Health: Avoid mistakes made by newbie runners

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Each year thousands of runners run, walk or limp their way around the 26.2-mile course of the London Marathon.

Why? Because having opted for a charity place, and lucky enough to have family and friends to donate to their chosen good causes, they wanted to make them proud.

One person who certainly knows the power of charity is Danielle Atkinson, assistant director of public fundraising at Breast Cancer Campaign and Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

Every year, she and her team are contacted by runners who want to raise vital funds for them by taking part in a sporting challenge which, this year, takes place on April 26.

“Generally our runners take part in the marathon for a woman in their life,” explains Atkinson. They’re doing it to support them, but also to make a difference in the long run by raising money to help fund a cure for cancer.”

Such is their commitment that some runners even go that extra mile. “We have a guy who is 6ft 6in and running in an amazing big pink dress,” says Atkinson.

I‘m running for Shelter which helps homeless people and those in poor housing. I won’t be wearing a fancy frock, but I will be wearing my Shelter top with pride, and with space limited, just my name and a ‘thank you’ will go on my jersey. It’s easy to get carried away with the euphoria of the moment but if you’ve not done the groundwork then you could be in big trouble .

The five biggest mistakes new runners make are:

1. Overtraining

The worst mistake is trying to do too much in a short time period . Unfortunately, overtraining will very likely lead to an injury. Establish a training schedule and stick to it. Rest every other day and never, ever do more than one run per day.

2. Undertraining

If you undertrain, you will not be prepared for such a gruelling race. Too often, marathon rookies push themselves too hard in the beginning of the race. This causes many injuries, or simply means being unable to finish.

3. Unrealistic goals

Setting a realistic marathon goal and devising a training plan to suit is extremely important. A race day goal should actually be lower than your current per-mile run time.

4. Carb overload

Yes, carbs give you energy, but complex carbohydrates can take time to be broken down by the body. Eat a balanced diet leading up to the marathon.

5. Trying something different

Don’t mess around with your routine on race day. Trying something different is a good way to cause injury. Wear the same socks you train in which you know won’t cause blisters, Never change your trainers less than a few weeks before a big race.