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THE HARRIERS HERALD

No. 148, June 2005

 

Editorial

Welcome to June’s Harriers Herald, which begins, as usual, with Thursday night schedules and Secretary’s correspondence.  We’ve recently enjoyed several Thursday training runs from different venues, including Inkpen, Shaw and Stanford Dingley, and there are more away runs planned for June.  May was also a successful racing month for Compton Harriers who took part in a variety of events which are reported on in this issue.  Team SuMo enjoyed their first attempt at the Hairy Legs Challenge, Susanne set an excellent P.B. in the Town & Gown 10K, Lucy made a big improvement in the Marlborough Downs 20-mile Challenge, and Compton Harriers collected two prizes at the Kintbury 5-mile race. There is also a short report on the IAH Relay, which was once again a successful event – thanks to all who helped out.  Finally, Mo’s Website report focuses on the ‘runner’s survival guide’, and his Fixtures article features running events from June to September.

On Sunday June 19th, Compton Harriers will once again be participating in the Ridgeway Relay.  Thanks to Martin for organising our team again, and good luck to all who are taking part.

Sue

 

Thursday night schedule for June

Thurs    2nd                    Mo to lead

Thurs    9th                    Ridgeway Relay Leg 7 practice run (Martin F will email details

Thurs    16th                   Sue to lead (possible reschedule for monthly handicap)

Thurs    23rd                   Pete to lead

Thurs    30th                   Boundary Run & Walk

 

Thursday night schedule for July

Thurs    7th                    Martin to lead

Thurs    14th                   Dick to lead

Thurs    21st                         Susanne to lead

Thurs    28th                   Vicky to lead

 

 

Correspondence received by Secretary, February 2005

Abbreviations:  BCAA = Berkshire County Athletic Association; SEAA = South of England Athletic Association; AAA = Amateur Athletic Association of England; UKA = UK Athletics

 

Correspondence received

Sender

Subject matter

Action

Abingdon Amblers

Entry forms for Marathon

Notice-board & Mo

UKA

Info. on tickets for Sheffield Athletics Grand Prix

Contributions requested for next UKA rule book

Notice-board

File

St. Albans City & District

Entry forms for Half Marathon

Notice-board & Mo

SEAA

Info. Update #88; AAA Track & Field standards

File

Bearbrook Joggers

Entry forms for 10K

Notice-board & Mo

Thame Runners

Entry forms for 10K

Notice-board & Mo

AAA

Meetings to discuss future of athletics in UK: dates, venues

File

Roehampton University

Post-graduate sport qualifications

File

Bracknell Samaritans

Entry forms for 10K Sam Run & 5K run

Notice-board & Mo

 


Hairy Legs Challenge (5k Run, 20k Cycle, 5k Run), Goring, 8th May

Sue & Mo

(Sue’s notes in standard type and Mo’s in italics)

 

For a couple of years, I had considered having a go at the Hairy Legs Challenge.  Now, living in Goring, there was even more reason to have a go at our local event.  The three stages (run, bike, run) could be done either by individuals, or by a team of two or three.  Having persuaded a slightly reluctant Mo that he’d like to do the cycle section, Team SuMo was duly entered.

 

When Sue suggested we should enter the Hairy Legs as a team, I wasn’t at first over-enthusiastic with the idea, but she assured me that she would do the running and I could concentrate on the cycling part.  My initial apprehension was nothing to do with the 20k distance … a minor hop for one of my cycling ability! … it was more to do with the fact that my ‘Apollo cross track’ is more suited to road conditions rather than the rough and tumble of the Ridgeway terrain, and my recent “double puncture” experience when cycling the second half of the Compton 40 route.

 

However, as Sue seemed to be so keen I agreed … and then began my quest to minimise the chances of getting a puncture.  New tyres, new tubes and an instant repair kit + a new pump … there, that should do it, but still I wasn’t completely happy until I spotted the ideal solution whilst browsing in a cycle shop … a set of plastic inserts filled with “green slime”, designed to fit between inner tube and tyre to protect against the intrusion of nails, glass, thorns, flints etc … in fact everything you are likely to encounter off-road along the Ridgeway.  So finally, I was all set for the big day.

