Running tips from a sports doctor

Running tips from a sports doctor

Since 2014, doctors, staff and other volunteers from UC Davis Health have been part of the California International Marathon (CIM) medical team, ready to care for approximately 10,000 runners during the event. . For eight years, Brandee Waite, director of sports medicine at UC Davis Health, a hip X-ray, served as the race’s medical director. But this Sunday, she will run the marathon relay herself (equivalent to roughly a half-marathon) at the CIM.

Waite, a professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, will share the marathon route with her husband, Mike Sammis. Each must complete a 13.1-mile leg of the route that takes participants from Folsom to downtown Sacramento.

“This year is a milestone anniversary, so I have set myself the goal of running 50 miles of races in 2022,” Waite said. “It was a goal for the year I turned 50, so I had planned to do races spread over the year ending with CIM.”

Waite had described a series of races to be run over the year, ending at the CIM. But after contracting COVID and a migraine on race day, she was forced to adjust her strategy, including adding an unplanned 5K during a trip to Philadelphia.

“Once I finish this run, I will end up running 51.5 miles,” Waite said.

Brandee Waite

This year is a milestone birthday, so I have set myself a goal of running 50 miles of races in 2022. year ending with CIM. -Brandee Waite

In the days leading up to the CIM, Waite shared some of her own training tips that cover nutrition, hydration and how to avoid common running injuries. Here are the highlights:

Training for races

Don’t overdo it and have a plan. Running is not my favorite cardio activity, so it was essential to start slowly and for shorter distances. I also made sure to incorporate other forms of cardio, in my case, dancing, and also included some light to moderate weight training in between.

Runners at any stage should focus on a slow and steady progression training program. If you’re just starting out, start with two to three runs per week and don’t increase the distance by more than 10% per week. You can always focus on shorter runs on weekdays and a longer run on weekends, making sure to incorporate rest days in between. Also know your limits: the body whispers before it screams, so if something starts to feel uncomfortable, be sure to get the proper rest and focus on stretching or icing to aid recovery.

Warming up, cooling down and stretching

Making sure your muscles are warmed up before a run is always a good idea. I always start with a brisk five-minute walk before starting a run. Dynamic stretches after a warm-up can also be beneficial, especially for your large muscles like the hip flexors and hamstrings. Even with a good warm-up and stretching routine, cramps can still occur during a run. It’s better to stop and stretch the muscle than to try to keep running until the cramp is so bad that it interferes with your ability to move.

After a run, I take a five-minute walk to cool my muscles and allow my heart rate to drop before stretching my lower limbs. This helps reduce muscle soreness and improve muscle relaxation after a run.

Nutrition and hydration

Waite poses after completing an impromptu 5K in Philadelphia
Waite poses after completing an impromptu 5K in Philadelphia.

My favorite pre-race dinner is the sushi rolls. I find it to be a good mix of carbs, healthy fats and protein, without being too heavy a meal the day before the race.

On race day I will focus on eating fruit in the morning which provides good carbs. I also use the Gu pouches to boost and fuel my body every 35-45 minutes while running.

Proper hydration is essential. This has been one of the most common issues we’ve seen in the med tent over the years. Either people aren’t hydrated enough or they haven’t been drinking the right balance of water and electrolytes, which contributes to both dehydration and muscle cramps. That said, don’t overhydrate yourself with water alone when running longer than 60-90 minutes, it can also lead to stomach upset or serious low electrolyte issues.

My go-to tip is for every two cups of water, drink one cup of a drink with electrolytes. When we sweat and run we lose electrolytes and water alone does not replenish the electrolytes leaving the body.

Shoes matter

Take your time to choose the shoe that suits you best, even if it means trying on different shoes and walking around the store before making your choice. Make sure they provide good support, but give utmost importance to what feels best on your feet and replace them after about 350 miles.

Race Day Tips

Make sure you get plenty of rest the night before and avoid drinking alcohol in the previous days as it affects hydration and sleep quality.

In the morning of, I get up early and eat fruit before the race. I check the weather forecast to know what to expect and plan what to wear, whether it’s layers on the coldest days or a shell when rain is forecast.

Have fun

I like to have a good playlist to lift my spirits, especially around the ninth mile when I start to feel tired. It’s never a bad idea to have a good one just in case, whether you’re a runner who listens to music throughout the run, or prefers to run in silence. Good music can give you an extra boost on the home stretch.

Everyone’s musical tastes are different, but the two must-have songs on my playlist for CIM 2022 are:

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