4 Tips for Chicago Marathon Runners | News | Loyola Medicine

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Friday, October 6, 2017

Loyola Sports Medicine Physician Offers Tips for Chicago Marathon Runners

Image of marathon runners and their feet.

MAYWOOD, IL – More than 40,000 runners from around the world will take to the streets of Chicago this Sunday for the 40th anniversary of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

James Winger, MD, offers the following advice for marathon runners, both new and old. Dr. Winger is part of Loyola Medicine's team of sports medicine specialists, which includes sports medicine doctors, orthopaedic surgeons, primary care doctors, athletic trainers and physical therapists who provide services to prevent injuries, maintain physical health and optimize performance.

Monitor your food and water intake in the days before the marathon

Stick to familiar foods. Now is not the time to try something different. While everyone remembers to fill up on carbohydrates, like pasta, don't forget to add some protein in the 48 – 72 hours before race day. Avoid all alcohol consumption at least the night before the race. 

Keep an eye on the weather forecast

"If marathon day is forecast to be warm, expect to run slower," Dr. Winger said. "Adjust your pace and race goals, especially when temperatures rise. Warm days are not made for personal records."

Keep hydrated - but not too much 

Over-hydration can pose serious threats to runners. "The guideline is to drink when you're thirsty, not before," Dr. Winger said.

Hyponatremia, a condition that occurs when fluid intake exceeds your rate of fluid loss from sweating, results in abnormally low blood-sodium levels. When this happens, the body’s water levels rise and cells begin to swell. Race participants who experience symptoms of nausea, dizziness, chest pain or disorientation should seek medical attention immediately.

Don't skip on recovery

After crossing the finish line, be sure to stretch thoroughly and ice any areas that are sore. It may be tempting to sit around the rest of the day, but moving around helps muscle recovery. Eat a meal that is high in protein to help repair muscle damage and start your recovery phase.

Avoid the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) until after you finish the race, you are able to drink without nausea or vomiting and you have urinated once.

Contact your doctor if you have any lingering soreness two weeks after the race. 

Good luck to all Chicago Marathon runners!

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 92 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 129,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.