There’s no doubt that running is good for you, but every now and then you might feel a twinge or pick up a common injury like a blister or shin splints.
Check out the recommendations below to learn how to stay healthy and prevent injury – and if you do pick up a problem, find out how to identify and treat some of the most common running injuries. For further help, consult a doctor.
On this page you will find medical information and advice about running the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon. Please read this advice carefully – we want you to enjoy your big day as safely and comfortably as possible! It is YOUR responsibility to be fit and well on the day of the marathon in order to enjoy the experience and not put yourself at risk.
Discuss any medical problems with your GP. This advice supplements anything he or she says. See your GP if you have a problem that makes it a risk to run in a road race.
If you have a medical problem that may lead to you having a blackout, such as fits or diabetes, please write the details, especially your medication, on the reverse of your bib.
Fit to compete
Running is good for the heart and for the past 15 years, hundreds of thousands of runners have successfully completed the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, but there have been medical emergencies from serious heart disease in runners apparently unaware that they had a problem. Their condition could have been detected if they had sought medical advice and the relevant heart tests. A ‘fitness test’ is not sufficient to detect these kinds of problems. If you have a family history of heart disease or sudden death, or have a high risk from high cholesterol or high blood pressure, but particularly if you have symptoms of heart disease; ie chest pain or discomfort on exertion, sudden shortness of breath or rapid palpitations – please see your GP who can arrange for you to have a proper cardiac assessment.
Muscular aches and pains occur most commonly after an increase in training. Training should be increased gradually so that you do not suffer prolonged exhaustion – seek advice from professional trainers and get a training programme. Separate days of heavy mileage with one or two days of lighter training, or rest days so that your body can refuel your muscles with muscle glycogen are recommended. To reduce injury risk, vary your training runs, the running surface (parkland or hills), the pace and distance and do not always use the same pair of shoes. Always run facing oncoming traffic and be visible – at night wear bright or reflective clothing.
Illness and training
If you have flu, a feverish cold or a tummy bug, do not train until you have fully recovered. Then start gently and build up gradually. Do not attempt to catch up on lost mileage after illness or injury — this may cause further damage or illness. If you have flu it can take as much as a month to recover, so consider whether you should run the marathon this time. Note: if you cannot run 24 kilometers comfortably one month before a marathon, you will not manage it in safety or enjoy it. Please do not run on this occasion.
Fluid lost in sweat must be replaced otherwise your body becomes dehydrated (short of water) and less efficient. Alcoholic drinks, tea and coffee are dehydrating. Take plenty of non-alcoholic drinks, especially in hot weather. Drink enough to keep your urine a pale straw colour. Drink plenty of liquids after training, especially long runs, and practise drinking during longer training runs. Try 100PLUS, which will be handed out during the marathon, in training to see if you like it. It tastes quite different after 32 kilometers. Drinking on the run needs practice. Drink plenty of fluids but preferably no alcohol in the two days leading up to the race. Do not drink excessively just before the race, during the race or gulp water after the race as you may get hyponatraemia.
Drinking on the day
Start the race well hydrated and if you are not already bursting, drink a cup of water or sports drink in the half hour before the start. Do not be greedy and take extra bottles of drinking water to pour over yourself as you may be depriving slower runners of much needed drinks. Mist cooling zones will be set up on the course – use these to cool yourself.
Drinking too little can lead to problems, as you need to replace some of the fluid you lose as sweat. Drinking too much can also be very dangerous and lead to hyponatraemia (water intoxication), fits and even death. Drink only when you feel the need and do not gulp large volumes of fluids before, during or after the race. Your needs vary with your build, your speed and above all the weather. Faster runners (under 3:30) on a warm day may need as much as a litre of fluid per hour. Slower runners should not drink more than 500ml of fluid per hour. There are frequent Aid Stations so you do not need to drink at every one, just swallow a mouthful of water occasionally. If you’ve trained successfully with 100PLUS and Shotz gels, have that as well but be considerate on the quantity as too much sugar intake may cause nausea. After the finish do not drink large amounts of water. It can be quite normal to not pass urine for several hours after a marathon. You can only re-hydrate (replace lost fluids) gradually over the next 24 to 48 hours. Try to eat some food as well as spacing out your drinks. This way you will not get hyponatraemia and will still replace the water, salt and glycogen lost in running the marathon.
