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Physiotherapy advice for the 10K run

13 May 2009

Seven tips for runners from the Sports Injury Clinic

  1. No new shoes before the race
    Even if you think you're buying an upgrade, they could still cause you blisters or new aches and pains. It's best to use the new shoes for about one month before committing to a long race. If in doubt, go back to your old shoes.
  2. Don't statically stretch before the race
    I know it's hard to fathom the idea of not performing a static stretch before a run, but try it. Perform a short jog, some dynamic stretches (e.g. leg swinging, hip rotations, arm swings) and mental imagery of a perfect performance before the race. Leave the static stretches to after the run.
  3. Running through the pain
    If you would rate your pain 2-3 out of 10, then you will probably get away with cautiously running through it, but stay at a comfortable pace. If your pain increases to 6-7 out of 10, then your body is trying to tell you something. It would be wise to significantly slow down, or walk.
  4. Eating before and after the race
    Make sure to have your protein 36 hours before and carbohydrates 24 hours before the race. During the run your body will have used up its energy stores and broken down protein (muscle) for energy. Have a meal after the race when you feel hungry to replenish lost energy stores and spare the breakdown of your muscles.
  5. Warm down
    Slow your breathing down to a normal rate with a light jog after the race, and walk around for at least 20 minutes when you're finished. Sitting still will stiffen you up and slow down the removal of waste products in your body after the run.
  6. Lowered immunity after a race
    Your white blood cell count is lowered after a heavy workout, making you more susceptible to infection. Take it easy and eat well for the next 48 hours to allow your white blood cell count to rise to normal levels.
  7. Still in pain 48 hours after the race?
    The Sports Injury Clinic offers free advice via telephone or email. Make sure to discuss your problem rather than ignore it and hope for the best.

Good luck, everyone!

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