Final Marathon Race Tips

From Robert Forster PT


This year’s marathon is going to be hot and dry, which could be a recipe for disaster if you are not prepared. Overheating is not only a performance killer, but also a serious threat to your health. Even more than cold and windy conditions – which you can dress for – the forecasted high temperatures Sunday (predicted temperatures are now at almost 80 degrees!) are a very serious factor for your enjoyment and survival. Please take measures to mitigate the dangerous stress caused by overheating.

Train in the Heat:

To increase your ability to deal with the heat Sunday, you should do your last few short workouts at mid-day. If that is not possible, wear light-weight long-sleeved clothing and leg coverings if you train early or late in the day, to get your body to accommodate exercising in the heat by increasing the amount of water in your circulatory system. Be sure to hydrate well before and after your workouts.

The reality of athletic competition is that you train for your best performance in the best of conditions, but you also have to prepare for the worst.

Dress For The Occasion-

For Sunday, dress in light and airy clothes made of synthetic materials that cover as much skin as possible and allow air to pass over your skin and wick the sweat away to evaporate and cool your body. It will be chilly at the race start, but do not wear too many layers. There is evidence that pre-cooling your muscles before exercise helps prevent overheating and preserves your body fluids, so do not wear much more than what you will wear during the race.

Start Drinking More NOW!

Begin today drinking more water and begin salting your food liberally at every meal from now to the race. Over the next few days, you can build up your plasma volume so you have more fluids to lose to sweat and still maintain your pace on Sunday. Build up to drinking 100 oz of water and other fluids per day WITH salt or a light electrolyte mix in the water. DRINKING LARGE AMOUNTS OF PLAIN WATER WITH NO ELECTROLYTES CAN CAUSE DEATH.

First Signs of Cramping-

  At the first sign of cramping slow down, cool off, drink 20 oz of fluid and take your electrolyte supplement with salty foods if possible. Stretch and massage the muscle spasm gently, douse yourself with water, and lay down in the shade and rest for ten minutes before starting slowly again.

Start Slow-

The best strategy to improve both your enjoyment and your finishing time in the marathon is to start slow and get your metabolism into a fat burning groove. Your body cannot do it on carbs alone.

The reason the marathon continues to be a challenge for men and women today, 4,000 years after Pheidippides first ran from Marathon to Athens, is that the energy required for the average human body self ambulated 26.2 miles, is just beyond what the average human body holds in stored carbohydrate fuel.

Each year we see on the course where carbohydrates stores become depleted. Right around 18-20 miles too many marathoners “hit the wall” as their progress slows from fatigue and muscle cramping. Armed with this knowledge, all science based marathon training programs work to increase your ability to burn body fat for energy while you run. It is all about the pace. To avoid hitting the wall and losing lots of time in the last 6-8 miles you need train slowly and teach your body to burn fat. On race day, you need to start slow and find the fat burning groove. Your body will love it and you will love the time on the clock when you cross the finish line!

If you need personalized nutrition and hydration guidance before your event, give us a call to schedule your FREE Nutrition and Hydration Consultation at 310-582-8212 or email me directly us info@phase-iv.net.

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