Preparing Huawei Venicemarathon: A Marathon Win!
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After many months of communicating by email, whatsapp and Skype about training, I was happy to finally meet Betina Habuda, our French Ambassador for Venicemarathon. We had already talked about race strategy the week before but the sudden turn in weather made me rethink Betina’s plan. It was going to be hot on the race course, we already knew that as we chatted in Parco San Giuliano on Saturday. My new marathon race instructions for her were: don’t follow the pacers, start out at 6’00” per chilometre, see how you feel and if all goes well, increase your speed later. Betina said she was a little stressed about the weather so when she heard she had to start out even slower than we had discussed she was relieved. Betina’s race story:

“I slept well and on race morning I was ready and excited. When I began running in Stra I felt good and knew right then that everything would okay. I felt well prepared. The first 20km of the race were great, really beautiful places along the course and lots of spectators in each town. My father had come with me to Venice and had decided to run the last 10km with me. I was happy because I had something to look forward to during the race, knowing that I wouldn’t have to run the Ponte della Libertà Bridge alone. When we arrived in Venice it was so beautiful, I was surprised and happy. To be honest, the bridges killed my legs but I knew it was the end so I tried to keep the pace. I was so happy to cross the finish line! It was a great experience this year to be a Venicemarathon ambassador. I had the chance to be treated like a professional athlete at the marathon and to see the race a bit from the inside! I encourage everybody to run this beautiful and well organized race!!!

In the end Betina finished Venicemarathon with a net time of 4:01:18, running her race with a negative split and taking ten minutes off her previous marathon time for a new Personal Best. She worked hard for it and deserved it, now she just has to decide where her next adventure will be!
Preparing Huawei Venicemarathon: Marathon Pace
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Every year at the Venicemarathon expo our pacing teams for both the marathon and 10km race have a booth where they can meet runners, give advice on the course, or just chat to calm everybody’s nerves about race day. We also hand out old fashioned pacing bracelets. With modern age electronic equipment available, wearing a printed piece of paper around your wrist might seem like a thing of the past. But you’d be surprised how many people still like the security of looking at those goal numbers. The other thing that might surprise you is how many marathon runners have no idea what their race pace is supposed to be. They look over the eleven pace times that we offer, sometimes picking up three different bracelets. Are they totally clueless or simply getting up the courage to truly live up to their running potential?
Yesterday I spoke with Betina Habuda, our Parisienne runner who will be racing in Venice in just ten short days. While her training seems to be on target, she’s also feeling really tired. This is a normal response from your body in this last period of training, when your mileage has just peeked. I invited Betina to pay extra attention to her sleep and rest and make sure she eats enough to fuel her training runs for this last week. That said, Betina will be following the four hour pacing trio. We looked at her training times and one key half marathon race that she ran last week.
During the marathon she’ll know where the pacers are but will keep track of her own time and speed.
So, how do you decide your marathon pace? You can go online and find marathon race calculators but I instead have always used a very simple formula. Calculate your half marathon time x 2 + 15:00 = marathon time. Super simple. This is of course your potential. If you pace yourself correctly, fuel carefully and the weather Gods cooperate, well, it’s almost guaranteed! See you at the expo!
Preparing Huawei Venicemarathon: Staying healthy during your taper
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You’ve been training since the beginning of the summer for this one goal of running the Venicemarathon. Four long months of preparation, most of which were done during the hot summer months. Now that the temperatures are dropping and running is feeling easier, you’re allowing yourself to feel excited about race week. I don’t want to burst your bubble but you do need to be prepared: the last three weeks of tapering are also easiest for you to get sick. Working against you is a suppressed immune system after a long run. You’ve probably done a few of those in the last month! The seasonal climate change is also a challenge for bodies to adapt to, hence, many athletes succumb to the first flu bug that gets passed around. Here’s some suggestions on how to stay healthy during your taper period, up until race day. 
Keep eating well. The last weeks are the most important for sticking to your nutrition plan. Most runners I know think they need to pile on the pasta in order to “carbo load” before the race. Make sure they are balanced out with fresh vegetables and a portion of protein. Snack on fruit and stay hydrated.
Don’t run more mileage than needed. Whatever training plan you happen to be on, stick to it. A lot of runners panic in the last month, comparing notes with fellow athletes and thinking that they need just one more long run…and then they’ll be ready. Take a deep breath and stick to your original plan. It will work! 
3. Recover and rest. How many other combinations of these two words can I deliver to you so that you take them seriously? Rest and recovery is my number one recommendation to athletes I train. If I could write it into their training plans I would! Go to bed just an hour earlier a few times per week. I know it’s a little bit of a sacrifice, then again, won’t it be worth when you cross the finish line in Venice?
Preparing Huawei Venicemarathon: Long Intervals
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In training for a marathon like Venice there are two important moments that can make your race a success. The first when you build your base mileage, four months out from the race. The second is the last month BEFORE your taper, two or three weeks before the marathon. In either case that should be about now! This is the month where you’ll run your highest mileage, and if you're on the right training program, run your most intense workouts. When preparing for a marathon a lot of runners put emphasis on the long, slow runs. Those long runs can be beneficial but they can also push an athlete into over training and injury. My advice is to simply break down that mileage into more dynamic yet manageable distances, also known as interval training. Most runners think of interval training as “fast”, running 200 mt or 400 mt around a track. That’s fine for 5k or 10k races but for marathon training you need to lengthen the distance.

