Every year at this time I wake up early to watch the Chicago marathon. The excitement and energy of all those people pursuing a goal that they have worked hard to complete always makes me smile while also making me a little jealous that I am not out there as well.
Last year I had one patient and one former patient running the Chicago marathon. In addition, my good friend Sheryl, and her daughter Tracy, Hilbert were running the Twin Cities Minneapolis marathon at the same time. Sheryl and Tracy, PR’d at the twin cities in 4:24!
Do you remember my former patient, Raj? Raj completed his first marathon in 2014 in 3:41. Since then, he’s completed an ironman triathlon, multiple half and full marathons, and improved his running time enough to qualify for Boston (under 3:05). Last year he was the pace setter for the 3:10 group, bringing his group to the finish line in 3:09:09. Amazing!
My current patient, Carney, ran the Chicago marathon for the third time last year, hoping the third would be the charm. Carney made multiple mistakes, coupled with the excessive heat, that led to him cramping so bad at mile 17 that he had to spend a couple of hours in the med tent and ultimately finished in over 6 hours walking across the finish line.
Here were some of his pitfalls:
- He did not dial in his nutrition during his training
- He flew into town from overseas just 2 days before the race
- He went into the race dehydrated from the recent travel
- He didn’t finalize his shoe choice until the week before
- He still struggled with some weakness from his latest injury of achilles tendonopathy
- He struggled to keep an easy pace during his training runs, as he often ran at the same fast pace
The Proper Race Preparation That Make the Difference for Carney
Carney was determined not to repeat the same mistakes the next year.
- He chose his race shoes early in training,
- He worked with a coach over the past year to build strength.
- His coach gave him a specific training plan designed for him that focused on pacing.
- He worked with a nutritionist to figure out his exact fluid and electrolyte needs during race day and practiced them during his training runs.
- He consistently came into PT after suffering a calf tear early in the year.
- He diligently did his PT homework.
And wouldn’t you know it — he did it! He completed the marathon in 4:39 with some mild cramping at miles 21-22, but he was able to run through it. Congratulations, Carney!
As you can see there are multiple components to completing a successful marathon as well as a lot of mental preparation. It takes commitment, discipline, patience, perseverance, sacrifice, dedication and lots of preparation, both mental and physical. It takes support and understanding from family and friends. It takes a community of runners and coaching from experts.
Do you plan to run a marathon? Reach out and tell me about it.
If you want to learn what exercises you could benefit from to prevent injury, come on in for a wellness visit which includes an evaluation, possible run analysis and a home exercise program to keep you feeling good. Call us anytime at 847-541-7600 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.