Meet Victoria Brown, one of our fantastic Personal Trainers here in the Club and the focus of our PT Q&A this month. Did you know she has also run 27 marathons? We caught up with her before she sets off to California to run the Big Sur marathon this month, to pick her brain and get her very best marathon tips for all you budding runners out there.
Can you tell us a bit about your journey to becoming the Fitness Professional you are today?
I studied History at University and did many odd jobs but when I moved to London I started working in Commercial property. In this year I started running and joined a local running club and ran my first half marathon. After a few years of running friends and family started asking for running advice and I decided to qualify as a Personal Trainer so that I could give people the right advice for exercise and fitness.
I qualified here at the Central YMCA in 2007 and started working as a volunteer on the gym floor. I then moved to teaching circuit training, personal training and then started working for the exercise referral.
What do you teach at the YMCA Club, what would you say your expertise are?
In the Club I teach circuit training, cycle, TRX, Vipr and core and use these with PT clients. Having run 27 marathons, I love to personal train people who have running goals, everything from helping people to run their first 5K or helping them to get a PB in a marathon. The idea behind this training is to also give a full body approach, using strength, core and flexibility work as well as nutrition advice.
In my job at the YMCA I specialise in all types of exercise referral and I am currently involved with working on a new programme, which is Cancer Exercise Rehab for young people, which is an exciting opportunity.
What do you love about your job and the fitness the industry?
I am very lucky in my job that I get to work with a wide variety of people and the best thing is seeing changes in people and to see their confidence grow. I love that exercise and activity really can change people’s lives for the better and I get to be part of process.
What is the best piece of fitness advice you have been given?
The best piece of advice I was ever given was to always think ‘why am I doing a particular exercise’? If you don’t know what area of the body you are working or trying to improve with an exercise it could mean that you could be doing it wrong, you may be wasting your time or you could just be over complicating things – exercise should always be safe and effective.
Top Marathon Tips
I am heading to California in April to run the Big Sur Marathon, which I hope to be an amazing though hilly experience. I have learnt much from running marathons and if you are planning to run a marathon this spring or anytime in the future here are my top tips to help you:
1) Have a running time goal in mind – whether you are planning to run in under 3 hours or just get around it is sensible to have a time in mind so that you can pace yourself. Many people struggle with the marathon because they go off to fast and knowing the time per mile or km in is essential.
2) Three weeks before the marathon start your taper – this means less running, sleeping well and eating well. The last week before the race fight the urge to run or do too much, you will not gain anything by training this week, save your legs for marathon day.
3) If you are ill or injured do not run – If you get ill or pick up an injury in the week before the marathon the best advice is to defer your entry to next year. Running 26.2 miles is hard enough when you are feeling well and is dangerous when you are ill.
4) Have a plan B – however well your training has gone sometimes on the day things do not go to plan. Have a way of getting around the course even if it is not in the time you originally wanted.
5) Prepare the day before – On the morning of the marathon you will be nervous enough so make sure that you pack your bag, get your kit out, put your number on your shirt and know how you are getting to the start the night before and of course set two alarms!
6) Do not try anything new – use your last long run to practice your food you eat the night before, your breakfast on race day and your nutrition in the race. If you have never tried a gel do not be tempted to try one on marathon day, you never know the reaction you may have. Similarly no new clothes or shoes on race day – blisters and chaffing are not fun.
7) Enjoy it – you have been training for at least 16 weeks, try and enjoy the event, the marathon is not meant to be easy but try to be happy with your achievement and definitely have a big smile ready for the finish line.
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