 

Race day arrived, sunny spells, but quite cool when the wind picked up.  Our warm-up was the 1k trip from our house to Sheepcot playing field.  We were surprised at how many other competitors there were – about 80 teams and 125 individuals.

 

Now I don’t normally get too excited on race day, but twice in the toilet before leaving home … that’s ridiculous … there must be something in this team thing!  Well, I finally arrived at the start-finish area with my well-prepared cycle and proceeded to the cycle racking area to install my bike ready for the hand-over from Sue after the first of her 5k runs.  The racking was set at the ideal height for me to lightly depress the spring suspension on the saddle so that I could jam the bike in an upright position under the top rail ready for a very quick getaway … ingenious I thought as nobody else had apparently adopted this clever idea!

 

Those of us who were participating as teams rather than as individuals, were given our instructions on handing over in the run/cycle and cycle/run transition areas, before I lined up for the start of the first 5K run.  The run route was tough, but the scenery and varied terrain made it enjoyable.  We started on a fairly narrow road, so the first 1K was quite crowded.  Not a bad thing, I thought, as I didn’t want to be starting too fast on this first run.  We soon spread out as the road turned up a steep hill to skirt around Hartslock Wood.  Once at the top, we had a short stretch of private road with good views of the river, before turning off to enter Great Chalk Wood, all very well marked and marshaled.  This part was fantastic – 1.5K of gentle downhill on meandering woodland paths.  I found myself behind the leading lady, Ali Taylor of Reading Roadrunners, who I know to be a very good triathlete who was bound to be doing all three stages as an individual.  Seeing as I was going to have a good hour’s rest while Mo was cycling, I thought I should be aiming to beat Ali on the run, so I pushed on out of the woods, up the steep chalk hill and then made the most of the final downhill across Sheepcot field, where the ’Mo’ part of Team SuMo was waiting in the transition area.

 

As the time for the start of my 20k cycle leg approached, I ambled over to the team hand-over area, carefully eyeing up the opposition and then almost before I was ready, Sue came haring down the hill from the direction of the Great Chalk Wood handing over to me in second team position … wow I’ve never been so highly placed before … an exceptional effort will be needed from me now!  I ran to the racking area, grabbed the bike and away I went … a perfect changeover.  It wasn’t long before I was heading along the track past the Swan Hotel, Streatley, with several other cyclists in hot pursuit.  I held most of them off until reaching Rectory Road when several of the more experienced cyclists with very expensive-looking cycles managed to ease past, including Ali Taylor who voiced her appreciation at my effort encouraging me to keep it up for Sue … as if I wouldn’t!!

 

As the race progressed off-road up the Ridgeway from Warren farm, fewer cyclists came past and I realised I was starting to consolidate my position.  Up towards the bluebell wood and I was going past fallen riders and puncture stops … the plastic inserts seemed to be protecting my tyres thus far.  With further encouragement from the marshals I managed to keep up the effort, gradually becoming more confident as my tyres remained fully inflated!  As we turned towards the Crows Foot off the Ridgeway from Lowbury Hill, I was well into home territory and made full use of my local knowledge, taking the best route through the undulating terrain to avoid the worst obstacles … and passing other riders again, one of them being Ali Taylor who had unfortunately managed to get a puncture.  I emerged from the long off-road section unscathed and ready for Apple Pie Hill where I was again over-taken … this time by a Porsche … OK, one or two riders as well!

By the time I arrived at the Four Points, I was up behind the riders who passed me up Apple Pie, only to see them go away from me once more as we passed the Aldworth church heading out towards the Ridgeway for the final time.  As I reached the bluebell wood it was time to prepare for the final eyeballs-out descent down towards Warren Farm and return to Rectory Road.  Here, nobody at all came past … I was really flying … literally taking off over the ramps towards the bottom of the path approaching Warren farm … somehow, I managed to stay on board, but my pulse rate was considerably higher and I’m sure my heart missed a few beats!

By now, the end of my 20k leg was fast approaching as I came back over the Thames bridges on the main road towards Goring village centre … then up ahead of me there was a major pile-up as one cyclist clipped the rear wheels of another and bikes and riders flew into the air, landing painfully in the middle of the road in Goring high street.  Luckily, spectators and marshals were on hand to provide immediate assistance, so apart from dodging my way through the carnage there wasn’t much else I could to do but to high-tail it for the finish area and hand over to Sue for the final 5k leg of the event … and we were still fairly well up in approximately 26th position … my mission accomplished!

