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Marathon science
Post date: 27 Oct 2015

Hi, it’s Chris Gedge here again with the latest update on my marathon journey. So it's been a couple of weeks since hundreds of thousands of people were eagerly awaiting the postman to see if they got the "Spider-Man" magazine aka the "Sorry you didn't get into the marathon this year" letter. Although I didn't get in through the normal ballot I feel even more privileged to have got in through the charity ballot and to be running for Medway Cares.

So what have I been up to you may ask? Well that is a very good question....

I now have two more half marathons under my belt having completed the Canterbury half in the monsoon rain at the end of August, and also getting blown away along the seafront at the Folkestone half at the end of September. I managed respectable times of 2hrs 3minutes and 2hrs 2minutes!Chris Gedge on bike

After Canterbury I had a bit of a knee niggle and was really suffering with the dreaded DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). DOMS gets me every time, normally a few days after a long run and as a physiotherapist by trade I should probably know best how to treat it but thought better of it and consulted the pros in musculoskeletal (MSK) physiotherapy. I caught up with Tom Skinner and Liam Swain, MCH’s senior physiotherapists, who gave me some great advice to minimise the effects of DOMS in terms of pre-race dynamic stretches and post-race recovery cool-downs and nutrition. I also got some tips on strengthening my knee, improving my shoulder posture and was advised on developing my core strength by attending MCH's Pilates classes which now run at different times during the week, evenings and weekends. If ever you need a physio assessment I can really vouch for these guys so I would encourage you to get referred by your GP.

Last weekend I found myself at the cardiac imaging department at St Bartholomew’s hospital in London having a full cardiac MOT. Why? Well I decided to sign up to be a participant in a research study for first time ‘healthy’ marathon runners looking at the effects of intense exercise on cardiac muscle function. It ultimately is to help in the diagnosis of a heart condition known as LVNC (left Ventricular non-compaction) as often this is over-diagnosed.

I ended up spending five hours in the hospital having various investigations including an ECG, (echocardiogram), cardiac MRI scan, blood test, urine sample, height, weight and blood pressure measurement and was wired for sound to have a cardiopulmonary exercise test. I was then put on an exercise bike pedalling until I was knackered whilst wearing a face mask measuring my oxygen usage, having my heart traced, blood pressure taken and heart ultra-sounded all at the same time! I've got to keep an exercise diary, following a bit of a training plan and have to go back up again after the marathon and have it all done again. All fun though and all in the name of science!

So the training is going well and I'm keeping up the regular runs at Sweatshop and parkrun, and I'm looking for my next event but for now I’ll leave you with a few words from my friend Stephen Fry. 

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