Page last updated at 09:26 GMT, Friday, 24 April 2009 10:26 UK

Doctor's Diary: Marathon fitness

By Dr Susie Tunstall-Pedoe

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"Running can be quite a strain on the body"

In the spring, with the weather improving, we are seeing a surge of people wanting to do more outdoor exercise.

Not least the hardy souls who will take part in this weekend's London Marathon.

Running is a fantastic way to get fit, and has many beneficial effects on your mental health, as well as your physical health.

However, people do get musculo-skeletal-type injuries, especially if they're trying to train quite quickly for something, and they haven't done a lot of running in the past.

Road running and heavy training can contribute to common sports injuries like shin splints (a pain down the front of the leg), knee problems and a condition known as plantar fasciitis (pain in the sole of the foot).

But there are things you can do to make sure you don't get injured:

  • Make sure you have a well-fitted pair of running shoes from a specialist running shop
  • Build up gradually - don't try to increase your distance by more than 10% a week
  • Make sure you always warm up and fit some regular stretching into your exercise routine
  • Stop if you have an injury and get it checked out sooner rather than later.

Marathons are great for some people - and they are a good impetus to get training - but a marathon is not for everyone.

For many people, fitting some exercise into their everyday life is more realistic - try getting off the bus a couple of stops early or walking rather than taking the car.

The doctor's diary is a weekly insight into the local and national issues affecting a busy GP practice.

The Doctors

Dr JonesDr AndrewsDr CoffeyDr SanghaDr DuckenfieldDr Tunstall-Pedoe

The BBC diary doctors work at Brocklebank Health Centre in Wandsworth, London, which has 15 GPs and nine nurses. It is open seven days a week, and also offers services including physiotherapy, counselling, a travel clinic and the Citizen Advice Bureau.

DR NICOLA JONES

Nicola has been a GP for 14 years and has a particular interest in heart conditions, preventative health care and women's health. She has three children and a passion for exercise and the outdoors.

MBE. MBchB. DRCOG. MRCGP. MBA.

DR LUCY ANDREWS

Lucy has been practising as a GP since 1996. After a period of time in Australia and Hampshire she is now settled in London. Her main areas of clinical interest include paediatrics, palliative care and psychiatry. She is married with three young boys and a puppy.

BSc. MBBS. MRCGP. DRCOG. DFFP.

DR TOM COFFEY

Tom has been a GP for 14 years. He also works at A&E in Charing Cross Hospital, Hammersmith. His particular interests are sports medicine, allergies and lung disease. He is a keen tennis player and has been a Chelsea season ticket holder for 10 years.

BSc(Hons). MBBS. MRCP. DCh. DRCOG.

DR REGGIE SANGHA

Reggie qualified from Cardiff medical school in 1995, she did her GP training in Brighton and has been a practising GP for nine years. Her specialist interests include sexual health, family planning and expedition medicine. In her spare time she likes playing tennis and is a keen photographer.

MBchB. MRCGP. DRCOG. DFSRH.

DR JANE DUCKENFIELD

Jane graduated from Bristol University in 1999. Her interests are women's health, sexual heath and psychiatry. She likes travel, food and fine wine, with the odd trip to the gym to compensate!

MBChB Bristol. MRCGP. DRCOG. DFFP.

DR SUSIE TUNSTALL- PEDOE

Susie has been working as a GP at Brocklebank for nine years, following stints working abroad in Belize and Kenya. She loves student teaching and her clinical interests include women's health, paediatrics, tropical medicine and palliative care. She has four young children and is a keen musician.

MBBS. MRCGP. DRCOG. DFFP.



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