In just over a month, many of our friends, family, and co-workers will be running in the 122nd Boston Marathon. Each year as the thousands go by, I get caught up in the courage, conviction, and dedication I see on the faces of all the runners. Each year Joint Ventures becomes more involved with the Boston Marathon, mostly through participation with Coach John Furey's runners. For some, it will be their first marathon, while for others they're working to improve on a best time. For any runner training to run 26.2 miles, there is an overload of information on how to properly train, but here are a few basic, but important tips!
Choose the right footwear
This is probably the single most important factor to consider. When running, 3-4 times your body weight comes down through your foot, thousands of times in a row. This requires the perfect combination of cushion and support in order to avoid injury. If you have never had a gait analysis done, or never been to a shoe store where they observe you walking and running, this is the time to go. It is easy to get lost in the sea of brands, models and styles of running shoes, but with some professional guidance you can make the proper decision to get yourself off on the “right foot!”
The distance and intensity of your runs should start to decrease somewhere between 2-4 weeks prior to your race date. This allows your body to be fully recovered from previous workouts and well rested for the upcoming race. There are many different taper schedules to follow, but all will begin within that 2-4 week window before race day.
A good rule of thumb is 3-6 ounces every 15-20 minutes, or every other mile or so. Most people prefer to carry some of their own water in either a hydration belt or in handheld bottles, while others rely solely on water stops along the course. Both work just fine, as long as you’re making sure to drink enough water, yet not too much. Yes, you CAN drink too much water. This wreaks havoc on the electrolyte balance in your body and can cause serious health problems.
Always make time to stretch, both pre and post-race. I typically recommend that people do a dynamic warm-up before a race or workout, and a static stretching session post work-out. Dynamic stretching better prepares your muscles for the demands of exercise. Whichever way you choose to do it, make sure you are stretched and warmed up before beginning a race. Cold, shortened muscles do not perform as well as those that are warmed up and loosened, and are more prone to injury.
Lastly, ENJOY … remember, running is fun J
If you have any questions about this, or would like to come in for a pre-race injury consultation, please contact any one of our convenient Boston area physical therapy locations by calling 617-536-1161.