How to prepare yourself
before a marathon run? by Dr
After the giving
my talk on sports injuries, many runners often ask me
about their own injuries. From my experience as a marathon
runner and running the sports clinic over the years,
I can reassure the public that running is still a very
safe sport. You can reduce your risk of injury in many
ways. One of them is the way you prepare yourself for
After registering yourself for the run, how do you prepare
yourself for the run? There are four important aspects
before a run; these are training, shoes and clothes,
food and rest.
If you're not ready by now, it's far too late to prepare yourself
if your 42 km run is next week. I often hear athlete telling
me about their last minutes training before a competition.
Some runners desperately try to cram in as many kilometers
as possible in the last week. It will only make things harder
on the big day. Your body is exhausted and your legs are too
sore to run.
By now your long runs should be well behind you and your last
two hour-plus run should be a few weeks ago. Take it easy
and save your strength for the race day.
The week before the run, on Tuesday and Thursday, do a short
run of about four to six km at an easy pace. You should rest
for two to three days before the race day. You need to stretch
your muscles daily even when you are not training.
Shoes and clothes
It is not the time to use your new pair of shoes for this
coming long run. Experienced runners will tell you that you'll
be experiencing yourself a few painful days if you do. Using
a brand new pair of shoes just before a competitive long run
is not a good idea.
Running a half or full marathon in shoes or clothing that
havenít been broken in is asking for injuries. Wearing new
clothes may cause bleeding and chafing. Using a pair of new
shoes may cause blisters on your feet by the time you reach
the finishing line. Stick with the most comfortable clothes
that you has been using during training and don't waste any
time worrying that you might not look your best.
During your training your body burns off extra carbohydrate
to burn. This is a sure way of losing weight compared to using
diet pills. By now you'll be used to eating meals that comprise
about 70% carbohydrate - noodles, potatoes, fruit, bread and
Some experts believe that an increase in carbohydrate intake
of up to nearly 100% in the two days before a run - a practice
known as carbo-loading - will increase your chances of getting
through the race without hitting the wall (the point at which
your body has exhausted all available supplies of energy).
Others disagree. Either way you should be eating plenty of
high carbohydrate content food, less fatty food and drinking
lots of non-diuretic fluids (i.e. water and fruit juice rather
than bear, tea or coffee).
On the morning of the run have a couple of slices of toast
or bread, a bowl of cereal or noodles and a cup of juice or
milk. Most runs in Malaysia are in the early morning. It is
common to hear many runners run without breakfast. If they
do eat, some of them eat too close to the run and cause stomach
A quick and simple energy supply for many regular and top
runners is PowerBar
and PowerGel. During my run or training these days I often
eat one PowerBar with 500ml of water the moment I get up from
the bed. By the time I arrived at the run it is about one
hour later. The PowerBar can easily provide me with one hour
of energy for my run. If the run is more than one hour, then
one PowerGel will help to maintain the energy requirement
for every half hour. Do carry a high-energy PowerBar or PowerGel
in the mid-to late stages of the race to recharge your energy.
Always practice using PowerBar and PowerGel during training
before the race day.
Sports drink like 100Plus and Excel are also an excellent
source of liquid carbohydrate before and during the run. The
drink helps to ease the thirst and hungry feeling very quickly.
Practise drinking sports drinks during training and drink
plenty of fluid the day before the race.
Take it easy one week before the race. Your body is about
to undergo the biggest test of endurance. Get lots of sleep
and rest. It is not the time for late night and long hours
of shopping. The night before, after a high carbohydrate meal
go to bed early. If your muscles are sore or tight, a relaxing
massage a day before is beneficial.
Questions to Dr William Chan can be directed to him. His
contact number is 03-563 55113 or 012-252 1898. His e-mail
See also the Sports
and Backcare Specialist page.