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Providers Weigh In: Getting Prepared for Marathon Season

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Completing 26.2 miles is a challenge but possible when you train, eat right, and listen to your body.

The Chicago Marathon approaches and runners from across the globe are taking on the challenge to participate in one of the largest and most popular marathons in the world. As some are aiming to accomplish a personal goal, others may be giving back to a charity they are running for, while many enjoy it for the challenging achievement.

"With warm temperatures on the rise, training for a marathon or creating a consistent running routine will help runners maintain a healthy weight and fitness level," says Dr. Terry Nicola, director of sports medicine and rehabilitation at UI Health. "Training for a marathon not only creates a healthy life style, but an experience that will push runners both physically and mentally to achieve goals they never knew to be possible."

Aside from being a great work out and contributing to cardio vascular health, marathons provide both mental and physical benefits including:

  • Weight loss
  • Builds muscle
  • Stress relief
  • Eliminator of depression
  • Creates venue for socializing
  • Boosts heart health
  • Efficient blood flow and oxygen throughout body
  • Reduced blood pressure

Studies are still underway to determine whether the benefits outweigh the risk of long-distance running. With any sport, risk factors play a role in the health of participants as they put strain on bones, the heart, and muscles.  By properly training for a marathon, being health conscious, and remaining without injuries, the journey should be an enjoyable experience that leads to personal victories.

Dr. Terry Nicola weighs in with the following tips:

  • Allow your body time to condition
  • Visit your physician
  • Pace yourself and listen to bodies limitations
  • Add walks throughout long runs
  • Ice for aches and pain
  • Avoid anti-inflammatory medications
  • Stay hydrated
  • Use sunscreen to avoid sunburn
  • Wear shoes that fit
  • Use inserts for shoes to add more cushion
  • Do not wear worn out shoes
  • Calf stretches and raises to condition muscles within feet
  • Run tall with a forward kicking stride

To learn more about medical advice and tips in preparation for marathons view our  Advice and Tips for Marathon Runners or visit Orthopaedics.