 

While Mo was off cycling I amused myself by watching the very popular children’s obstacle race, icing my slightly dodgy knee ligament, eating a few raisins, and lightly stretching and jogging around to keep warm.  Some 50 minutes after I’d finished my first 5K, I joined the other final-stage team members in the transition area, waiting for our cyclists to come in.  We watched in awe as the leading individual competitors hopped off their bikes then sped off on their final run section, looking pretty fresh.  We team members all had the same concerns.  There was a feeling of excitement, mixed with apprehension.  The cyclists’ run-in to the finish was only 50 metres, so we had to be ready to go at short notice; did we take our sweatshirts and leggings off now and risk getting cold or did we leave them on and get caught out?  Was there time to go to the toilet again?!  Mo had reckoned on 60 - 65 minutes for his cycle.  As time ticked by, I hoped that he wasn’t going too fast downhill, or that his special slime inserts had failed him!  Andy Bayley, who had cycled over from Compton to spectate, gave me advance warning of Mo’s arrival, in a pretty good placing.  Once Mo had dismounted, I set off on the final run.  I felt quite a responsibility to ensure that, having done well so far, Team SuMo had a good finish: had I saved enough energy for this final run?  At least I had an advantage on those individuals who had also cycled 20K - it was easy to tell who they were, as they had dirty bottoms!  I felt surprisingly good, managed to overtake a total of 17 competitors and was only slightly slower than on my first run.

 

I crossed the line and Team SuMo was safely home.  We proudly put on our finishers’ sweatshirts.  By this time, Sarah and Lincoln had turned up with my niece and nephew.  Lincoln was enjoying a burger from the barbecue and Elena was having fun on the bouncy castle – one of the nice things about the event was the family atmosphere.

Mo and I both really enjoyed the event and would certainly recommend it.  It was well organised, friendly, catered for all abilities, and the race routes were challenging but enjoyable.  And there’s that extra feel-good factor about taking part in a team event, especially with your spouse!  We both felt on a high for the rest of the day.  When we received the results a couple of days later we were really chuffed to see that Team SuMo finished 9th out of 80 teams (35th out of a total of 205 teams and individuals).

 

 

Name

5K Run

20K cycle

5K run

Overall time

1st Man

Kieran Williams

19:33

49:33

21:08

1:30:14

1st Team

Koala Brothers

19:33

54:51

21:31

1:35:55

9th Team

Team SuMo

21:31

1:06:06

21:55

1:49:32

1st Lady

Julie Dunn

22:41

1:09:45

24:18

1:56:44

 

Oxford Mail Town and Gown 10K, 15th May

Susanne

 

I received an e-mail from someone, I cannot remember who, saying your last chance to enter this race.  I suggested to Elo why do I not run it and then afterwards you can row me around in the small boats you can hire in Oxford while I am getting my breath back - hoping it would be a romantic day out. But no, Elo wanted to run it as well, and doing both things on one day might have been a bit much to ask for.

 

Advised in the program to leave you car at the Park and Ride and take the bus, we were dropped off only a few minutes walk from the start, but by this time we were a bit late and the queue for the ladies was rather long so I thought I would go out and find that bush, but where do you find one in a park where nobody can see you?  I ended up doing like Paula - when you need to go you need to go.  Before heading off to the start we threw our bags in the bag storage tent where you also had the chance to change your clothes on your return.  The bags were all numbered up with your race number by some very friendly old ladies and on your return they assured you they would only hand it out providing you showed your number.

 

Anyway, there were only a few minutes for warming up, Elo said he did not need to do a warm up so we agreed to meet up again after the race.

