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Top Tips for Marathon Day

Marathon runners

Sunday is the ING New York City Marathon! Mike Silverman, Physical Therapist, has some helpful tips for the day of the race:

1. Apply band-aids and bandages on the morning of race day. Appropriate places for bandages vary by gender and individual, but some common areas are on the armpits and nipples.

2. The  last meal on race day is extremely important. For breakfast (4-5 hours before the race), eat your usual breakfast. Try a bagel with jelly, orange juice, yogurt, a cup of hot cocoa and 1 cup of oatmeal with raisins and a banana.

3. Plan accordingly for your snack and pre-race tip-off. While in line, waiting for the race to start, eat something like a big/super pretzel, cereal bar or sports bar. Just before the race begins, have 15-25 grams of carbohydrates, like crackers or a sports drink.

4. Know when to fuel during the race. About 45-75 minutes into the race, start fueling. You should ‘chunk’ your running and nutrition strategy into 15-minute intervals. Remember that water doesn’t have electrolytes, so make sure to drink sports drinks.

5. Cramp-prone athletes may need more fuel. It is vital to keep your salt levels high. During training, try things like V-8, tomato juice, pretzels, pickles, salted nuts, soy sauce and pizza. During the race, make sure to drink sports drinks. You may even need to add salt to sports drinks (half a teaspoon of salt dissolved in a 16- or 20-ounce sports drink).

6. Be confident in everything you’ve already accomplished. Look back at all of your successes and be proud of them. Don’t worry about not finishing on race day or about looking silly. Mistakes from being nervous are the most common mistakes on race day.

Michael Silverman, PT, MSPT, USATF-1, is a physical therapist at 
Hospital for Special SurgeryJames M. Benson Sports Rehabilitation Center, specializing in rehabilitation for runners and other performance athletes. He has a special interest in running-form analysis, which he performs at the Tisch Performance Center at Hospital for Special Surgery.

The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.