It’s time for another Austin-area sports medicine 101 class!
We’re covering some basic, but sometimes forgotten, tips for race day preparations. Check out earlier blogs for parts one and two, then read on for more great suggestions!
- Top off your tank. Most marathoners know enough to stay well hydrated in the days before their race. It’s tough to super-hydrate, however, because your kidneys have time to release any excess water you consume. But in the final minutes to half hour before the start, you can trick your kidneys by sneaking in a late drink. (Your kidneys will mostly shut down once you start running hard.)
- Keep your warm-up short. It makes sense to not warm up much before a marathon. After all, you want to save energy. But you’ll actually run more efficiently if you first loosen up your leg muscles first. About forty minutes before the race, spend several minutes with your warm-up program. Spend time going through a range of stretches, focusing on a number of muscles that you will primarily use when running, including: achilles tendon, calf muscles, hamstrings, quadriceps, lower back, shoulders and neck.
- Run at an even pace. This is possibly the oldest and most important of marathon strategies. Laboratory data and experiences of countless marathoners show that even-pace running is the optimal approach. You may feel you’re running too slow for the first several miles, but you’ll feel great when you’re going strong and passing other runners in the later portion of the race.
- Fix it sooner, not later. You might notice that your shoelace is beginning to come untied. Or you’re starting to chafe in that one particular spot. Or a pebble has taken up residence in your left shoe. These things don’t go away on their own. The sooner they’re dealt with, the better you’ll fair over the distance.