Make sure that you're prepared for race day before you head to Hopkinton – and the finish line. (Photo by Steve Gilbert)

Last month, Dr. Elizabeth Matzkin, Surgical Director of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Women’s Sports Medicine Program and Team Physician for Stonehill College Athletics, offered runners important advice on how to prevent overuse injuries, which account for over 20 percent of running injuries in the leg. Now, with the Boston Marathon only days away, she has some last-minute tips for avoiding injuries and other problems on race day.

Hopefully, you and the thousands of runners training for the Marathon have avoided the most common overuse injuries of the legs by having trained properly over the past few months. The numerous hours and miles of training are now complete, and the last bits of preparation can begin.

Here are a few last-minute tips for avoiding injuries and other problems on April 21:

1. Relax.

You’ve been training faithfully over the past several months. There is no need to cram in one more long run. You are ready.

2. Be comfortable.

This is a run, not a runway. Have proper shoes and clothing ready to wear. Use shoes and clothing that you have run in before, not brand new gear that may not be comfortable.

3. Chafing and blisters.

Proper shoes and attire are the most important factor for avoiding chafing and blisters. For trouble spots, use Vaseline® (petroleum jelly) or BodyGlide®.

4. Stay hydrated.

Dehydration can be avoided by drinking when thirsty and at most, if not all, water stops. Symptoms of dehydration can include dry mouth, fatigue, dizziness, stomach ache, nausea, headache, irritability, and decreased urination. If you experience these, slow down or stop and drink water and/or a sports drink until you have recovered.

5. Pay attention to the weather.

Heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke (in order of severity) can be dangerous if not addressed before it occurs. Drink fluids and dress in layers so that you can adapt as temperatures rise.

6. Eat well. Sleep well.

7. Don’t forget sunscreen.

You’ll hit a wall, but you’ll be okay. Just pace yourself. Smile, enjoy the race, and finish your goal!

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