Neil Featherby: clock ticking down for Run Norwich preparations

Action from last year's Run Norwich. Picture: Simon Finlay

Action from last year's Run Norwich. Picture: Simon Finlay - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

The very popular Run Norwich 10k – an event which has most certainly attracted participants of all abilities – is just five weeks away.

At the front of the field will be the experienced regular club runners who are used to racing throughout the year whilst further down the field amongst the 6,000 entrants will be just as many who will have taken up running just for this event and whose only challenge is getting around.

With July now fast approaching, this next month is the time to put the finishing touches to their training, which brings me on to my comments for this week's 'On The Run'.

I've been contacted by many of these first-timers during the last couple of weeks – they have been worrying about niggles and aches whilst also trying to keep their mileage up in the hope of being able to run through it and in many ways they have discovered that while running is meant to be a natural thing to do, for most it is a bit more than just putting on a pair of trainers and disappearing out of the door.

Just like anything else we do, if we aren't used to it then the body takes time to adjust and for those who perhaps aren't blessed with the genes of an elite athlete, great care really does need to be taken into consideration before setting out.

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Running is most definitely a great way to keep fit and stay healthy, but at the same time it is a weight-bearing activity whereby the impact forces are the equivalent of between one and a half and three times that of our own body weight each time our feet make contact with the ground.

As we get fitter not only is it our cardiovascular system which becomes more efficient, but our bones, joints and muscles will all become stronger too. Following a structured running programme is most definitely a great way for the body to gradually adapt to the increased load, whilst also building the mileage up, but we also need to be prepared to be flexible with the programme, particularly those new to the sport. Trying to run through injury or illness will only end up setting you further back, so a few days' rest or reduction in mileage is far better than being forced to stop when things have got much worse.

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Mark Armstrong in his column this week writes about cross training so as to help build his fitness up without the repetitive strain from that associated with just running.

I could not agree more with him, especially as he has taken up running knowing that there are parts of his body which are not in the best of working order.

Cross training, along with some strength and conditioning work, will help to not only increase fitness, but it will also help with core and all-round muscular strength whilst also increasing range of movement.

For several years most runners have preferred to spend the time getting in a few extra miles.

But it is now becoming widely recognised that time spent doing alternative forms of exercise can actually lead to us being able to run for longer, further and even faster.

And after all, that is our intention isn't it?

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