Author: Rosemary Buckle, M.D.
As any long distance runner knows, the actual running part of a race is only half of the success equation. Sustaining the cardiovascular activity and burning muscles is no small feat, of course. But then there are a thousand other decisions…
- When should I eat? What should I eat?
- How should I dress? What do I do if I want to add or remove clothing?
- How should I hydrate on my run?
- What shoes should I wear?
- Is it okay to stop and walk, or will walking make it harder to pick up pace later on?
An infographic from Hospital for Special Surgery helps runners consider a few of these decisions in Home Stretch: A Guide to Finishing the Race, below.
3 Tips for Mental Preparation
- Do long runs to prepare mentally. Longer runs will build your physical and mental strength. (Remember, mental and physical strength are both important for finishing a marathon!)
- Run your long runs in the same clothes you’re planning on running the marathon in.
- Picture yourself crossing the finish line. Mental imagery and positive thinking are key.
And to circle back to the walking question… it’s okay to walk, if you need to! Walking breaks can actually help you return to running even stronger. If your body needs the break, don’t get discouraged.
6 Items Worth Buying for Long Distance Races
- Foam rollers or sticks to loosen tight or sore muscles.
- Hat and/or sunglasses to shade your eyes and face. This can prevent you from squinting, helping your face remain relaxed.
- Compression socks can be excellent for helping with recovery by decreasing leg swelling during and after a long run.
- Bring throw away clothes for a cold start.
- Wear a fuel belt, which will allow you to carry water, sports drinks, and gels.
- Shorts or shirts with pockets for your gels, keys, phone, and money can also be helpful.
Bars or Gels & Goos for Race Day?
Energy bars can be good for a pre-race boost, but may be cumbersome to carry and difficult to eat during the actual race. Gel or goo may be better fits for a mid-race snack.
Meet Dr. Rosemary Buckle
For other Houston sports medicine needs, schedule an appointment with Dr. Rosemary Buckle at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics by calling (713) 756-5546.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.