This is the start of marathon season in the Midwest. One-third of Illinois races are in the spring and the remaining two-thirds are in the fall. If you are looking for a mid-summer marathon, it can be found in our neighbor to the north - Wisconsin.
Here are important tips to help enhance your running health, and avoid common mistakes novice marathoners make.
It is not the marathon that will injure you, it's the training. Joan Benoit Samuelson and Jeff Galloway's books have good programs, particularly for novices. Training at race pace is important. Take at least one long run on similar terrain as you will be running on in the marathon. Experiment with different foods on long runs to find out what works best for you.
Don't try anything new on race day. This means socks, shoes, clothes, and other products. Wear synthetic fiber socks like acrylic or Coolmax to draw moisture away from your skin. Use Vaseline or blister prevention gel on any areas prone to blisters. Run at least 50 miles in the shoes in which you plan to race. Make sure you bring layers for race day, including a second pair of socks, gloves and a hat for after the race.
Keep moving around as much as possible in the days after the marathon. However, wait until the soreness is gone from your legs before resuming running. Anti-inflammatory, such as Aleve or Advil, may help ease pain in the first post-marathon week. Lubricate open blister areas with antibiotic ointment, and only cover them if absolutely needed.