GNR: Preparing for the Great North Run

The Great North Run (GNR) is the largest half marathon in the world. It takes place annually in the North East of England each September. Participants taking place in the run travel between Newcastle Upon Tyne and South Shields.


Getting your body ready for the Great North Run

Why is training important?

Have you secured your place on the start line for the Great North Run? If so it’s a good idea to start your preparation for the run well in advance. But why is training so important?

First of all, training helps to avoid injury. If you try to take on too much too soon, it’s more than likely that you’ll end up with an injury. As a result, this will ultimately slow down your training process and could even take you out of training completely.

It’s better to train at a steady pace in order to gradually increase your abilities and meet your goals.


Warming up

Is a run really complete without warming up and cooling down?

Warming Up

It is important to note that both warming up and cooling down should be carried out at the beginning and end of any form of exercise to prevent injury.


An effective warm-up actually has two stages. The first is targeted toward increasing your blood flow and temperature. This could include lightly jogging on the treadmill or using an exercise bike for 5-10 minutes.

After stage 1 is complete it’s time to move on to stage 2. This is all about developing muscle length through dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching includes moving exercises such as:

  • High-knees

  • Running on the spot

  • Heel-to-bum flicks

  • Sidestepping

  • Cross overs

Cooling down

A good cool-down is just as important as warming up.

As a general rule, a cool-down should last for at least 5 minutes. The purpose of this is to slow down your heart rate and restore your range of movement.

Within your cool-down, it’s a good idea to include a range of stretches. This provides you with an opportunity to focus alternately on different areas and muscle groups.

Over time, this will assist you in locating where you are prone to aches and pains. As a result, you can spend more time targeting those specific areas.


Fuelling your body

Fuelling your body

When undertaking vigorous exercise, it’s important to fuel your body with the right kinds of food. This will help sustain energy levels and boost your immune system to keep you in top health for your training.

10 top fuel foods could include:

  • Wholegrain carbohydrates

  • Sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and butternut squash

  • Eggs

  • Bananas

  • Salmon and Sardines

  • Avocados

  • Greens!

  • Nuts and Seeds

  • Beetroot

  • Milk


Around 60% of the human body is made up of water. When done correctly, staying hydrated can contribute to your best performance on race day. In addition to this, it can maximise all the hard work you’ve put into training too.

It’s important to state that there are no set rules when it comes to staying hydrated. What works for someone else may not work for you. Everybody is different and individual factors including temperature, humidity, and activity levels can also dictate how much fluids our bodies need each day. However, it’s important to be wary of dehydration, especially in warmer weather.

A week before the run, you should make sure you are staying hydrated. It is recommended that both children and adults should drink 6-8 glasses of fluid per day.

During training, you will lose a lot of water in the form of sweat. It’s extremely important to replace the fluid and salt that you lose.

After the run, rehydrating your body is essential.


Why massage can help as part of your Great North Run training?

Research shows that massage has positive effects on pain.

Studies have shown that when it comes to running, massage could:

  • Improve soft tissue function

  • Support recovery

  • Increase the range of motion around a joint or within a muscle

  • Decrease muscle stiffness and fatigue after exercise

  • Reduce inflammation and swelling

  • Promote relaxation

  • And more!

How Essential Thyme can help you prepare for the Great North Run

Essential Thyme will be providing massage therapy for runners in support of Grace House at the finish line!

How Essential Thyme can help you prepare for the GNR

Grace House is a Sunderland based charity working across the North East, providing support to disabled children, young people and their families. Click here if you’d like to learn more about the amazing work that Grace House do.

If running for another charity or just yourself, you, unfortunately, will not be able to receive a massage from Essential Thyme at the end of the race. However, you can book in for a post-GNR massage on the Monday after the race.

Massage is a good idea at the end of the run. However, you could think about incorporating it into your training in the months leading up to the Great North Run.

Here at Essential Thyme, we offer monthly memberships that come with a range of benefits.

Learn more about our massage memberships.

Additionally, if you are running the GNR contact us for special GNR training packages!

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