This is just part of our coverage of this year's Philadelphia Marathon. You can read all of the articles at www.philly.com/marathon2012. And don't forget to join us there on race day to follow the action.
By Capt. Kelly B. Calway
Editor’s Note: Kelly Calway is a United States Army Captain and part of the Army’s World Class Athlete program (WCAP). Capt. Calway was among the top 25 finishers in the 2012 United States Olympic Marathon Team Trials. She plans to run next Sunday’s Philadelphia Marathon and will share a few race preparation tips with SportsDoc in the coming days. Today, Kelly focuses on race day, including nutritional and ‘fueling’ tips before, during and after the race, as well as proper hydration and race attire.
- Energy Gels: One every 10 kilometers (6.2 miles). Runners should practice — preferably during long runs—with different types of gels, GUs etc. to figure out what works best for you. Find the least offensive flavor energy (none of them taste fabulous) for you and vary the flavors along the way.
- Caffeine can really help keep you going and a lot of the gels have it, just make sure you've PRACTICED with whatever you use on race day. I like to use caffeinated gels throughout the race, but usually save the 2x caffeine GUs for the latter part of the race.
- Pre-Race meal: Eat something that you are very familiar with no later than two hours before the start of the race. Definitely do a test of your pre-race meal to ensure it won't upset your stomach. It's important at this meal consist of 120g of carbohydrates.
- Carb-loading: Starts 72 hours out. Replace water with sports drinks during the day. Eat your fill of pasta, rice, white breads, cereals, etc. The goal of carbohydrate loading is to saturate your muscles and max out those glycogen stores. There's no need to go overboard, though — you need to add 8 grams of carbs per pound, intake to achieve this. For example, a bagel has 60 grams of carbohydrates, Gatorade is 15 grams per cup, and chocolate milk is 25 per cup.
- Post-Race: Get a meal in as soon as possible, even if you don't feel like eating. You need to replenish your glycogen stores.
- Sports drink (or water) every 5 kilometers. This is especially important early in the race, drink before you need to, so you are hydrated later on.
- 6-8 fluid ounces every 5 kilometers. You may have to grab two cups, pinch the top, and run with them for a bit to get this much fluid.
- Select items that are very familiar for race day. A marathon is not the time to try out a new pair of shoes or shorts. Anything that you think could scratch or chafe will do so. Cut out those nagging tags and rub on some lubricant to prevent it from becoming an issue.
- Racing Flats: You may not be able to get away with the extremely minimal racing flat worn for half marathon and below. Generally, I opt for a shoe with a bit more cushion and it has paid off for me in the long run. The key here is to train in your racing flats enough to break them in and conduct at least one long run or workout in those flats before the day of your marathon.