Happy New Year & Clinics W/C 07/01/2019

Happy New Year to you all, we are looking forward to 2019 and all it may bring!

Next week I am at Leeds Beckett University examining the BSc Sports & Exercise Therapy students. Therefore I have had to change some of the clinics. I will still be in on the Saturday morning, but Amelia will holding the fort with clinics on Wednesday & Thursday in Bedale and Friday in Northallerton. Booking appointments with Amelia could not be easier via the online booking button on this page or via the Facebook page. Simply select Amelia from the “team” drop down box and her availability will come up (see below).

5 Tips to Running Your 1st 10k

The Northallerton 10k is just over two weeks away and for many it will be there first 10k. To help you prepare for the event I asked Josie to write 5 tips to preventing running injuries. The event is already full, but there will be limited entries on the day. We will be there on the day providing taping, massage and advice pre and post race, near the start/finish on the high street in Northallerton.

Training for a 10K? – Tips to prevent injury. 

Are you preparing to run your first 10K but not sure about how to do so safely? Well you have come to the right place. Below is 5 of the most common mistakes and misconceptions people make when training for a running event:

1 – Failing to warm up and cool down

It is so easy to forget or neglect to warm up and cool down before going out for a run. Warming up is vital to help prepare your body for the stress it is going to be put under when running. I would recommend a gentle jog then completing the lunge matrix, calf raises and leg swings, to get your muscles prepared. Not only will you find the warm up will help prepare your body for the training session it will also allow you to get in the right mind set for the run ahead. Cooling down after the run will allow you to gradually reduce your heart rate back to normal and stretch out you muscles.

Lunge matrix – (Credit: Coach Jay Johnson).

2 – Incorrect footwear

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A lot of you (including myself) may have a trusty pair of trainers which you have worn to death but just can’t seem to part with them. When our trainers start to wear out they lose the shape and support which we need to prevent injury when running.

When it comes to choosing some new trainers I understand there are many different types and deciding which ones are best for you can be tricky. Personally my best advice is to go to a running shop and get a good pair of trainers to suit you, go for comfort first, then work from there. Trust me you will thank me later.

3 – Increasing milage too rapidly

So you’ve finally decided to enter your first 10k race, but now it’s getting closer to the event your 3 and 5k training sessions just aren’t going to cut it anymore. A lot of you panic (I myself have fallen victim to this) and jump straight into 10k training. Though doing this you are putting a lot of stress on the body

In the sporting world there is a basic rule stating you shoulder increase your training session or weekly mileage by 10% only. Personally I think this is a good rule to follow making sure you gave yourself adequate recovery time in-between each training session.

4 – Ignoring any little niggles or twinges

The majority of us will have little niggles and twinges from time to time especially when starting out running and it’s important to understand that REST is not always the answer. Although for a lot of injuries this will help in the first instance; when you get back out running the injury will more than likely re-occur and get progressively worse. This is because there is usually a reason for the injury occurring in the first place; whether it be bad running technique, a muscle imbalance of even an incorrect training program. This is why it is important to get any niggles of twinges checked out as soon as you feel them occur in order to prevent them from advancing into a more serious injury.

5 – Neglecting strength training 

So you’re doing everything by the book; wearing the correct footwear, warming up and cooling down before each session, increasing your running distance and speed slowly and giving your body enough time to recover in-between, yet your still getting little niggles and twinges. Why? Well it’s rather simple, you need to incorporate some strength training into your program. This is because if your muscles are weak more often than not they can’t take the demands we put on our bodies when running.  Don’t panic, strength training doesn’t always have to mean lifting heavy weights, in fact using your own body weight is one of the best forms strength training you can do. Exercises such as calve raises, Nordic curls and bridges are excellent to incorporate into your training. As an added bonus you will also find that strength training not only helps with injury prevention it can also contribute to your overall running performance.

So to conclude: Make sure you warm up and cool down after a running session, get yourself a pair of good running trainers, increase your mileage at a steady pace giving your body enough time to recover, get any niggles of twinges checked out, incorporate some form of strength training into your program and most importantly ENJOY YOURSELF.

Thanks Josie Grieve.
Sports Therapist

Mugshot Josie

Josie Grieve (MSST)


Josie works out of the Yarm clinic every Tuesday. To book an appointment you can easily book online here.

