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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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Census 2022 – what difference does it make?

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Next Sunday, April 3rd, is Census night. Millions of people in homes countrywide will fill in page after page of questions, some of which are deeply personal and many of which might be unfamiliar.

But what it is it all about?

At a basic level, Census 2022 will be used to inform planning of public policy and services in the years ahead, according to the Central Statistics Office.

The questions will cover a range of environmental, employment and lifestyle issues, including the use of renewable energy sources in homes.

The questions will help inform policy development in the areas of energy and climate action, and the prevalence of internet access, to understand the availability of and need for internet connections and range of devices used to access the internet.

Questions also focus on changes in work patterns and will include the trend of working from home and childcare issues, while questions are also asked about the times individuals usually leave work, education or childcare, to help identify and plan for transport pattern needs locally and nationally.

Other topics covered include volunteering and the type of organisations volunteers choose to support, tobacco usage and the prevalence of smoke alarms in the home.

And of course there is a time capsule – the chance to write something which will be sealed for the next 100 years.

In this episode of In The News, the head of census administration Eileen Murphy and statistician Kevin Cunningham about what it all means for us.

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Oscars 2022: Will Smith makes Oscar history after slapping Chris Rock over joke about wife Jada Pinkett Smith | Culture

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Will Smith took the Oscar for Best Actor at last night’s 94th Academy Awards, but he also became the protagonist of the ceremony for other reasons. The night was following the script, until Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock on the stage after the latter made a joke about the shaved head of the former’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Rock had quipped that he was “looking forward to GI Jane 2,” in reference to her look. Pinkett Smith has revealed publicly that she has alopecia. It looked as if the moment had been planned, until Smith went back to his seat and shouted: “Get my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.”

The moment, which immediately became Oscar history but for all the wrong reasons, left the attendees with frozen smiles, and asking themselves whether it was possible that a veteran such as Smith could have lost his cool in front of tens of millions of people. After taking the prize for Best Actor, the superstar actor made a tearful apology, saying that he hoped the Academy “will invite me back.” Later on, actor Anthony Hopkins called for “peace and love,” but it was already too late. The incident overshadowed the success of CODA, which took the Oscar for Best Picture. Just like the time when Warren Beatty mistakenly named La La Land as the big winner of the night, no one will speak about anything else from last night’s awards.

At first sight, Smith’s actions looked as if they were scripted. When he first heard Rock’s joke, he laughed. But his wife was seen on camera rolling her eyes, and it was then that the actor got up onto the stage and hit Rock. When he returned to his seat he raised his voice twice to shout “Get my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth,” sending a wave of unease and shock through the attending audience. The fact that he used the f-word, which is prohibited on US television, set alarm bells ringing that this was real and not a planned moment. In fact, the curse word was censored by the broadcaster, ABC, in the United States.

During a break, Smith’s PR manager approached him to speak. In the press room, which the actor skipped after collecting his prize, instructions were given to the journalists not to ask questions about the incident, Luis Pablo Beauregard reports. The next presenter, Sean “Diddy” Combs, tried to calm the situation. “Will and Chris, we’re going to solve this – but right now we’re moving on with love,” the rapper said.

When Smith took to the stage to collect his Best Actor award for his role as Richard Williams – the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena – in King Richard, he referred to the character as “a fierce defender of his family.” He continued: “I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people. I know to do what we do you’ve got to be able to take abuse, and have people talk crazy about you and have people disrespecting you and you’ve got to smile and pretend it’s OK.”

He explained that fellow actor Denzel Washington, who also spoke to Smith during a break, had told him: “At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.”

“I want to be a vessel for love,” Smith continued. “I want to be an ambassador of that kind of love and care and concern. I want to apologize to the Academy and all my fellow nominees. […] I look like the crazy father just like they said about Richard Williams, but love will make you do crazy things,” he said. He then joked about his mother, who had not wanted to come to the ceremony because she had a date with her crochet group.

The Los Angeles Police Department released a statement last night saying that Chris Rock would not be filing any charges for assault against Smith. “LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program,” the statement read. “The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report. If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”

On December 28, Pinkett Smith spoke on social media about her problems with alopecia. She stated that she would be keeping her head shaved and would be dealing with the condition with humor. “Me and this alopecia are going to be friends… Period!” she wrote on Instagram.



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House-price inflation set to stay double digit for much of 2022

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House-price inflation is expected to remain at double-digit levels for much of 2022 as the mismatch between what is for sale and what buyers want continues.

Two new reports on the housing market paint a picture of a sector under strain due to a lack of supply and increased demand driven by Covid-related factors such as remote working.

The two quarterly reports, one each from rival property websites myhome.ie and daft.ie, suggest asking prices accelerated again in the first quarter of 2022 as the stock of homes available for sale slumped to a new record low.

Myhome, which is owned by The Irish Times, said annual asking-price inflation was now running at 12.3 per cent.

Price

This put the median or typical asking price for a home nationally at €295,000, and at €385,000 in Dublin.

MyHome said the number of available properties for sale on its website fell to a record low of 11,200 in March, down from a pre-pandemic level of 19,000. The squeeze on supply, it said, was most acute outside Dublin, with the number of properties listed for sale down almost 50 per cent compared with pre-pandemic levels.

It said impaired supply and robust demand meant double-digit inflation is likely until at least mid-2022.

“Housing market conditions have continued to tighten,” said author of the myhome report, Davy chief economist Conall Mac Coille.

“The broad picture of the market in early 2022 remains similar to last year: impaired supply coupled with robust demand due to Ireland’s strong labour market,” he said.

Soure: MyHome.ie

“One chink of light is that new instructions to sell of 7,500 in the first 11 weeks of 2022 are well up from 4,800 in 2021, albeit still below the 9,250 in 2019. The flow of new properties therefore remains impaired,” said Mr Mac Coille.

“Whatever new supply is emerging is being met by more than ample demand. Hence, transaction volumes in January and February were up 13 per cent on the year but pushed the market into ever tighter territory,” he said.

He said Davy was now predicting property-price inflation to average 7 per cent this year, up from a previous forecast of 4.5 per cent, buoyed strong employment growth.

Homes

Daft, meanwhile, said house asking prices indicated the average listed price nationwide in the first quarter of 2022 was €299,093, up 8.4 per cent on the same period in 2021 and and just 19 per cent below the Celtic Tiger peak, while noting increases remain smaller in urban areas, compared to rural.

Just 10,000 homes were listed for sale on its website as of March 1st, an all-time low. In Dublin, Cork and Galway cities, prices in the first quarter of 2022 were roughly 4 per cent higher on average than a year previously, while in Limerick and Waterford cities the increases were 7.6 per cent and 9.3 per cent respectively.

The report’s author, Trinity College Dublin economist Ronan Lyons, said: “Inflation in housing prices remains stubbornly high – with Covid-19 disturbing an equilibrium of sorts that had emerged, with prices largely stable in 2019 but increasing since.

“As has been the case consistently over the last decade, increasing prices – initially in Dublin and then elsewhere – reflect a combination of strong demand and very weak supply.”


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