Nothing beats the exhilaration of competing in a marathon. Still, runners should take precautions, as such a strenuous activity can take a toll on the body and cause great pain. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you train for the big race:
You are what you eat. Carbohydrates provide you with the energy you need to keep moving. Proteins help rebuild sore muscles. Hydration is also a must before, during, and after training or a race. Lack of proper hydration can lead to early fatigue and cramping of your muscles.
Muscle pulls and cramps can be prevented with proper stretching technique. Be sure to stretch your ankles, calves, hamstrings, quads, hips, and lower back before beginning your run.
A proper warm-up and cool-down are crucial. Avoid over-exerting yourself, especially on consecutive days. When training for a marathon, less is more. Alternate intense workouts with easy ones. Increase your weekly mileage by no more than 10%.
Following a run, walk for 10 minutes to slowly lower your heart rate and cool down your body. If you have muscles that are particularly sore, remember the RICE technique - rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Don’t wait too long to start the process after finishing a workout and be sure to follow every step. Listen to your body and don’t overdo it. Pushing through pain won’t help, so rest and take a few days off.
Shoes and socks are really the only gear a runner needs. Wear properly fitting shoes that take into account the shape of your feet and your individual stride. For the race, you want shoes that are broken in, but not worn out. Typically, a pair of running shoes lasts at most 500 miles.
If you suffer from pain before or after running, contact Dr. Douglas Allen of New York Pain Medicine at (888) 755-2664 for a consultation. Best of luck for the marathon!