IT Band Running Injury: How to Recover

IT Band Running Injury: How to Recover

On one of my recent blog posts, one commenter suggested I write a post on how to recover (and train) with an IT Band Running Injury. Honestly, this was a great recommendation. I suffered a tough IT Band Running injury in March of 2018. I had recently completed my first marathon in January – the Disney World Marathon – and was just starting to get back into running after taking February easy. My first race back was a half marathon. After crossing the finish line, I instantly knew something was wrong and it took me 2+ months for the IT Band issue to recover.

IT Band – What is it?

Commonly known as Iliotibial Band Syndrome, it is an “overuse injury causing pain on the outside part of the knee especially during running when the heel strikes the ground.” (Medicine Net). If you believe you have an IT Band Injury, conduct some additional research to determine if it’s IT Band or something similar. In my case, I researched online to determine the issue.

Here are my top 6 recommendations to recover from an IT Band Running Injury (in no particular order). Please keep in mind that I’m not a licensed doctor or physical therapist. This is strictly based on my personal experience and what worked for me.

1.) REST – Take Time Off

It can be really hard to give ourselves a break from running. We all have races and training schedules and no one likes to get behind. However, when it comes to running and our bodies, always play the long-term game. I struggle with this a lot because it’s easy to think of the short term. For me, I barely trained for a few weeks. I did have a few races during this stretch, which I hobbled through them. Based on the severity, take a week or two off running and then reevaluate to see how your body feels. Patience is key here.

2.) SHOES – Get a Gait Analysis

If you’re pounding the miles, it’s important that you have the right running shoe with you every step of the way. The pair of Nikes that I initially wore the first few years of training were not good for me. In fact, after long distance runs, it was not uncommon for me to get huge blisters on my arches. Not knowing any better, I assumed it came with the territory. It doesn’t have to be this way. After the IT Band injury, I went to my local running store and had a gait analysis conducted.

During a gait analysis, they watch and film you running on their store treadmill to see your overall form. Based on your form, they recommend a pair of running shoes that will be a good fit for stability and support. I ended up with the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 2018s – one of the better shoes on the market for support and stability. I ran in the Brooks Adrenaline shoes for about a full year until just recently swapping back to a quality pair of Nikes.

3.) BRACES & KT TAPE – Add Support

As an added layer of support, use a knee brace/sleeve or KT Tape to keep everything secure and for overall peace of mind while running.

4.) RUNNING FORM & POSTURE – Be Aware and Try to Improve It

This is a big one. I’ll be the first to admit that my running form isn’t anywhere near perfect. When I first started running, I didn’t consider form. However, after the injury, I became aware of proper running technique and what it entails. I’m still learning and I haven’t changed as much as I’d like with my running form. It’s not easy.

If you are a heel striker, you are putting extra strain on your IT Band/Knee Joints. Pare that with overuse and you get IT Band issues. I’m now a lot more cognizant of heel striking and try to land parallel to the ground. My form isn’t great, but it’s better than what it was before.

5.) STRETCH & FOAM ROLL – Actively Work on Recovery

I recommend Googling multiple exercises for IT Band Recovery. Personally, I spoke to a friend in the Physical Therapy field. My friend gave me multiple exercises to help recover. There’s no specific stretch that made me feel better, so I would try several on your own to see what feels best for you.

6.) ICE IT – Post Run

I’ve found it very helpful to ice my knees after long training runs. Personally, I recover faster and have less injuries when I go this route. I use a Neoprene Wrap with a gel pack. I always keep the gel pack in the freezer and input it into the wrap when I use it. If you’re having an ongoing issue, I’d recommend doing this.

These are my top 6 recommendations on how to recover from an IT Band Running Injury. Of course, if it’s not healing on its own, please consult a doctor and physical therapist on next steps. If you have specific questions or comments, feel free to comment below or send me an email.

Hydrate During Summer Marathon Training!

Hydrate During Summer Marathon Training!

The summer is my least favorite time to run. It’s always hot and humid. If it were a dry heat, it would be more tolerable, but the east coast is always hot and sticky in the summer months. Unfortunately, fall marathons force summer long runs. Summer training is not ideal, but a necessary evil. In summer, it’s especially important to hydrate properly.

HYDRATION STATS: 

Most people struggle to stay hydrated in general regardless of the month. A 2013 study from CBS Miami found that “up to 75 percent of Americans may be functioning in a chronic state of dehydration.” Think about that – 3 out of 4 people may be chronically dehydrated. It’s important to keep in mind that caffeinated drinks also act as dehydrators and can counteract our water intake.

