Race to the Finish Line! Part 1

Race to the Finish Line! Part 1

Whether you're taking part in your first 10k run or your 10th London Marathon, training for a major sporting event can be daunting and it's always hard work. In the first of our 'Race to the Finish Line' articles, find out how to keep your body injury free and working efficiently, your feet happy and nutrition at its optimum!

Body Basics: Natalie Koffman – runner, swimming teacher, experienced triathlete and professional sports masseuse.

The physical and psychological demands of training for a sporting event can be quite intense. When your body is being asked to adapt to new or repetitive activities this often puts unfamiliar pressure and stress on muscles and joints, sometimes creating aches and pains.

The Sports Massage Association defines sports massage as "the application of soft tissue techniques with the aim of managing, manipulating and rehabilitating muscles, tendons and ligaments” - this essentially means all the soft tissue in the musculoskeletal system. Incorporating sports massage into your training programme will keep your body in good shape as well as:

  • Helping you optimise your performance without injury
  • Responding to and preventing niggling aches and pains
  • Identifying the cause of pain and injuries to try and stop them from reoccurring
  • Keeping your energy moving freely
  • Preparing your for your event and supporting your recovery post event.

Natalie’s Top Tips for Injury Prevention and Efficiency:

  1. Run at a higher cadence. Cadence is how times your feet touch the ground in a minute. You are less likely to get injured if you run with a higher cadence of approximately 170 to 180 per minute! 
  1. Breathe Easy. Surprisingly, many people hold their breath when exercising. Concentrate on breathing out evenly. Your in breath will flow in naturally which many help you to breathe more deeply. 
  1. Stay relaxed: If you are training for any event, ensure that you maintain a body that is relaxed, your muscles will be less inclined to cramp and you’ll be able to enjoy your sport in a relaxed mode.

Optimum Nutrition: Tautvile Sliazaite, Nutritionist 

Maximising your mind and body’s potential starts with the food you eat and the interaction of nutrients within them. Training for and taking part in a major sports event will require you to tweak your nutrition in order to provide your body with the extra energy it needs – it’s also important to eat at the right time.

Tautvile’s Top Nutritional Tips:

  1. It is very important to have a meal in time period of 45 minutes after your workout. Your meal should have 4:1 carbohydrate:protein balance. 
  1. Consider using Coconut water or ideally, make your own isotonic drink:
    1. 200ml fruit squash (can be used apple, pear, peach, beetroot or carrot)
    2. 800ml water
    3. ¼ tsp Himalayan salt  
  1. Increase your Magnesium levels naturally – Swiss Chard, almonds, dark green leafy vegetables, banana, avocado, almonds, Epsom Salt bath or consider taking magnesium supplement – 400mg -3 times a day. 
  1. People have also noticed that using the “Carbohydrate Loading” technique, a strategy to increase the amount of fuel stored in your muscles, created by scientists at the University of Western Australia, improved their performance and endurance.

Happy Feet: Sarah Dick, Foot Health Practitioner

The average person uses their feet to walk 150,000 miles in a lifetime, equivalent to walking around the world five times. The foot is made up of 26 bones, making it one of the body’s most intricate ‘machines’.

Running increases the pressure on the foot by up to seven times that of body weight so whilst in training for a sporting event, especially if it involves long distance running, damage to your feet can often occur.

Sarah’s Top Tips for Foot Care:

  1. When trimming toenails, cut them straight across and not rounded. Rounded nail cutting can increase your risk of ingrown toenails, which is pretty painful 
  1. Wash feet daily making sure to dry in between the toes properly to prevent athlete’s foot 
  1. Give your feet some air time by not always having them in shoes or synthetic socks

  2. Wear socks with at least 70% cotton as they are more breathable 
  1. When buying footwear always buy for your larger foot and allow 1 cm of room between the longest toe and the end of the shoe 
  1. For dry skin use a foot file or pumice in the shower daily and apply an emollient foot cream 
  1. Corns and callus, never try to cut away yourself, always seek professional treatment from a Foot Health Practitioner or Podiatrist 
  1. Thickened/discoloured and partially or fully removed nails can all be treated with the use of a reconstructed nail. 

And finally, wear appropriate footwear! If you are training for a long-distance run then it’s worthwhile doing your research on running shoes and investing in a pair that will help and not hinder your feet.

Our Belsize Health Experts…

To book with Natalie, Tautvile or Sarah simply call our Belsize Health reception on 020 7483 2345 or email:

Natalie:          revivehealthlondon@gmail.com

Tautvile:         tautvile@manapractice.com

Sarah:            info@belsizehealth.co.uk.

Natalie Koffman Credentials: (MRSS, ITEC, MTI, LSSM)

Doing a lot of cycling, squash, gym, snowboarding and other sports, I have had loads of sports massages over the years. Natalie with her Shiatsu massages is almost the best (if not the best) that I have ever had. She is thoughtful and attentive and makes a real difference. Highly recommended. JOHN-MARC BUNCE N4 2016

Tautvile Sliazaite Credentials: LLB (Hons) DipCNM mBANT CNHC

After just a few days of following Tautvile’s recommendations, I had more energy, better concentration and a deeper understanding of how my body reacts to different foods. In addition, her holistic approach to the sessions means that she has been able to provide me with advice not only in relation to nutrition, but also general wellbeing and relaxation techniques. ANDREW, LONDON

Sarah Dick Credentials: MCFHP MAFHP Diploma in Foot Health

Sarah quickly relieves pain from a troublesome corn on my little toe in a friendly and professional manner. A damaged big toe nail from continual running was perfectly managed, thickness reduced and a new nail reconstructed in time for a trip to the beach. Love the fact she can offer the medical care as well as beauty needs so I can finish with pampering pedicure. Would highly recommend Sarah to everyone. CHRISTINE BROOKS



Throughout April, our Belsize Health Clinic practitioners have some great offers running:

  • Natalie Koffman, Sports Masseuse - Book 5 pre-event 60 minute treatments and get a 60 minute post-event treatment totally free.
  • Sarah Dick, Foot Healthcare - 15% off nail reconstruction and initial foot health appointment.
  • Agi Makarewicz, Agile Pilates - Free 30 minute private introductory class.
  • Jenni Stone, Reflexology & Yoga - £20 off a one hour reflexology class or 1-to-1 yoga session. Fees usually £65 so only pay £45.

To enquire and book, please speak to our receptionist on 020 7483 2345.

T&Cs: Offers apply throughout the month of April 2016 at Belsize Health Clinic. One discounted session per person only and the discounts cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers.