You may be running a marathon this year, or planning to do so, but before running a 26.2 mile race, make sure that you’re prepared physically, mentally and emotionally. Aside from making you fit and healthy and boosting your stamina, marathon running is also a great opportunity to meet other running enthusiasts like you.
“Running a 26.2 mile race is a fulfilling achievement, especially for runners. However, runners should take precautions before and during their runs such as getting proper training, eating protein and carbohydrates-rich foods before the race, and familiarizing themselves with the race course. If they ignore these guidelines, they might suffer from injuries and jeopardize their lives,” says Dr. Nicky Montoya, MediCard Philippines president.
Here are tips to ensure a safe and healthy marathon running:
Proper training. Tapering or cutting back on the mileage means that you run less and rest more. It’s recommended to do your last long run three weeks before the marathon, Two weeks before the race, cut mileage to about 50 to 75% of what you have been running and try to get at least eight hours of sleep a night. A week before the marathon, cut mileage to about one-third of normal mileage and for the most part, keep your normal pace. It is also advisable to give your muscles a chance to rest and skip your strength-training routine.
Wear proper clothing. Considering your running wardrobe is a must before the marathon. Wear nylon or running clothes instead of cotton because it traps sweat rather than allow it to evaporate. It’s also advisable to wear the same shoes that you use during training since wearing familiar shoes will make you more comfortable while running.
Warm up before the race. Warming up prepares your muscles for peak performance by increasing your core body temperature, which speeds oxygen throughout the body. It also triggers the neural pathways between your brain and your muscles, improving muscle contraction and power. Warming up includes 10 minutes of light jogging and five minutes of lunges and leg swings.
Eat before, during, and after the race. Two to four hours before the race, eat foods rich in protein and simple carbohydrates and drink water or low-calorie sports drink. Good choices for pre-race foods include bread, cereal, fruit, and minimal amounts of low-fat cheese and low-fat milk. You must avoid eating fiber, fatty and new foods as these may cause digestion problems. During the race, it is advisable that you snack on energy foods such as bananas and granola bars. Consuming a mix of high-carbohydrates and moderate-protein foods after the race is advised to replenish your body and repair and rebuild any muscle damage.
Hydrate. Drinking water during the marathon is a must as it helps the flow of blood and oxygen to your muscles and enables them to contract properly. You can also drink sports drinks and other beverages containing electrolytes and nutrients such as juices and chocolate milk.
Practice the race course. If possible, learn the race course, the start and finish locations, the turns, any steep climbs, and the aid stations, as these will definitely help you prepare and finish the race safely.
Do not run consecutive marathons. Running for 26.2 miles is enough to strain your muscles and running consecutive marathons without proper training might cause severe injuries. Thus, it is advisable to give your body enough time to recover before running another marathon.
Are you ready to run a marathon? MediCard has 12 free-standing clinics nationwide that offer consultations, and laboratory tests to find out if you are physically healthy to do a marathon. Visit a MediCard clinic near you or check out their website at www.medicardphils.com for more information.