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Is walking during a run cheating?

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I’m pretty sure the thought of walking during a run has crossed your mind on more than one occasion. But how do you react when this happens? Do you stop and walk or do you do everything you can to avoid walking?

Runners are stubborn creatures and although one part of us may want to stop, pride can often get in our way. Runners can feel frustration, embarrassment or even shame in walking. Yet running is a hobby for most of us. Why are we so hard on ourselves? Is walking really a failure?

A beginners mind
Think back to when you started running. Most of us embarked on training plans that alternated running with walking. Slowly and gradually we built our endurance by walking for a few minutes then running a few more. As beginners we embraced those walking breaks. They replenished our energy, strength and enthusiasm for the next running section and allowed us to stay focused on the task at hand.

Then one day we reached our final destination – that wonderful 5km run with no walk breaks. We felt amazing. No walk breaks equaled success. I wonder if that definition of success has made so many of us reluctant to embrace walking in the middle of a run now, many years on from our formative days. I know as I moved from 5km to longer distance I assumed I had to avoid walking.

But is walking really cheating?
For many years when marathon running, my goal was always to run the entire distance without stopping. I’m pretty sure I was one of those runners who kept jogging on the spot waiting for traffic lights to change afraid to stop for a moment. It was only when I moved to ultramarathon distance that I realised that not only was it okay to walk but it was encouraged. There was no benefit to wasting energy unnecessarily, especially when going uphill.

If runners who were competing at much faster speeds than me were walking, why was I letting my ego hold me back? Surely being energy efficient would be better in the long run. So walking the steep uphills then became a sensible choice for me and to this day, even in much shorter runs, I will walk when I feel like I need to loosen out, catch my breath or refocus. There is no point building up extra tension that will slow me down later.

The run-walk-run method
While my approach to walk breaks can sometimes be quite sporadic, there is a huge movement towards structured run-walk-run training. Coach Jeff Galloway kicked off this approach in the 1970s and over the years it has grown with great success for long-distance competitive athletes as well as recreational runners. His training plans encourage runners to take walk breaks right from the start of their run, even when they are feeling fresh.

These early breaks in a run hit the ego more than anything. Walking in the first mile of a marathon when you are full of adrenaline and positivity can be hard to do. But it does work, if you have the discipline to follow the plan. Thousands of runners of all levels have credited this approach to helping them run faster, avoid injury and speed up recovery.

Make walking work for you
If we see walking as a failure, it is only natural that our body displays this negativity. It is easy to spot a runner who is not happy to be walking. Their plodding steps can often be accompanied by a deflated posture, heavy stride and downward gaze. But this demeanour can wear us out more. If you are going to walk on a run, do it with pride, walk tall, keep your cadence quick and your arms bent like you are running. This way you will recover quick, loosen out, catch your breath and be ready to go again.

A smile wouldn’t go amiss either. In these situations where I feel I need a walk but also a little discipline, I allow myself 100 walking steps and then start running again. If I need to walk again in a few minutes, that’s okay, I always run again after 100 steps. Walking on a run is nothing to be embarrassed about, especially when you learn how it can actually help you run stronger and faster overall.

Challenge your beliefs
If walking during a run has never entered your mind in recent years, can I encourage you to give it a guilt-free go this week. You can check out the full Galloway approach or try a little experiment. Include a one-minute walk every five to 10 minutes on your long run (whatever distance that might be). Yes, the ego will kick in and you might feel silly stopping to walk so soon after starting. But you will have more energy, focus and strength for the next section and may end up running faster overall.

Every training session has a challenge and the hardest part of this one is disciplining yourself to stop when you know you can go on. But don’t dismiss it until you give it a go. It might not be for you right now, but it could be a secret weapon for your running future, in training, at races or even during recovery from injury or running setbacks. If nothing else, it is something new to experiment with while we await the return to races and park runs.

You have nothing to lose. 

Sign up for one of The Irish Times’ Get Running programmes (it is free!). 
First, pick the eight-week programme that suits you.
Beginner Course: A course to take you from inactivity to running for 30 minutes.
– Stay On Track: For those who can squeeze in a run a few times a week.
– 10km Course: Designed for those who want to move up to the 10km mark.
Best of luck!

