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A blog to help you put your best foot forward.
I have been a podiatrist for over 30 years. In that time, I have met many runners with aching feet. Protecting and caring for your feet can make or break your ability to go the distance.
After caring for so many runners, I have developed a short and sweet list to help your prepare for marathon day.
Be realistic with yourself about your fitness level… Face it, you are not Joan Benoit or Wilson Kipsang. For many, the choice to run a marathon is a personal challenge – to test your physical and mental limits. Some are motivated to raise money for their favorite charity, and others to improve their health or lose weight.
Whatever moved you to make this choice, let that be your motivation when the muscles in your legs are burning, your feet are blistered and the weather is miserable- but not as miserable as you when you hit that wall!!!
TIPS for the big day:
#1 There is no magic shoe for running a marathon.
Choose a running shoe that is comfortable and meets some of the short comings in your foot structure. If you pronate, get a shoe with a good medial arch, if peroneal tendonitis is a problem, a lateral wedge may help. Avoid gimmick shoes. Minimalist shoe gear may entice you, but after 26.2 miles of pounding the pavement, you may want to rethink that choice. Visit a local running shoe store and try on some models that best suit your needs.
#2 Preparation, Training, Preparation
I hope you started training early. The Novice marathoner should run consistant mileage for at least a year before beginning a marathon training program. Novice runners are at a higher risk than seasoned marathoners for injury.
So increase your weekly mileage slowly, keeping in mind that consistently running 20 to 30 miles a week should be part of your committed training for a marathon. Running some 5K or 20 K”s are also priceless to prepare for your marathon run.
-Do a long run every 7 to 10 days
-R&R. Rest when your body tells you it’s time to kick back a little, overuse and burnout can easily occur.
– Integrate some weight training in your program.
-Let your body recover for the big race. Two to three weeks prior to the marathon, kick back your mileage and difficulty level.
#3 Race Day Is Here
-Hydrate well for 3 to 5 days prior to race day, a large glass of water when you wake up in the A.M. and before bed at night.
-Arrive to the starting line early anduse the potty, as bathroom lines are longest at the first few aid stations.
– No new gear, clothing, or shoes. This is not the time to experiment.
-Do not overdress, as temperatures will tend to rise as the day progresses.
-Eat a breakfast that is carbohydrate rich several hours before the race begins.
– Protect any areas prone to chafing. Vaseline works well or buy a product specifically designed for chafing. (You will thank me the next day for this tip ).
-Pace yourself…you”re not Secretariat. Begin at a conservative pace. Settle into your comfort zone, feed off the energy of the crowd and most of all enjoy the day.
-Replenish those carbs by carrying a few pieces of fruit, energy bars or energy chews. 60 grams of carbs per hour is recommended.
-If you need to stop and drink some water, do it! Just don’t chug.
#4 After the Race
You did it !!! Celebrate the moment, but first cool down those tired muscles with a little walking. Then rehydrate. Drink a bottle or two of water. Some conservative stretches may also help. Lastly, take a few bites of those energy bars, chews or fruit.
The week following the race, take some time to rest before you resume any regular training. Settle back into a good sleep schedule and eat a balanced diet. It is important to address any over use conditions or injuries that may have resulted from your run . Blisters, turf toe, tendonitis issues or that heel pain that doesn’t resolve, should be treated. If the problem is beyond home care, call a professional. The sooner you treat these conditions the less down time you will experience and the better the outcome. Following a good post marathon regimen will facilitate resuming a healthier training schedule.
Good Luck and Best Wishes,