 

Ten o’clock sharp the start went.  Because we all had a chip we did not bother about where we started.  The course was very flat, more flat than Silverstone!  Some of the route was in the parks on firm gravel.  All the way we went there was tremendous support from the public and even the police were looking out for us.  I often felt we were running down hill which we obviously did not do because some part of the course was going back again the same route with cones separating the faster runner from the slower, I even had the chance to wave to Elo when we passed each other.  You could see the finish, which was in the Park, from a long way back, and there was also a warning that now you “only” had 500 meters left.  So there was no doubt about when to put in that last bit of sprint.  You were greeted by kneeling people who kindly removed your chips for you while you were trying to come back to normality.  After a quick change in the tent I went out to see Elo finish.  Had I known that I could have had a relaxing massage afterwards by one of the many therapists I might have squeezed that in before seeing Elo.  Elo did his change of clothes and was only happy to see that his bag was not the only one left in the tent.  Afterwards we enjoyed a cup of coffee on the lawn listening to the presentation and reading the free Oxford Mail we were given at the finish together with the recovery bars: First to finish a K. Murphy 31:34, Last to finish a J Lewis 1:53:18.  Elo finished in 1:12:35 and I managed 42:30.  There were 2915 finishers.  The only thing I would wish for was a more informative race result list, but who cares when you are not among the first to finish.  So next year, if I may suggest we could meet at the Park and Ride on the A34 and take the bus together to the start and perhaps end up at one the nearby pubs afterwards for a lunch and then take the same bus back again.  A lovely day out for the Compton Harriers - I am already looking forward to it!

 

Marlborough Downs 20M Challenge, 21st May

Lucy and Martin represented the Harriers at Marlborough.  With Martin acting as pacemaker, Lucy had a very good run, in less than perfect conditions, to finish in 3:02, over 12 minutes faster than in 2004.

 

Kintbury 5M Road Race, 30th May

Sue F

 

            Mo and I took part in this race for the third successive year.  Race organiser Dave Wright was once again blessed with fine sunny weather, although there was quite a cool breeze at times.  Arriving at the race car park, we spotted many familiar and friendly faces including runners from Newbury, Pewsey and Swindon.  Crossing the road to race HQ in the sports hall, we were amazed to see Tom “I’m not doing any more races” Doy, with race number pinned on his vest, having run from home for a warm-up.  Vicky and Iain were also there, in Team Kennet vests, along with Gill Harrison who has recently started coming to our Thursday club runs.

            A whistle-blow from Dave’s wife Julia, and a slightly out-of-synch whistle blow from his young son Sam, started the race.  The route was as in previous years – a lap of the sports field, then a long drag on the road up Blandy’s Hill to the outskirts of Inkpen, before turning off to follow wide woodland tracks and quiet private estate roads back to Kintbury.

            After the first few minutes, I found myself running with a small group including Newbury’s Erik Smith and Geoff Anderson.  Running with a them made the time seem to pass more quickly.  They set a good even pace and acted as a good windbreak in places!  Although they pulled away from me up the final hill, they had dragged me along in a time very close to last year’s time (30:49), as first lady.  Iain finished close behind in around 31:30.  Gill was pleased to beat her 2004 time by 20 seconds to achieve sub-36 minutes, and Vicky was just behind her.  Tom finished just outside of the 40-minute mark, and Mo ran 45:48.  The race was won in a fast time of sub-26 minutes.

            Everyone received a commemorative Kintbury coaster upon finishing and, soon after the last finisher crossed the line, the presentations were made to category winners who all received some Tesco vouchers and their choice (or, in my case, Mo’s choice) of bottled beer.  It was great to see an unsuspecting Gill receive her first ever race prize for being second veteran lady.

            Mo and I decided to join Tom and Maggy for a pub lunch but, finding that The Crown & Garter was only serving big Sunday lunches, they kindly invited us back to Malt Cottage for a light lunch, which nicely rounded off a pleasant Bank Holiday Monday morning.

 

IAH Compton Relay Race 2005

Sue F

 

Despite a lower team entry and fewer spectators this year, the relay still turned out to be an enjoyable and successful event.  Even the rain held off, and conditions were quite pleasant for running and for the barbecue.  Thanks to all those Harriers who helped out on the day.  Mo’s Excel spreadsheet to calculate the results worked perfectly, and meant we could do the announcing and presentations within 20 minutes of the race finishing.

           

This year’s worthy champions were ‘The Four Musketeers’ (Susanne, Keith Simpson, Pete and Lucy) who finished third last year.  They were almost 1 ½ minutes clear of the second team (Three Men & a Lady) with Fiona Powell’s all-girls team doing well to finish third.  The fastest actual team time of the evening (i.e. finish time minus handicap) went to ‘Three Men & a Lady (43:01).

