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Advice for all the lads'n lasses; In association with the NHS SPINAL COLUMN Connect Physical Health.

WITH the region's Blaydon Race taking place on June 9, this month's Spinal Column, brought to you by Connect Physical Health, looks at how best to prepare for this and similar sporting events.

From its beginnings in 1981, the annual road race has grown to some 4,000 runners who take on the 5.7-mile course between Newcastle and Blaydon. Connect physiotherapist Kate Askew provides some tips to make the run as enjoyable as possible.

BEFORE BASICS:

"First, ensure your running shoes fit well and try not to change them before the day. Wearing the right footwear is vital as common running injuries, such as pains on the front of the knee, calf and Achilles, are often due to an inappropriate type of trainer.

"By now you should be training two or three times per week to acclimatise your body to longer distance running. Increase this distance by no more than one mile every two weeks until you have reached the full distance of 5.7 miles. Ideally you need to have reached this stage a couple of weeks before the race and completed it at least twice.

"Remember to warm up well before every run and to stretch the relevant muscles - hamstrings, calves and quads - slowly, several times. Equally important is to repeat the process as a cool down at the end."

ON THE DAY

"Arrive at the starting point in plenty of time and keep mobile. Warm up the joints and muscles with a light jog and stretching (although avoid vigorous stretching). Also, ensure you have taken on board adequate fluids.

"It is common to suffer aches and pains during races of this distance although if adequate training is done then you are unlikely to feel anything new. If you do experience anything more than a dull ache, during or after the race, particularly sharp pains or swollen joints, then seek medical attention from your GP or physiotherapist as soon as possible."

THE FINISHING LINE

"Having successfully completed the race, enjoy the local food and goody bags handed out to runners and most importantly, rehydrate (although not with the free beer provided).

"Cool down with a light jog or walk and stretch out. Keep warm and try not to be too immobile for the rest of the evening so as to avoid stiffness in the joints and muscles. Over the next few days go for a gentle jog. It will help reduce muscle soreness.

"And finally enjoy the event which for most people should be a 'fun run' rather than a gruelling challenge."

Special Offer for Blaydon race runners Connect, which has three physiotherapy and sports injury clinics in the North East (Newcastle, Gateshead & Durham), is offering all Blaydon Race runners 50% off an initial physiotherapy assessment or pre/post race sports massage on production of a valid Blaydon race entry number. Alternatively Connect will be happy to answer your Blaydon race training queries through its free advice helpline on (0191) 213 5116 or via emailing clinicinfo@connectphc.co.uk. For further info on Connect visit www.connectphc.co.uk
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Article Type:Column
Date:Apr 21, 2008
Words:512
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