Bethany Clague

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To train for a marathon it is important to accumulate mileage.  I average 30-40 miles a week running and powerwalking.  My running / walking is done over 3-4 days with recovery days interspersed.  I love training outside and vary where and how far I run.  My favourite runs are the 16+ miles done at a slow steady pace along the Heritage Trail between Ramsey, Peel and Douglas.  I often get a bus out and run home, carrying adequate water, energy drinks and food as well as a light fleece, full waterproofs, fluorescent clothing, spare socks and my headtorch.  Shorter runs are done on other days, often on roads, with the emphasis on speed rather than endurance.  I also vary my tempo of running to make it more interesting.  I may sprint to a wall and then jog to a lamppost.  I also like to add hills, of which the IOM has plenty, to improve my cardio fitness and strength.  I love running and the IOM is safe and beautiful.  The only nightmares are dog owners who have little or no control over their dogs, and the occasional ‘bull in field’.  I have run on most roads on the island and crossed many muddy fields and boggy hills.  I can use a compass and read a map well. I always take my mobile phone.  I rarely listen to music because of traffic, and also I like to hear the Manx wildlife sounds.


As we get older, we all lose muscle mass.  Muscles are the powerhouses of our bodies, burning more calories than fat.  Therefore to stay slim, fit and healthy we need as much muscle as possible.  Resistance training is essential to lose weight.  It doesn’t mean turning into ‘Popeye’, but then we can avoid looking like a skinny ‘Olive O’le’ too.  Women do not get ‘big’ muscles, but can achieve toned, firm and shapely muscles.  I use the Powerplate machine at ‘Bodyshack Fitness Centre’, where I work as a gym instructor, to strengthen my leg muscles twice a week.  Also twice a week I use machines and free weights to develop my arm muscles.  It is hard work and I push myself, but the results have been amazing and continue to be.  Last year I lost 1.5 stones, put on muscle to reduce my bodyfat %, and my racing times improved drastically.  I won the running shield merit award for my half-marathon performance on my birthday in November.  I now do abdominal and core stability exercises as well, using a gymball, to strengthen my back and stomach.


My diet is protein and slow-release carbs with some fat.  I use olive oil and have occasional treats like fried eggs.  I avoid biscuits, cakes and pastry, but flapjacks, (and crisps for their salt), are useful whilst training


I have a sports massage every week.  Dawne Watson is qualified in a range of therapies from hot stones, Indian Head Massage and full body massage.  She is also a personal trainer and gym instructor.  She has her own salon called ‘Revive’ in ‘Market Place, Peel’.  Contact her on tel. (07624) 303930 to book an appointment or ask for advice.





Healthy eating is vital for athletes.  Your body is like an engine.  It needs fuel to run and good fuel at that.  I eat small portions of food.  I avoid saturated fat, trans fats and sugar.  Junk food is out.  My treat is a few oven chips and odd fried egg or omelette.  I eat baked beans or eggs or oats and yoghurt for breakfast.  Lunch is pasta with tuna or chicken.  Tea consists of sandwiches at the gym with chicken, cheese or egg.  I buy hot roasted chicken, remove the skin and bones, and carve it and let it cool.  This chicken is 100% good quality protein.  I eat wholemeal bread and use butter rather than margarine.  The eggs are Manx and free range. 


During a run of over an hour, I have in addition to water, energy drinks.  I like ‘Isotabs’.  These are tablets you add to water to make an isotonic electrolyte drink.  I also carry with me fig rolls, twix fingers, brunch bars and good-old jelly babies (pure sugar!) 


For ultraruns you need hot meals.  I buy dehydrated food packets from  With these you add boiling water, stir, leave to stand and then eat.  The pasta dinners and breakfast muesli are revolting.  However the meat ones like Shepherds Pie and Beef Stroganoff are tasty.  They are full of calories and light to carry.  They are, however, expensive at £3-4 a packet!


Water is vital.  Dehydration slows your performance.  Most people do not drink enough water.  I drink caffeine sparingly, often before a race only, because it can give you ‘an edge’.  Decaffeinated tea bags are excellent.  I drink a lot of water and monitor the colour of my urine – should be very pale yellow to colourless, if I am fully hydrated.  Most people do not drink enough water each day.  It helps flush out toxins and keeps the kidneys functioning well.  If you feel thirsty whilst running, it is too late as you are dehydrated.


However, drinking too much water when you are running marathons distances and above is dangerous.  It is important to replace salt lost through sweat, especially on a hot day, otherwise hyponatraemia (low salt levels) can kill you.  I drink isotonic electrolyte drinks conatining salt, potassium, calcium and magnesium.  During multi-day ultraruns I have at least two dioralyte sachets in water each day in addition to the ‘Isotab’ electrolyte drinks.  Dioralyte can be bought at any chemist.  They are used in the treatment of sickness and diarrhoea.  They are revolting to drink, but they replace essential lost electrolytes.  Without enough salt you will succumb to excruciating and paralysing cramp in legs, arms and hands.  That is not what you need at midnight in a tent in a field when you have 100 more miles to run!




This site was last updated 03-Apr-2008

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