On Tuesday, June 21 many joined Emory Sports Medicine’s Dr. Amadeus Mason for advice on what you should and shouldn’t be doing right now to ensure peak performance on July 4 during the Peachtree Road Race. Dr. Mason gave tips for avoiding injury, how to properly train, the best foods to eat, and what to do the night before the race and afterward.
Thanks to such a great turnout, we were able to answer quite a few questions that were submitted both prior to and during the chat. Below are some highlights from the live chat. View the full chat transcript here.
Question: How much running (training) should I do before the race?
Dr. Mason: Good question! This really depends on the length of the race. If you’re running a 5K you should be doing at least 3 months of training. If you’re doing a 10K, about 6 months and a marathon you should be doing 8-10 months of training.
Question: After running for a period of time my leg starts to cramp up. What can I do to avoid that I eat, stretch & drink water?
Dr. Mason: If symptoms are not complicated, I would start off with making sure that you are well-hydrated and making sure that you are getting in the appropriate kind of electrolytes. So making sure that you’re not just hydrating with water but also using sports drinks is important. Good nutrition, such as getting fruits and enough fiber, will help you to get used to the amount of hydration. Stretching really is not going to be helpful in preventing the cramping. Once the cramping has started icing and stretching can be helpful in getting it to resolve.
Question: Should I run the day before the race or rest?
Dr. Mason: Rest is probably always better. It would depend on where you are in your training cycle. If this is what you’re peaking towards, definitely rest. If this is a stop towards a greater goal, you don’t have to rest and can treat this as a training goal.
Question: I get shin splints when I run. What can I do to help with this?
Dr. Mason: Great question! If you’re getting shin splints when you’re running, there’s either one or a combination of 3 things that are going on. Either you’re doing too much too fast, you don’t have the proper shoes or you don’t have the proper biomechanics. With running too much too soon, it’s going to take a longer time to build up to the mileage you desire. The other two issues should be evaluated by a sports medicine professional.
Question: What are some ideal foods/meals to eat the day before a race? Can you please address the common thought of carb-loading before a race? Thank you!
Dr. Mason: As far as carb loading goes, it’s only good if you’re doing marathon races or longer. The day before the Peachtree Road Race, which is a 10k, should be no different than any day before a long run. Good rest, a decent meal and maintaining your hydration should be enough. Manipulating your diet before the race could be fine, but it should be done under the guidance of a sports dietician.