Betina Habuda, our runner from Paris preparing for Venicemarathon, has just started this second phase. I’ve interspersed her workouts with two types of types of intervals.

- 1000, 3000 and 4000 meters. The shorter the distance the more numerous the intervals. If this is your first time running intervals try 10 x 1000mt at a “fast” speed with a three minute recovery in between. Always begin your workout with a twenty minute slow run warm up.

- A ladder set. 1000mt + 2000mt + 3000mt + 2000mt + 1000mt - the shorter the distance, the faster the pace. If this is your first time you can recover with three minutes of stretching in between. If you have more experience recover with 1000 meters at marathon pace! If you want to add mileage either double the set or tack on mileage to your warm up.
Preparing Huawei Venicemarathon: The Warriors Rest
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This week in Italy and most of Europe the scorching summer temperatures have taken a nosedive, guiding us slowly and gently into fall. You might be sad for the end of summer but cooler weather will translate into faster running times. Rather than having to get up at dawn in order to get a training session, you can run again on a lunch break.  But a change in season still puts stress on the body. One day it's hot, the next day it’s cold and our bodies don’t always adapt well.

For runners preparing Venicemarathon the next two months will be the most important. That’s why I urge you while there is still time to get your sleep habits in place. I consider sleep and rest just as important as a workout. Getting at least eight hours of sleep (or more!) will keep your immune system strong. It will help your muscles recover while you relax after longer workouts. Better rest will help your body adapt to the new season.

I asked Betina Habuda, our Parisien runner preparing for Venicemarathon to talk about her own sleeping habits so we can get some insight as to how she is doing.

Do you track your sleep with a device, Betina?
No, I don’t track my sleep, I get a good idea on how many hours I’m sleeping by just checking what time I go to sleep and what time I set my alarm at.

How many hours do you sleep on average per night?
I try to sleep at least 7 hours though 8 hours would be optimal. I usually wake up between 6:00 and 6:30 am so it’s not easy to sleep more than that. On try and make up for it on the weekends with a little extra sleep and afternoon naps.

While training for Venicemarathon do you feel you need more sleep?
Yes, definitely. In these next two months I’ll be more focused on rest and getting to bed earlier.

