Tips to Help NYC Marathon Runners Go the Distance

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Physician Offers Injury-Prevention Advice

Oct 29, 2013


With the NYC Marathon right around the corner, runners competing in this year's race are focusing on last-minute strategies to enhance their performance. But experts caution that people who jump onto the marathon bandwagon without the proper training and guidance are at the greatest risk of injury.

“It's usually the novices, running in honor of a loved one or a friend, who get into the most trouble, especially with overuse injuries,” says Dr. William Levine, director of sports medicine in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center and professor of orthopedic surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

“But it's certainly possible to honor your mother while running this race, without having to visit an orthopedic surgeon or a sports medicine doctor after the event,” he says.

To avoid the risk of injury, Dr. Levine suggests that novices and seasoned runners alike follow a few simple guidelines. Test your knowledge of marathon basics with this short quiz.

True or False? You can compensate for lost training time by putting in extra miles at the last minute.

False. Unlike when you study for a big exam, your body can't make up for lost time by cramming in extra miles in the days leading up to the marathon. Runners who train too vigorously risk sustaining an overuse injury, which might prevent them from finishing the race.

True or False? It's best to warm up before stretching.

True: Get the blood circulating to the muscles and tissues by walking briskly, running in place, or doing a short stint on a treadmill before stretching.

True or False? Overload on carbohydrates the day before the race.

False: It's a mistake to overload on anything, including carbohydrates, before the race. Roughly 60-65 percent of your caloric intake should include carbohydrates. You also need lean protein, such as chicken or fish.

True or False? Start hydrating at least 48 hours before the race.

True. Runners who start the event without getting the proper intake of fluids ahead of time are at extreme risk of dehydration and severe cramping during the marathon.

True or False? Time is of the essence.

False. Unless you're an accomplished runner, don't put pressure on yourself by trying to finish the marathon in a pre-set time. Doing so may force you to overexert yourself at the start of the race, depleting your body of the energy it needs to go the distance.

True or False? Just breathe and run through the pain.

False. There's a big difference between the muscle aches and sore bones people typically feel when they're running a marathon, and pain. If you're feeling pain, your body's warning system is alerting you that something is wrong, which is why it's important to stop and listen to it.

For more information, patients may call 866-NYP-NEWS.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, located in New York City, is one of the leading academic medical centers in the world, comprising the teaching hospital NewYork-Presbyterian and its academic partner, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine, and is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital also comprises NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division and NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report.

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