Preventing Hamstring Injuries

This is a brief post predominently about the Nordic Hamstring Exercise, which can be used as part of a preventative programme for hamstring injuries.  It should not be used in isolation and as in all preventative programmes the sport involved, level of participation and physiological/psychosocial requirements must be accounted for.

Hamstring injuries can be a significant problem in sports involving rapid changes in pace/direction, with between 12-16% occurrence in English and Australia professional football (Peterson and Holmich, 2005). Recurrence rates are also high (12-63%), with the first month after return to play (RTP) being the highest risk period (Brukner et al., 2014).

So not only is the rehabilitation of hamstring injuries important, but the prevention of further hamstring injuries at RTP, especially in the first month. To understand how to prevent injury we need to understand the risk factors for that injury. Peterson and Holmich (2005) nicely distinguish between the different risk factors by sub-grouping them in to non-modifiable and modifiable. The main risk factors for hamstring injury are:

Non-Modifiable:

– Age – older individuals are at greater risk.

– Black or aboriginal ethnic origin.

Modifiable:

– Muscular imbalance – low hamstring:quadriceps strength ratio.

– Muscle fatigue.

– Hamstring tightness.

– Insufficient warm-up.

– Previous injury.

In terms of preventing hamstring injuries, eccentric exercises (muscle is working as it is lengthening) have received a lot of attention over the last few years (Mjølsnes et al., 2004; Small et al.; 2009 and Brooks et al., 2006) and more recently the Nordic Hamstring Exercise. Mjølsnes et al. (2004) compared Nordic hamstrings with a concentric leg curl strengthening programme and found that greater gains were achieved with the Nordic hamstrings and also a greater improvement in the hamstrings:quadriceps strength ratio compared to the hamstring curl exercise. Subjects in this group were healthy individuals with either no history of hamstring injury or “fully recovered” from previous injury.

Nordic Hamstring Exercise

The Nordic Hamstring Exercise is performed by anchoring the lower legs and slowly leaning forward from a tall kneeling position. The individual tries to control their lean until they reach a “tipping point” when they use their arms (not face!) to break their fall. See the video below for a demonstration:

Nordic Hamstring Video:

The training protocol used in the Mjølsnes et al. study was over a 10 week period and is reproduced below:

Training protocol for Nordic hamstring exercise

Reproduced from Mjølsnes et al. (2004)

Points To Note

– The subjects in this study had no current injuries.

– The Nordic hamstring exercise is a high effort level exercise to perform.

– It can be great as part of a rehabilitation programme, but should only be used as advised by a suitably experienced and qualified therapist/trainer.

– A suitable warm-up should be performed prior to performing the exercise.

– The Nordic hamstring exercise should be used as part of a comprehensive rehabilitation/preventative programme and not in isolation.

Thanks for reading, get in touch if you have any questions.

Ed

References:

Brooks, J.H.M., Fuller, C.W., Kemp, S.P.T. and Reddin, D.B. (2006) Incidence, Risk, and Prevention of Hamstring Muscle Injuries in Professional Rugby Union. American Journal of Sports Medicine, 34:8, 1297-1306.

Brukner, P., Nealon, A., Morgan, C., Burgess, D. and Dunn, A. (2014) Recurrent hamstring muscle injury: applying the limited evidence in the professional football setting with a seven-point programme. British journal of Sports Medicine 48:11 929-938.

Mjølsnes, R., Arnason, A., Østhagen, T., Roasted, T. and Baar, R. (2004) A 10-week randomised trial comparing eccentric vs concentric hamstring strength training in well trained soccer players. Scandinavian Journal of Sports Medicine, 14:, 311-317.

Petersen, J. and Holmich, P. (2005) Evidence based prevention of hamstring injuries in sport. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 39:6, 319-323.

Small, K; McNaughton, L; Greig, M and Lovell, R. (2009) Effect of timing of eccentric hamstring strengthening exercises during soccer training: implications for muscle fatiguability. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 23:4, 1077-1083.

Overground vs Treadmill Running

We often use treadmill running for gait analysis. It is a big thing at the moment with most running and and sports stores offering some form of “gait analysis”, some more in-depth than others. For a good blog post on “in store” gait analysis take a look at Matt Phillips blog Why Gait Analysis Won’t Help You Find The Right Shoe.  But (and it’s a big but) how many of us run exclusively run on treadmills? How many of us don’t run on treadmills at all?  If we don’t run on treadmills, but we buy trainers based on a treadmill running assessment, is it the same as running overground?

