Health & Fitness

By Nicole Cornella

A marathon is defined as any contest, event, or the like, of great, or greater than normal, length or duration requiring exceptional endurance. On November 5, runners from around the world, will be running a 26.2-mile leg race through all five boroughs of New York City. The ING New York City Marathon got its start in 1970 with only 127 runners. It has now evolved into the most well popular marathon. Being a participant in any marathon can lead to physical and mental stress on your body. Therefore, it’s imperative that you are well prepared for this mammoth task that you’ve set out to do.

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This is not something you just sign up for and show up on the day of the race. It requires months of training. Less than a year ago, I participated in a 48-hour dance marathon that benefited pediatric cancer. This meant no sitting and no sleeping for 48 hours. This also meant preparation: giving up caffeine, getting my body in both physical and mental shape, and getting plenty of rest. While we may think of training as pushing your body to the max in order to better shape yourself for a race or any other marathon, there can be a lighter side to training.

just calm down spa, located at 32 W. 22nd Street, offers runners a selection of royal treatments that he or she can enjoy both before and after the race. Runners can choose from The Sporting Event, a deep tissue massage which will warm-up the muscles before the race and alleviate the body of toxins after, or the Pitter Patter raindrop technique that drizzles essential oils providing ultimate muscle-kneading relaxation and a boost to your immune system.

Carlos Araque, owner of Essential Therapy, 122 E. 25th Street between Park and Lexington, and former massage therapist for the New York Mets, has more tips and guidelines for the over 85,000 runners gearing up for the trek through the city.

Araque re-iterates the importance for every athlete to stretch his or her muscles. Most athletes do not stretch for a substantial period of time. First, he suggests a short jog to warm-up your muscles, which increases pliability, followed by 30-45 minutes of stretching. Stretching has many of the same affects as a massage and when the muscles are relaxed and flexible, it will enhance the runner’s performance.

Bundle up! On the actual day of the race, the temperature throughout the city will be chilly, especially between buildings. While working out, bodies may stay warm, however, before and after the race, when runners are no longer moving, the muscles will get cold. Araque recommends that runners wear layers of disposable clothing that can be taken off during the race. Multiple t-shirts and inexpensive gloves are two suggestions.

Araque also suggests that runners go for a massage, either a Swedish or Sports Massage, both before and after the race or on a regular basis if time permits, similar to the massages offered by just calm down. Conveniently, Essential Therapy has a special offer for marathon runners: the 90-Minute Marathon Massage (check out the SPA section, where we’ve covered this in detail).

Remember to stay hydrated at all times when you run. A handy water backpack is ideal, or if you want little bottles to carry with you, new Lil’ Fiji Portable 300ml cuties can be ideally carried in your hip belt. And they’re the best water in the world, we believe! A 9-pack retails for $8.99 at Target stores.

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When you prepare for the race, don’t forget to take care of the soles of your feet! We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Artemis Woman’s Heel Smoother gets rid of the crustiness under the feet like no pumice stone in the world. Be sure to take care of your feet before and after you run. Visit www.artemiswoman.com to purchase.

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So take a day off from intense training and head over to just calm down, stretch, and relax. Each runner deserves some pampering for the journey they are about to embark on. And don’t forget to eat that huge pasta dinner the night before the race!

Visit http://www.nycmarathon.org/, the official ING New York City Marathon website for more tips on training for the big race in the Big Apple. Good luck to all!

Originally published November 2006
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