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Muddy tries out the Runner's Full MOT at all-new The Kent Running Coach and finds it to be brilliantly practical and not at all preachy - and you can get 30% OFF here!

Having exhausted every possible exercise trend, from bikram yoga to SoulCycle, I’ve pretty much come full circle and started running again.

It seems I’m not alone, stripping back all the gimmicks and just getting outside and running in nature is the hot new fitness trend. It has never been so popular. Just take a look at all the brilliant summer fun runs taking place across the county.

But aware that just because I ran quite well at 15 years old, a *cough* decade or three ago, doesn’t mean my forty-years-plus physique can take the strain. And having seen both my dad and Mr Muddy experience major knee problems as the result of exercise-related wear and tear I thought it worth getting some proper advice before hitting the running regime again.

WHERE & WHAT

So I headed to The Kent Running Coach, in Hildenborough, for a Runner’s Full MOT. If you’re interested in sport and exercise – and particularly running – then The Kent Running Coach is the place to be. In the space above what was Dame Kelly Holmes Café 1809, you’ll find literally everything run-related – run analysis and coaching, osteopathy, Pilates, sports massage…

The duo behind it, Amy Pay & Clare Norris, provide workshops and events based around running, fitness and mental health. They are Kent’s ‘one stop shop’ for athletes including runners and cyclists – young and old and experienced or just starting out.

The duo behind The Kent Running Coach, Amy Pay & Clare Norris

WHAT TO EXPECT

So first they get you to run on the treadmill which for me was slightly intimidating as it’s been years since I last ventured on one – and I had visions of shooting off the back, You’ve Been Framed style, (but Clare is very patient and explained everything clearly throughout the whole process, getting you moving step by step).

A couple of white stickers are placed on your leggings, around hip height, so that they can track the movement of your joints as you run. Everything is recorded on a camera and played back – it’s truly fascinating. I thought I ran quite well, or at least uneventfully, but play it back slowly with the machine tracking your stride and there’s arms and feet flailing all over the place!

Clockwise from top left: The running mat; the osteo bed; Clare and Amy with Dame Kelly Holmes

Next Clare and Amy ask you to perform a series of exercises on the running mat, top left, Clare looks at it from a running trainer’s point of view and Amy through her osteopath eyes (she’s a trained Pilates instructor too).

Amy then takes you through to the Pilates space and checks your range of movement by talking you through some simple stretches, before you jump on the osteo bed for a quick musculoskeletal examination.

Afterwards Clare and Amy talk through your running technique while looking at the slow motion film of your movement and explain it all clearly. And this is all followed up with an in-depth, very detailed and insightful Runner’s Full MOT document which was emailed over later, so you can remember everything.

WHO WOULD BENEFIT?

Whether you are young or old, beginner or veteran, amateur or elite, the Runner’s Full MOT is perfect for not only perfecting your technique, but for helping you stay injury free and trying to get you performing at your best.

There are running programmes on offer here too, suitable for beginner runners, serious amateurs, distance runners, sprinters and triathletes as well as those participating in multi-directional sports such as footballers, rugby players and so on.

There’s even a kids academy, designed for children aged 6-14 and is inclusive for everyone – ranging from very sporty children to those who are not confident with physical activity. They also regularly work with children who have co-ordination and balance problems.

Amy Pay is an Osteopath and a trained Pilates instructor too

THEIR FINDINGS

After my visit I was given a Runner’s Full MOT document, all specific to me and their findings. It consists of a Musculoskeletal Assessment, Running and Movement Analysis and Summary. It’s all really clear and thorough – light on jargon and written in layman’s terms, here take a look at mine, below.So what did they conclude? Well years ago I used to suffer from lower back pain, which I didn’t even mention to them as it had stopped. However my run analysis and assessment showed them that the muscles had become ‘inhibited’ or had basically turned themselves off. Meaning that the whole right hand side of my body, particularly my right gluteus muscles had reduced movement.

Or, put it another way, my neglected back issue has led to a lazy right bum *snort*. Ignoring this for another decade could lead to some serious knock-on effects.

Then in your document – and this is the best bit – there’s a bullet point list called the ’10 Point Plan’ describing exercises to do to fix your speciific issues. Stuff like, the ‘Spine twist stretch’ and, of course, for me and my wayward right buttock, the ‘Glute stretch’. This is all totally personalised to your individual needs – perfectly tailored and all stuff you can do on your own at home.

ANYTHING ELSE?

The Kent Running Coach run really practical workshops on topics like ‘Running and the Pelvic Floor’ and stuff that I know affects my 40-year old running friends (some have been bravely honest about this).

The workshop offers a specific Pilates-based session to teach you how to effectively improve your pelvic floor strength as well as a run technique session. It’s done in their typical approachable style – all about practicality and done in a relaxed way with humour.

MY THOUGHTS?

I’ve spent over 15 years as a health editor and one thing I learnt is that every little part of the body that is out of kilter will have a knock on effect on your wellbeing if you ignore it over time. In my case I was glad to get to the bottom of it (all puns fully intended).

This a brilliant service for runners starting out, or fully experienced, so you can maximise your potential and avoid injury. And above all I love The Kent Running Coach ethos of being practical and, I’m glad to say, not at all preachy.

MUDDY EXCLUSIVE: Get 30% off a ‘Full Runners MOT’. Normally worth £150 so with the discount Muddy Readers would get it for £105. Let’s do this!

The Kent Running Coach, First Floor, The 1809 Hub, 152-154 Tonbridge Road, Hildenborough, Kent, TN11 9HW, Tel: 07733 107410 or 07525 747704, thekentrunningcoach.co.uk

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