Treadmill vs Astroturf

There are several factors that could be considered if we ask the question: is it the same? We could be talking about the aerobic capacity or the biomechanics, or the physiological demands of the type of running.  Briefly, Bassett et al. (1985) found that the aerobic requirements of treadmill running versus overground running on a level and inclined surface were not statistically different.  For the purpose of shoe selection or of gait analysis for running technique and style we are more interested in the biomechanics, or more specifically the kinematics (the study of movement from a geometrical point of view), of a persons running style.

The catalyst for me writing this post is the image above, which comes from a gait analysis session with a patient of mine (permission to use the images in this post has kindly been given by the patient).  Before we get going I should point out a few important points:

  • In both scenarios the patient was instructed to run at their “steady run pace”.
  • On the treadmill they were given chance to acclimatise to their preferred pace.
  • They were also used to running on treadmills and performed a mix of treadmill and outdoor running during their training.
  • The gait analysis was not in relation to a particular injury, more from a running economy and performance perspective.

 You can see if we just look at the foot strike (point at which the foot contacts the running surface), the two images are quite different. On the left we can see that the foot lands fairly flat, on its outside edge, whilst on the right the foot lands on the heel in a straighter position.  Not so easy to see in the image, but which was evident in the video, is that the step width is much narrower on the left compared with the right. Nigg et al. (1995) made a kinematic comparison of overground versus treadmill running and found that subjects adapted their landing style on a treadmill so that the foot landed in more of a flat position than in overground running, which is what we see here.  Nigg et al. also found that most of the other variables studied showed an inconsistent pattern based on a individuals athletes landing style, running speed and “shoe/treadmill situation”.

Treadmill vs Astro midstance

But what about the rest of the body? It is important to look above the foot during gait analysis, so who does this individuals running form vary between the two scenarios? We can see that the shoulders and hips are level with the treadmill running, whilst there is a contralateral (opposite) hip drop with the overground running. What was also visible in the video comparison was the amount of sided-to-side head movement was reduced during treadmill running compared to overground running.  This may be due to the constraints of the treadmill leading to a tighter/more uniform control on running form and stride rate (Lindsay et al., 2014).

So what does all this mean?

Well it tells that the running on a treadmill is not the same as running overground. Also that if you are someone who predominantly or exclusively runs overground, treadmill gait analysis is possibly not a true reflection of your running form.  In terms of shoe selection Nigg et al. summarise things quite nicely:

“…individual assessment of running kinematics on a treadmill for shoe or orthotic assessment may possibly lead to inadequate conclusions about overground running.”

My view is that gait analysis is still a useful tool, it can help to see how you run, which is quite often different to how you think you run! But if I have a patient how predominantly runs overground and not on a treadmill, this is how I like to see them run and vice versa.  With regards to shoe selection, use the time on the treadmill to see how the shoe feels, really just ask yourself: Is it comfortable?  If it is then that is a good start.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and if you have any questions, feel free to get in touch.

Thanks for reading.

Ed

How Are You Running?

The spring marathon season is just around the corner and those planning running a marathon should really be starting to think about your training and preparation. Yes it seems like its ages away, but as the saying goes “it soon comes round” (is that even a saying? I’m not too sure). Now is the ideal time to take stock of your training and look at making any changes you deem useful.

One aspect you may want to look at is the way you run. The vast majority of us learn to run not long after we learn to walk and from that point on think very little about how we run and why it might be important in terms of both performance and injury prevention. There is an emerging body of evidence that would suggest modification of an individuals running technique (gait re-training) and cadence can help in the treatment and rehabilitation of injuries. There are certain injuries, which appear to correlate with a particular running style or pattern, for example cross-over gait could, possibly be linked with ITB syndrome. A study of 15 runners, by Meardon et al. (2012) found an increase in ITB strain rate as step width decreased (Reference).  By looking at the whole body it is possible to look for patterns of movement, which may effect running style or performance, for example the action of the arms and amount of rotation in the upper body correlates with the leg swing and counter rotation in the lower body and vice versa.

Blog Post 1

Some aspects of an individuals running form can be picked up just by watching them run, whereas other are more subtle, happen quicker and therefore difficult to pick up with the naked eye. This is where video gait analysis comes in. Here I do not mean the knee down, focussing on the foot landing, gait analysis you get in sports shops. I am talking about a whole body top-to-toe video analysis that looks at not only what happens at the feet, but also the knees, hips and upper body. It is only by looking at the whole body that you can get a true reflection of an individuals running style and therefore make adjustments to suit them as an individual.