Do you fall asleep right away?
The first thing I do is switch my phone off early so I’m not using it before going to bed. Then I get in bed with a book and read until I start to get sleepy. This is the best combo for me!
Preparing Huawei Venicemarathon: what NOT to do when injured
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Most experienced runners know that injury is going to be something that they’ll have to deal with occasionally. Running is a repetitive movement and one of the most traumatic at that.

To be fair, in the twenty-four years I’ve been running I can think of three other times I’ve been injured. That’s a pretty positive statistic for someone who’s run thousands of miles!

As a coach I occasionally need to guide my athletes through injuries (though I leave the actual treatment to medical experts) and help them get back to running as soon as they’re healed. But in trying to help there’s certain patterns that I’ve noticed over the years, especially if it’s someone encountering their very first injury. So rather than telling you what to do, I want to emphasise what not to do…

Don’t panic.
I see a lot of people panicking as soon as they feel an injury coming on. Lots of tears because they’ve invested time into training and this- cannot-be-happening-now! There are so many solutions and workarounds for injury that there’s no need to panic. That same energy might even be used to help heal your body, because yes, I believe that being calm will help … ommmmmmm.

Don’t run through the pain.
The esteemed athletic coach Renato Canova once told me that running on an injury is like knowing that your finger is broken and then insisting on bending it back and forth, “just to make sure it really isn’t broken”. Nobody does that! There is no such thing as running through the pain if you’re injured. It’s often confused with running through discomfort, when you’re tired during a long distance race. These are two completely different scenarios. If you feel enough pain that it hurts to run, stop. Right now.

No sitting on the couch.
Taking a break from running doesn’t mean you can now sit on the couch and eat ice cream to make yourself feel better. Once you have a diagnosis ask your osteopath, doctor or physical therapist what alternative activities you can do while you’re healing. Swimming is usually on the list, as well as cycling. If your substitute sport is an aerobic activity it will keep your heart conditioned, so you’ll take even less time to get back into running once you’re ready.

Don’t ask ten opinions.
I see a lot of impatient athletes wanting instant healing with pills, shots and laser guns. They expect to be up and running within days and get frustrated when that doesn’t happen. If you’re not confident of the prognosis, please do get a second opinion. But once you’ve chosen your medical expert and chosen a path, follow it through to the end. With a dose of patience and persistence you’ll be back running in no time!

Don’t look to Social Media for answers
Do I even need to explain myself here? ;-)
Preparing Huawei Venicemarathon: Q & A with Betina Habuda
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This week our marathon runner from Paris, Betina Habuda, completes her first month of workouts in preparation for Venicemarathon. August is the month that most Europeans leave the big overcrowded cities and flock to the beaches or mountains for a long vacation. Since Betina is also in the middle of packing her bags, before she leaves I thought we could ask her a few quick questions on how her Venicemarathon trainings is going so far.


The summer temperatures in Paris reached nearly 106f and measuring in as  the hottest city in Europe for the summer of 2019. How did your running survive the week?
It was quite complicated! The hardest part was my rest after a workout. My apartment was just as hot inside as it was outside, sleeping was really difficult. I planned all my trainings for really early in the morning, at  6:00 a.m., but it was already hot. I brought water with me on my runs and made sure that I had a few sips every fifteen minutes. I also went to the swimming pool for recovery!

Have you found any advantages to preparing a Fall marathon compared to a Spring marathon?
Yes, definitely. With longer days I don’t have to run in the dark since sunrise is at 5:00 a.m. and sunset around 9:00 p.m. The weather, even though hot, is nicer. It’s not cold, there’s less rain and I don’t need to bundle up in clothes. My friends are also more likely to join me for a run during the summer.

Have you noticed any changes in your body with this cycle of training?
I’ve had to increase my caloric intake for sure, especially in the afternoon. I never used to get hungry but now I find myself looking for something to eat in the afternoon. I usually satisfy my hunger with a banana or some pureed apples. I also take care about what I eat, more starch than usual. I’ve also had to increase my fluids. I haven’t lost any weight on the scale but I do feel “thinner” and more energetic.

