Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

April 18, 2002

Experts offer race tips

With the May 5 UPMC Health System/City of Pittsburgh Marathon approaching, experts at the Center for Sports Medicine offer the following tips for marathoners and other distance racers.

Fluid replacement and nutrition: "If you are dehydrated, you will not finish the race," says registered dietitian Leslie Bonci, director of sports nutrition at UPMC Health System. "Drinking water before, during and after a long-distance race is absolutely crucial."

Bonci adds:

* In addition to water, lemon-lime PowerAde will be the official sports drink available to runners during the marathon. Runners should prepare their systems for PowerAde prior to marathon day.

* During training, runners should practice how to drink, swallowing in gulps (not sips) out of paper cups while running, and not just poured over the face or head.

* Runners should not consume any new foods on race day.

* For instant energy, try small packets of sports gel or honey.

* At the finish line, runners should continue drinking water. They also should eat something within 15 minutes of finishing the marathon. A salted bagel or salted pretzels are good choices.

Injury prevention: Brian Klucinec, certified athletic trainer and physical therapist at UPMC Center for Sports Medicine, says the most common running injuries usually are preventable. Klucinec offers the following tips for common injury prevention:

* Runners should wear a running shoe that fits their foot type. Make sure running shoes have no more than 500 miles on them. Do not wear new shoes on race day.

* Alternate terrain and running surfaces during training.

* Many runners experience overuse injuries by training too intensely without giving their bodies easy days in between. Also, a sudden significant increase in mileage or a severely intense work-out session could cause injury. A couple of weeks before the marathon should be spent actually tapering mileage.

* Runners should be aware of and address weaknesses in their own body biomechanics.

Recovering from the marathon: "It's not over when you cross the finish line," said Susan Mackey, certified athletic trainer at UPMC Center for Sports Medicine.

* At the finish line, continue to walk around or jog slowly, cool down and then stretch.

* Runners should examine their feet after the race. Do not try to treat a blister. Puncturing a blister could lead to infection and more severe soreness. There will be podiatrists in the medical tent to treat blisters properly.

* Stay with others for at least six hours after the race in case medical problems develop.

* Drink plenty of fluids immediately after the race and for several days thereafter.

* Avoid fatty foods and maintain a high carbohydrate diet for two to three weeks.

* Treat the usual aches and pains by first applying ice.

* Take a short, slow run of 1-2 miles the day after the marathon. This will help in muscle stretching and recovery.

* Avoid competitive long-distance races for at least two weeks.

Leave a Reply