Blog - The Back and Body Clinic | Specialist Physiotherapy Northampton

Pilates - Strengthening the human body and mind

Strengthening the human body and mind The all over body work out was first founded by Joseph Pilates in the 20th Century and was originally developed for super fit Ballerina’s! Pilates has taken the world by storm and has been Read More

The Complex Art of WALKING - Part 2

Welcome to part 2. There are lots of variations in walking which come with age, weight and growth. All of these need to be considered and often there are a lot of parental concerns with regards to this, so “what’s Read More

Paediatric Service - The complex art of WALKING

Walking As a paediatric physiotherapist I am often asked different questions about  walking..... When will my child walk? Is my child’s walking pattern normal? Should I be concerned if they’re not walking yet? The questions go on…. So let’s start with Read More

Shockwave - The Geeky Bit!!

Get ready for the Science.... Shockwave Therapy was initially employed as a non invasive treatment for kidney stones in the early 70’s, it has now become the first line intervention for such kidney conditions. This led to a series of Read More

Running footwear: Part 1

Shoe fit In the first part of this series, we are going to discuss the key fitting points of a running shoe. The most important aspect of fit is that the shoe feels comfortable. Comfort is there for a reason, as Read More

Pilates – Strengthening the human body and mind

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Strengthening the human body and mind

The all over body work out was first founded by Joseph Pilates in the 20th Century and was originally developed for super fit Ballerina’s! Pilates has taken the world by storm and has been modified to suit a variety of people; from athletes to desk workers, people with back pain to no pain, and people wanting to improve their strength, flexibility, muscle tone and appearance!

So, what is Pilates?

Pilates is an exercise regime involving low impact exercises to suit any level of fitness. Pilates offers many benefits for so many people… it becomes addictive!!

Building core strength – In Pilates you are not looking to ‘build massive muscles’ but to ‘engage muscles’. Building a strong core and improving postural muscles helps to improve your body, your quality of life.. and cosmetically improves appearance!

Pilates increases flexibility, meaning you may be able to finally touch your toes! By increasing the length of your muscles, this facilitates a greater range of movement within the joints, reducing stiffness, pain and allows you to feel free and amazing!

Pilates will dramatically improve your posture. You will become aware of your body and learning to engage the correct muscles. This is especially important if you have a desk-based job or manual job, which can lead to postural imbalances. Sustaining a good posture eases tension, reduces fatigue, reduces pain and prevents injuries.

Pilates offers many psychological benefits, including relaxation and mindfulness, which is crucial in the busy world we live in today. Pilates is known to reduce stress levels and anxiety by releasing hormones, such as endorphins and serotonin ( the happy hormones!)

Improving your balance –  Unfortunately, getting older or sustaining an injury may result in balance becoming a little more challenging, potentially increasing the risk of falls. By strengthening the correct muscles this will help maintain healthy, strong bones and muscles to keep you active and safe.

Here at The Back and Body we are trained in Clinical Pilates, which means that we offer Pilates for everyone! We welcome all levels, from complete beginners to the absolute experts, males and females, young and mature, pain or no pain! We adapt exercises to meet individuals needs and we get hands on, focusing on the tiny muscles you didn’t know you had! We encourage a happy, fun and positive environment, allowing you to leave stretched, strengthened and full of energy.

We have classes at Hardingstone Village Hall and Moulton Community Centre on a variety of days and times.

Rachael Barber (Physiotherapist and Pilates Instructor)
Contact the clinic on 01604 493066 or email


The Complex Art of WALKING – Part 2

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Welcome to part 2.

There are lots of variations in walking which come with age, weight and growth. All of these need to be considered and often there are a lot of parental concerns with regards to this, so “what’s normal” and when do I come and see a professional (i.e. us!)?  This blog aims to answer some of these questions.

Flat feet

ALL CHILDREN have flat feet. Initially. No-one is born with arches in their feet, they are something you develop over time. Children have fat pads in the bottom of their feet which hides their developing arch. On top of this as babies have more joint laxity the prominence of flat feet is higher. However, that said there is a difference between a ‘flexible’ flat foot and a ‘fixed’ flat foot.

