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Running and long distance marathons have become increasingly popular in American society. With fancy running athletic shoes, improvements in nutrition supplements and sports medicine and "running entertainment" such as iPods, iChips, etc., running marathons has seen a huge resurgence. Running is also one of the cheapest forms of exercise one can partake in. Other than a good pair of shoes and an entry fee if you are participating in a marathon, runninig is a relatively inexpensive endeavor.
Before you head out for a long run, or on the day of the big race, keep the following in mind: STAY HYDRATED
If you wait until you feel thirsty, it may be too late to reverse potential dehydration. Take a drink at every station if you are participating in a marathon, no matter if you feel thirsty or not.
Carry a wrist bracelet with your contact information, medical conditions and prescriptions along with any "emergency money" for a cab, bus or food, etc. One can get dizzy or confused after a long run. Also let your friends know where you will be before you participate in a marathon or go on a long run.
HAVE A COMPLETE PHYSICAL
Know your physiological limits and train correctly to pace yourself to finish given the conditions on race day. If the temperature is warmer or the humidity is higher than what you are used to, run slower.
DO NOT TRY ANYTHING NEW
If you are running in a marathon, don't use race day to try anything new. Wear your marathon shoes and clothing BEFORE you run the race. During training runs, practice drinking water or electrolyte replacement drinks and eating snacks to see what works and what doesn't for your stomach. Also try using Vaseline or similar lubricants to reduce chafing and rubbing and consider wearing a hat or other sun protection items, all before marathon morning.
Look around, take in the scenery and live in the moment!