However, to go back to my previous point about marathon training, if you are going to make adjustments to your running, it takes time for the new movement patterns to develop and to break old habits. Running drills and cues need to be accompanied by the correct strength and conditioning exercises and mobility work, which again need to be developed for the individual. The autumn winter seasons are the perfect time to start looking at your running style and making any changes required.

It is not about pigeon holing you into a category, it is about finding the right style of running for you!

If you would like further information about video gait analysis service provided at Ed Pratt Sports Therapy, please click here.

Happy running.

Ed

Yorkshire Marathon Terms and Conditions.

On the 20th of October several clients are competing in the Yorkshire Marathon in York, for many of them it will be their first marathon. So to try and offer a little bit of an incentive, and post race support, I am offering one runner the chance to win a post event massage.
To enter text (07837276444), tweet or Facebook me your name and bib number, the terms and conditions are below.

1. The competition closes at midnight on Sunday 20th October 2013
2. By entering the competition from Ed Pratt Sports Therapy, users are deemed to have read, understood and accepted all of the ‘Terms and Conditions’ and agreed to be bound by them and any requirements set out in accompanying material.
3. The competition is open to all completing the Yorkshire Marathon on Sunday 20th October 2013
4. One entrant can win a free sports massage from Ed Pratt Sports Therapy at either the Northallerton, Bedale or Thirsk Clinic. For clinic times and locations visit http://edprattsportstherapy.com/clinic-times-prices/. The prize must be used by 20th November 2013.
5. To enter participants must share their name and Yorkshire Marathon race number via Facebook, twitter or text. This is to confirm that the entrant has completed the run and is entitled to the prize.
6. Race numbers can be posted on the Yorkshire Marathon Facebook post at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ed-Pratt-Sports-Therapist/74642339470, tweeted to @EPsportstherapy or text along with your name to 07837 276444.
7. Only one entry can be sent per person.
8. The winners will be notified and announced via Facebook and Twitter. If the winner does not have a profile on either of these they will be notified via text.
9. The prize of a free sports massage with Ed Pratt Sports Therapy at either Northallerton, Bedale or Thirsk clinic is non-refundable and cannot be exchanged for money or any other items.
10. The winner will be selected at random on Monday 21th October.
11. By entering the competition the winners agree to participate in such promotional activity and material as Ed Pratt Sports Therapy requires.
12. The judges’ decision will be final, and no correspondence will be entered into.
13. Ed Pratt Sports Therapy reserves the right to amend these terms and conditions at any time.

Great North Run Competition Terms and Conditions

The Great North Run takes place a week today and I know that we have many local runners taking part. To celebrate all your fantastic achievement Ed Pratt Sports Therapy has a competition for you all to relieve those post-run aches and pains.
All you need to do is share your race number below, or tweet it to @epsportstherapy or text it along with your name to 07837 276444. The day after the race we will select one runner to win a free sports massage to ease those aches and get you back out training again quicker.
So get posting, tweeting and texting and share with those you know are doing the run.
Good luck to all of you on the big day.

1. The competition closes at midnight on Sunday 15th September 2013
2. By entering the competition from Ed Pratt Sports Therapy, users are deemed to have read, understood and accepted all of the ‘Terms and Conditions’ and agreed to be bound by them and any requirements set out in accompanying material.
3. The competition is open to all completing the Great North Run 2013 on Sunday 15th September.
4. One entrant can win a free sports massage from Ed Pratt Sports Therapy at either the Northallerton, Bedale or Thirsk Clinic. For clinic times and locations visit http://edprattsportstherapy.com/clinic-times-prices/. The prize must be used by 15th October 2013.
5. To enter participants must share their name and Great North Run race number via Facebook, twitter or text. This is to confirm that the entrant has completed the run and is entitled to the prize.
6. Race numbers can be posted on the Great North Run Facebook post at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ed-Pratt-Sports-Therapist/74642339470, tweeted to @EPsportstherapy or text along with your name to 07837 276444.
7. Only one entry can be sent per person.
8. The winners will be notified and announced via Facebook and Twitter. If the winner does not have a profile on either of these they will be notified via text.
9. The prize of a free sports massage with Ed Pratt Sports Therapy at either Northallerton, Bedale or Thirsk clinic is non-refundable and cannot be exchanged for money or any other items.
10. The winner will be selected at random on Monday 16th September.
11. By entering the competition the winners agree to participate in such promotional activity and material as Ed Pratt Sports Therapy requires.
12. The judges’ decision will be final, and no correspondence will be entered into.
13. Ed Pratt Sports Therapy reserves the right to amend these terms and conditions at any time.