A ‘flexible’ arch is when your child’s foot appears flat in standing, but when they stand on tip-toes you can see an arch developing. Flexible flat feet DO NOT need treatment. Whereas a ‘fixed’ flat foot is when there is no arch development seen on tip-toe standing. Most children’s foot posture and walking  pattern doesn’t fully develop until they are around 7 years old, sometimes even later. That said, around 1 in 5 children never develop an arch, so, ‘what’s normal?’ and when should you be concerned and come in and see us?

The answer to that is simple:

  • If your child has pain
  • If their activity is limited
  • If only one foot is affected

In-toeing gait

Intoeing gait is one of the most common referral reasons for little ones to come and see us. You may also know it as “pigeon toe walking”, basically, when your child walks, their feet turn in. Sometimes it can be both feet that turn in, other times it may be just one but what is normal and when should you be concerned?

You may notice an increase in ‘intoeing’ when your child is tired or you may  notice an increase in the number of trips and falls from tripping over their feet…this is all really common and often more-so in children who are a little bit more flexible than their peers!


There are a few reasons why children might intoe when they walk (ignore the medical terms, they’re designed to make it sound more complicated than it is I’m sure!).

  • Femoral anteversion Your femur (aka the long bone in your thigh) turns in. This is most common in girls (although boys can still get it) aged 2-4 years old and often resolves spontaneously by the time your 10.
  • Tibial Torsion Your tibia (aka the larger of the two bones in your shin) turns inwards, despite their knees facing forwards.  Again this normally self corrects by the time a child reaches 5.
  • Metatarus adductus: Your matatarus bones (toe bones) curve in. This is often due to reduced space in the womb and will resolve spontaneously over time, however if you notice persistent intoeing your child may benefit from specialist advice and footwear.
  • Tight/ weak muscles: Tightness in the muscles in the back of your thigh can cause intoeing, additionally weakness around the hips can also cause your child to intoe. This may be more apparent when your child is tired at the end of school  or after a recent growth spurt.

If you’re concerned that your child may have tight or weak muscles, or are concerned that your child is walking with an intoeing gait that they didn’t previously have, please come in and see a specialist who can advise you on specific do’s and don’ts to help improve your child’s walking posture.

Some simple fun exercises to encourage your child away from an in-toeing walking pattern::

-Try out toeing activities such as
-martial arts
-swimming and
-horse riding

-Practice walking like a penguin with your feet turning out


Out-toeing gait

Out-toeing gait is when your child’s foot points outward instead of straight ahead when they run or walk. It is much less common than in-toeing gait and there is often a family link to out-toeing. Out-toeing gait often will correct on its own;  however there are some conditions that cause out-toeing that are more serious so please come and see us if you’re worried or if:

  • Your child is complaining of pain in their hips or knees
  • If your child is walking with a limp
  • If your child finds it hard to fully bend or straighten their legs
  • If their activity is limited
  • If only one foot is affected

Tip-toe walking

There are different causes of tip-toe walking. In children younger than 3 who have no other medical complications then typically tip-toe walking will resolve spontaneously. Tip-toeing can be a habit (habitual tip-toe walker) however if it persists past the age of 3 with no other known medical reason it is known as idiopathic tip-toe walking. Tip-toe walking can also be seen in other medical conditions such as:

  • In children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
  • In children with a Neurological disease
  • Children with Inflammatory problems
  • Children with Metabolic conditions
  • Children with Congenital abnormalities

If you are concerned about your child walking on their tiptoes then please come in and see us for a full developmental assessment.

When to come and see us?

  • If your child has pain in their feet or legs
  • If your child complains of early morning stiffness
  • If your child is finding it impacts on their function
  • If your child has regressed in their development
  • If your child has had a change in their mood/ behaviour
  • If your child is noticeably more clumsy
    Lucy Phillips (Specialist Paediatric Physiotherapist)
    Contact the Back & Body Clinic today on 01604 493066.

Paediatric Service – The complex art of WALKING

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As a paediatric physiotherapist I am often asked different questions about  walking….. When will my child walk? Is my child’s walking pattern normal? Should I be concerned if they’re not walking yet? The questions go on….

So let’s start with a quote….” 4 legs is good, 2 legs is better”. … I’ll let you ponder on that.