Of course, I’m a huge advocate for everyone to hydrate appropriately athlete or non-athlete. However, as an athlete, it’s extremely important to push the water and electrolytes when training. I’ll let you do your due diligence on how much water you should intake daily as there are so many factors and variables involved.

So, what are some steps I take to stay hydrated?

  • Awareness

With anything in life, it starts with being aware. I actively try to stay aware of how much I hydrate. It’s helpful to get into a routine.

  • Plan 

Before long runs or races, I always hydrate ahead of time and pump more fluids and water into my system. During runs, I’ll analyze how my body is performing and whether I need to hydrate again. Post workout, the first thing I do is hydrate to make sure I’m increasing my fluid levels.

  • Nuun Hydration 

I’m an ambassador for Nuun Hydration. You can check out my athlete profile. After intense workouts, I like to hydrate with one of their Sport + Caffeine Tablets. This helps me replenish quickly. My definition of an “intense workout” varies greatly. If I run 3 miles on a humid day outside and come back sweaty, I deem that as an “intense workout.” Nuun is great because it’s light on the calories, carbs and sugar. They try to use natural ingredients and I love that their caffeine is from organic green tea extract.

  • My Routine 

I often drink over a gallon of water a day. This is normal for me. With long runs and training regimens, I need to constantly be hydrating. In addition to water, I’ll drop a Nuun Tablet into my water to get extra electrolytes after intense training. Besides that, I’ll usually have 1-2 cups of black coffee throughout my day. Although it’s technically a dehydrator, I’m aware of that and make up for it with my overall water consumption.

Besides that, I don’t drink anything else (besides the occasional drink to kick off the weekends). I’m not an advocate for soda or any drink that has unnecessary amounts of sugar, unnatural flavorings, dye, etc.

This summer, be conscious and hydrate accordingly. Regardless of your training regimen, don’t allow yourself to get dehydrated.

If you have a topic you’d like me to cover, connect with me here.

2019 Goals: Running, Health, and Grit

2019 Goals: Running, Health, and Grit

Personally, I live by checklists and goals. At the end of every year, I start contemplating on the previous year. The pros and cons, areas for improvement and new goals to tackle for the following year. I generally start writing out my goals for the next year in October or November, although this year, I’m a little behind as I’m just getting my 2019 goals on paper now.

If you’re truly passionate about completing your goals for 2019, there are a few things you should always start with:

  • Put Your Goals on Paper

I find that writing out your goals is very valuable. It helps you think through what you want to accomplish and visualize it as well. Although I don’t know the exact number, I know that you’re more likely to achieve the goals you write down. And from personal experience, it’s true. Get those goals out of your head and on to paper.

  • Create a Road Map on How You Plan to Achieve Them

If you’re planning on running a marathon, do your due diligence and research. Put together a training plan and know in advance how you’re going to tackle it. The training plan may evolve or change as you learn more about your body and marathon training and that’s ok. It’s important to be able to adapt.

  • Be Consistent

After you’ve decided on your goals and created a blueprint on how to achieve them, the hard part is next. You need to follow through. To attain your goals, you’re going to have to be consistent. Keeping with the marathon training example, find ways to assist with consistency – whether you get an accountability runner friend, give yourself incentives, or use another method, nothing will happen without tough consistent effort.

In recap: Have a goal, create a plan, and stick to it! Fairly simple steps, but easier said than done.

Here are my fitness goals for 2019:

  • Sub 4:20 Marathon

During 2018, I completed my first two marathons: The Disney World Marathon (4:43) and then the NYC Marathon (4:53). My goal for NYC was to complete a sub 4:20, but I ran into issues and it didn’t happen. I’m more determined than ever to crush my sub 4:20 goal in 2018.

  • Tough Mudder

Ever since college, I’ve been talking about doing a Tough Mudder (the 10 Miler with all the obstacles). I think the only reason I haven’t done it yet is that I always wanted a group to compete with me. Now it’s 8 years later, and I’m determined to do it without a team if need be. This will be challenging as I’ll have to train my upper body strength.

  • Hike a 13er Mountain

It’s no secret that I love the outdoors: hiking, swimming, biking, running, etc. In 2019, I want to focus on becoming less of a one-dimensional athlete. Right now, I run and do a little strength training on the side. I love what I’m doing, but there’s a lot of outdoor sports I love that I’m not doing. I want to make a conscious effort to be less one-dimensional and start pushing the boundaries and expanding to different areas. Specifically, hiking/climbing mountains. I’d like to start by hiking a 13er in Colorado. This is a high priority of mine for 2019.

