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Physiotherapist Mr Trevor Lee from the Department of Physiotherapy, Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group, shares some ways to prepare the body pre- and post-marathon.

The week before and after the marathon

The week before and the week after the race are both important periods in marathon training.

After running increasingly long distances during the months of training, it’s time to ease off and relax a little in the last one week before the race. “We don’t want to overwork the muscles, but neither do we want to lose the conditioning. So you should aim to run about 10km in that last week,” said Mr Lee.

Loading up on carbohydrates is also an important consideration in running a marathon. As Asians already have a high-carbohydrate diet, “just a little more than the usual amount” should do the trick, Mr Lee said.

While loading up on carbohydrates will not lead to higher speeds, it will help a runner avoid hitting “the wall”. That is when the body reaches its tipping point and the runner feels sudden fatigue and energy loss, and cramps set in.

“Once you get cramps, it’s very difficult to continue running. It drains you physically and mentally. Sometimes it can take about 30 minutes to recover. At other times, you may find yourself walking all the way to the end,” said Mr Lee.

Reaching the end is indeed a celebratory moment but the game plan is not over. Doing simple stretching exercises post-marathon is a must, as is eating a carbohydrate- and protein-rich meal within an hour after the run. After a couple of days, a massage to help stretch the muscles and get rid of stiffness is something that some runners like to have to help their bodies recover.

“Personally, I prefer the pool. I don’t swim. I just do some gentle stretching in the water,” said Mr Lee.

When the soreness eventually fades away, a light short jog will help keep the body conditioned until the next “exam”.

Read on for race day tips as well as tips​ on how to warm up and cool down after a run.

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