Medically yes, it’s more efficient for a human to walk on 2 legs than 4 as we use far less energy, it’s ‘the norm’ in society, it’s what differentiates a baby from a toddler and a child from an adult (to a degree). But, and just consider this. If you had no other way of getting around 4 legs is ultimately better than 0…what your baby has achieved by getting around on 4 legs or bum shuffling up until this point is pretty amazing.

But back to answering your questions about walking…

Walking is something we ‘just do’.  We don’t think about it, we don’t remember learning how to do it. We just do it. Mostly. However walking is actually an incredibly complex task and takes so much thought and control so it’s no wonder that sometimes it can take longer to learn.

There are very few other animals on the planet that have the balance to be able to stand on 2 legs. The fact that children are able to achieve this in the first few years of their life is an achievement in itself. Never mind how quickly it takes them.

When we look at the complexities required in actually achieving the task of merely standing upright it is no wonder it takes us so long to master a natural, mature looking walk. It is also no wonder that some children find it harder and therefore may take longer to learn and mature these skills.

So this blog aims to answer a few questions you, as parents/carers, may have…

When is my child ready to learn to walk?

So ‘when should my child learn to walk?’ Prepare yourselves as you’ll of heard this same reply from every medical professional you meet (and I know it’s incredibly frustrating). ‘Every child is different’… which yes is true, your child is unique, they not simply little versions of you and if you have other children, you’ll know that they don’t all do the same things at the same times at the same speed.

However, that said there are guidelines, otherwise known as ‘milestones’, you know the ones…

…. They’ll roll at 5 months, sit at 6 months, walk by 15 months … but is it really that simple? No… it’s something that has been mathematically calculated as the modal timing for each of these tasks and now it’s what we are made to believe is pure-gold.

So what makes it so hard?

In order to walk, without getting ridiculously technical, you need to have not only acquired but also mastered a number of different skills.

  1. Alternate kicking on their back (typically this is learnt during fetal development in the womb and then intensified once born)
  2. Core strength (this is first learnt when children play with their toes)
  3. Weight shift (shifting weight from left to right)
  4. Dissociation (knowing and moving your left side separately to your right side of your body e.g. touching your left leg with your right hand)
  5. Rotation (learnt through rolling and turning away from a surface)
  6. Balance
  7. Coordination

And even once your child has mastered all these skills they still take time to transition from walking like a waddling duck to walking with confidence and purpose.

So PLEASE, don’t panic, if your child reaches 15 months and you’re in a play group looking around and little bobby of 12 months has started to take a few steps, Abi another baby at 14 months is walking confidently (Albeit falling a lot!) and your Jonny is still ‘happy as Larry’ playing on his hands and knees. This is NORMAL,some children do just take a little more time to practice a complex skill.

After all, a lot of skill and energy is needed to transition from 4 legs to 2 legs and make it look easy! It may be they need a little bit more guidance, help and PRACTICE! If you also want a little advice on how to guide them along the way, or if  your child is not showing an interest in walking by around 18 months we would love to help. Do not hesitate to give us a call and awe will soon help you and your littlun figure it out.

Check in next week to read our next walking blog which will covers the variations in walking which come with age, weight and growth.


Lucy Phillips (Specialist Paediatric Physiotherapist)
Contact the Back & Body Clinic today on 01604 493066.

Shockwave – The Geeky Bit!!

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Get ready for the Science….

Shockwave Therapy was initially employed as a non invasive treatment for kidney stones in the early 70’s, it has now become the first line intervention for such kidney conditions. This led to a series of experimental investigations looking at the effect Shockwave Therapy has on bone, cartilage and associated soft tissues resulting in what is quickly becoming the ‘go too’ intervention for many musculoskeletal conditions.

There are four different ways to produce a ‘shockwave’ these are: spark discharge; piezoelectric; electromagnetic and pneumatic. The wave that is generated will vary in its energy content and also will have different penetration characteristics in human tissue. The type we utilise in clinic is based on the pneumatic system; this type is referred to as soft shockwave as (you will be pleased to hear) it is far less destructive than the alternatives used to treat kidney stones.  The less destructive nature of the soft shockwaves we use in clinic is the reason why it is so safe as there are very few contraindications for its use.

Shockwave Therapy is so new when compared to other treatment techniques the full details of the physiological and therapeutic mechanisms are yet to be identified, though a range of effects have been confirmed and several others suggested.