  • Nutrition

I need to focus on getting into a routine from a nutritional standpoint. I absolutely love cooking and meal planning, but have recently struggled with this as I’ve been busy with work and have let this slide. 2019 is the time to jump back into a consistent routine and push myself to be innovative and creative in the kitchen. My diet must mirror by workout routines. I can’t outrun a poor diet and need the proper fuel to allow me to hit my goals.

  • Cut My Body Fat by 10%

Over the course of 2018, my body fat slowly crept up. It was hovering around 12% in the spring, but now is a little over 18% – a 6% increase. I want to focus on knocking my body fat down to about 8% in 2019. Why? I don’t need excess fat on me for running and training and it slows me down. Also, if my body fat drops, that means I’m eating clean and smart.

What are your fitness and health goals for 2019?

2018 Life & Running Highlights

2018 Life & Running Highlights

As I think through the whirl wind of a year I had in 2018, it was full of laughs and struggles, accomplishments and challenges, successes and failures. I can say that I lived life to the fullest and it was truly an amazing year for me. Here are my 2018 Running Highlights by Month:

  • January: The Disney World Marathon

2018 started off with a bang when I completed my first marathon in January. It was an amazing experience and the runners high after the event was unreal. I truly believe that there’s nothing quite like finishing your very first marathon (at least for me).

  • February: Becoming More Confident as a Runner

In February, I became more confident in myself as a person and a runner. I joined a Runtastic running group for a weekend run in Central Park, which resulted in running with this group monthly from February – June (we stopped meeting for some reason after that). Through this group, I built some great friendships and got to know the NYC runner’s community a little better.

  • March: A Half Marathon PR

In March, I ran the Frozen Penguin Half Marathon in Bay Ridge. I hit a new PR and paced 8:00/minute miles for the full half marathon, which was a huge accomplishment for me.

  • April: The CUCB 10 Miler

Although I was injured with severe IT Band in my right knee, I fought through the pain and finished the CUCB 10 Miler in Washington DC. This is one of my favorite races.

  • May: The Popular Brooklyn Half

Believe it or not, this was my very first NYRR race. Frankly, this race went super poorly and was a disaster for me. I was still injured and it down poured before the race and rained off and on the whole time. I was soaked and shivering before the race even began. However, when I think of that race, I smile because it helped build me into the runner I am today. Gritty runs are good for you.

  • June: Vacation in Aruba

I took a break from races in June to recover and my wife and I headed to Aruba for vacation. We had the best vacation of our lives; It was so nice to get away and relax, recover and enjoy the ocean.

  • July: NYRR Races 

I ran my first two smaller races with NYRR in July. I worked on my speed and came away happy with my times.

  • August: A Trip to Europe with Friends

A dream of mine came true when I got to visit London, Amsterdam, Brussels, and Paris. This was a huge highlight and I’m so thankful for the opportunity. Life is short and nothing is guaranteed so I’m all about seizing the moment and doing things in the present.

  • September: A Labor Day 5K

Who would have thought a spur the moment 5k would be so enjoyable? I met one of my running friends from IG, ran a fast 5k, and won first place in my age group and 5th overall.

  • October: The Brooklyn Half Marathon

Although this was only a training race for the NYC Marathon, I ran a really strong race on one of my favorite courses in Brooklyn.

  • November: The NYC Marathon

Although the NYC Marathon didn’t go my way, it was still an amazing accomplishment and achievement that I’ll remember forever. I can’t wait to run it again and redeem myself.

  • December: Run Gum Ambassador for 2019

The highlight in December was becoming a Run Gum Ambassador for 2019. I’m so excited for this opportunity and can’t wait to share an amazing brand and product with other runners!

What were your 2018 running highlights?

Post NYC Marathon: What’s Next?

Post NYC Marathon: What’s Next? 

After completing my first marathon in January 2018, I wasn’t sure what my next step would be in my running journey. I had spent months training for the marathon and just like that it was over. I didn’t have any other marathons planned – I wanted to reassess my goals afterwards. However, I quickly realized that not having any upcoming races put me in a tough spot – it’s harder to train when you don’t have a clear path in sight of what you’re training for. I resonated with that one commercial when the person finished their tv series and was now in a show hole. I could relate. I was in a marathon, race hole.

