Run Girl, Run! 5 tips for the Nike She Runs 10k race

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The Nike She Runs 2014 is this Saturday. Yikes!

So, girls get your finest and brightest running gear ready for what always is a fantastic event.

As the 3rd annual Nike She Runs 10k event nears, I thought it would be a great to share some last-minute tips that I tell my patients in the lead up to such events.

The area of Physiotherapy I work in allows me to see such a wide variety of injuries, fitness levels and athletes. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or this will be your first fabulous event, it is crucial you are aware of the basics when warming up, cooling down and being prepared for the run

Here are some great tips that we should all take on board when prepping for our big run this coming weekend.

Ouch! Stitches, they seem to sneak up on us when we are just settling into a run. How do we best avoid them or make them disappear when they have arrived?

This may be caused by dehydration or too much of the wrong kind of fluid before the run. The likelihood of stitch occurring may be reduced by allowing 2-4 hours before exercising after a large meal and choosing high-carbohydrate, low-fat and moderate to low protein options.
Immediately before and during exercise, runners should avoid consuming highly concentrated fluids such as soft drink, cordial and fruit juice, as they seem to increase the risk of stitches occurring during exercise.   These types of drinks empty more slowly from the stomach than both water and sports drink, thereby leaving the stomach more distended for longer.  I also recommend athletes to consume small amounts of fluid regularly during exercise, as this is better tolerated than large volumes of fluids being consumed at one time. If you just can’t shake that stitch, slow down and focus on your breathing. Placing your hands on your head to give your obliques a small stretch does help – or if it is a nasty one, I recommend to lie down on your back, knees bent and feet on the floor and lift up your hips – in other words, do a bridge. Symptoms should subside nicely.

Knee pain, aching hips and shin pain are quite common after a long run or maybe even after your first few – What are the best stretches and exercises to strengthen these areas?

Get the big basics done first. This means regularly stretching your Glutes, Hamstrings, Quads and Hip flexors. Once everything is feeling a little more limber than when you started the stretch you can step it up a notch. I can’t speak highly enough of the good ol’ foam roller – They are a runner’s bestfriend. Working the roller through your iliotibial band (outside of your thigh) will help prevent various pains and strains around your knees– Yes, it is a little torture, but will save you in the long run. (Pun intended!)

Bec Wilcock preparing for the run

Bec Wilcock preparing for the run

Running technique – What is the best running technique for this 10km run that helps preserve your energy?

Every runner is unique. We all have a different breathing rate, running style, speed and stride. My advice would be to have a Physiotherapist do a running biomechanical analysis on you to see your form, educate you on the best footwear and help you perfect your gait. You want your running style to be smooth, land lightly and have a slight forward lean at the hips. Check out some of my tips and tricks to minimise injury with your running style

Diet is pretty darn important in training and performance – What food and drink would you recommend for energy leading up to the Nike She Runs 10k event?

Great foods for energy leading up to race day would be the healthy basics: chicken, fish, plenty of vegetables and fruits such as apples, berries, plums, pears and a banana on race day. Snacks can be nuts and trail mixes for that long lasting energy. Your body needs fuel to run. If you have no fuel to feed your muscles, then your muscles cannot get stronger, and therefore your running will not improve. We don’t want you more prone to injuries now, do we?

Leading up to an event, I always fuel my body with a mixture of gluten-free breads, quinoa and kale salads, sweet potatoes, leafy salads, proteins and bananas. A great natural sports drink I recommend is coconut water it is loaded with plenty of electrolytes and potassium to replenish your hard working body.

Small and regular amounts of water in the 2 hour lead up to your run is ideal too. Try to avoid the sugary energy drinks and fruit juices on run day.

Keep it light, so you don’t feel too heavy before the race – this will also play a big part in getting a stitch

Some people just aren’t natural runners, can you recommend some tips on helping them to run longer or achieve personal bests every time?

Preparation is key! Build yourself up gradually with short runs then start to extend the distance.

You want to include strength, stretching and rest-days in your training. This in turn will be giving your legs more power and challenging your cardiovascular endurance. Personal bests take some time and you wil need to do some speed work and strength training in the gym. For those who are about to do their first running event, I recommend to my patients to start with a walk/run. This means intervals of walks and then runs. Starting 500m walk then 500m slow jog to start and increase your intervals of running, eg: from 200m walk – 500m slow jog – 500m run, back down to a jog and then brisk walk etc. This way your fitness will be adapting and you will be able to tolerate longer intervals of running, without causing yourself an injury by going gung-ho straight away.

“Aim for 11-14km in your training and that 10km on race day will feel like a breeze”

High five for signing up and taking part in this fabulous event!

Wishing all the girls out there a wonderful run!

Bec Wilcock - Love Me Fit / Running Bare

Bec’s words of wisdom for the race: ‘Stretch, run, breathe’

 

All the best,

TOA

 

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Written by Jennifer Dodge

Jennifer is a Physiotherapist based in Australia and the United Arab Emirates

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