Getting Ready for the Big Race?
Posted 4/17/2017 by UHBlog
Race season is upon us. Do you have a plan for completing your next racing event without incident or injury?
Before you hit your event’s expo to pick up your race day materials and swag, you want to prepare for what lies ahead, says sports medicine specialist James Voos, MD.
"Consistency is key," Dr. Voos says. "You want to think about how you've prepared and what you need in order to make race day a fun and positive experience."
Among the things to consider are these seven last-minute marathon tips:
- Assess your readiness. Did you train properly for the race you signed up to run?
"If you decide two weeks beforehand to participate, consider running in one of the lesser races that the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon offers, such as the half marathon or 10K, or one of the races the day before," Dr. Voos says. "These other races will allow you to be part of the fun but are less likely to cause you injury."
If you already signed up for the race but neglected your training schedule, consider changing the distance you're running. Most organized racing events, such as the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, will allow you to change your event for a nominal fee.
- Eat well to race well. While you need to fuel up so you have the energy to run your race, be cautious about trying new foods, Dr. Voos says.
"Changing your diet right before the race can lead to a stomachache or having to use the bathroom during the race," he says.
- Hydrate before, during and after the race. Make your motto drink up! Dr. Voos recommends that endurance athletes make sure to get the fluids and electrolytes their muscles need to function properly.
"Your hydration program needs to begin before you workout," he says. "If you experience thirst during your workout, this means your body is already dehydrated."
In addition to regular water and sports drinks that replenish electrolytes, you can also get fluids from fruits and vegetables with high water content, such as melons or celery, which have the added benefit of providing you with nutrients. During the race, be sure to consume water every 15 or 20 minutes. Rehydrate shortly after the race to avoid cramps and headaches later on.
- Wear tried-and-true clothing. Race day is not the day to wear a new running outfit – which could cause chafing – or select shoes that haven't pounded the road before. Otherwise you risk blisters and foot problems.
"Break in those new clothes or shoes well in advance, especially the shoes," Dr. Voos says.
- Check out the course. If you haven't trained on the race course, try to at least drive the route. That way, you know what to expect.
- Set flexible goals. You may have a personal record in mind to beat but haven't put in the time to train properly. Be realistic about what you can accomplish during any given race, Dr. Voos says, and scale back if needed.
- Plan for the post-race. Factor into your plans everything from what you eat after the race to meeting your family and friends, Dr. Voos says.
"After the race, you want to enjoy the celebration," he says. "That’s easier to do when you've covered the bases ahead of time."
This is the second year that UH will be the official health care provider for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, which attracts between 15,000 and 18,000 participants.
“From screenings at the expo to medical stops along the course, we’re proud to partner with the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon to support this great event,” Dr. Voos says. “We’re excited to be a part of a nationally recognized Northeast Ohio tradition.”
James Voos, MD, is an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine director at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, and head team physician for the Cleveland Browns. You can request an appointment with Dr. Voos or any other doctor online.