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Get your strectches right

With just a few days left to the Flora Women's Mini Marathon, make sure your legs feel fresh and lively by just going for a short jog or walk over the next couple of days. Enter this great fun run in a positive frame of mind, determined to enjoy the occasion. Remember that 90pc of the participants will be there, like you, to finish the course with undue stress.

The cardinal rule of any race is to come dressed to run/walk, having pinned your number on your vest the night before. Your gear should be comfortable and light. Check your socks for rough edges and do not wear shoes that have not been tested for at least a week beforehand.

If you are one of the vast majority who has not prepared to run all the way, stick with a familiar group, or set out at a pace that is comfortable for you. If you are running all the way, stay at ease with yourself up to at least half way and then up the pace from there.

Stick to your normal eating habits for the days leading up to the race with plenty of carbohydrates. Do not eat or drink to excess the evening before or the morning of the race, and do not consume anything out of the ordinary.

A light breakfast is all that is required on race day. Sip water slowly up to the start of the race, as this will prevent your stomach becoming uncomfortable. This is particularly important to avoid dehydration during this hot spell, which could remain up to Race Day.

Do a light warm-up for half an hour before the start with lots of stretching. Rub some Vaseline on the inside of your legs to avoid chafing. Go to your appointed area in good time, and when the race starts err on the side of caution with your pace.

If you have not got water with you, take some at the start or at the first water station. Runners should not be afraid to walk for a short time in the closing stages if feeling distressed in any way; when they feel recovered they can return to their normal rhythm.

If you cramp up, get someone to massage the affected area and, if necessary, call on the medical aid to help.

The carnival atmosphere of the event will provide you with great encouragement and you, in turn, can support others as you travel along. Unless you have set a time target, do not let the element of competition enter into the day's fun.

The experienced athlete will set out at her own pace, but for the vast majority the goal will be to reach the finish line, and the feeling you will get as you complete the course will be even better than imagined.

After you collect that hard-earned medal keep walking and do a little stretching as you wait for your friends. There will be a water station at the finish to quench your thirst and you should keep walking until your heartbeat has returned to normal.

Good luck everyone and enjoy the greatest women's race in the world!


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