Great North Run Top Tips

The Great North Run is now one week away and we know that this can be a worrying time for many runners. Are you prepared? Have you done enough training? These are two questions that will be going through many of your heads right now.

We have sports therapy clinics in Northallerton, Thirsk and Bedale in North Yorkshire and see many runners who are putting in those final preparations before a big race day. This may be to work on some stretches with us or get a sports massage to ensure their muscles are in the best state possible to get on the start line.

To help you get ready for Sunday we have created six tips to ensure that your half marathon goes smoothly.

1. Get a sports massage, which can help ease areas of tightness in your muscles prior to your race.
2. Go at your own pace. You know what you’ve done in your training and should have a fair idea of what you’re capable of, so start with a plan and try to follow it. The start will be a big scrum and hectic with people getting in the way and making it difficult to find your rhythm, but it will spread out, so use your watch or GPS and the mile markers to keep track of your pace. Don’t go off too fast and remember to give yourself a nudge if you fall off the pace a bit!

3. Enjoy it! It will be an amazing day, whatever the weather, with live music, fancy dress and thousands of other people. When it gets tough, which it probably will, look around you and remember why you’re there – to post a PB, to do your 10th race, to raise money for charity.

4. Drink to thirst. At these events you can be surrounded by people telling you to drink more. Think about what you’ve done during your training and stick to that.

5. Don’t change your running routine / add anything new on the day. Stick to what you know.

6. After your race you need to rehydrate, refuel and keep moving. This should help to prevent you from stiffening up. Try gentle, cyclical stretches for the calves, hamstrings and quads (thighs).

Save £5 on a sports massage with Ed Pratt Sports Therapy

We understand the importance of getting you back out training as soon after a race as possible and this can be made easier with a sports massage. It will help ease those aches and pains so you can start working towards your next goal. To get this special Great North Run offer all you need to do is book an appointment with Ed at any of his clinics and let him know your race number so he can confirm you took part in the event.

Another 17 Questions…

This week we’ve heard from Fergus Roberts, and now ahead of the British Triathlon Championships in Liverpool this weekend its time to hear from his older brother Doug (left). I’d like to thank them both for their open honest answers and the insight into their sport.

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1. How did you get into triathlon?
Triathlon seemed an obvious thing for me. I was swimming at my local club, running for Richmond and Zetland Harriers and biking with my parents. Someone suggested that I should try one which I did and won my first event. From there I have been hooked.

2. Mid way through the season, how have things gone so far?
The beginning of my season started off quite well winning some early season races and gave some top athletes a run for their money out in a senior European cup in Spain. However the past 5 weeks I have been unable to run so I haven’t finished a race since the end of May.

3. What’s your strongest discipline?
I usually say to people that I’m quite consistent at all three disciplines and that I’m only good when the three disciplines are put together. However at my fittest I would say my run has always been a strong point and many of my races have been won by this.

4. Do you have any pre/post race superstitions?
No, although I usually race best after a good breakfast.

5. Any advice for aspiring athletes starting out in their first season of multi-sport racing?
Consistency is key! 8hours of training every week is better than 14 one week then 2 the next. Also try to make the training and racing fun, meet up with people and find inspiring routes on the run and bike.

6. So far this season you’ve made several trips to Europe, what’s the best/worst thing about travelling?
The best thing is defiantly experiences different place and cultures and cycling and running in some brilliant countryside. The worst thing is waiting in hot sweaty airports for connecting flights etc. I usually bring a good book or update my ipod with a few videos.

7. What are your aims for the future?
My long terms aims are to represent Scotland and Great Britain at a world level at either the Olympics or Commonwealth games.

8. What’s the best advice you’ve had regarding your sport/racing?
Make sure you enjoy what you’re doing or else you will never achieve your full potential.

9. Who are your sporting/non sporting heroes?
Lance Armstrong was a huge sports hero in my house when I was growing up, I used to get nervous every year for him racing the tour de France. Even though things have changed slightly now and he has admitted to doping, I am still inspired by his dedication to training and attitude to winning. Alistair Brownlee has also had huge influence on my comeback to the sport and my younger brother Fergus.

