SportsDoc Update: Stay Hydrated 10/2/2013
1280 The Zone - October 2nd, 2013
"Good luck to all St. George marathon runners this weekend, especially those who are patients getting through or over an injury! For a few tips to help you make it to the finish line go to..."
Stay well hydrated. You'll need 8-12 oz. of fluid for every 30-45 min. of running. Start the race hydrated by drinking 12-16 oz of a sugar/salt containing fluid. The best way to do maintain this is just stop at each aid station (every three miles) and drink one cup of water and one of whatever electrolyte fluid available. That way you won't get behind. Remember if you're thirsty you're already 30% depleted.
Keep the carbs going. If you "hit the wall" it is from lack of sugar in your bloodstream. You can keep it up by drinking Gatorade or something similar, drinking a Coke ( the same thing as the "goo" but in liquid form) every 6-8 miles or sucking on hard candy or gummy bears during the race. Anything that tastes good and keeps your sugar up will keep you from hitting the wall.
Keep your salt level up. Many make the mistake of replacing fluids with just water. Remember sweat has both water and salt and the salt needs to be replaced, especially the last 8-12 miles. Doubling up on the intake of the Gatorade or whatever the race provides at the aid stations the last half of the marathon would be an easy way to make that work.
Running through pain. It's almost a given that most will end up running through some kind of pain to finish a marathon. Most things that occur after you have been into the run for a while, are not risky to keep running with unless it starts to change your gait or running pattern. If that happens, you can always stop and walk for a few minutes then try to pick it up again. One thing that you shouldn't try to run through is a muscle cramp. If you do, you run the risk of tearing the muscle. If you start cramping, it's best to try to hydrate with salt containing fluid, stretch, and walk for a bit before trying to run again.
Remember anything you ingest will take 20 - 30 min. to get into your bloodstream. If you end up taking Ibuprofen or Tylenol for something, as well as the fluids or sugar keep that timing in mind.
Finally, have fun. That's the reason we do these crazy things, I think. Good luck.