But even if you're prepared to run a marathon and you've been training for months, there are still some health tips to follow before and after the race.
Mayo Clinic sports medicine expert Edward Laskowski, M.D., offers some pre-race tips:
- The day before the marathon, consume extra calories, especially high-carbohydrate foods such as bread, cereal, rice, pasta and/or potatoes.
- To enable fluid absorption, start drinking fluids at least four hours before exercise.
- Most marathoners find they perform better if they consume carbohydrates during the race. Sports drinks, bars and gels are good options.
- To avoid runners' diarrhea, at least one day before running, limit or avoid sweeteners called sugar alcohols — most often found in sugar-free candies, gum and ice cream. For three to six hours before running, limit or avoid caffeine and high-fat foods.
- After-marathon food should include protein, preferably peanut butter or string cheese, which you should eat within two hours after stepping off the course.