10. You come from a sporting family how did that influence you growing up?
Having an active and sporty family was a huge influence and is probably the main reason why me Ferg and Jessie are all competing at an international level across Europe. At a young age cycling holidays in the Alps or running up and down hills in the Lake District and Scotland didn’t feel like training but it was giving us a huge endurance base that helped when it came to swimming, cycling and running in a race. Some days I will maybe lack the motivation to go out training, but seeing other members of my family going out training gives me that kick up the bum to get it done.

11. What kind of diet do you have to follow?
My diet is generally sorted for a made healthier by my mum. We are not over excessively strict on what we eat but as a whole I prefer fruit and veg to chocolate and sweets. My diet contains a lot of carbohydrates such as pasta and potatoes.

12. How does what you eat affect your performance?
Generally eating unhealthy makes me feel lethargic and sluggish during training or racing. Your body works similar to a car. If you put the wrong fuel in then the performance will deteriorate significantly, but with the correct fuel and care then it runs smoothly and efficiently.

13. What support did you get at school and do you feel this has helped you?
My school days were another important factor in my development as an athlete. In secondary school at Allertonshire my P.E teachers Chris Byrne and Sandra Horner were brilliant in terms of cross country and athletics encouraging me to compete at a national standard and to continue with my sport. They taught me that being good at something takes lots and lots of dedication and it’s only the tiny minority that continue after they leave school. Several of my teachers at College had an influence on my development. Matthew Uffindal who taught me A level P.E introduced me to the outdoors which I pursued through to degree level and Steve Merrifield always had time to chat about his experiences as an elite basketball player and he helped me decide on a career.

14. What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Concentrate on your own race, your own strengths and how you’re going to win it. Let the competition worry about you and wonder what shape you’re in. If you have prepared well you will race well and deserve to.

15. What advice would you give to a young person considering competing professionally?
It’s not about having the talent to compete professionally it’s whether you have the guts too. It takes months or years of dedication and commitment to become the best with lots of low points, but those single high points will out way them all.

16. What is the biggest challenge you face as an athlete?
Believing in myself that I can beat people. Even in local races which I know I can win comfortably I start to doubt myself and to worry about others. I have become better over time but I do still struggle with self-confidence.

17. How important is it to have support from Ed Pratt Sports Therapy?
Having the support from Ed is brilliant. He doesn’t just help to heal and fix my body but also to prevent future injuries from occurring. He also has great knowledge of the sport and what it Is like to compete at an international level. Having people like Ed supporting me as an athlete is key to success and the level of trust between the athlete and physio is key when the times get tough with severe injuries.

Almost 20 Questions…

After a great race in Ireland at the European Cup last weekend (placing 11th) I thought I’d ask sponsored triathlete, Fergus Roberts (right), a few questions about triathlon, racing and life as an athlete.

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1. How did you get into triathlon?
I first started triathlon when I was 9 years old following in my brother and sisters footsteps, after competing in triathlon for two years I decided to concentrate fully on running as this was my strongest discipline and brought me lots of success. I then returned to triathlon after struggling with injury with solely focusing on running in 2010 and haven’t looked back since!

2. Mid way through the season, how have things gone so far?
As far as results are concerned the 2013 season hasn’t been great, however I know that I am in good shape and believe that future races this season will improve.

3. What’s your strongest discipline?
All three disciplines are on a similar level, although I would probably say that my run is the best when I am in top shape.

4. Do you have any pre/post race superstitions?
Not really, but I always make sure I eat bang on 3hours before a race and have a certain routine of stretches that must be done!

5. Any advice for aspiring athletes starting out in their first season of multi-sport racing?
From a training point of view, to make competing in triathlon slightly easier I would suggest that you work very hard on your swim, I have learnt that if you can come out of the swim in the front pack you can usually do well in the race. Also a race can’t be won in transition but it can definitely be lost so make sure you are as fast as possible through transition which takes a lot of practise but it is an easier way to gain time than doing lots of training. The most important advice is to make sure that you enjoy the sport, as you spend a lot of time feeling tired or in a bad state and you need the enjoyment to get you through!

6. So far this season you’ve made several trips to Europe, what’s the best/worst thing about travelling?
The best thing about racing abroad is experiencing new courses and meeting different people. I hate all the waiting around that is involved in travelling, I always feel sluggish on arrival for the rest of the day (It is worth it though!)

