|My Condura Skyway Marathon 2011 Race kit|
Running is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself. However, as in any sport, there can be health and medical risks. Follow these tips to protect yourself as you embark on your training.
a. Have a physical exam before you start a regular exercise program - Tell your physician what you plan to do, including the volume and intensity of your training and any races you have planned. Be as clear and precise as possible.
b. Have an annual physical exam, no matter how healthy your lifestyle - Many conditions and syndromes are unrelated to your exercise level and have mild or vague symptoms or no symptoms at all. If you're over 40, get an exercise stress test. Follow-up after the exam by getting extra tests that are recommended. At any time, see your doctor immediately if you experience new chest pain, pressure, unusual sweating or shortness of breath. Less urgently, see a sports medicine physician if you feel any pain while running that causes you to change your form.
c. Think carefully about caffeine before races - If you habitually drink a cup or two of coffee or tea in the morning before you run or race, or consume a caffeine-containing energy gel during a run, you should feel free to do the same on race day. If you don't normally use caffeine before or during your run, don't do on race day. You may experience dehydration or upset your digestion. There is some research suggesting that the caffeine equivalent of two cups of coffee can limit blood flow to the heart during exercise. Discuss your risk with your doctor so you can make the best decision.
d. Consider taking baby aspirin before you run or race - Some doctors recommend a daily baby aspirin (81mg) to runners to reduce risk of sudden death while running due to clumps of platelets forming in the blood. Discuss this risk with your doctor so you can make an informed and responsible decision. If taking daily baby aspirin isn't the healthiest decision for you, you might consider taking one on race morning.
To be continued...
~courtesy of Condura Skyway Marathon 2011