Last Minute Tips For Preparing For LA Marathon

Thursday, 6 Mar 2014, 8:55:00 AM

Special To The Mirror

Dr. Seth Gamradt

Director of Orthopedic Athletic Medicine and Team Physician - USC Athletics

You’ve spent months training for the LA Marathon and it’s finally

here. Excitement is building,and you can’t wait to take off from the

starting line.

Here is some valuable

last-minute advice to ensure a great Marathon experience.

Logistics: Know and double-check your plan for parking, as

well as how you’ll travel to and from the LA Marathon start and finish

lines. Arrive early. This will allow time for warm-up and stretching to

ensure a good start.

Fuel: On the morning of the race eat a 500-800 calorie

breakfast 2-3 hours before the race. Predictability is key: eating foods

you know and that have worked well on your long training runs is

critical for a calm stomach and high energy on race day.

Shoes: It seems obvious, but avoid changes in equipment on

race day, especially shoes. Wearing your tried and true running shoes

will help to prevent foot pain and blistering that are common in long

distance running.

Hydration: A good guideline for hydration is 6-8 ounces of

fluid every 20 minutes. Make sure that your race day hydration consists

of energy drinks and water. Consuming water alone during the race can

lead to hyponatremia, which is caused by dilution of the blood’s sodium

level and can be very dangerous.

Energy Gels/Bars: These commercially available pre-packaged

carbohydrate sources have become an important fuel source in triathlon

and distance running. Consume one 45-60 minutes (with water) after the

race starts and every 45-60 minutes thereafter.

Lubrication/Skin Protection: Lubricate sensitive areas with

commercially available anti-chafing, anti-blister products. Believe it

or not, severe blistering or chafing can end your race prematurely.

Temperature: There can be a significant temperature increase

during the race from cool at the start to warm (even hot) at the finish,

so pay attention to race day weather forecasts and consider layering

your clothing to accommodate temperature fluctuations. Most important is

to wear what has been comfortable for you on long training runs.

Pain: You may experience pain, soreness, muscle ache and fatigue on

race day from training. If you typically take NSAIDs (Advil, etc.) or

acetaminophen (Tylenol) before running, do not change this on marathon


Danger Signs: Some soreness is expected on race day. However,

if you begin to experience sharp pain with each step, swelling in a

joint, escalating pain anywhere or you begin to limp, it is not

advisable to push through these types of symptoms and finish the race.

In addition, confusion, light-headedness, chest pain, and shortness of

breath all can be signs of a significant medical issue—seek medical

attention immediately.

Completing the LA Marathon is an important goal you have set for

yourself. Make sure you do the things on race day that support the

training you have done up to this point and you will have the best

opportunity to hit the finish line feeling like a winner!

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