When athletes start training for a marathon their social life is usually the first thing to go. How have you adjusted yours to accomodate your training schedule?
I’ve had to reschedule both my work hours and my social life. I plan my workouts for the early morning hours so that my evenings are free. I also go out with friends on the evenings that I don’t have an early morning training session the next day. For now, I’ve been able to blend both my social life and running, but Venicemarathon has absolutely become one  of the main topics of discussion among family and friends!

One month down and three more to go. Anything you’re looking forward to in the month of August?
These 2 last weeks were a bit more difficult for me. Last week due to the heat and this week because the longer training sessions. But I am still really motivated for the next months, to discover new workouts and gain some speed and positive sensations.
Also, the last two weeks of August I’ll be on vacation. I’ll be able to rest more and enjoy running on the west coast of France, close to the ocean.
Preparing Huawei Venicemarathon: races to train you for the marathon
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There are still three full months until the Venicemarathon. Many of you have been working for months to build a solid running foundation before adding longer training sessions. Others signed up for the are just the other day. In both cases you still have time to prepare before adding another magic ingredient: training races! Running calendars around the world are full of appointments and events of various distances.
September is the time when each country holds "classic" events that have been designed for anyone running a fall marathon. I’m in favor of including a couple of half marathons in the months before Venicemarathon. The end of September is an ideal moment to race your first event whereas the other could be done towards the beginning of October. The shorter races, from ten kilometres to the “ten miles" can be raced at almost any time to give a boost to your speed.

What Betina’s going to do: Our French runner contacted us just the other day to ask "permission" to sign up for a race that’s become a classic: Les 20km de Paris. With more than 30,000 participants, the route highlights some of the most beautiful monuments on the western part of the city: l’Arc de Triomphe, Boi de Boulogne, Rolland Garros, the Grand Palais and Tuileries. I told Betina not only to register immediately so that she was she to grab a spot, but to add a longer warm up before the race. That way she’ll have resolved the problem of trying to fit in a long run by doing it during an event, with entertainment and company.

What you can do:  Now is definitely the time to register for training competitions, both to save a few euros and to find a space in the race. Any event, from the ten kilometer to the half marathon can be used as a training session. To increase your mileage volume add a warm-up before or a cool-down afterwards, you decide the distance! A word of advice, however, remember that it is only a workout and that your important race starts in Stra on October 27th!
Preparing Venicemarathon: increasing your mileage
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Wherever you live around the world, whatever training plan you’ve decided to follow, no matter what level of athlete you consider yourself to be, this is the week in your Venicemarathon preparation that everything has to really start. Up until now October seemed too far away for any serious training to take place. But now it’s just four months away. Your base training needs to be constructed and nutrition cleaned up.
The first step is easy: increase your weekly mileage. When examining training data after a marathon, the biggest mistake most athletes make in preparation is in not running enough evenly distributed weekly mileage. We understand you’re not professionals, but even amateurs preparing a marathon should be running four days a week. (By the way, most professionals run seven days a week, twice a day!). Adding a fourth training day might seem impossible, but there are tricks to fitting it in.

What Betina’s going to do: “At first I was a bit stressed about adding on a fourth workout to my already hectic week. Work takes up most of my day and I do enjoy having a social life. But I’m a focused person, when I have a goal in mind and I decide to wake up and go for a run, I go. In adding on my fourth workout I decided on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday format. I prefer running at around 6:00 a.m. so I can beat the Paris summer heat. To keep my motivation up I plan on finding new running routes outside the city or when I go abroad on the weekends. I know when the temperatures drop in the fall I’ll have more friends willing to train with me during lunchtime or after work.

