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PERFORMANCE


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MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR BODY!


whippet types. My friend, however, says her G-cup boobs do her no favours when she’s pounding the streets and asks how she can possibly be an amazing runner when every pace brings a self-inflicted blow to the face? Others say just gaining half a stone halts their running and it’s a vicious circle – they’re too “fat to run” so they “just run to fat”. Have you used your body shape to explain your running? It’s a natural assumption that to be a


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good runner you need an athletic shape – tall and slender with very little fat, a typical ectomorph body type. John Penny, general manager at the


Reebok Sports Club in Canary Wharf, London, says: “Ectomorphs tend to be the best runners because they generally carry less body fat and because of that, they develop cardiovascular fitness more easily. They have slim legs and arms and can stimulate sufficient strength to run.” If that’s the case, should the other body shapes, endomorphs (stocky, muscular build) and mesomorphs (larger structures with a tendency to gain fat), give up on their running dreams? Not at all, says John, who believes anyone can run, and excel at it, as long as they train correctly, with their shape in mind. “If you are heavy or overweight, you need to be more cautious because you will have increased stress on your joints, and you’re more at risk of injury,” explains John. “If your BMI is too low, and you’re too thin, you’re at risk of damaging joints and deteriorating muscles.” According to sports therapist Ed Pratt


24 ■ RUNNING FREE


or me, it’s my short terrier-like legs that have to work twice as fast to keep up with those long-legged


Elites are all skinny... is there any hope for the rest of us? Make the most of your shape and get the running results you dream of (and the figure!). By Christine Fieldhouse


(www.edprattsportstherapy.com) the stereotyping of body shapes is too general and we can develop our running, whatever our shape. “We need to account for dimensions


and ratios between arms and legs, and we can often be a mixture of these types anyway,” explains Ed, who runs clinics throughout North Yorkshire. “A good runner needs a strong core and a healthy weight and they can work from there. “The key is to plan training with your


strengths and weaknesses in mind. If someone is overweight they should start by walking, and gradually increase their pace until they can run. Build up gradually to stay injury-free.” To build strong legs and boost


cardiovascular fitness, Ed recommends working on endurance by increasing the intensity of workouts. Try hill-work, or intervals, for example, one minute sprinting and one minute gentle jogging. Meanwhile, John advocates getting to


the gym and getting in shape to run by working the core muscles (the abdominals and lower back), and the legs with leg presses, lunges, leg extensions and calf raises. Another body shape issue for women can be the problem of big boobs. But there are now a variety of sports bras for all shapes and sizes on the market. Our testers recently tried out a Thuasne Too Skin Bra (see product of the month) and an Anita Rosa Faia Bra and found both had a high level of support. Anna Prince, a spokesperson for


Bravissimo, explains: “There are no muscles in your boobs and without a good sports bra, they will bounce and


cause discomfort during exercise. “This is not only uncomfortable but it can lead to breasts having less uplift in the long run. Women with bigger boobs need extra support when they exercise. “Sports bras work by compressing the


bust close to the rib cage for minimum movement and a good sports bra should be made of a comfortable, absorbent fabric, with fairly rigid straps to minimise bounce. The underband should be firm around your body to prevent it from riding up your back.” With up-to-date advice and equipment, it seems we can no longer play the blame game when we turn in a less-than-good performance. Whether you have short legs, a large bottom or extra long arms, do the right training and you’ll run rings round the rest.


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Thuasne Tooskin Running demands freedom of movement and ‘seamingly invisible’ support, so look no


further than the brand new Thausne Too Skin – a super-light, but supportive seamless bra. Meryl/ Lycra® wicks away moisture preventing chafing. Available in black, white and beige, it costs £45. The seamless pants mean you can say goodbye to VPL and of course they’re comfortable and keep the sweat at bay. Pants, £23.95. Both from www.1000mile. co.uk, 01923 242233.


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