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Essential last minute tips for the Great North Run
The starter is checking his gun, the marshals are getting set, uniforms in check, TV cameras on stands, Red Arrows at the ready, diversion signs in place, roads slamming shut and the spectators are preparing their vocal chords to cheer you on.
By now, just about everyone is ready for the Great North Run. But are you?
It's a fabulous showcase for the North-East. But, on a individual level, it's one of those rare events where personal achievement and fulfillment from sport are individually and collectively achieved by such a large group of people.
And it seems this year people are preparing more than ever.
I've seen more people than ever limp into my treatment room these last few months having suffered injury preparing for the GNR.
The extra zest that people have shown for their training, is likely to have been be fuelled by long sunny days which make heading out for a run on a night after work almost irresistible.
If you've managed to get this far, are not struggling from shin splints, an Achilles problem or lower back stiffness, let's presume you're good to go and just need a few last minute tips.
If you're reading this on Saturday morning, you should by now by consuming water - lots of it, little and often.
Don't make the same mistake as many people do and think that it's ok just to stop off at the garage on the way to the race, buy a few bottles of water and think that it will help you.
That's not how it works. You need the water in your system for a few days. So, if you haven't already, start today. Don't drink it in big volumes, you need some sleep tonight and the last thing you want is to be up and down to the toilet all night. The same is true in the morning, although as you get closer to the start, maybe an hour or so before the race, switch to isotonic drinks. But not caffeine style energy drinks - they will give you muscle cramps and early fatigue. Take in water and isotonic drinks.
Next is your warm up. You might be thinking how to warm up for a run? Because isn't it true that to warm up you usually go for a jog? In this instance you need to jog on the spot for six or seven minutes so that you're a little out of breath After that, you're good to begin stretching.
But when it comes to stretching, don't find the nearest metal railings and hold your hamstring or calf in a stretch against one. You should be stretching on the move. To do anything else is dangerous for the muscles and you'd be better off doing no stretching at all.
What to eat? Go for the likes of pasta, chicken, chili and rice, low fat lasagna, boiled potatoes. They are all the types of things that you should be cooking for yourself to make sure you've got plenty of energy in the form of carbs.
In the morning, scrambled eggs or porridge will be perfect and maybe take a banana or two with you for the start line.
It's too late to switch your trainers. Don't rush out today and buy new ones.
That's the last thing you need as blisters are guaranteed and more aches and pains in your feet that you should be coping with are certain if you do.
And speaking of footwear, look out for a patient of mine from Bishop Auckland running the race barefoot. He'll be easy to spot. He's got size 14 feet and has been running it barefoot for quite a few years now.
Enjoy the race, and if you want to avoid any visits to see a physio next week, you'll greatly reduce your chances by cooling down properly.
Finish with the traditional static stretching and an ice bath and you should be good. If not, say hello to Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning aches!