Some of the effects relate to an increase in local blood flow which has been clearly evidenced. It has also been shown that the beneficial effects are also partly due to a stimulation of an inflammatory response. Therefore enhancing tissue repair responses.

Increasing blood flow and stimulating an inflammatory response are common effects of many treatments found in the physiotherapy world. However the way Shockwave Therapy effects an individual’s scar tissue really sets it ahead of many other treatment options. Unlike normal elasticated tissue, scar tissue is non-elastic and will prevent normal movement and function. By breaking down scar tissue, Shockwave Therapy will stimulate recovery and promote normal healing.

Another strong argument as to why Shockwave Therapy is so effective is because it stimulates a persistent tendinopathy (soft tissue injury) from a chronic non-effective inflammatory state to an acute effective inflammatory state. This provides the stimulus/trigger one’s body needs to restart a ‘stalled’ repair sequence.

Shockwave Therapy promotes “natural healing” as it alerts your body’s natural mechanisms to help heal the area. The weight of evidence is building in support of Shockwave Therapy. To the extent where world renowned experts discussing the gold standard management of many conditions use Shockwave Therapy alongside other more traditional techniques. At the Back & Body clinic we always strive to provide world class care therefore providing Shockwave Therapy was a must.

Running footwear: Part 1

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Shoe fit

In the first part of this series, we are going to discuss the key fitting points of a running shoe.

The most important aspect of fit is that the shoe feels comfortable. Comfort is there for a reason, as is discomfort, it’s our nervous systems way of telling us if something is right or wrong. If it’s not comfortable, it’s not right. A bit alien is ok, but it should not feel uncomfortable.

Size. Size is definitely important when it comes to running shoes. The standard length we look for in a running shoe, is around a thumbs width (1cm) between the end of the longest toe and the end of the shoe. This is to allow for a change in volume of the foot during running. This is always important but especially so for longer distances. You may get away with it during shorter runs, but come longer mileage expect to start getting numbness, tingling, bruised toes or even nails dropping off.

Heel counter fit. You want the foot to fit securely in the shoe, there shouldn’t be any major movement or lifting of the heel. The shoe should hold onto the foot, not the other way around. The heel counter should also not feel too high or low, or like its rubbing on the ankle or achilles.

Width. The foot shouldn’t feel compressed in the shoe and there shouldn’t be any pinch points. Snug is ok, tight isn’t. The foot should ideally not hang over the midsole of the shoe either.

TRY SHOES ON. Sizes vary from shoe to shoe and even within brand. As do many other variables (type of cushioning, width, weight, lasting, heel counter, the list goes on!) The only way to find the right fit for you (and its different for everyone!) is to try on a few pairs.

There will always be exceptions to rules and some things will work for some but not others, but be sure to use these tips as a guideline and you have a very strong starting point to go out and find your new pair of running shoes.

Look out for part 2 “Support levels and foot type/stability” coming soon

Connor Ratcliffe (Podiatrist)
Contact the Back & Body Clinic today on 01604 875950 or 01604 493066.

Welcome to the Children’s Physiotherapy Service

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Thank you for visiting our blog page, I am SUPER excited that at The Back and Body Clinic, Moulton we are now able to offer an amazing new Children’s Physiotherapy Service. Hopefully you’re looking at this blog because you’ve heard about this new service already and are intrigued to know more, got children of your own who at some point might need to come and see us or simply to find out a little about us and what we do, either way, welcome!

I should probably start with a little bit about me, who I am and what my background is, so you know who is treating your child…my name is Lucy, I qualified as a physiotherapist from the University of Nottingham and since qualifying have gained a range of paediatric specific experience. I worked for a year in adults doing my core rotations before securing a job as a children’s physio (I have always wanted to work with children so securing that first job was amazing!).

Since then, I have worked as a children’s physiotherapist for the NHS and overseas at New Zealand’s leading children’s hospital (Starship). I have completed Bobath Modules in Normal Child Development and Typical development and utilise Bobath concepts within my treatment. I understand the importance of age; growth and the impacts puberty have on treatment and healing times. I have also completed paediatric specific training in taping, gait analysis (watching and assessing how your child walks!) and child specific sport injuries.

I fully believe children are not just little adults and with every child I see I will take a unique approach on and will utilize play in all therapy sessions to ensure sessions are fun, motivating and your child stays engaged (hopefully!).

