How a sports doctor prepares for a big race

EnduranceTraining_1800X1013One of our Sports Medicine doctors has some insider tips on how to prepare for the calorie burn and recovery from an endurance event such as the Columbus Marathon, the TriFit Challenge or the Pelotonia bike tour.

Timothy Miller, MD, director of the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center Sports Medicine Endurance Medicine Program, is a distance runner and participates in fitness competitions.

Check out what he likes to drink at a race and the type of training he says you might be missing for a big event like a triathlon:

1. Make your own sports drink. 

Downing a bottle of a hyper-colored fruit-flavored drink before or after a long run, bike or swim isn’t a good idea. The drinks have more sugar than you need, which could irritate your stomach. Water down the drink to half-strength, or whip up a batch of your own. See Dr. Miller's recipe.

2. It’s true! Try chocolate milk for a recovery drink. 

It has a good ratio of carbohydrates, protein and fat that your body needs after a major workout. Bran muffins and bananas are other favorite pre- and post-race foods of Dr. Miller.

3. Don’t forget resistance training.

Building muscle is important in endurance sports for not only burning calories but also preventing injuries. Stronger muscles = more calories burned + more support for bones and joints.

4. Forgo the fettuccine. 

Forget what you’ve heard about eating a big bowl of pasta the night before a race. That’s not enough time for your body to process and to store the carbohydrates for energy. Eat about ¾ more carbs than normal in the week before your event, tapering off a couple of days prior.

“Just consuming a bunch of spaghetti the night before isn’t going to do much for you,” Dr. Miller says.

A burning question: What burns the most calories: running, biking or swimming?
For more of Dr. Miller's insights, check out his answer.

When your body hurts from a big race, Dr. Miller's Endurance Medicine team has resources for you.

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