The Running Doctor: Marathon season off and running
Published 5:36 pm, Tuesday, October 4, 2016
The phones in the office are ringing; it’s my arch, heel, calf, shins, metatarsal. It must be Marathon time. Many runners are asking for tips and advice leading up to and during a marathon.
A marathon is a 26.2 mile event. It is the last 6.2 miles (10K) that really make it a marathon event. In the last few weeks and days (especially first time marathoners), runners need to decrease their mileage and let the body regain its strength and endurance for the grueling event.
It’s important to know the weather conditions, as some runners are fooled by temperatures. The warm temperatures put a stress on the body. In cooler temperatures some runners will feel the zest to start out too fast and then hit the wall earlier in the event.
Whether the weather is warm or cool, it is important to hydrate and have a drink at least 10 ounces 20 minutes before the race. Then every 5 miles take another 5 ounces or more to keep a good fluid balance, especially on a hot day. If you are thirsty during the race, then dehydration has set in and you are in trouble.
If you are not used to drinking the new sports drinks, and gels, do not experiment with them on race day.
This can cause a diluted solution in the GI tract which slows absorption of carbohydrates and possibly a case of diarrhea, which will leave you with a decrease in energy for a part of the marathon.
Food intake is important and carbohydrate loading two nights before the marathon will help the body ease into sugar and not be harsh on the elimination systems race day. In my past experience, a dinner of rice and vegetables (Chinese style) the night before, and a bagel for some carbs with a banana for potassium is well tolerated the morning of the race.
Many runners still eat their pancakes for extra carbs the morning of the race. Different diets should be tested in the long training runs as practice for the marathon.
Keep a moderate pace during the race and a strong mental attitude in the late stages of the race, and you will surely make it to the finish line.
Dr. Robert F. Weiss is a podiatrist specializing in foot and ankle surgery. He was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Marathon Trials. Weiss is a veteran of 35 Marathons, has a practice in Darien, affiliated with Stamford Hospital and is a member of Stamford Health Medical Group-Foot & Ankle Institute.