I try not to make the same mistakes twice. With the NYC Marathon now behind me, I have a clear plan on how to move forward for the rest of 2018 and early 2019. Here are my next training steps spanning the next 2-3 months:

1.) Finish the 9 + 1 Program 

For those of you who are unfamiliar, NYRR (New York Road Runners) has a great deal for NYC residents. If you run 9 of their races in 2018 and volunteer at 1 of them, you are guaranteed a slot in the 2019 NYC Marathon. That’s a pretty sweet deal! At this point, I’m 7 + 0. My end of year running focus is now geared towards completing this task. In December, my schedule includes:

  • A 5k
  • A 15k
  • A Volunteer Opportunity

This will allow me to complete the 9 + 1 program and guarantee my entry for next year’s 2019 NYC Marathon. If you’re looking to run the NYC Marathon in 2020, I highly recommend and encourage you to check out the 9 + 1 program in 2019 (if you’re a resident of NYC).

2.) Focus on Strength Training

I’m going to place a large emphasis on lifting and strength training for November/December. It’s so important to build muscle and increase strength. I especially want to build more muscle mass in my legs to improve as a runner. I’m excited to pivot back towards lifting and have a better lift/cardio balance. My workouts recently have been one dimensional (all cardio focused). It’s time for a change.

3.) Looking Ahead to 2019 – Training Plans 

Although I haven’t decided which one, I’ll be running another marathon in May/June. For this next marathon, I want to do it the right way and follow a specific running plan. I’ll jump back into marathon training in January and supplement the training with a nutrition plan. In early spring, I’ll toss in a few races as part of my marathon training process.

I’m excited for the next upcoming months! With marathons, it’s definitely something you can’t wing so it always takes a lot more advanced planning and training.

Are you training for any upcoming marathons or races?

 

What Happened in the NYC Marathon – My Running Mistakes

What Happened in the NYC Marathon – My Running Mistakes

I had dreamed of this moment for over a year. I had ambitious goals. I had a plan on how to achieve them. And I had trained for this moment for a long time. I was going to cross that finish line, get a new marathon PR, and prove to myself that I have improved as a runner.

Unfortunately, this race did not turn out how I dreamed it would. I did not get a new marathon PR and I struggled for the whole marathon. I’ve spent a lot of time processing the results and here were my top mistakes. These are not excuses for a failed PR attempt, these are mistakes that I made that I will learn form, adapt to and evolve as an athlete.

1.) Lack of Emotional & Mental Focus Leading Up to the Marathon

The week leading up to the marathon I was not locked in. I was excited about the marathon, but I was not focused on it. I let other life stressors get in the way of me preparing emotionally and mentally for the race.

2.) Lack of Sleep Leading Up to the Marathon

This had a bigger impact than I initially realized. Due to work projects and life, I had 4 poor nights of sleep in a row before the marathon (Wednesday-Saturday night). I couldn’t sleep well, woke up often and slept few hours. On Thursday, my legs were aching because of the lack of sleep. However, I brushed this off and remained confident that this wouldn’t affect the marathon. I would run on excitement and adrenaline. I was sure I had more energy than I thought. Turns out, you can only run on excitement for so long. When the run got hard, my body just didn’t have the gas it needed to push through.

3.) My Marathon Gear

I debated for days what I wanted to wear on race day. I constantly checked the weather and considered what I typically wear on races in November. The problem was that it was going to be in the 50s which means that it could go either way compression tights/long sleeved shirt or shorts/t-shirts. Since I was going to be waiting for several hours before the marathon (and I didn’t have bag check) and considering that I ran a half 2 weekends before with compression tights/long sleeved shirt, I opted to go this route. This was a huge mistake. In addition to a lack of focus and energy, I quickly started overheating around mile 4-5. By mile 14, I met up with my wife to swap my long-sleeved shirt for a short sleeved shirt. This was the right choice. Although it took me a while to swap my bib onto the new shirt.

Overheating wasn’t the only issue. The compression tights were brand new. Although I tested them on a quick 3-mile run, we all know there’s a huge difference between wearing gear while running 3 miles vs. 26 miles. This is more of a theory than anything, but I don’t think the tights were breathable enough and helped to contribute to overheating. In theory, I loved the idea of these tights since they have multiple pockets for phones, gels, etc. Although that was another issue, I stuffed the pants too full which contributed to my slower pace. This theory may not be accurate, so I’ll continue to test these new compression tights on future runs.