Large doses of supplementary vitamins and minerals (such as iron) are not essential and produce no benefit if you are on a good mixed diet, but taking additional vitamin C in small doses is reasonable when fresh fruit and vegetables are in short supply. Training (with adequate rest) helps you to sustain a high level of muscle glycogen if you eat enough carbohydrate. If you can, eat within two hours of your long runs. This helps to rapidly replace the muscle glycogen and hastens recovery. Do not change your normal diet drastically in the last week before a marathon, but eat less protein (meat) and eat more carbohydrate (pasta, bread, potatoes, cereals, rice and sweet things), especially for the last three days when you should also be markedly reducing your training. This loads the muscles with glycogen and delays or prevents you from ‘hitting the wall’. Unless you reduce your protein intake you will not be able to eat enough carbohydrate. Not all runners are helped by first depleting carbohydrate levels with a long run and low carbohydrate diet and then loading as this can make your muscles feel very heavy.
Do not run if you feel unwell or have just been unwell. Most medical emergencies occur in people who have been unwell but do not wish to miss the event. If you feel feverish, have been vomiting, have had severe diarrhea or any chest pains, or otherwise feel unwell, it is unfair to you, your friends and your family to risk serious illness and become a medical emergency. You are unlikely to do yourself justice. Even if you make it to the finish, you’re unlikely to enjoy the day or give your best performance. There are many other marathons. Seek medical advice before the race and if you feel ill on race day it’s important to withdraw from the race or downgrade your running category.
On the day
Wear appropriate clothes for the weather. Singapore is hot, wear loose mesh clothing, start slowly and, if possible, run in the shade. Use shoes you know from experience will not give you blisters.
At the finish
Once you have completed the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2017, do not stand about. Make sure to keep walking, especially if you feel dizzy, and gradually drink enough fluid to replace lost liquid. Get your kit and change into clean, dry clothing. Keep on drinking slowly and have something to eat. Some runners feel faint more than half an hour after finishing a race, often because they have taken insufficient fluid and/or not eaten anything. Again, do not drink excessively.
Think before you drink
Adequate preparation for a marathon requires appropriate nutrition, hydration and rest. Athletes often consume isotonic, carbohydrate and protein drinks as well as energy gels and bars purchased in sports and health food shops in preparation for the event, which is considered safe practice. It is important for you to train with the same products you will have on race day, do not try out a new product on race day. The Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon will provide 100PLUS and Shotz gels at the drink stations, get used to those products.
However, over the last two decades there have been an increasing number of commercially available compounds that claim to enhance performance. Some have been found to contain substances banned in other countries and other products (such as steroids) that are banned for use among competitive athletes. Such products are usually purchased via the internet and should not be used by anybody training for a sports event like the marathon. Runners using performance-enhancing compounds that have not been licensed and regulated properly may experience serious side effects and increase their risk of developing heart disturbances that culminate in sudden death.
There have been well-publicised cases of runners inadvertently using compounds in an attempt to help them fight fatigue during endurance events and this caused detrimental effects on their health, resulting in their death. In one recent case toxicology identified traces of DMAA, which is an amphetamine-like substance. Although banned in sport, the product was legally available at the time and advertised as a powerful performance enhancing agent and the warnings associated with the potential harmful ingredients were not highlighted on the product. Runners should avoid consuming unregulated substances bought online.
The Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon has many Aid Stations to ease congestion and allow access for the 50,000 expected runners. You do NOT need to drink at every water or Aid Station. THINK before you DRINK.