The New York City Marathon is Sunday, and the premier running event - which draws nearly 100,000 participants every year - offers a chance for both new and practiced marathon runners to run through all of the Big Apple's boroughs and experience an athletic event few can match.
Dr. Pamela Peeke is an internationally recognized expert, physician, author and veteran marathon runner. Currently training for the Boston Marathon in April, the leader of The Peeke Performance Center for Healthy Living has run the New York City Marathon in the past and is a pro when it comes to the physical, mental and emotional tools one needs to cross the finish line after those long 26.2 miles.
We reached out to Dr. Peeke for marathon techniques that even the beginner marathon runner can use to get through the miles.
"For any marathoner, whether it's your first or your 50th, we all know it's 80 percent mental, 20 percent technical," Dr. Peeke said. Particularly for the more experienced runners who have trained endlessly for the big day, "you already know you're going to finish it," she added. "The question is, A) are you going to have fun doing it and turn it into an adventure? And B) are you going to be smart?"
Dr. Peeke's tips for getting through your first - or 50th - marathon:
1. Pace the Race
The morning before the big race, just do a short 5K at a nice, easy pace, and get a lot of sleep. "There's no partying the night before," Dr. Peeke says. On race day, after you've crossed the starting line, choose a buddy. If you're running by yourself and it's your first race, pick someone who's running at your pace and keep up with them. You don't even have to talk to them - although saying "hi" and making conversation may actually help you get through the race. "Just say 'hey, I'm running your pace, I'm feeling really good,' and you could make a friend."
2. Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter!
When starting the race, use what Dr. Peeke calls "the peanut butter sandwich trick." When you make a sandwich, you spread the peanut butter evenly across the bread; don't glob it all up in one place. "The same thing goes for a marathon - you have to spread your energy out evenly as best you can, knowing of course, as soon as you hit a half marathon, you're going to get a bit kooky. First timers get carried away with the big crowds, everyone running quickly … don't get caught up in that. Just keep thinking to yourself 'peanut butter, peanut butter' …and by the time you reach half-marathon distance, you'll be grateful."
3. Proper Nutrition
The best foods to eat the day of the big race are sustainable carbs - oatmeal, whole grains, whole wheat bread, etc...
"The best thing of all is to put peanut butter on a banana, or peanut butter on whole wheat bread." Also throw in some fruit; too much protein will weigh heavily in your stomach. Sustainable, high-quality fats and carbs can be eaten the night before, but there's no need to carbo-load on pasta. A little bit of pasta, some grains or brown rice "works like a charm."
This one should go without saying, but hydrate well, both on race day, and the night before. Be sure to stop and get a drink at every water station along the race route.
For related stories on genConnect:
- Kelly Hayes: National Running Day: Reasons to Hit the Road
- Fred DeVito: The Cardio Myth
- Paula Simpson: Stay Hydrated to Avoid Weight Gain
About the Author:
Dr. Pamela Peeke is an internationally recognized expert, physician, scientist and author in the fields of nutrition, stress, fitness and public health. On stage or in front of a camera, she combines her trademark energy, wit and humor with the latest scientific data to motivate and educate audiences of all ages to transform themselves for healthy living.
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