Rx to Rock! For many of you, this will be your first marathon or half marathon. Whether this is your first or fiftieth race, congratulations on your commitment to fitness and a healthy lifestyle! Whether you choose to run, walk or just rock, the following tips will help to ensure you have a fun and safe Rock ‘n’ Roll experience.
It’s too late to start now, but you need to respect the distance you’ve chosen to walk or run. There are many different training programs available to you. Be sure you chose one that had you complete at least 2/3 of the race distance several times during your training period. If not, slow down and participate at a comfortable pace.
If you have not calculated your fluid needs for this race, there are two strategies which will ensure you don’t under or over-hydrate. The easiest is to only drink when you are thirsty. If you want to be a little more scientific, limit fluid intake to 4-8 oz of sports drink every 20 minutes. For more information on hydration strategies, please visit our website.
Losing salt through sweating and complex hormone changes during exercise can result in lowering your serum [blood] sodium level. This will not only affect your performance, it may lead to muscle cramping, headache, dizziness and confusion. Have some sports drink along the course to quench your thirst, or follow your pre-planned schedule.
Fill out the medical information section on the back of your bib number. While serious medical problems are quite rare, knowing any medical problems you have, medications you are taking or allergies to medications is extremely helpful to our Medical Volunteers. Our goal is to treat all of our athletes like Rock Stars!
Your Medical Team
The Competitor Group Medical Team is a group of volunteer multidisciplinary medical personnel dedicated to acting as a team to provide rapid assessment of medical needs and to administer acute first aid and immediate services to the runners.
The team is made up of volunteers from virtually every medical institution within the event’s host community. The following tips, services and guides are presented to help you complete a healthy and safe race. Should you need to be transferred to a hospital or emergency room care, that care is your responsibility whether covered by your insurance or out of pocket directly.
Medical Quick Links
- Running in Warm Weather
- Benefits of Salt
- Blister Care
- Preventing Pain & Promoting Recovery
- Hydration Tips (“The Rules About Fluids)
- Understanding Hyponatremia
Medical Tents – Many Locations to Serve You
A Medical Tent will be available at the Start Line to address last-minute issues. Medical Tents are placed roughly every-other-mile on the course, with general First Aid supplies, ice bags, blister pads and Tylenol®. Three to six Medical Tents will be located in the Finish Line area, scattered around the Charity, Family Reunion and Gear Check areas. The Main Medical tent is located near the end of the Secure Zone, with staff and supplies to deal with almost any medical concern. Medical Team volunteers all wear RED shirts with our distinctive MEDICAL logo on the back.
Guidelines for a Great Race – Prevent Pain, Soreness & Promote Recovery
Click here for our tips about nutrition, pain-relief medication, stretching & shoes.
The Rules About Fluids
You need to drink. But how much? The International Marathon Medical Directors Association (IMMDA) presents hydration guidelines to help you remain healthy and safe on race day.
Prepare for the Heat
Heat illness is one of the most common, most serious problems encountered in Marathon running. On a hot day, the main concern is fluid and SALT replacement. You sweat water, but also a significant amount of sodium [salt]. A simple way to avoid over-hydration, is to drink only when thirsty. If you sweat a lot, add a small salt packet (available at all Medical Stations and the water station at the midpoint of each race) to a cup of fluid. Pin your race number on your shorts, and not over your chest or abdomen, where it will obstruct the flow of air to ‘cool the core’. Don’t forget to protect your eyes with sunglasses or a light-weight hat. Finally, unless you have trained or acclimatized to these race conditions, please SLOW DOWN, and make this a fun experience for everyone. On very hot or humid days, misting stations and ice towels or sponges will be available, which are best applied to the neck for maximal cooling. In case of serious heat conditions, we may alter the start time, shorten the race, or have air-conditioned busses available along the course. Read more on heat preparation here.
Recent medical research has shown that non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) like Advil, Motrin, Aleve, ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen, etc. may be harmful to runners’ kidney function if taken within 24 hours of running; only acetaminophen (Tylenol®) has been shown to be safe. These NSAIDs are thought to increase the possibility of hyponatremia while running long distances due to their decreasing blood flow to the kidneys and interfering with a hormone that helps the body retain salt. Therefore it is recommended that on race day (specifically beginning midnight before you run) you do not use anything but acetaminophen (Tylenol®) if needed until six hours after you have finished the race, are able to drink without any nausea or vomiting, have urinated once, and feel physically and mentally back to normal. Then, a NSAID would be of benefit in preventing post-event muscle soreness.
Click here to learn the best way to avoid discomfort and time off from physical activities by avoiding blisters. If blisters do surface, prompt treatment will get you back to form quickly and will help prevent infection. Knowing what blisters are and how to prevent and treat them will help you on race day.
Finish Tips – Walk it Off
During the race, blood has been re-directed to your legs, away from your internal organs. This is “normal” physiology that you should know about. You must continue to walk after finishing your race. Move for at least 20 minutes. If you don’t walk and stop or sit down, the blood flow to your internal organs will not rapidly be redirected to the pre-race state. You would then feel nauseous (not enough blood flow to the stomach) and throw up, as well as feel very dizzy and weak. Walking helps to redirect your blood and bring you back to your “everyday” physiology. Drink fluids slowly at the finish and certainly not until you have adequately “walked it off.”
If you have questions, please stop by the Rock ‘n’ Roll Sports Medicine Team booth at the Expo or visit one of our Medical Tents on race day. We would be happy to assist you. Have fun, be smart, and stay within your limits. In other words, Rock On.