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Guest post: tips to keep in mind for running your race

This is a guest blog post by Steve Zich, executive director of the Community First Fox Cities Marathon Presented by Kimberly-Clark.

First we’d like to thank Affinity Medical Group – Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine for being a sponsor of the Community First Fox Cities Marathon Presented by Kimberly-Clark. Without the help of our community sponsors like Affinity, we would not be able to put on this family-friendly event or give back to deserving organizations.

The Marathon weekend of events is fast approaching. The weekend of events will take place Sept. 21-23, and we’d like to see you there! Whether you’re the most experienced runner or a beginner, we have an event for you to take part in (kids are welcome, too!). What better way to stay healthy and active? By participating in one of these events, you can take part in a celebration of community, health and wellness.

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind if you plan on participating in any of this year’s Marathon events (or if you enjoy running in general):

  • Stay hydrated! If you are planning to run one of the longer races, be sure to take advantage of the water stations along the route. Hydration is important in preventing cramping and fatigue at any distance.
  • Be sure to stretch before and after your run to prevent injury. Start small, don’t try to go from barely running one day, to running a half marathon the next!
  • Avoid eating at least 30 minutes before your race. Eat light and healthy and allow food to settle before running. A banana or granola bars are good options. After your race, choose foods with potassium to help sore muscles.
  • When race day arrives, run like you’d normally run. Avoid wearing brand new running shoes, as they won’t be broken in and can cause pain and discomfort.

There is still time to register if you are interested in participating in one of the weekend’s races. If you want to learn more about the Fox Cities Marathon events, visit www.foxcitiesmarathon.org.

Steve Zich, executive director of Community First Fox Cities Marathon Presented by Kimberly-Clark

How to warm up without wrecking your knee

The knee can be at risk for injury because of the relatively long lever arm of the femur and tibia. Both of these bones are about twice as long as a lug wrench, so the torsional force produced by these long lever arms is substantial. Added to that is the body force that’s six to eight times your weight and transferred to the knee during running, cutting and jumping activities. Changing from quadrupeds to bipedal gait also plays a role in our knees as we change directions because the higher degree of force is concentrated on the knees (or a single knee) with movement instead of balanced on all four legs.

The human knee is made of living tissue and requires warm-up periods prior to athletic endeavors. Techniques to steadily increase your heart rate prior to workouts are crucial for preventing knee injuries. Jumping jacks, biking, walking or rowing are great ways to increase your cardiac output and blood flow before strenuous lower half training.

Dynamic stretching is also important as a mechanism to avoid injury and should be a part of your warm up. Research has indicated that static stretching (ex. lying on the ground and stretching in a hurdler’s stretch) will usually lower athletic performance by pre-stretching muscle-tendon units and changing muscle compliance and elasticity. Rare exceptions, such as dance and rhythmic gymnastics, do better with concentrated static stretching. As the knee increases temperature, there is greater flexibility in our movements and, although there are significant individual variances in flexibility, every athlete functions optimally as blood flow increases. Continue Reading »

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