7. What are your aims for the future?
My aim is to keep on improving over the next few years and hopefully that will take me to racing on the world circuit and competing at the highest level, I would love to represent GB at a major competition!

8. What’s the best advice you’ve had regarding your sport/racing?
“listen too you’re body, only you know how you are feeling” Shaun Purkiss

9. Who are your sporting/non sporting heroes?
I don’t really have any sporting hero’s although Lance Armstrong inspired me in early life. My main hero is my mum, she is always helping me to be the best I can be and has supported me tirelessly throughout my life. She pushed me as a youngster and planted my desire to compete at a high level. I have a very good relationship with my mum and dad and believe that this is a key factor to me getting through difficult patches throughout my life. I have only just started to appreciate how much my parents have sacrificed, with limited resources and knowledge, in order to support me and help me achieve my dreams.

10. You come from a sporting family how did that influence you growing up?
This has helped me massively. Me, my brother and sister all compete in sport at a high level so there must be a reason for us all still being involved. My family provide encouragement and inspiration for me to keep improving for example not many people my age can still go out for a fast ride on the bike with my dad aged 52, I always try to beat him up the hills but he is never far behind and when we get back for lunch I ask him what he’s doing in the afternoon and he says “going for another ride”.
My parents have brought us up in the outdoors, instead of computer games and toys it was walking in the Lake District or cycling in Scotland. An example of our childhood is when Doug was eight and Jessie was ten we cycled for two weeks in the French Alps averaging 50miles a day climbing passes that many fully grown adults wouldn’t even contemplate, this sort of holiday is probably where we all started building our base fitness for the future (nowadays I don’t know any parent that would do this).

11. What kind of diet do you have to follow?
I don’t follow a strict diet, but generally speaking I eat very healthily although I do have a weakness for chocolate like the rest of my family. I eat plenty of fruit to boost my immune system because triathlon is highly demanding and you are always on the edge of illness due to the vast amount of training and intensity that is involved. My mum always makes lovely meals that are very nutritious, one of my favourites is prawn and salmon pearl barley risotto although you can’t beat a nice pizza or barbeque.

12. How does what you eat affect your performance?
I have never really analysed which foods improve or decrease my performance, but I try to avoid any red meat before a race as it is slow to digest and can often give me a stitch or make me feel lethargic.

13. What support did you get at school and do you feel this has helped you?
Throughout school I have always been encouraged and recognized for my sport which I have appreciated. At secondary school (Allertonshire) was where I was most pushed by Mr Byrne my PE teacher. He was always so enthusiastic when taking us to cross country events and his team talks before the races were always worth a listen. Other than that most of the support I have received has been from clubs, teams, friends and family such as Richmond and Zetland harriers, the Hambleton road club, Northallerton ASC and Richmond dales ASC. I race for redvenom.co.uk which is a compression clothing company and have given me endless support such as taking me to races and helping me to find sponsorship which I am very grateful.

14. What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
It is hard to think which the best piece of advice is because I have been given so much. But the piece of advice I am told most is to “enjoy what I am doing while I’m young and fit and make the most of every opportunity I am given because I might not get them again!”

15. What advice would you give to a young person considering competing professionally?
Don’t be afraid of your competitors let them be afraid of you.

16. What is the biggest challenge you face as an athlete?
Injury and illness are the biggest challenges. When you are an athlete you are bound to experience an injury, you feel awful and being unable to do what you love is quite depressing and hard to take but I would happily have a few injuries if it helped me to get one perfect race and result!

17. How important is it to have support from Ed Pratt Sports Therapy?
The support I receive from Ed is so important for me competing in triathlon, due to the physical nature of the sport. Ed has a very good knowledge of the sport and is always willing to go the extra mile when there is a certain aspect of my performance that needs improving. If there is something that he isn’t quite sure about, he spends a lot of time researching and comes back to the next session an expert in the topic. The therapy is usually preventative measures to avoid injury but when I do get an injury he gives me great rehab work and helps me regain my confidence. I put my full faith in Ed and always look forward to treatment as I know how good you feel after and how much harder you can push yourself. Ed isn’t just about the sports therapy, he is a good friend and I always walk out of the room feeling more confident about performing. Recently I have just completed my A-levels and he even helped me revise my PE without knowing by going through some biomechanics.