Medical Advice


Fit to compete
If you have a bad family history of heart disease or sudden death, or have a high risk from high cholesterol or high blood pressure but PARTICULARLY if you have symptoms of heart disease i.e. chest pain or discomfort on exertion, sudden shortness of breath or rapid palpitations, see your GP who can arrange for you to have a proper cardiac assessment.
Such an assessment may not be instantly available, but continuing to run with these symptoms may shorten your running career catastrophically!

Muscular aches and pains occur most commonly after an increase in training. Training should be increased gradually so that you do not suffer prolonged exhaustion. Separate days of heavy mileage with one or two days of lighter training, or rest days so that your body can refuel your muscles with muscle glycogen. To reduce injury risk, vary your training runs, the running surface, (parkland hills) the pace and distance and do not always use the same pair of shoes. Always face oncoming traffic and BE VISIBLE – at night wear bright or reflective clothing.

Illness and training
If you have flu, a feverish cold or a tummy bug, do not train until you have fully recovered. Then start gently and build up gradually. Do not attempt to catch up on lost mileage after illness or injury – this may cause further damage or illness. If you have flu it can take as
much as a month to recover – consider whether you should run the 10k this time.

Fluid lost in sweat must be replaced otherwise your body becomes dehydrated (short of
water) and less efficient. Alcoholic drinks, tea and coffee can be dehydrating. Take plenty of non-alcoholic drinks, especially when training in hot weather. Drink enough to keep your urine a pale straw colour. Drink plenty of liquids after training, especially long runs, and practice drinking during longer training runs. Drink plenty of fluids but preferably no alcohol in the two days before the race. DO NOT drink excessively just before the race, during the race or gulp water after the race as you may get hyponatraemia. (see ‘Drinking Safely’).

Drinking on the day
Start the race well hydrated and if you are not already bursting drink half a pint (250ml)
of water or sports drink in the half hour before the start.

Drinking safely
A balancing act. Drinking too little can lead to problems, as you need to replace some
of the fluid you lose as sweat. Drinking much too much can be very dangerous and lead
to hyponatraemia, (water intoxication) fits and even in some cases death. Drink when you
feel the need and DO NOT gulp large volumes of fluids before, during or after the race.

Eat what suits YOU! Large doses of supplementary vitamins and minerals (such as iron)
are not essential and produce no benefit if you are on a good mixed diet, but additional vitamin C in small doses is reasonable when fresh fruit and vegetables are in short supply. Training (with adequate rest) helps you to sustain a high level of muscle glycogen if you eat enough carbohydrate. If you can, eat within two hours of your long runs and the marathon. This helps replace the muscle glycogen quickly and speeds recovery.

Do not change your normal diet drastically in the last week before the race, but eat less protein (meat) and eat more carbohydrate (pasta, bread, potatoes, cereals, rice and sweet things), especially for the last three days when you should also be markedly reducing your training. This loads the muscle with glycogen and delays or prevents you “hitting the wall”. (Unless you reduce your protein intake you will not eat enough carbohydrate).

Still fit?
Do not run if you feel unwell or have just been unwell, even if you are raising money
for charity. Most medical emergencies occur in people who have been unwell but do
not wish to miss the event. If you feel feverish, have been vomiting, have had severe
diarrhoea or any chest pains, or otherwise feel unwell, it is unfair to you or your family,