4.) My Playlist

This isn’t a big one. I’ve been training myself to run with and without music. However, my Air Pod Playlist refused to shuffle and completely died on mile 17. No music for the last 9.2 miles.

5.) Waiting around for 4+ hours Before Starting

Although I knew I would be waiting around for quite some time prior to the marathon, I didn’t realize it would be 4 hours. Since I ran through a charity, I did have access to a heated tent. I stayed in the tent for the majority of the time beforehand. The tent was way warmer than outside, but still not perfect. It’s a long time to wait when you’re ready to go and running on fumes. I never had waited so long for a race to start before and it definitely affected me.

6.) Hunger

Before leaving the house, I had some Nuun electrolytes and toast with peanut butter at 4:40 AM. Between 6:00-10:00 AM, I had a kind bar, 2 6 oz cups of hot coffee, 2 8 oz. bottles of water and half a cinnamon raisin bagel. Honestly, I thought that was plenty since I normally run on less. However, I didn’t account for the 4 extra hours of waiting around. Shortly before my corral began, I realized that I was hungry again. Not a good sign heading into 26.2 miles.

7.) An Off Day

At the end of the day, my body just flopped and I had an off day. I’m not giving myself an out, I’m just sharing what happened. There are some runs where your body feels like a million bucks and other times were it’s a grind and challenge. Sunday was one of the tough ones.

So, what would I do differently?

1.) Keep to a Training Program
2.) Keep to a Nutrition Plan
3.) Keep Stress to a Minimum & Plan Ahead a Little Better

More on these items in an upcoming post!

 

 

Running Q&A: Get to Know Me!

Running Q&A: Get to Know Me!

Q: Why do you run?

A: There’s a lot of reasons. The first one is for physical fitness and mental wellbeing. It’s a great way to stay in shape and incentivizes me to be the best version of myself from a health perspective.

Second, running is a phenomenal outlet for me to literally run off into my own world for a few hours – truly therapeutic.

Third, the runners community is amazing – encouraging, supportive, and uncommonly kind.

Fourth, the runners high. After finishing my first marathon, I was in a runners high coma for at least a couple days. It feels amazing.

Fifth: The medals. Let’s be honest, medals are awesome. I won’t run a race unless there’s a medal waiting for me at the finish line.

Overall, I love feeling accomplished, breaking personal records, doing things I never thought possible and getting inspired/inspiring others along the way. All while getting in better shape and getting mentally stronger.

Q: What is your pre-race breakfast? Do you have anything special?

A: I usually do a plain bagel/toast with peanut butter. Then, I have a lot of water mixed with some electrolytes/caffeine (usually Nuun). That’s my go to meal. However, I’ve also ran on oatmeal, honey and blueberries + water/Nuun.

Q: When do you start hydrating for the race?

A: I try to start seriously hydrating for the race 48 hours prior to the race. I also try to start monitoring my meals and not put anything in my body that could throw me off or cause bloating for the race.

Q: Do you use any Gus or Gels on the course?

A: Yes – I prefer the Go Isotonic apple flavored gel. I find it’s easily digestible and is thin/runny. A lot of the gels are too thick/sweet for my liking.

Q: Do you eat the free hydration foods at the course stations?

A: It depends. If I have my own stuff, I’ll always use that first. I know how my body will react to what I’ve had before and I don’t want to risk having something that won’t sit well during the race. However, If I really need something, I will splurge sometimes.

Q: Do you get side aches or cramps during the race?

A: That’s really two questions rolled into one. I think every runner has experienced both of those issues at some point. I find that you can’t judge a long distance run on the first 3 miles. I’ve often had side aches or cramps for the first few miles, but I run through them and it usually improves.

Honestly, it depends on the aches and cramps. You should know your body and what it’s trying to tell you. For me, there’s times where my body is essentially just complaining and I know I can push through and it’ll get better.

There’s also time where I feel bad pain – hamstring issues mainly. At that point, it’s important to be smart. If you need to walk for a bit, no one is going to judge you. You do you.

Q: Music or no music?

A: Definitely music. I usually only listen to NF (rapper) during my runs. However, I’ll also throw in some Rob Bailey (body builder rapper). I find both of them to be inspiring and music that pushes me further.

Q: A random running fact about you – Go!

A: I hate bananas. I know, races and bananas are like peanut butter and jelly. When I was running my first marathon, they had several stations just full of bananas. I want to like bananas, but every time I’ve eaten a banana in the last 10 years I get sick. My stomach hurts for a solid hour. It’s not a fun fact, but definitely random.

