WITH little over a week to go until this year’s Great North Run, the region is gearing up to celebrate the 30th birthday of the much-loved event.
Around 54,000 people – from elite runners to ambitious amateurs – are expected pound the famous 13.1-mile route next Sunday.
And as runners eagerly count down the days before they take on the Newcastle to South Shields course, experts are warning competitors to properly prepare during the coming week.
Simon Fairthorne, physiotherapist at Bupa's Centre of Sports Medicine Excellence, in London, said: “Start to taper your training over the final week with your last long run seven days before the race.
“During the coming week attempt no more than two light running or cross-training sessions at 60-70 % effort.”
Simon, who has worked with elite athletes across a range of sports, also recommends runners make sure they eat the right things in the immediate build-up to the race.
“If you have never tried carbohydrate loading before, don't try it the day before your first race,” he said. “Instead have a normal-sized home cooked meal. Just before bed, think about running well and visualise yourself crossing the finish line.
“On race day, don’t eat anything an hour before the race or during the first 30 minutes of the run as this can upset your blood sugars.”
Simon is also urging competitors to remember the golden rules of running on the big day.
“The benefits of stretching can last for up to 24 hours so don’t worry about when you stretch, just make sure you do. Run like a Rolls Royce not a Ferrari. This means build up your speed slowly, slow down for corners and come to a stop slowly.”
After the race, experts recommend giving your body the correct care it needs to properly recover from the 13.1-mile slog. “Icing ankle and knee tendons for 10 minutes after running can help to reduce the chance of inflammation and is not as uncomfortable as an ice bath,” advised Simon. “And your body needs a minimum of seven hours sleep to help heal injuries.”
This year’s run will see TV favourites Ant and Dec return to the region to set 54,000 runners on their way from Newcastle to South Shields.
The duo will follow in the footsteps of previous race supporters, including Sir Bobby Robson, Jonathan Edwards, cricketers Stephen Harmison and Paul Collingwood, and last year’s starter Sting.
Determined athlete out to prove stroke is no barrier to success
A STROKE survivor has taken a break from training for his 21st Great North Run – by going on a gruelling six-day walk.
Martin Robson, 46, of Kingston Park, ran Tyneside’s famous road race 18 times before he had a stroke at home in July 2007.
Since then he has found exercise more difficult but is determined to get round the course one final time.
He said: “This year will be my last. I’m hoping my 17-year-old son Andrew will take over the mantle. It will be great to share the experience but I’m not expecting to keep up with him.”
But before his final Great North Run, the Durham University lecturer has been walking the 132 miles from Allenheads to Berwick to raise money for The Stroke Association.
Setting off last Saturday, Martin and friend Lyndon Rutherford have walked between 15 and 22 miles each day, stopping off in Bardon Mill, Bellingham, Thropton, Wooler and Crookham.
The economics tutor had his stroke at home while marking exam papers. He did not realise what was happening but his wife Catherine phoned an ambulance straight away.
He spent five weeks in hospital and had four months off work. Although he has made a good recovery, the stroke has left him with some right-sided weaknesses.
He said: “The reality of a stroke only hit me when I came home from the hospital. I hope to be able to persuade others who have survived this condition that a stroke is no barrier to success in whatever you aim to do.”
After finishing the walk, Martin returned to work yesterday before aiming to do some last-minute running training.
He said: “After the Run I will definitely be ready to put my feet up.”
To sponsor Martin for either challenge, visit: www.justgiving.com/Martin-Robson0.