What you can do: Get out an agenda and start penciling, one week at a time, exactly when those four training days are going to happen. Once you make time for them, half the work is done. Remember the famous motto , “Together we are stronger…” If you have other friends that are signed up for Venicemarathon make run dates with them. You don’t have to run every workout together, but a weekly appointment really helps with motivation. It only takes a few weeks to get used to the new training load… and then you can start adding in some longer runs!
Preparing Venicemarathon: It won’t be perfect
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This week we can’t not talk about the heat wave that is gripping the European continent and sending temperatures soaring past 100 Fahrenheit. It’s an understatement to say that training in this weather is, shall we say, challenging.
There are plenty of online articles for you to scroll through with the same advice: hydrate, hydrate and hydrate some more. Runners are changing their usual habits by getting up at dawn to fit their training sessions in during the cooler morning hours . Others wait until dusk, but having to add in a humidity factor that you can cut with a knife. The one mistake everybody seems to be committing is in not lowering their performance expectation.
This first month of summer heat has a profound physiological effect and it takes time to adapt. Fundamentally you just have to know that your times will be slower and that this is perfectly normal.

What Betina’s going to do: Betina Habuda lives in Paris, France, which is one of the European cities with the highest temperatures this week. Thank goodness Betina is a morning runner! She is still running three times a week but next week will need to shift to four for her Venicemarathon preparation. She’s a good swimmer and participates in triathlons so I’m going to encourage her to substitute a swim session for one of her runs if she feels too hot. It’s still early in her marathon preparation and going a little off plan won’t effect her race four months from now.

 
What you can do: Lower your training and performance expectations during the summer months. While your body adapts to the heat (it can take up to a month for that to happen), don’t worry about speed or even distance. Your main focus needs to be on adaption and recovery. Recovery is probably even more important after you’ve put yourself through a running sauna. But everybody is saying: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Preparing Venicemarathon: Relax, just a little!
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Summer is finally here and if you’re like everybody else I know all you can think about is a much needed  vacation. But the word “vacation” has a different meaning for each of us. For some runners it’s an opportunity to increase their weekly mileage and run as much as their heart’s desire. For others it’s a chance to finally become a couch potato and not run at all. If you’re at the beginning of your preparation for Venicemarathon I have news: neither is the right solution. There can be a middle ground for both, thus avoiding possible injuries in the first case and de-conditioning in the latter.

What Betina’s going to do: Betina Habuda, our marathoner-in-training for Venicemarathon already took a long vacation during the month of May in Vietnam. At the end of this month she has a short holiday planned and is already worried about how it might interfere with her training plan. Fortunately her “vacation” is hiking in the mountains with a group of friends. Even though she won’t be running she’ll still be moving and active. Plus, hiking builds muscular strength and, depending on the terrain and intensity, can be an excellent aerobic exercise.


 
What you can do: If you’re the type of runner who is always on the move, keep running but alternate running days with another fun summer activity. Swimming, cycling, hiking are obvious choices. If you really want to mix it up invite family and friends to play beach volley, frisbee or badminton. If all you want to do is lay on a towel at the beach go for easier movement. Walks on the beach can be an excellent way to condition your feet and ankles. Swimming is versatile and can be done at the seaside or lakes in the mountains. Just make sure you add in some intensity so that when you get back to your regular running schedule you don’t find yourself out of breath!
Preparing Venicemarathon: Building the Base
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Last April Betina Habuda successfully ran her first marathon in her hometown of Paris, France, in an unexpected time of 4:11:09. Since then she’s had a few ups and downs in her personal life, but she’s now ready to get back to regular training in preparation for Venicemarathon. The marathon goal for Betina in October is to run under four hours. Her training in the next five months will be written specifically with this in mind.  But before entering into marathon training mode every runner should have a solid base. It doesn’t have to be anything special, the habit of training regularly and a minimum weekly mileage will suffice.