So that’s me, to finish off this first post and so you know a little more about what we see and treat here is a little song I have written…some of you may recognize the tune from a famous children’s film which is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

A Chim chiminey new service:

Chim chiminey, chim chiminey, chim chim cher-ee
you’re reading and thinking oh what could this be?
Chim chiminey, chim chiminey, chim chim cher-oo
We have a new service that’s coming to you…

Oh go on we’ll tell you,
We now see children too!

Now seeing as a children gets injuries too
And we know that they aren’t little versions of you,
They need some special who understands growth,
Healing times and milestones well Lucy knows both!

Chim chiminey, chim chiminey, chim chim cher-ee
We’re excited, ecstatic but what conditions do we see?
Chim chiminey, chim chiminey, chim chim cher-oo
Cerebral palsy, dyspraxia and broken bones too…

This is by no means exhaustive, just give us a call
We could help teach your baby to learn how to crawl,
We can also see babies who only turn their head to the right,
Or your child who has suddenly doubled in height!

Children need coaxing and need to have fun,
And here at Back and body that’s exactly what’s done,
The secret ingredient to do this is through play
Whether they’re seeing us for a fracture or developmental delay…

Chim chiminey, chim chiminey, chim chim cher-ee
When you come in and see us, you’re in glad company
Nowhere is there a happier crew
Than us at Back and body singing chim chim cher-ee, chim cher-oo

Lucy Phillips – Paediatric Physiotherapist
Call us today to book your appointment 01604 493066 at the Moulton Clinic or for a Home Visit

SHOCKWAVE THERAPY- Does it hurt???

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We get asked this question all of the time.  During the treatment Shockwave will feel uncomfortable but each treatment only lasts for 2-3 minutes and you can only have 1-3 areas per session so maximum of 9 minutes of pain for a huge gain!
Also our therapists are completely in control of the machine, they can turn the intensity up or down quickly to ensure you are comfortable. They can also stop the machine for a break half way through if needed!

What should I expect during a typical Shockwave Treatment?

At your first visit, you will meet one of our friendly and highly skilled therapists, who have been rigorously trained to carry out the Shockwave treatment. You are likely to have been highlighted as a potential candidate for Shockwave Therapy by your initial therapist however your eligibility will be confirmed by the present practitioner.

Your first Shockwave Therapy session is 30 minutes which includes a thorough assessment of the injury.  Your therapist will take some outcome measures so that you can track the improvement. The actual treatment only lasts for 2-3 minutes per area treated, however you can have 1- 3 areas treated in one session for the same injury. Follow up Shockwave sessions are for 15 minutes.

Your therapist will first apply gel to the area, similar to if you have had an ultrasound scan.  Then they will apply the head of the machine to the affected area and start the treatment. The head of the machine delivers compressed air pulses through the ultrasound gel and onto the injured area.

Be prepared for it to make a loud clicking sound as treatment starts!

The intensity of treatment really depends on how much you feel you can tolerate. Your therapist will start the machine at a low level (level 1) and gradually increase it with your feedback to as high as you can tolerate. Ideally we want to get as close to level 5 as possible for maximum benefits of treatment. At first it can feel quite uncomfortable however, as you get used to the sensation it will feel more and more tolerable.

The second session will start where the last one finished, so that you will find you can gradually increase the intensity with each session.

How can I prepare for Shockwave Therapy?

We recommend you avoid taking any anti – inflammatory medication (such as ibuprofen) or ice therapy for 3 days before your first session and throughout your course of Shockwave Therapy.  

Wear comfortable clothing so that your therapist can access the affected area.

What should I expect afterwards?

Some patients report feeling ‘tingling’ or ‘soreness’ immediately after treatment but this usually improves quickly. Some patients experience a reduction in their pain immediately following treatment, but this does tend to vary from patient to patient. It’s normal to feel slight discomfort the day after treatment for 24-48 hours.

What do I do after Shockwave?

We recommended that after your Shockwave session you refrain from physical activity, especially activities involving the affected area, for at least 48 hours.

It’s really important that during your course of Shockwave Therapy you continue with all your physiotherapy management – whether that’s home exercises, postural work, a strength program or anything else! Shockwave Therapy provides a fantastic opportunity to get on top of an injury, but your physiotherapists advice is still really important.