 

Fastest individual times were as follows.  Men: Martin Fray (8:57), Eric Lefevre (10:00), Terry Field (10:06), Richard Oakes (10:08), Dick Kearn (10:20).  Ladies: Sue Francis (9:14), Susanne Enhard (10:23), Lucy Gettins (11:07), Gill Harrison (11:11), Marie McIntyre (11:25).

Full results can be found on the Harriers Website (see link on the front page).

 

The date for the full Boundary Race (8.5M) is set for Thursday 30th June.  I am thinking about having the start slightly later than usual (e.g. 5:45 pm), to allow time for a children’s race around the Cricket Field before the main race.  However, I need to first find out if there is enough interest in a children’s event to make it worthwhile.


Website update… http://comptonharriers.cjb.net/

Mo

 

For a change this month, I have downloaded a very interesting article on surviving the pains and trauma commonly experienced by most regular runners.  Before I go on with the actual article, originally written by Runner’s World journalist Martha Schindler, I must explain how the idea came about … it was as a result of going through an extremely painful experience myself.

Last Tuesday (31st May 05) I decided with Sue to carry out a recce of the trails around Whitchurch Hill for the following Thursday run.  We cycled approximately 3 miles to the Sun Inn then exactly 6 miles around the proposed course back to the Sun, had a refreshing pint and then returned the 3 miles back to Goring.  On our return, Sue decided to it was time to plant out the runner beans so, to show that the efforts of the day had little effect on my super fitness and prowess, armed with a bean stick in one hand and Stanley knife and ball of string in the other I dashed out into the garden.  Despite the concerns and verbal warnings from Sue to be careful, I sprinted at high speed in the direction of the garden gate and with a flying leap I took off in classic hurdle fashion to clear the obstacle in front of me … unfortunately something stretched and pulled around my groin and left gluteus maximus area, rather ruining my heroic performance and bravado.  The pain experienced was nothing short of excruciating and despite my cries of pain as I limped around the garden clutching the injured area and swearing to myself, the look on Sue’s face said it all … you silly prat!! 

 

Now on to that article: -

 

The Runner's Survival Guide

 

Sometimes, running is the simplest of activities. One foot follows the other, taking you from point A to point B by the shortest, most straightforward route. But other times, it can be fraught with discomforts ranging from the mildly annoying to the downright dangerous. Here’s our list of the more common pitfalls, and ways to avoid them once and for all.

 

Lightheadedness

Every runner wants feet as light as feathers, but what if you're getting that ethereal sensation at the other end of your body? Dizziness is often a sign of dehydration or oncoming heat illness, according to sports doctor David Jenkinson. "Even slight dehydration immediately impacts performance," he explains. "It is a danger even in the colder winter months."

Dizziness can also be caused by a shortfall in nutrients, especially carbohydrates. Ironically, feeling dizzy can even be a sign that you’re over-hydrated. "This isn't nearly as common as dehydration," says Dr Lewis Maharam, medical director of the New York City Marathon, "but it can strike a novice who grabs three or four cups of water at every drinks station during a long race, or who chugs too much water on a long training run."

Now what? If you're far from home when dizziness strikes, make a phone call that’ll get you a lift home. At this point, you're probably so dehydrated, or otherwise off kilter, that it'll take an hour or two until you're feeling normal again. If you're still feeling dizzy when you get home, or if the feeling becomes more extreme, call your doctor.

Never again! Drink appropriately, which means 150-350ml of fluid – preferably a carbohydrate drink – for every 15-20 minutes of running. To do this, take your favourite drink on the run, or stash it along your route. And sniff out all the available water along the way – and use it.

 

Side Stitches

Of course, it's just a tiny cramp in a minuscule muscle. But when you get a stitch, it's easy to imagine being torn asunder like some medieval saint. Stitches strike all runners, from the elite to the novice, but are most common among new runners or those who are pushing themselves to run further or faster than usual. They often occur when food or drink in your stomach pulls down on the ligaments that attach your stomach to your diaphragm. This causes your diaphragm, which controls your breathing, to go into spasm.