Mary Jennings is founder and running coach with forgetthegym.ie. Mary’s book Get Running, published by Gill Books, is out now

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Anmeldebescheinigung: How to get Austria’s crucial residence document for EU citizens

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The EU’s freedom of movement enables citizens to move to another country in the bloc relatively easily, but there are still some conditions you need to meet.

As a citizen of an EU country, Iceland, Norway or Switzerland, you have the right to live in Austria for more than three months as long as you meet one of the following criteria:

  • Being employed or self-employed in Austria
  • Studying at a recognised Austrian institution
  • Having sufficient financial means to support yourself

As well as fulfilling one of these conditions, you also need valid health insurance for Austria.

If you are working legally in Austria, you will have this automatically, either through the Österreichische Gesundheitskasse (ÖGK) if you are employed by a company or through the Sozialversicherungsanstalt der Selbständigen (SVS) if you are self-employed.

As a student or self-supporting person, you will instead need to find your own comprehensive health insurance policy; your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) might be sufficient for students who aren’t in Austria long-term, but this doesn’t cover all medical visits so it is generally worth getting a separate health insurance policy.

When you arrive in Austria, you need to register your residence within three days, and at this point you will receive a Meldebestätigung (proof of residence). However, the process of getting your registration certificate (Anmeldebescheinugung) does not happen automatically after the initial registration.

You need to submit your application for the Anmeldebescheinigung within four months of your arrival in Austria, and you do this in person at your local MA35 office, the government department responsible for immigration and citizenship matters.

You need to make an appointment to attend the office in person.

If you live in Austria for five continuous years as an EU/EEA citizen, you automatically receive the right of permanent residence. You do not need to apply for any specific document to prove this or to continue living in Austria, but if you want to, you can apply for a certificate of permanent residence.

The documents you’ll need are the following (it’s a good idea to bring both the original and a copy):

  • Valid ID or passport
  • A completed Anmeldebescheingung form: Most of the details here are simple to fill out. You’ll need your personal information (name, date of birth, parents’ names, marital status), your current residential address, and to note which of the criteria for residence you meet and which company you have health insurance with. You can fill out the form before your visit, but you usually sign it when you have your in-person appointment, not before.
  • Proof of employment or self-employment if you’re working: This would be a work contract for employees, while self-employed workers can show their tax number, trade licence if applicable, contracts with clients, and/or other proof of your business.
  • Proof of studies if you’re studying: This could be a certificate of enrolment, and you may also need to show proof that your place of study is accredited. Your university’s student office should be able to help you get the documents you need.
  • Proof of sufficient funds and health insurance if you are either studying or self-supporting: This includes your insurance certificate, and proof of your bank balance or pension statements for example. Students who are being supported by their parents should be able to show confirmation from their parents of a monthly allowance.
  • Your proof of residence in Austria (Meldebestätigung)

Your documents will need to be in either German or English, so documents in other languages need to be translated by an authorized translator.

Getting the certificate costs €15, and there may be additional fees depending on which foreign documents you provide. Not getting it is potentially more expensive though (not to mention illegal) as you could face a fine of up to €250.



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Brendan Kennelly, one the country’s most popular poets, dies aged 85

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Brendan Kennelly, one the country’s most popular poets and a former professor of English at Trinity College Dublin, has died. He was 85.

Family members confirmed his death on Sunday evening at Áras Mhuire nursing home, Listowel, in his native Co Kerry.

Mr Kennelly was born in Ballylongford, Co Kerry, in 1936, the son of Tim Kennelly, publican and garage proprietor, and his wife Bridie Ahern, a nurse.

He graduated from Trinity College, wrote his PhD thesis there, and went on to become professor of modern literature at the university.

Mr Kennelly had more than 30 poetry collections published, which captured the many shades and moods of his home county as well as his adopted Dublin home.

He was also a popular broadcaster and made many appearances on radio and television programmes, such as The Late Late Show.

