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​Marathon Running Frequently Asked Questions

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To schedule an appointment with a physician or other Sports Medicine expert, call
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Sports Complex
3200 S. Water St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203

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8000 Cranberry Springs Drive
Cranberry Township, PA 16066

You've got questions, and our experts have answers! These frequently asked questions and answers will inform, educate, and motivate you in your marathon training.

Q: What are some things I should remember when running in inclement weather?
Watch this video answer from Jeanne Doperak, DO.

Q: Is it ever too cold to exercise outside?
Watch this video answer from Jeanne Doperak, DO.

Q:  I’m considering transitioning to barefoot or minimalist running. Do you have any helpful tricks or tips?
Watch this video answer from Kelley Anderson, DO. 

Q:  What are the pros and cons or barefoot versus shod running (with shoes)? 
Watch this video answer from Kelley Anderson, DO. 

Q: How important is rest and recovery during marathon training?
Watch this video answer from physical therapist Tara Ridge.

Q: If I feel pain or discomfort while running, how do I determine if I should push through it or seek medical attention?
Watch this video answer from physical therapist Tara Ridge.

Q: What are some tips to improve my performance on race day?
Ron DeAngelo: Whether you’re a novice or season runner, proper warmup and stretching is the most important thing you can do to get your body ready for 26.2 miles. Gone are the days of stretching in place. Rather, dynamic warmup is the gold standard in race day preparation. Dynamic warmup is basically stretching while moving, and helps increase blood flow, oxygen, and range of motion.

During the race, remember to use proper technique and form while running. Maintain good posture, and follow through with each stride. If you experience any discomfort or cramping, don’t be afraid to slow down or walk it out.

One other thing we can’t stress enough is to fuel and hydrate your body, both during your training and on race day. Consider using nutrition gel packets during your training runs, and take advantage of every water station the day of the race.

Q: What are some things I can do to help prevent IT Band Syndrome?
Watch this video answer from Vonda Wright, MD.

Q: How can I recognize some of the symptoms of IT Band Syndrome?
Watch this video answer from Vonda Wright, MD.

Q: After I finish the marathon, how can I get the most out of my recovery?
Aaron Mares, MD:  Running 26.2 miles is no easy feat for your body. Jump-start the marathon recovery process as soon as you finish the race. If you feel ill or injured at the finish line, ask someone to escort you to the medical tent.

Continue to drink water, sports drinks, and other liquids after the race. Move around periodically to remain loose, and sleep and nap as much as possible after the race. Rest is vital to allowing the body to repair itself.

Aches and pains are a normal part of marathon recovery. If pain continues or worsens, take the recommended dosage of an anti-inflammatory pain reliever, such as ibuprofen (Motrin®), naproxen (Aleve®) or acetaminophen (Tylenol®) at least six hours after the race is over. If you continue to experience pain or stiffness for more than several days after the race, contact your doctor or a sports medicine specialist for a medical evaluation.

Q: I’ve been dealing with pain in my kneecap. What are some reasons a runner would experience this type of pain?
Watch this video answer from Aaron Mares, MD.

Q: What are some steps I can take to help prevent anterior (kneecap) pain?
Watch this video answer from Aaron Mares, MD.

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