Tips and Tricks for Long Distance Runners
Runner’s World reports that seeking chiropractic treatment is a growing trend among elite runners, according to Dr. Ira Shapiro, a three-time member of the U.S. Olympic Committee medical team. In an interview with the site, Dr. Shapiro says, “I will be busy from the moment I walk into the tent [at an event] until the last athlete leaves the compound. It’s not the case of an isolated few taking advantage of my services; it’s the vast majority.”
This trend is unsurprising when you consider polls that point to about 60% of runners reporting sports injuries or chronic injuries—from knee pain to calf strain, shin splints to stress fractures. Injuries can result from overtraining, not doing quality training, poor nutrition, the wrong shoes, or even something as simple as landing a stride incorrectly. While some factors are beyond a runner’s control—like the weather on race day—there are definitely some proactive steps you can take to a healthier marathon experience. Dr. Ed Laskowski of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center offers several pre-race tips for runners prepping for their next distance race.
Soreness is Normal
While runners who push to greater PR’s and higher levels of training should expect some soreness, joint swelling could be a sign of something that requires more attention than an ice pack. Dr. Laskowski recommends runners have a professional evaluation if they are experiencing “pain associated with joint swelling or that causes the joint to feel unstable…. You should also seek an evaluation for pain that persists or intensifies after rest from running or pain that causes you to compensate, change your running, or change your gait.”
Drink, Eat, and Be Merry
Drinking and eating a nutrient-rich diet before the race and during training is essential to proper fueling. Dehydration can be an issue for long-distance runners with far-reaching consequences. The experts at both Runner’s World and the Mayo Clinic recommend starting a race well-hydrated with healthy carb loading three to eight hours before the start. Don’t depart from your normal routine, so how you’re training should reflect what you’ll do the day of your race. It’s also essential to drink during your run, particularly if you are doing more than five or six miles. Water with an electrolyte source, like a sports gel, or a drink that incorporates all-important nutrients like sodium and potassium should be consumed every mile or so (2 ounces is recommended—that equals about two swallows). While fairly, rare, it is important not to over-hydrate which can cause life-threatening conditions, like hypernatremia.
Pass On the Sweets
While most health professionals agree that limiting your sugar intake is a good idea anytime, cutting sugar and sweeteners out of your diet at least 24 hours before your race can help you avoid everyone’s least favorite leg – the sprint to the port-a-potty. Avoiding caffeine and high-fat foods during this timeframe can also be a great help for your digestive system.
Staying in Line
Just like the effort you put into having great shoes and gear that keeps you cool (or warm, depending on your climate), making sure everything is properly aligned is well worth the time and energy you’ll invest when you consider the benefits both for your training and on race day. Manual adjustments of ankles, knees, and the lower back can keep you pain-free and running steady as you rack up the miles.
For more information on how we can help you stay in top condition while training or after a race, make an appointment at any one of our eleven locations to talk with one of our doctors. We want to keep you running steady and reaching for your personal best.
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