FEELING GREAT: Doing Race for Life? Then be prepared

Race for Life 2012.

Race for Life 2012.

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This weekend Hartlepool showcases one of those rare sporting events where it really is the taking part that counts.

The Race for Life is happening Sunday and is now proving to be the ultimate in fun runs.

But if you are going to do be doing it, why not go equipped with a few tips and give it your best shot – for whoever it is that your doing it for?

The start lines of these types of events are often very emotional.

Given the heartbreaking cause, there’s an often-endless amount of emotion, some happy, some tearful. And because of this it’s easy to forget a few basic facts.

So here are my top three tips to help you achieve your goal of crossing the line on Seaton Front this weekend:

1. Keep hydrated by drinking water little and often in the 48 hours before the start. Avoid fizzy energy drinks on the morning, they will not make you run any faster.

2. Never stretch muscles that are cold. It’s the biggest mistake of fun runs. Make sure you’ve run on the spot for seven to eight minutes before you attempt to stretch any muscles.

3. Choose the right footwear. Your plimsoles may look great, but they aren’t great for running in. Choose a nice soft cushioned pair of running shoes to avoid unnecessary pain in places like Achilles and shin splints.

And for after the race, ice is always the best way to avoid those unwanted next day aches and pains. You could try sitting in an ice bath for 10 mins like the great marathon runner Paula Radcliffe would do, or get a nice deep massage on your calf and hamstring muscles which will likely be sore the next day.

If this is your first run or this sort, don’t be surprised if you struggle to walk down the stairs the next morning – it’s an inevitable consequence of taking part.

The really great thing about these types of events is that it can often introduce a person to a lifetime of keeping fit. If it’s the first time you are running, pay attention to how great you will feel at the end of your run. It’s caused by chemicals called endorphins and these things are what will make you feel fab! They can also help you think positively and much more clearly. It’s the reason some of the best thoughts you’ll ever have are likely to be while you are walking or jogging.

Mail readers can enter my physio company’s weekly massage giveaway. You just need to visit www.paulgoughphysio.com/massage-giveaway to enter and win.