Now what? When a stitch strikes, concentrate on expanding your diaphragm on every exhalation, then pull your abdomen and chest in on every inhalation. After four full breaths, visualise the cramp and try to direct your breath to it, as if you were massaging it away. If this doesn’t work after a minute or so, slow to a walk (or stop) and raise your arms over your head for several seconds. This should help the muscle to relax.

Never again! Ease into any increases in speed and/or distance. Also, don't run within two hours of eating a main meal or a large drink. Or at least consume small amounts of fluid frequently rather than gulping a large drink.

  

Twisted Ankles

Turning your ankle halfway through a run has to be right up there with a tax audit on the list of life's more annoying setbacks. Never mind that it hurts; spraining an ankle also ruins your training, and sometimes your day. If it’s bad enough, it can keep you away from running for two weeks or more.

A twisted ankle can run the gamut from mild to severe, says orthopaedic surgeon Nicholas DeNubile. "If you turn it with enough force, you'll stretch or tear ligaments, which produces dramatic, and almost immediate, swelling." Women are slightly more prone to ankle twists than men because of the sharper angle between their hips and feet, but almost any runner can turn an ankle. You can do it by stepping on an uneven surface, or just by not watching where you're going.

Now what? First, assess the situation: did you slightly roll your ankle, or did you slam it over and really do some damage? "If it's very sore and swelling quickly, you're done for the day," says Jenkinson. Call a taxi. If you must walk home, be sure to do so gingerly – with both shoes on. "I'm always amazed at how many people take off their shoe to check the damage, then never put it back on," Jenkinson continues. "Wearing your shoe will help keep the swelling down, and should keep you from taking another bad step."

Never again! If twisted ankles are a problem, find a podiatrist who can evaluate your gait and possibly fit you with stabilising orthotics. Add strengthening exercises to your routine. Try rubber resistance tubing or wobble boards, which are designed to build balance and strengthen the muscles in your lower leg.

 

Shortness of Breath

Wheezing and feeling short of breath are classic symptoms of asthma and its cousin, exercise-induced asthma (EIA), which affect over a million Britons. Asthma and EIA are more common among athletes than the general public. (One in four of the athletes at the 1998 Winter Olympics and one in six at the 1996 Summer Games had some form of asthma.) EIA is characterised by spasms in the airways in response to physical exertion, often occurring only in specific conditions (such as cold weather or polluted environments). Asthma involves bronchospasms plus chronic inflammation in the lungs. But wheezing is not the sole domain of asthmatics. Anyone can feel short of oxygen if the conditions are bad enough. When it’s really hot, or when the air quality is really bad, even top runners will have a hard time.

Now what? If you're gasping your way through your run, slow down and cut it short. Whether it's asthma, humidity or plain old pollution that is interfering with your breathing, the result is the same: less oxygen is being delivered to your muscles. And that translates into greater exertion (and longer recovery times) for the same run.

Never again! Pay close attention to the weather reports, especially air quality, and ease back on both the duration and the intensity of your runs on problem days. Also, be sure to bring your inhaler on every run, and start slowly. Many runners find that a 10-minute easy warm-up before every run keeps them from getting attacks.

 

Stomach Queasiness

There's nothing like the sensation of fighting with your food long after you've eaten it – for example, while trying to finish a race or training run. Some runners have more sensitive stomachs than others, and running has a funny way of turning those little sensitivities into full-blown crises – and always when you’re miles away from home.

Now what? Depending on your tolerance for public vomiting, you might want to take the shortest route to relief (and take comfort in the fact that you’re neither the first runner nor the last to lose their lunch). A less dramatic option is to take a breather and walk for a while. Even sit on a bench or on the ground for a minute if that helps. Pregnant women have been known to nibble on crackers to quell morning sickness, and some runners keep an energy bar on hand for the same reason – a little bit of food can help when nausea strikes.

Never again! Know your stomach's idiosyncrasies – and obey them. If you're travelling overseas, stick to familiar foods where possible. Don't skip the pre-run food entirely. Eat at least a few bites of a bagel, banana or energy bar before heading out. If you have a bigger meal, eat it at least an hour before you start your run (experiment to find your own personal cut-off time).

