As the official medical aid provider of the 2019 Bellingham Bay Marathon, PeaceHealth explains the best ways to stay your best on race day.
Hydrate Early and Often
In athletic endurance events like a marathon, proper hydration is the key to success, and the key to fighting dehydration is to never turn down water. Accept a cup at every water station and/or bring a water bottle on your person. The exact amount of fluid needed depends on a variety of factors, like your body size, running pace, and the conditions on race day. The general rule of thumb is to drink enough to ensure that you don’t lose more than about 2-3% of your body weight during the race. Not only will hydrating help you perform at your best, it will help you recover faster, too.
Train for Uneven Terrain
A treadmill or elliptical is an effective, convenient tool for running precise distances at a set incline or resistance, but it doesn’t train your muscles for uneven ground. Avoid cramps on race day by running on similar terrain to what you’re prepping for (see the Bellingham Bay Marathon course map and elevation profile). If exercise machines are your method of choice, consider running outdoors at least once a week to prep for the big race.
In addition to running on solid ground, it’s important to devote time to flexibility and muscle endurance. Muscle cramps can also put a damper on a runner’s experience along the marathon route. Include stretching and plyometrics—like skipping, bounding, and jump squats—as part of your training regimen to help loosen and strengthen tight muscles. Supplement your running with these techniques to prepare your muscles for the workout to come.
Tune in with Your Body
If something doesn’t feel right, let someone know, and make your way to a first aid tent. The most common medical troubles at a marathon are cramps and fatigue; light-headedness and other pains are common as well. Hilary Andrade, PeaceHealth’s medical aid station coordinator, noted, “If you start to feel a cramp come on or feel poorly at any time during the race, don’t panic. Just come to one of our medical tents along the route, and our medical aid team can assist you. We want to make sure that you’re able to enjoy every mile of this beautiful race.” Whether you’re taking a leisurely pace or pushing yourself to the limit, remember to check in with yourself.
Be sure to wave to our volunteers as you run past – our friends from PeaceHealth are giving their time to keep everyone healthy and on their feet for the race. On behalf of PeaceHealth and the full race day team, Hilary offered this parting message: “We congratulate you for taking on the challenge of completing a marathon. It’s no small feat! We wish you all the best on race day. We’ll be cheering you on each step of the way!”