Staying Healthy on Race Day

CUCB takes medical issues on race day very seriously. Two of the committee members tasked with ensuring runners stay healthy and are treated if medical issues arise offered the tips below on how to stay safe and healthy at this year’s CUCB.

Medical volunteers get their morning briefing before race day 2013
Medical volunteers get their morning briefing before race day 2013

Unlike summer races where heat related injuries are the main concern, The Cherry Blossom 10 Miler happens to occur in early spring before the hot humid days of summer.  While summer races produce more dehydration and heat related injuries, spring races may be held on cool, wet days.  Hypothermia is a potential threat to runners, and the threats of dehydration and musculoskeletal injuries due to under training remain.  Hypothermia occurs when the body loses heat faster than it can produce heat. Symptoms of moderate to severe hypothermia include shivering, clumsiness or mumbling.

Layers

Polly Porter, Physician Assistant and Certified Athletic Trainer at National-Sports Medicine Institute, suggests making sure you layer your clothing. Thin layers can be added or removed after the warm-up, as soon as you start sweating. CUCB will collect and donate any clothing discarded at the start line – you can do good by staying healthy!  Clothing that is breathable and moisture wicking will perform best.   Avoid cotton, which stays wet next to your skin. Since wetness or dampness is common in April, a waterproof, breathable outer layer can make the runner’s life easier. If wind is a factor, consider windstopper technology.   A runner moving at 10 mph directly into a 5 mph headwind creates a windchill factor of 15 mph.

Hydration

Runners may not have hydration on their minds for a cool, damp run, but adequate hydration is important as it ensures the body has enough blood volume to warm the tissues.

Here’s how you can make sure you have enough fluid:

  1. Begin event well hydrated.  This is evident by light yellow colored urine.
  2. Proper hydration is approximately 17–20 ounces of water every 2 to 3 hours (or 500 mL 2 hours prior) before exercising.
  3. Maintaining fluid replacement at 7 to 10 ounces every 20 minutes while exercising – aim to match sweat and urine loss.
  4. Electrolyte/carbohydrates are recommended for workouts that last longer than 15 minutes or are intense.
  5. A 6% carbohydrate solution is optimal. Carbohydrates solutions above 8% result in slower absorption through the stomach.
  6. The optimal fluid to drink after exercise is something with carbohydrates – this will help improve the rate of absorption of sodium and water and replenish glycogen stores

Medical Issues on Race Day

CUCB is well equipped with supplies, personnel, and protocol to handle almost any medical concern.  Medical runners are positioned throughout the race to assess runners in need.   There are also medical stations every 2 miles along the race as well as the main medical tent near bag check in the infield.  If you happen to come across a downed runner, immediate assistance and coordination of care can make the difference between life and death.  Most injuries are minor, but in the event of a cardiac arrest, Hands Only CPR can be a life-saving technique.  CUCB is pleased to announce yet another safety measure for 2014’s race that can help protect our participants: we are hosting a “Runners Helping Runners” CPR refresher workshop at Saturday’s Expo!  There are 2 sessions offered at Saturday’s Expo: one at 11am and another at 2pm.  Acquire skills to assist not only fellow Runners but also friends and family in the event of an emergency.

Resources

National Athletic Trainers Association website: www.nata.org
American College of Sports Medicine website: www.Acsm.org

Authors

Polly A. Porter, PA-C, ATC
National-Sports Medicine Institute
www.nationalsportsmedicine.com
Co-coordinator, Cherry Blossom 10 Miler
Medical coordinator, Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon
Medical coordinator, Run Like a Diva DC Half marathon

Betty Y. Wang, DO, MBA
Internist and Managing Partner of BW Primary Care, Eldersburg, MD
Co-Medical Director, Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

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