 

Blisters

While the medical and sports communities wrestle with the age-old question 'to pop it or not to pop it?', runners have a more pressing concern: what do you do when a blister appears in the middle of a run? Blisters form when the skin is exposed to repetitive friction, which causes the top layers to separate. Then the fluid arrives at the site as the body attempts to protect the area from any more damage.

Now what? As soon as you feel a blister, take a break and apply a good anti-blister patch (eg Compeed). These are made with gel, and are specifically designed to absorb the friction that would otherwise be inflicted on your skin. Once you get home, wash the area and keep it dry to encourage speedy healing. If you pop it (and we're not saying you should), be sure to use a sterile needle, make a tiny hole at the edge of the blister and leave the top skin in place.

Never again! Make sure that your shoes and socks fit properly. Blisters aren’t part and parcel of an active life. They're evidence that your feet and your footwear are mismatched. Always wear clean, well-fitting running socks made from a wicking, synthetic fabric. You can add an extra layer of protection by wearing two thin pairs of socks, or trying a single double-layer model.

 

Chafing

Right up there with blisters are those insanely painful little patches of raw skin that appear after a few miles of running (and rubbing). Lots of men get abraded nipples; women tend to chafe along the bra line, under the arms or between the thighs (when running shorts hike up).

Now what? Slap on some good, old-fashioned petroleum jelly or any other ointment that lubricates the area (even lip balm will work in a pinch). Then re-apply every hour or so.

Never again! Be sure you’re running in soft, broken-in clothing without any irritating seams. If traditional running shorts tend to ride up on you, try tights or bicycle-style shorts. Coat problem spots with lubricant before you leave home.

 

Bathroom (or Lack Thereof) Woes

Faecal incontinence, while it can be a medical condition in its own right, most often strikes runners who are experiencing diarrhoea (which, in turn, can be caused by a reaction to certain foods). Then there's urinary incontinence, in which a small amount of urine leaks, often during times of exertion. This is a problem for thousands of Britons – mostly women; usually those who have had children.

Now what? Find the facilities (or a secluded shrub, if need be) as soon as possible. And don't worry about appearances. "I can't tell you how many times I've gone into a fast-food restaurant, made a beeline for the bathroom, then walked out again without buying a thing," says marathon runner Jim Spivey. "I used to feel awkward, but not any more. People understand. And it’s much better than the alternative." If you've had to go au naturel, or if you've had incontinence of either type, it's very important to clean the area as soon as possible. Both types of leakage will irritate your skin. (Think nappy rash.)

Never again! "Be sure to use the bathroom before you leave home," says Dr Cathy Fieseler. "Learn every toilet on your route, and run under the assumption that you'll have to make at least one pit stop." If urinary incontinence is a frequent problem, talk to your doctor about remedies as well as exercises that you can do. If diarrhoea is your downfall, take a close look at your diet – and don’t overlook anything, even if you never have a problem on non-running days. For example, some people have trouble digesting milk, but only when their bodies are under stress, such as during a run.

 

Tweaks and Twinges

Let's face it, running can produce all sorts of aches and pains. Most are normal by-products of muscle strengthening and endurance building, but others are signs of damage to muscles, bones or connective tissue.

Now what? "If you're running and you feel a slight pain or twinge, give yourself another minute or two to see if it goes away," suggests Jenkinson. If it doesn't, stop and try to stretch it out. If that still doesn't work, call it a day. "Running will often involve some discomfort. The key is to recognise when discomfort turns into pain, and react accordingly. And if something is hurting so much that it’s affecting your stride, stop," says Maharam. "Otherwise, you can actually damage something else on top of the original injury."

Never again! Know your body and pay attention to little problems before they become chronic. If you've been having twinges (or are recovering from an injury), run in a loop or cloverleaf pattern so that you're never too far from home, and stop if the pain worsens.

 

Bailing Out

You've set out to do your weekly long run, and you're about a quarter of the way into it when you suddenly feel the urge to stop. Right where you are.

Now what? Assess the situation, says Jenkinson. "Are you truly, physically too tired to go on? If so, then stop. There are certainly times when it's smarter to quit." If things aren’t quite so bad, walk for a few minutes, drink some energy drink or eat a gel and start moving again. Then take regular walking breaks the rest of the way.