First-Time Marathon Essentials

My First-Time Marathon Essentials Guide 

On January 7th 2018, I completed my first marathon. All the training, sweat and grit paid off. I’ve found that the running community is amazing, supportive and full of encouragement. Maybe that’s why so many people are joining the community (I recently joined myself).

Many people are being inspired to amp up their fitness levels and are signing up for half marathons and marathons. When I initially signed up for the 2018 Disney World Marathon, I wasn’t sure if I had all the gear needed to complete the run. I read several blogs and conducted lots of google searches. I found some decent information. However, I learned what I needed by training, running half marathons in preparation and joining the running community. I wanted to share my marathon race gear essentials:

1.) Body Chafing Stick

This will vary person to person, but I use a chafing stick prior to running as a precaution on my legs and chest area. For me, the friction of running and the fabric against your shirt can cause your nipples to chafe or worse, even bleed. Although I haven’t had extreme issues, for my first marathon I wasn’t going to take any issues. It seemed to work well.

2.) Apparel

The right, supportive running shoes, athletic shirt/shorts, and compression tights are essential to competing and performing well. If you’re unsure about what running shoes and brands to look at, do some research on Brooks, Altras, and Nikes. For shoes, part of it is personal preference. I look for a few things when selecting a shoe:

A.) Lightweight Running Shoe

Running a marathon is challenging enough, I don’t need a bulky, heavy shoe slowing me down.

B.) Highly Supportive

If it doesn’t offer support to your feet and ankles, it’s garbage.

C.) Comfort

I don’t want a shoe that bothers my feet, causes unnecessary blisters, etc.

I’ve heard great things about Brooks and Altras. Eventually I’ll check them out, but I’ve stayed consistent with my Nikes and have had success. (Note: I have now switched over to Brooks).

For the majority of races, I typically wear compression tights under my shorts. You don’t need this, but I find that it’s supportive, keeps my legs warm and flexible (I use Under Armour)

Any lightweight running shorts will work (if there’s zip pockets anywhere for your phone or additional items, that’s always a plus).

A nice compression shirt.

4.) Energy Gels

This is a big one for me. All races pass out water/Gatorade and most of the larger races will pass out additional fuel ups – bananas, gus, gels, etc. Personally, I don’t like using the gus/gels they pass out. I’ve done it multiple times and through trial and error have learned what works for me and what doesn’t work for me. Most gus and gels are thick. I don’t like eating something sticky and think when I’m running. Further, I’m not a sweet person – having Nutella flavored gels is not helpful for me.

I’ve found that the Apple flavored Go Isotonic Gel works the best. It’s between an apple sauce and water consistency, easily digestible and doesn’t make me feel sick. It’s packed with carbs, which is great fuel for long races. For the marathon, I packed 3 of these gels in my belt (see # 6 below).

5.) Phone Holder

Ideally, it’s best if you have a safe spot for your phone. I’ve used an arm band before and have also held my phone during races when I need to. However, additional zip up pockets, belts, etc. are good ideas for the phone.

6.) Belt

I used a snap on belt for my marathon. It had a back pocket (ok, it kind of looked like a fanny pack). But, I kept my gels in the pack. Depending on what you’re running with, it’s helpful to have a belt.

7.) Headphones

If you run with earbuds/headphones, make sure you have tested them on long runs. I’m still figuring out the best over-the-ear earbuds.

8.) Hydration

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate. Start hydrating a couple days before the race, hydrate during the race and definitely hydrate after the race.

9.) Nuun

Instead of a standard sports drink to hydrate and push electrolytes after the race, I recommend Nuun products. They have electrolyte tablets (similar to an Airborne – just drop it in water), electrolyte + caffeine tablets, and vitamin tablets. It’s great because it’s substantially healthier than downing a few sports drinks. Each tablet only has 10 calories, 4gs of carbs and 1g of sugar. My recommendation is to take the electrolyte + caffeine tablets before or after hard runs. Besides that, I don’t take them daily since the sodium levels are high (16% dv in 1 tablet). However, the vitamin tablets only have 4% dv of sodium so that’s better for daily consumption.

Those are some of my race-day essentials to make sure you navigate your first marathon successfully. Of course, do what works for you. Test things out prior to the marathon. Don’t try new products right before the race or during the race. I like to keep my running routine as consistent and rhythmic as possible.

Let me know what you’ve found to be essential! I hope this helps and good luck with your first marathon!