[His poetry is] infused with the details and texture of life, its contradictions and moments of celebration including the wry experiences of football and politics

President Michael D Higgins, a friend of Mr Kennelly’s, said his poetry held “a special place in the affections of the Irish people”.

“As one of those who had the great fortune of enjoying the gift of friendship with Brendan Kennelly for many years, it is with great sadness that I have heard of his passing,” he said.

“As a poet, Brendan Kennelly had forged a special place in the affections of the Irish people. He brought so much resonance, insight, and the revelation of the joy of intimacy to the performance of his poems and to gatherings in so many parts of Ireland. He did so with a special charm, wit, energy and passion.”

He added that Mr Kennelly’s poetry is “infused with the details and texture of life, its contradictions and moments of celebration including the wry experiences of football and politics”.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the country has lost a “great teacher, poet, raconteur; a man of great intelligence and wit”.

He added: “The Irish people loved hearing his voice and reading his poetry.”

He spoke the language of the people. We loved his writing. His eloquence was masterful

Trinity College Dublin’s provost, Prof Linda Doyle, said Mr Kennelly was known to generations of Trinity students as a great teacher and as a warm and encouraging presence on campus.

“His talent for, and love of, poetry came through in every conversation as did his good humour. We have all missed him on campus in recent years as illness often kept him in his beloved Kerry. He is a loss to his much loved family, Trinity and the country,” she said.

Tony Guerin, a close friend of Kennelly’s, and a playwright, said he will be remembered in Kerry and elsewhere as “the people’s poet”.

“My relation with Brendan was one of friendship. There are more scholarly people who will assess his contribution and discuss those matters. But he spoke the language of the people. We loved his writing. His eloquence was masterful, whether it was the written word or being interviewed by Gay Byrne,” he said.

Mr Kennelly is survived by his brothers, Alan, Paddy and Kevin, by his sisters, Mary Kenny and Nancy McAuliffe, and his three grandchildren.

His daughter Doodle Kennelly died earlier this year.

Arrangements for a family funeral are expected to be announced shortly.

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New skeleton find could reveal more about Vesuvius eruption

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The remains of a man presumed to be aged 40-45 were found under metres of volcanic rock roughly where Herculaneum’s shoreline used to be, before Vesuvius’ explosion in 79 AD pushed it back by 500 metres (1,640 feet).   

He was lying down, facing inland, and probably saw death in the face as he was overwhelmed by the molten lava that buried his city, the head of the Herculaneum archaeological park, Francesco Sirano, told the ANSA news agency.

“He could have been a rescuer”, Sirano suggested.

As Vesuvius erupted, a naval fleet came to the rescue, led by the ancient Roman scholar and commander Pliny the Elder. He died on the shore, but it is believed that his officers managed to evacuate hundreds of survivors.

The skeleton might have otherwise belonged to “one of the fugitives” who was trying to get on one of the lifeboats, “perhaps the unlucky last one of a group that had managed to sail off,” Sirano suggested.

It was found covered by charred wood remains, including a beam from a building that may have smashed his skull, while his bones appear bright red, possibly blood markings left as the victim was engulfed in the volcanic discharge.

Archaeologists also found traces of tissue and metal objects — likely the remains of personal belongings he was fleeing with: maybe a bag, work tools, or even weapons or coins, the head of the archaeological park said.

Other human remains have been found in and around Herculaneum in the past decades — including a skull held in a Rome museum that some attribute to Pliny — but the latest discovery can be investigated with more modern techniques.

READ ALSO: Study finds 2,000-year-old brain cells of man killed in Vesuvius eruption

“Today we have the possibility of understanding more”, Sirano said.

Researchers believe that in Herculaneum temperatures rose up to 500 degrees — enough to vaporise soft tissues. In a phenomenon that is poorly understood, a rapid drop in temperature ensued, helping preserve what remained.

Although much smaller than Pompeii, its better-known neighbour outside the southern city of Naples, Herculaneum was a wealthier town with more exquisite architecture, much of which is still to be uncovered.

READ ALSO: Where are Italy’s active volcanoes?



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