Tips for DC Race Runners

George Washington University Hospital’s Medical Director Offers Tips for D.C. Race-Runners

Washington, DC-(October 17) As 60,000 runners descend on Washington over the next two weeks for the U.S. Army Ten-Miler and the Marine Corps Marathon, Gary Little, MD, Medical Director and emergency medicine physician at the George Washington University Hospital wants to help them have a safe and fun marathon experience by reminding runners of some healthy tips.

“Running long distances places considerable stress on the body,” says Dr. Little. “Runners should prepare appropriately in the days leading up to the event to in order to help themselves have a positive race experience.”

As runners near their start dates, Dr. Little offers these tips:

Eat smart – Proper pre-race nutrition is critical because long runs drain the body’s resources. Do not consume alcoholic beverages in the 48-72 hours leading up to start-time and enjoy a meal high in carbohydrates and protein the night before the race. Stick to meals you know; this is not the time to try a new dish.

Get plenty of rest – A regular sleep schedule is important during the week leading up to the race. Runners have been known to stay awake the night before a big event with pre-race jitters. An established sleep schedule makes sure your body is well rested—even if you can’t get to sleep the night before the race.

Know your personal health – If you are sick, make sure to check with your physician before you run. Anyone with flu-like symptoms should be fever-free for at least 24 hours before the race, without the aid of a fever-reducing medicine in order to safely run.

Watch the weather – Know what the weather will be throughout the day and watch the race’s Event Alert System carefully for important weather information. While the weather might feel cool in the morning, it will probably heat up as the race moves into the afternoon. Dressing in layers or bringing multiple clothing options can help you remain comfortable throughout the day.

Stick to your routine – Racing the same way you practice is a great way for runners to stay safe. Eat the same breakfast you normally would before a long run, wear the same gear and perform your normal warm-up.

Hydration – Both dehydration and over-hydration can cause serious health problems for runners. A condition called hyponatremia can result when fluid intake exceeds your rate of fluid loss from sweating, causing abnormally low blood-sodium levels. When this happens, your body’s water levels rise and cells begin to swell. Runners who experience nausea, disorientation, or dizziness should seek medical attention immediately.

Post-race routine – Make sure to ice and stretch any areas that are sore following the race. Eat another high protein meal in order to help repair muscle damage. Don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishment!

The George Washington University Hospital is a Level 1 Trauma Center and a first-responder for race day emergencies. During both the Army Ten-Miler and the Marine Corp Marathon, the emergency department is prepared for potential extra patients.

“Each race will draw 30,000 participants plus thousands more volunteers and spectators who will take part in the event’s activities,” said Dr. Little. “We wish everyone a safe and pleasant experience, but want runners and spectators to know that we are here and well equipped to address any issues.”


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The George Washington University Hospital is owned and operated by a subsidiary of Universal Health Services, Inc.(UHS), a King of Prussia, PA-based company, that is one of the largest healthcare management companies in the nation.          

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Washington, DC 20037

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