Whether an annual participator of the Great North Run or a first-timer, Dominic Bowser, senior personal trainer at Sound Mind and Body in Benton address those all-important FAQs.
Here’s what runners need to know…
THE BUILD UP
Think quality over quantity, cramming in lots of miles seven days a week can increase your risk of injury. To see the benefits and improve stamina, try running three to four times a week – not forgetting to include a one mile warm up and cool down for each.
Don’t save your new trainers or sports leggings for the big day, run in clothes that you’re used to as you know they are comfortable and are less likely to cause any problems.
TRAINING IN HOT TEMPERATURES
The warmer temperatures this time of year can make conditions increasingly difficult to run in. It’s best to avoid running at midday as this tends to be the hottest time of the day, so stick to mornings, evenings or shaded areas.
Drink 500ml of water four hours prior to exercise and 250ml of water 15 minutes before. As your body loses more fluid in the heat, drink 500ml of water per hour of exercise to keep hydrated.
If you’re running outdoors, apply water resistant sunscreen to avoid damaging your skin on a sunny day.
THE WEEK BEFORE
Short distances are key for the week leading up to the run as you don’t want to push your body to its limit. If you have followed a training plan, your mind and body will be prepared and the run will be much more fun on the day.
THE NIGHT BEFORE
Keep in mind what you have been eating throughout your training. Carbohydrates are a great source of energy so try to have a bowl of pasta, rice or potatoes before the big race and don’t change any habits.
The ultimate playlist can act as a much needed pick-me-up throughout the run and motivate you to cross the finish line. Avoid adding any long remixes to your playlist as the more often the song changes, the more your brain re-engages with the music and you stay in the moment. Opt for high energy tracks with a positive message and motivating lyrics.
The hard work may be over once the finish line has been crossed, but the body will still be working hard to recover after the 13.1 gruelling miles
Replace all of the energy your body has lost by eating as soon as possible after the run. It’s important to replenish the fluids lost after exercising too. If you sweat a lot, try drinking an electrolyte drink to replace some of the lost electrolytes due to sweating.
THE SAME NIGHT
Try to get a good night’s sleep after the run so your body can concentrate on metabolising the food you’ve eaten into the raw material needed to repair the microscopic tears in the muscles. This will help to avoid stiffness and depleted energy stores.
THE DAY AFTER
It’s often the last thing any runner wants to do the day after the Great North Run but try to do 30 minutes of steady exercise to promote movement and blood flow, aiding with recovery. Walking or cycling is ideal. After exercising, make sure to stretch and use a roller to massage any aches and pains.
For more information about Sound Mind and Body, visit: soundmindandbody.co.uk or call (0191) 280 9274.