The NYC marathon is rapidly approaching. For those running, this last week is essential. I am a physical therapist in Manhattan; I’ve treated world-class runners including Maurelhena Walles (one of the top ranked sprinters in the world), and as a runner myself, I have some advice for marathon runners:
Carbo-load, don’t fat load. During the last three days, make sure your calories emphasize carbs, which is what fuels you on race day.
Select the shoes and socks you’ll wear in the marathon. Test them with at least one 10-mile run to make sure you don’t blister.
Two weeks prior to the race is when you should taper distance and intensity. Eliminate long and hard runs and in the last week, do 30-50 percent. No running daily! Two days right before, no running. Some people also prefer not to run the entire week prior.
The goal of the taper is to get your body rested to maximize it’s potential during the race!
Before long runs warm up by walking or doing a very light jog (slower than your pace) for no more than 10 minutes. Finish with stretching.
Start Loose: 10-15 minutes before the start of the race, get your muscles warmed up with gentle stretches, especially as you are herded to the start. You can also include a light jog.
For the first 2-3 miles, it’s ok to start a little slower to conserve your glycogen. Then pick up the pace to what you trained for.
Practice refueling with sports drinks and gels that you know will be on the race course. Find out the distance between stations and practice drinking at the rate in between stations.
Stay on Pace
Relax. With the energy of the start of the race and with thousands of people around you, you might go too hard too fast so it’s better to stick to your game plan to know what works best for you. Stay on pace.
Sing a song to yourself as you run, it helps cover distance and time.
Around mile 23, tell yourself what you’ve accomplished and that you will finish. It helps you mentally to know that you can finish and that the pain is temporary. You’ve put the work in and now you just have to finish that finish line!
NYC Physical Therapist Karena Wu is a graduate from the Program in Physical Therapy at Columbia University and owner of ActiveCare Physical Therapy. She takes a holistic approach and utilizes advanced manual therapies, Kinesiology Tape, and Pilates for rehabilitation. www.bestptnyc.com.