It may not feel like it yet, but spring is just around the corner. And with spring time and April showers comes the New Jersey Marathon. On April 26th, runners will hit the pavement in Long Branch, New Jersey to participate in either the 13.1 mile half marathon or the full 26.2 mile marathon.
If you’re running this year, being prepared is half the battle. Rothman Orthopaedics has all you need when it comes to marathon training and day-of information. Learn more from the well-rounded guide we’ve created as you prepare for race day.
How to Stay Healthy During Marathon Training
Long distance running is taxing on the body. You won’t make it to the marathon if you don’t take the proper precautions to take care of your body and avoid injuries as best you can. It’s never too soon to start preparing for your race. Take the tips below into consideration as you start training for the run.
Allow Injuries to Heal Completely
Injuries that have occurred in the past will flare up during the marathon if they haven’t healed properly. Not only will the injury cause you discomfort and make running the race difficult, it can end up becoming an even more serious injury than it began as. One injury can also lead to soreness or other injuries in the rest of the body so be mindful of this before you begin training.
Practice Strength-Training along with Running
Running requires the use of your entire body including your back, abs and legs. Your muscles need to be strong so there’s less impact on your joints which can be easily injured. Training these muscles and focusing on the core especially is essential for runners. Adding two days of weight lifting or body weight exercises to your training will decrease the risk of injury before and during the marathon.
Don’t Skip Rest Days
Taking a break from training every week is necessary for your overall health and your performance in the marathon. Most programs allot 2 rest days per week, but add in more if you’re feeling overexerted or sore. Slowly build up mileage over time and avoid going on long runs back to back.
Tapering is when you slow your training in order to give your body the rest it needs to be fully capable of running on race day. Fresh legs will allow you to have a stronger run. This training method is one of the most important to practice before the run, but it’s also one of the most difficult to implement.
Most marathon plans tend to follow the three-week taper, which means you’ll be running less and recovering more during those final days. Be sure to follow the tapering instructions according to your training plan.
Listen to Your Body
Even if you are a seasoned runner, always listen to your body. If you feel knee pain or any other type of pain, stop and let yourself recover. If the pain does not go away after proper rest, consult with your orthopedic specialists.
It’s common for runners to forget to drink while running. It’s crucial to drink water before, during and after your run. This will keep your body properly hydrated and allow your muscles to fully recover from the intense workout.
What to Keep in Mind on Race Day
Now that you have all you need for your months or weeks of training, prepare for the big day. These tips and tricks will keep your body working its best on race day and help you avoid running injuries.
The shoes you wear for your race can make all the difference when it comes to comfort and injuries. If you’re in need of new running shoes, get them months in advance so you can break them in while training. Make sure they’re appropriate for your foot and the right size.
Invest in moisture- wicking socks for race day. Moisture wicking socks use a double layer of fabric to reduce movement, meaning there is less friction between the skin and the sock as you’re running. It also draws sweat and moisture away from the skin to help avoid the risk blisters and deter fungus from forming and causing blisters.
Warm up thoroughly. Warming up before the race is crucial to get the blood pumping, prepare your muscles and joints, and avoid injuries that can occur. Keep your warm up light without any intense movements, but focus on a full body stretch. Run in place, do several sets of lunges, and hold muscle stretches for 20 seconds each.
Be aware of your surroundings. Race day can get overwhelming and it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of things. Prepare by going to the race route before the day of the marathon to scope it out from start to finish. You may want to take a walk along some of the route to become more familiar with it. This will help you to feel more in control during the race and will help you avoid any surprises.
With these tips in mind, your marathon training and race day should be a “jog” in the park!