea and passion behind your business Workout @ Work?
Barbara and I met at law school and became great friends. We started our working lives in the office and soon found there wasn't much time to take care of our health and wellbeing. Together we spoke about creating something that would not only allow ourselves to be healthier and happier but also our colleagues too.
Before long the concept of Workout @ Work was born offering wellness days and wellbeing programmes to corporates in the city. This year we've also started to offer group exercise classes in the beautiful Hyde Park so even if your workplace doesn't yet have a wellness programme you can still have access to affordable, active classes.
2. Your newest programme 'Stamina Training For Runners' sounds perfect and with the upcoming London Marathon is, I'm sure, a much needed resource for runners all over the capital. What's the thought and purpose behind this new project?
We know that lots of runners either run on their own or with a running group, but we wanted to create something different to give the body a break. With lots of marathons, half marathons and charity runs coming up in the next few months we thought it was a great time to try out something fun with the aim of helping runners around the capital run faster and better.
3. What are the added benefits of stamina training - why is it useful as an add on to regular marathon training?
Stamina training is a great way to improve your fitness and can help you run faster! Incorporating a mixture of drills, exercises and stretches into your regular running routine improves endurance, strength and running form.
4. What will the training offer to those interested in taking part?
Our trainer will put participants through their paces with a variety of exercises tailored to work on the muscles that you use most in marathon running. For example, participants will work through proper stretches to build flexibility in the muscles which will help the body be more efficient and less injury prone.
They will also complete a series of short boot camp style exercises including things like:
- Skipping to help build the calves, glutes and quads.
- Weights and push ups to help build a strong upper body providing a strong torso and stable base for running.
- High knee drills to improve the running stride as the body learns to pull from each stride to the next.
5. Can anyone participate and how can people get involved?
Yes, the programme is open to everyone and our trainer can adapt each exercise for varying levels. Participants simply sign up on our website www.workoutatwork.org or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
6. Who will provide the training and how do you choose the trainers that you collaborate with?
Our personal trainer Ros will be taking the stamina sessions. She's a fantastic trainer and knows how to help people achieve results. We're lucky to work with a variety of brilliant, experienced trainers.
For us, it's important to work with the best, it's a given that our instructors have great qualifications including first aid and are fully insured. It's also key that our trainers are fun, friendly people who understand what it's like to work a hectic schedule and still want to squeeze in time to keep fit.
Time is precious and they work efficiently so you can achieve results faster.
7. Do you have any top tips for people currently training for the London Marathon or another long distance running event?
Yes! We've consulted with marathon runner and friend of Workout @ Work Amanda Hardy for her top ten tips. Amanda has run several marathons and has a personal best of an incredible 3 hours 13 minutes so she really knows her stuff.
Amanda's Top Ten
- Devise an achievable training schedule and build up your distance slowly to prevent injuries.
- Take up targeted classes such as yoga to help elongate your muscles which will contract as a result of long distance running. Weights and core work will build strength, for example for navigating tough hilly sections.
- Carb-loading requirements will vary per person. Use your long training runs as an opportunity to trial different ‘night-before’ and ‘race-morning’ meals to determine what works best for you. Don’t overdo it ... you often need less than you think.
- It's very important to be well hydrated before the race. I typically try to drink as much water as possible the day and evening before but cut back the morning of the race. Ladies generally have to wait in long queues to get to a toilet, and there are typically queues at bag drop-off. Factor this in when planning your time on race morning to avoid unnecessary stress!
- Wear your planned race kit for your longest training run to test whether chafing or discomfort will be a problem. Use Vaseline if required - comfort will be key to an enjoyable race.
- In chillier conditions, wear a tracksuit over your kit to keep as warm as possible before the race. I feel the cold therefore I also take gloves and a beanie! These extra clothes won’t go to waste – put them in the charity bins just before you head to the start line.
- Plan your energy in-take during the run. Again, energy supplement sources and quantities will vary per person. I like Gu because I find the consistency of the gel, as well as sizing of the sachet, manageable.
- Study the race profile to avoid any unwelcome surprises along the route. It's a good idea to have a ‘race strategy’ in mind and know where and when to expect the tougher parts of the course.
- Don’t go out too fast! Many runners make the mistake of going too quickly in the earlier miles (the hype of the race will get to you). This may lead to hard, slow paces at the end. Rather try to maintain a comfortable speed throughout the run.
- Finally, enjoy the adrenalin rush you will get from being amongst the hustle and bustle of all the runners, as well as being spurred on by the cheering of the supporters lining the streets. Use it as motivation to push you through.
8. After all this hard work I'm sure you'll agree it's also important to rest and unwind! What do you find is the best way to switch off and recover?
Absolutely! I love a relaxing bath and a good novel. I think it's important to take time out and rest the body and the mind. Practicing 10 minutes of mindfulness a day also does wonders for the soul.
Phew what a great idea and a fantastic set of tips and advice for runners, whether you're just getting started or you're well on your way to your first or next marathon. There's something here for everyone.
It's so important to make time for the things you are passionate about as well as to look after your own fitness and wellbeing. If running is a passion of yours but you're struggling to find a balanced approach to your training amidst a busy schedule, then the team at Workout @ Work may be the people to help and advise you.
They also offer a number of other great services specifically tailored to an individual companies needs so if your company is looking to implement a fully rounded wellness programme for it's employees then don't hesitate to get in touch to learn more. From fitness, to golf, to manicures and beauty for those in a busy whirl of work, there's a wide range of activities available suited to everyone.
If you'd like to get involved with the stamina training classes or have a question about any of the other services that Workout @ Work have to offer please get in touch using the links below:
Phone: +44 (0)7522 759 093
Thank you to the lovely Alison and Barbara for sharing the great work they are doing here today on the blog.
See you all on Friday for a new post to wrap up the working week.