What Betina’s going to do: For the month of June Betina will be running three days per week, twice during the weekday and once on the weekend. She’s an excellent swimmer and enjoys yoga so will keep up these actives while marathon training. When I asked Betina about her previous training method she only talked about mileage. For this reason I’ll add simple running drills to her plan in order to improve her technique and running smoother. Her initial weekly mileage won’t be anything crazy, a little over thirty kilometres per week. That, along with a consistent training habit,  will have her ready at the end of the month to increase her mileage and start her journey towards Venicemarathon.

What you can do: Commit to running three days a week for the month of June. Consistency is King! You can reserve a longer run for the weekend, but during the weekday add some variety to your regular workouts. Strides, skipping or lunges will strengthen your muscles and at the same time diversity your running routine. 


Julia Jones
Time to Prepare a Marathon
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One of the most common questions I receive about running is, “how long does it take to prepare marathon?”. The answer is, “…it depends”. There no straightforward answer because there are so many factors and variations to be considered. In other words, there isn’t a magic formula.  You need to examine where you’re starting from and what your ending marathon goal is. If that goal is to simply finish the marathon, get the medal to hang on your wall at home or check off one of your “lifetime goal boxex”, here are some thoughts on timelines.
 
- Beginners someone that still needs to take that first running step -  If your starting place for running a marathon is the couch you’ll need a full year to reach your goal. You’ll have to be dedicated, deliberate and reorganise your life, but it can be done.

- Occasional Runner with big dreams - You have no problem going for a quick run on the weekend or joining friends in a 5km fun run. Sometimes after a friendly football game with friends and drinking a beer there will be talk about running a marathon together. Someday…  Start running more regularly until you can comfortably cover the 10km distance. From there it will only take you (and your friends) four months to be standing at the start line of your chosen marathon.

- Regular Runner that has yet to run the marathon distance - For the Regular Runner the leap into the the marathon is more of a mental hurdle. They already run half marathons but they can’t fathom doubling the distance. If they knew that just three months of dedicated workouts would lead them to their final goal they’d be signing up today!


Betina Habuda, the runner we’ll be training this year for Venicemarathon,  is in neither of these categories. She successfully ran her first marathon in Paris last month and is looking to improve her race time at Venicemarathon on October 27th. Our first goal will be to introduce new training techniques and exercises. Since she took some time off after her spring marathon we will slowly build back her weekly mileage. I’m giving her a full five months to get ready for Venicemarathon. We’ll talk with Betina next week and look into her first training program steps so stay tuned!
On how to race
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One of the hardest things for a runner to learn is how to race. It sounds easy: you pin on your bib number and start running as soon as you hear the gun go off. In reality it actually takes a lot of practice and some runners never seem to ever get it right. I’ve seen athletes prepare themselves for months to then completely blow it at some point of the race. If this happens in an event like the Moonlight 10km or Half Marathon in Jesolo it’s not a big problem; you can race those same distances again in a short amount of time. But it can be a hard learning experience if it happens in a marathon, not to mention a certain amount of pain.

To understand how to race you’ll have to get out there and practice it several times before you have your very own perfect racing plan. By racing you’ll be able to understand where your weak points are and how you can improve them for the next event. Here’s a few of my suggestions from watching literally thousands of runner’s mistakes.

- Always start out slow. The number one mistake most runners make in racing any distance is to start too fast. I’ve seen Personal Records obtained in the first half of a race to then watch them fade away or even walk to the finish line. You might think you feel great in those first few miles but you’re actually feeding off adrenaline and burning through precious glycogen storage. Always start out slow. It’ll allow you to have the energy to speed up towards the finish line.

- Stay on the course. You can add a lot of distance by not paying attention to where you’re running or how the race course is laid out. This means no zigzagging or going left and right to get around people or obstacles. The race organizers might have even put a line on the road where they’ve measured the distance. My advice: follow it. In lieu of the line look for corners to cut and the straightest line to the finish.

