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The Importance of Stretching

Hi everybody, whether you plan to walk or run the Boru3peaks we all need to stretch. Exercise can shorten a person’s muscles, decreasing mobility over time. Stretching keeps the muscles in the body flexible.  Benefits of good flexibility include good joint mobility & less chance of injury.  It can also help with posture and reduce the risk of low back problems.


Muscles respond better when they’ve been warmed up. Warming up can be as simple as walking for five to ten minutes, just enough to get the blood flowing through the body.  Pre exercise stretches should be held for 8-12 seconds while post exercise stretches should be held for 15-30 seconds.  Stretches are held to the point of tension, if the stretch hurts ease off, equally if you start to shake you’ve gone too far and you’ve lost the stretch so ease off.   Resistant bands or a scarf may aid you with some stretches.


Here are just a few key leg stretches you can incorporate into your workouts.


Quadriceps or quads as they are better know are the muscles to the front an sides of your thighs.

To stretch them, stand upright and pull your leg behind you with the corresponding hand and hold your shoe by the shoelaces. Try to keep your knee pointing downward as you do this stretch to protect your knee joint. You can use a chair to balance yourself.  Repeat with other leg.  Stretching your quads is especially important after a hilly run.


Hamstrings are the muscles to the rear of your upper leg. Lying on your back for this stretch, keep your head and hips on the floor, bend both knees and  extend one leg  up keeping it straight, place your hand above or below the knee joint and gently pull the leg towards you.  You may use a band or scarf to help you.  Repeat with other leg.


Calf muscles are  on the back of your lower legs, To stretch your calf muscles, stand close to a wall with your right foot behind your left. Start to bend your left leg forward while keeping your right leg straight behind you.. Be sure not to bend the right knee and to keep your right foot firmly on the ground pointing straight ahead. Straighten your back and keep you head up, looking straight ahead. Repeat with other leg.

Until next time, happy training


Fiona Ward is a Fitness Instructor with TFX Fitness

Benefits of exercising outdoors.

As you prepare to take part in Boru3peaks 2016 I hope my fitness blog will help you get the most out of the experience.   Let me introduce myself, my name is Fiona Ward and back in 2012 I was one of the founding committee of the inaugural Boru3peaks, in preparing for the event we covered all three peaks (on numerous occasions & over various routes!)  Since then the event has gone from strength to strength and I’m delighted to still be part of it.


Whether you plan to walk, run or crawl, take on 1, 2 or all 3 peaks the benefits of taking part in exercise activities are well known however exercising outdoors, or green exercise, can be even better for your health.  Not only are you getting your exercise but you are also benefiting from fresh air, sunshine (fingers crossed!) and the overall feeling of well being.


Compare the treadmill to the hills of Counties Clare & Tipperary, the more challenging the terrain, the harder the body has to work. Walking, hiking or running on a constantly changing terrain teaches the body to adapt to the changes in the environment.  Learning to adapt to changes in the surface you are running or walking on can enhance the strength of your connective tissue, which may help you avoid certain injuries.


Fresh air and increased oxygen helps release the feel good brain chemical, serotonin, meaning your outdoor exercise not only helps keep you fit and improves your physical well being, but helps your mood and self esteem too. Whichever peak you are taking on you can be guaranteed stunning views, studies show that visually pleasing landscapes or ‘greenscapes’ also help raise serotonin levels.

So just a few of the benefits you’ll gain when you sign up for Boru3peaks.

If you want to get the most out of your Boru3peaks experience check back in for further fitness tips over the coming weeks,

Until next time, onward & Upward



Fiona Ward is a Fitness Instructor with TFX Fitness

Nearly There

It’s been a little while since my last blog as I’ve been busy with behind the scenes Boru3Peaks stuff, and let’s face it sometimes life just gets in the way.

Our group training has fallen to the wayside slightly because we have all been pre-occupied with family commitments & work, often being unable to meet up at the same time.

To make up for this we have been getting our fitness on separately.

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First Mountain Run

I woke up this morning feeling tired.

That’s no surprise as I had my 1st night mountain run last night. Whoop Whoop..

Long story short, Paul and I have decided to take on more responsibility with the planning and running of the Boru3Peaks event.

We set off for Tountina (practically my back garden growing up) to rendezvous with Orla Foley and Malachy Sheeran to run the mountain in darkness so as to map out hazardous zones and pinpoint exactly where to place marshals on the night of the event.

I had not climbed Tountina from the Graves Of The Leinsterman side in many years and was surprised to find a new pathway had been etched up through the masses of heather and gorse giving a nice route straight up to the Station at the top.

I must say it’s a fantastic experience ascending as the night is closing in.

We rose high above Lough Derg with those fantastic views out over East Clare to be met at the summit with rapidly fading light and blankets of fog all around.

We then ran over the top & down the other side to meet the track which would eventually lead us onto the road again.

The head lamps we wore are fantastic, they gave us great visibility in the dark and almost made me feel like I was in my very own video-game, trying to avoid holes, swamp and loose rubble on the track Mario style.

Head lamps are also available when you register for the event at Killaloe/Ballina Community & Family Resource Centre. (Shameless plug, yay!)

It was quite a productive evening and I feel everyone including myself is clearer and feeling more relaxed about what their roles entail etc.

I am going to try get down to Clarisford Park Run this Saturday to join the others for a jaunt around.

I will have more progress and updates from everyone else next week.

Thanks for reading,


Reaching our Peaks

On the fourth year of The Boru3Peaks event all proceeds from the event are going to the Killaloe/Ballina Community & Family Resource Centre.
The centre is an essential facility for the community offering all kinds of necessary services, training and support.
It just so happens that a couple of employees at the centre (including myself) have decided to improve our fitness levels and conquer the peaks.

With the guidance of Malachy Sheeran a seasoned athlete and Boru3Peaks competitor, Joan, Paul, Kerry, Pauline and I have been meeting and training twice a week, while also attending the 5km Clarisford Park run every Saturday morning as it is a good weekly target for all of us all to aim for.

For the purpose of this 1st blog I'm just going to talk about Kerry, Joan and I.

All 3 of us want to achieve a decent level of fitness, while also toning up and improving overall well-being. And although we are all at different levels of fitness we enjoy the support and fun of getting together as a group to challenge and motivate each other.

I went into this training feeling quite unfit as I had let myself go with too many nights in on the couch feasting on biscuits. (Nom Nom)
To my surprise my levels of fitness returned quite quickly and my stamina is improving with every run.
Cigarettes used to play a major part in my life, rendering it near impossible to swim and run, both of which I love to do.
As Kerry is also an ex smoker he is struggling a little bit with stamina which he is now seeing some improvement with which is fantastic.
Kerry has just been given the all clear by his doctor to train with us as he had some health issues in the past. He stated that he is feeling a big improvement physically and mentally and attributes that to being out and about in the fresh air more often.

We all agree that we have learned invaluable warmup and stretching techniques from Malachy and have had no major aches/pains post running.
Joan has been experiencing some foot pain so she is looking into alternative and suitable footwear, especially as she said she wants to keep up training indefinitely and her long term goal is to climb Croak Patrick.
Joan's main issue which she admits herself, is her breathlessness whilst running but hopefully with a bit of perseverance it will get easier.

Mentally we are all feeling motivated and exited about the future of our fitness.

That's all for now folks,