If you are feeling sore after Shockwave you can take pain relief, however, as discussed above avoid taking any anti-inflammatory medication (such as ibuprofen) and using ice therapy afterwards

If you have any further questions on Shockwave  please do not hesitate to get in touch. We are here to help!!





Shockwave Therapy

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What is Shockwave Therapy?

It’s safe to say that Shockwave Therapy has taken the physiotherapy world by storm and we are proud to now offer it at The Back & Body Clinic.

Shockwave Therapy is a clinically proven and highly effective treatment for persistent soft tissue injuries.

It is ideal for those who don’t seem to be able to get rid of their pain despite every effort. All hope is not lost!

Shockwave Therapy may be the answer!

What happens during a Shockwave Therapy Session?

Firstly the therapist will ensure that the treatment is appropriate for your case. Only if your specifically trained therapist deems the treatment appropriate will they go ahead with it. The treatment consists of  delivering therapeutic shockwaves via a hand held probe that is held onto the area of your body that is affected. Before switching on the machine, your therapist will pin point the exact areas to treat. The intensity of treatment really depends on how much you feel you can tolerate. Your therapist will start the machine at a low level and gradually increase it with your feedback to as high as you can tolerate. Ideally we want to get as high as possible for maximum benefits. At first it can feel quite uncomfortable, however as you get used to the sensation it should feel more and more comfortable. During the controlled procedure high-energy waves are transmitted through the surface of the skin directly to the affected tissue areas.

How does Shockwave Therapy work?

Shock waves have a mechanical effect on the tissue that stimulates the cells in the body that are responsible for healing. The micro trauma of the repeated shock wave creates new blood flow to the area. It is the new blood flow that promotes tissue healing, breaks down scar tissue and kick-starts the inflammatory process. All resulting in a reduction in pain and improving function.

Helping you get better quicker, which is what we are all about at the Back & Body Clinic.

What conditions can be treated with Shockwave Therapy?

New evidence is being released all the time showing the powerful effects Shockwave Therapy can have on a variety of conditions. The list below shows some of the common conditions that have been shown to improve greatly following a course of Shockwave Therapy.

  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Golfers Elbow
  • Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy
  • Hip Bursitis
  • Achilles Tendinitis
  • Knee pain
  • Shin Splints
  • Myofascial Trigger Point Relief


Your therapist will be able to determine whether or not they think your symptoms could be improved with Shockwave Therapy, so don’t worry, there are plenty more conditions that Shockwave can help with.

How Good Is Shockwave Therapy?

There is new evidence being released every month highlighting the amazing effects this cutting edge technology has on patients. Most recent research suggests that after only 3  treatments of Shockwave Therapy, over 80% of patients report a great reduction of pain and improvement in function/hobbies.

The recent big step forward for this new technology is being recognised and recommended by NICE (UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence). This recognition has thrown this modality to the forefront in treating many musculoskeletal conditions.

Only until recently are the true effects of Shockwave Therapy being understood and the popularity of the treatment is rising. You need state of the art equipment to deliver this incredible treatment. That is why The Back & Body Clinic have invested in the very best – a Chattanooga Intelect RPW Shockwave Machine that has been shown to be one of the most effective on the market.

The team at Chattanooga have put together a document highlighting all the clinical evidence to support the use of this state-of-the-art technology, If you would like to read even more about the amazing effects Shockwave Therapy has had for so many individuals in recent years then refer to the following link.


Northampton 1/2 Marathon – Final Preparation

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Final Preparation

You’ve now completed months of training and preparation and the big day is in sight! These are some tips for the final weeks to make sure you’re as successful as possible on half marathon day.

Dress rehearsal

You should have been running in your race trainers already, but make sure you have at least one run with your full marathon day kit on so you know that everything is comfortable. It works really well to complete this dress rehearsal as your penultimate or last long run. Make sure you eat in a similar way to race day, warm up properly and time yourself so you know what pace is comfortable for you. Completing this at least one week before half marathon day will give you the opportunity to change outfits or pre-race routine if you need to.