Never again! The key to avoiding these situations is to plan ahead. Be sure to eat and drink properly before heading out, and start conservatively. Keep the pace down until well into the run. As time goes on, you’ll learn what you can and can’t do as a runner. That confidence also lets you make the commitment to finish every run, without any problems. This helps eliminate all those mental battles along the way, which can be mentally exhausting all by themselves.

 

Fixtures: A selection of local and other well known events for your information.  If you need any entry forms, I can email most of them on request.

·   Sunday 12th June  2005  - WARGRAVE RUNNERS 10K ROAD RACE – at 10:00am http://wargraverunners.net/

 

·   Sunday 12 June 2005 - 10K TRAIL RUN IN GLORIOUS GOODWOOD - 11:00am Goodwood Country Park, The Harroways, Goodwood, Chichester, http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/events/viewevent.asp?EN=26488

 

·   Sunday 12 June 2005 - WOOBURN PARK 10K  - High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire
Closing date: June 7,
http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/events/viewevent.asp?EN=26780

 

·   Sunday 19th June 2005THE RIDGEWAY RELAY – 07:30 am start at Ivinghoe Beacon

 

·   Sunday 26th June 2005THAME 10K ROAD RACE – 09:30 am http://www.thamerunners.co.uk

 

·   Sunday 26th June 2005THE DIDCOT 5 and 2 Mile fun run – fun run starts at 10:00 am followed by the 5 mile event at 10:00am.  Start and finish in the Lady Grove Park,  along yellow brick cycle ways and footpaths.

 

·   Sunday 26th June 2005THE LAMBOURNE CENTRE 6k FUN RUN – 10:30 am start – multi terrain,     undulating. www.westberks.gov.uk

 

·   Sunday 26th  June 2005  - NORTH DOWNS RUN 30K  - start 10.30 am http://isteadandifield.org.uk

 

·   Saturday 2nd  July 2005 - DORNEY DASH 10K - 10:00am, Eton College Rowing Centre, Boveney, Windsor, SL4 6QP http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/events/viewevent.asp?EN=26231

 

·   Sunday 3rd July 2005 – 10K SAM RUN 2005 and 5K RUN – start 10:15am (5k); 10:30 am (10k) http://www.samaritans.org.uk/~bracknell/samrun

 

·   Sunday 10th July 2005 - NEW FOREST 10 - 12:45pm at New Park Farm, Brockenhurst, Hampshire. Closing date: June 30   http://www.nf10.co.uk

 

·   Sunday 10th July 2005 - WYCOMBE HALF MARATHON -  9:30am, The Rye, High Wycombe http://www.handycrossrunners.freeserve.co.uk

 

·   Wednesday 20th July 2005 BARBURY CASTLE TRACK ‘N TRAIL 5 – 7:30 pm Barbary Castle car park http://www.grassrootsevents.co.uk

 

·   Wednesday 3rd August 2005PEWSEY MID WEEK 5 – 7:30 pm  Pewsey Sports Centre http://pewseyvalerunningclub.co.uk

 

·   Sunday 14th August 2005PINEWOOD 10K – 11:00 am Pinewood school, Bourton, Swindon. http://www.grassrootsevents.co.uk

 

·   Sunday 14th August 2005BEARBROOK JOGGERS 10K – Aylesbury Rugby Club, Weston Turville, http://www.bearbrookjoggers.co.uk

 

·   Sunday 28th August 2005VALE OF PEWSEY HALF MARATHON – 10:30 am Pewsey Sports Centre http://pewseyvalerunningclub.co.uk

 

·   Sunday 4th September 2005KERRIDGE 10K – 10:30 am Highclere castle http://www.newburyac.org.uk

 

·   Sunday 4th September 2005 - HEADINGTON 10K - 10:30am, Worminghall, Oxford, HP18 9JX http://www.hrr.org.uk

 

·   Sunday 11th September 2005 - ALDBOURNE 10K - 11:00am, Aldbourne Football Club, Farm Lane, Aldbourne, SN8 2DS http://www.aldbourne10k.co.uk

 

·   Sunday 18th September 2005 - CHARLBURY STREET FAIR 10K  - 10:30am, The Playing Close, Charlbury, Oxford http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/events/viewevent.asp?sp=&v=2&EN=27123