On Sunday, Nov. 6, tens of thousands of participants of the annual ING New York City Marathon will hurtle through the city’s five boroughs. That’s a lot of potential for fun — and for pain.
Following are a few tips Healthland has collected for running a safe race and recovering from the post-marathon blues.
- Are you ready? This is a no-brainer, but make sure you are in truly race-ready shape — the fitter you are before a mega-run like a marathon, the lower your chances of injury and the less damage you’ll do to your heart during the race. The good news is that marathon-associated heart damage is only temporary.
- Avoid the wall. Some 40% of runners hit “the wall,” the dreaded moment, usually around mile 21, when the body depletes its available carbohydrate stores and starts burning fat instead, causing pain, dizziness and extreme fatigue. This calculator might help you avoid it.
- Good pain, bad pain. Take a page from these endurance runners and know the difference between injuries that require you to stop and those you can run through. In simplest terms: muscle inflammation is O.K., joint inflammation probably means its time to call it a day.
- Duck the post-race funk. An episode of mild depression is fairly common in the aftermath of a major event, especially one that you’ve spent a considerable amount of time and energy planning for. Avoid the post-race blues by scheduling away any empty downtime. Make plans to start a new project, or socialize with friends and family. Your plans don’t have to be epic, but just make sure you stay occupied.
Most of all, have fun out there. We’ll be cheering — and marveling — from the comfort of the sidelines. Good luck!