This is your opportunity to get some rest and recovery in preparation for the half marathon. Ideally start tapering two weeks before the race date. After completing your longest training run, tapering should consist of gradually decreasing the mileage (eg. Next long run 10 miles, then 7 miles etc). It’s a good idea to keep running as often during the tapering period to keep the habit of regular exercise, but the decreased time spent running will give you some well earned recovery and a chance to reflect on your training journey so far.

Pace yourself

When you first set off on half marathon day, you can easily find yourself going quicker than you normally would because of the crowds and the atmosphere. While it is good to feed off that initial adrenaline, it is important to make sure you don’t burn out after a few miles in. Have your optimum pace in mind and try to keep running to that. You are not allowed to use headphones during the race but singing along to your steps in your head can help to maintain a steady rhythm!!

Nutrition and Hydration

With pre- race nerves it can be difficult to eat but do make sure you have enough slow release energy in your body 2-3 hours before the half marathon starts. Make sure you practice your food routine prior to half marathon day and stick to what you know works for the day. Toast or porridge are the best breakfasts to consider before your run, and a banana can help give you last minute energy just before your run.

It is so important to keep hydrated before and during the run. Drink little and often and consider drinks with electrolytes to replenish nutrients lost during the run.

Warm up/ Cool down

On race day it is vital to complete a proper warm up to reduce the risk of injury and optimize your performance. This should consist of a gentle 5-10 minute jog to get everything moving, running drills and dynamic stretching. There can be some waiting at the starting line so be prepared with a warm-up exercise to complete for the last few minutes before setting off on the run. There are videos on the Facebook page with step by step guides of running drills and dynamic stretches.

Afterwards, make sure you put some time aside to cool down efficiently. This will reduce post-run ache and give you a chance to assess for any niggles which have presented during the run. See Andy’s exercise video on the Facebook page for cool down ideas!

To book your pre and or post race Sports Massage call the clinic today.
Wootton – 01604 875950 Moulton – 01604 493066 


Northampton 1/2 Marathon – Myth Busters

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Myth Busters

I need to just keep putting the miles in…….
This is a classic case of quality over quantity! Regardless of distance, the quality of your run is the most important factor.  Interval training is a really efficient way of preparing your heart and lungs for a long-distance run, whereas hill running challenges different part of muscle groups.  A varied training programme should focus on all aspects of running and not just mileage.

I will get strong just by running so I don’t need to do other training…..
When you run you are asking a serious amount from many different muscle groups. If we are weak in some muscles, then its likely other muscles will compensate and cause injury.  Just running will not strengthen the weak muscles, but only increase the compensation.  In other words, if we just run, only the strong muscles get stronger! A physiotherapist can help identify where your weaker muscles are and what you need to do to strengthen properly.

Every week we are posting a new strength exercise to help with your training programme – keep an eye out on our Facebook page.

I am training my core by doing lots of sit ups………
This is a common misconception! While sit ups do work some muscles in your abdominal area, they don’t work our deep core muscles.  A better idea is get guidance through your physiotherapist or personal trainer on how to work your core. Pilates can be a great option as it focuses on working your deep stability muscles.

Running will ruin my knees…
This is the most common myth we hear! Knees do frequently get injured due to running, but this is usually due to muscle imbalance or training programme.  If you are running with a good programme and strong muscles, there is no evidence to suggest you are damaging your knees!

The best way to recover from a run is to drink protein shakes…
There is no substitute for good sleep, good nutrition and good hydration. Protein shakes may be beneficial in some cases, but the foundations should be

– diet filled with complex carbs, protein and a variety of fruit and veg.

– Good hydration, not only when running but throughout your whole training programme.

– Sleep, which is the very best way to repair muscle tissue after a run. And it’s the thing we skip most!

I will prevent injury if I stretch before running…….
If we are talking about static stretching (holding a stretch for a certain amount of time) recent research suggests this isn’t the best way to prepare for a run. A good dynamic stretching regime (stretching with movement) is definitely more sensible as you will warm up your body, prepare the muscles for the task ahead and get the blood pumping to all the right areas!

Getting a stitch is a sign of being unfit……..
There are a number of reasons we might get a stitch while running. Surprisingly the most common reason is due to digestion.  If our body is working hard to digest a pre-run meal, it can cause pressure on your diaphragm, leading to a stitch.

Additionally, a stitch may also signal that your muscles are not getting enough oxygen, in which case you may want to look at your breathing technique

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