- Draft off other runners. Cyclist use this tactic regularly and runners should too. You can reduce your wind resistance by 90% and decrease your energy expenditure by almost 10% by just running directly behind another runner. It’s done by choosing someone that’s running at your same speed and tucking in behind them. Large pacing groups will also do the job. Initially you’ll feel like you’ve slowed down a few seconds but it’s just the wind resistance working in your favor.
- Pick off other runners. Pick out a runner that’s a good distance ahead of you. I usually look for someone with clothing that stands out, like a bright green shirt, for example. Concentrate on them and slowly reel them in. It might take a few minutes or many miles, the important thing is to keep your eye on them and eventually pass. Then look for your next victim!
- Practice on shorter distances. Race as many of the shorter distances as you can, even several a month. Practice calming yourself before the start and neurologically memorize how to slow yourself down in those first few miles so that you can successfully sprint to the finish line.
Road to Huawei Venicemarathon: Betina Habuda
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For 2019 the virtual pages of Venicemarathon will be following the marathon preparation of a special guest: Betina Habuda. Betina is a 28 year old amateur runner. She’s been swimming for fifteen years and recently started her running adventure. She was born in Toulouse, France and currently lives in Paris where she works as a recruiter for the company Air Liquide Group. While traveling around the world for study and work, October will be her first trip to Italy.

When and why did you start running?
I started in 2014 for a trivial reason: I wanted to lose five kilos. Once I got back to my ideal weight, it became a necessity for me. When I run I feel happier, less stressed and with more energy.

Do you come from a family that practices sports?
I’m the "baby" in the family. My brother and sister are bother ten years older than me. My sister is married to a professional swimmer while my brother is a national table tennis coach. No one runs but sport has always been a leitmotif at home.
 
What’s your training schedule look like?
I do something six days a week. I usually dedicate three days to running, two to swimming and a day for a yoga or weight session.

Venicemarathon will become your second marathon because, a few days ago, you ran in Paris. What was your result?
I am very happy to have run the Paris marathon, finishing in 4:11:00. I ran the Paris - Versailles (20km) in 1:46:00 so I was sure to finish it in 4:30:00. I was a bit afraid of what could happen after the 30th kilometre but everything went fine. After the marathon I’ll take a long vacation in Vietnam and then will be ready to start preparing for Venicemarathon. I can’t wait!
Planning is everything
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"What plans do you have for next season?" this was the question a friend of mine asked me. We did not talk about vacation, but of sport. I began to describe a race, a yoga stage and an important triathlon that I had planned for a long time. She said that she could give a little thought and come with me, until I made it clear that the race was not in three months but in sixteen months. She laughed at this and insisted on the fact that she could surely join me in participating in 2019. For me, maybe a year of preparation could not be enough, thinking about the goal I have in mind. Training is not a problem for me, it is really the very least of the problems. I know for sure that everyday habits make the difference in sporting success of any level.

There are seven months left for the Huawei Venicemarathon and I agree with you that it is too early to think about a specific marathon training session right now. Instead, this is the right time for you to start building your healthy habits, the ones that will support your workouts. Take one tip or all of them, but start now.

- The habit of training at the moment you can continue to run three times a week to keep fit. The goal here is to learn to carve the time out for  you and get your family and friends used to see you running regularly. When you spend four weekly training sessions next summer, no one will notice it, not even you!

- Nutrition to change? This is the right time to find a nutritionist and not in four months when you are preparing for the Venicemarathon. The movement of the race can help you to get in shape, but it must be accompanied by a good nutrition program. If you start right now with healthy eating habits you can concentrate better on your workouts.

- Sleep The more I talk about it the more I am convinced that sleep is the basis of a healthy athlete. During the summer, sleep becomes more difficult to manage. Temperatures rise; there are long weekends and vacations that interrupt our usual rhythms. However, you have to remember that many hours of racing also require many hours of rest. Start organizing yourself right now, because this is certainly the hardest habit to arrange of the three aforementioned habits!

Julia Jones, personal trainer and coach pacer