Health Report: Caring for your body before and after the Midnight Sun Run

Published: Jun. 21, 2023 at 9:05 AM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The 2023 staple event of summer, the Midnight Sun Run, is quickly racing around the corner.

This year’s popular 10k race will be held on Saturday, June 24. If you are considering participating, Dr. Mark Wade with the Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Clinic of Fairbanks, has some advice on how to prepare before the race and take care of your body once you cross the finish line.

“It’s imperative that when you’re doing these things, make sure you warm up your muscles, get blood flow and oxygen going to your muscles, tendons, and joints. So, when the race does start, you know, [you will] decrease the chance that when those muscles do start contracting and flexing, they don’t go into spasm or you actually sprain a muscle or cause injury,” said Dr. Wade.

Dr. Wade recommends arriving to the race early and do at least 15 to 20 minutes of stretching and to be sure to get all muscles warmed up because, as he puts it, “it’s not just your legs that are running.”

Wade continues, “the actual gate mechanism to be able to walk is a very complex system of muscles contracting and stretching. When a muscle flexes and moves, there’s a counter group of muscles doing completely the opposite. So when preparing for a run like the Midnight Sun Run, you need to make sure that you’re stretching and warming up all the muscles of your body including your hips and lower back and arms.”

He also adds that it’s important to hydrate with water and liquids containing electrolytes prior to the race and after the race. Warming down your body, while keeping the muscles stimulated, for example, a light walk, is also a good way to cool down your body after the race.

Finally, he offers that it’s crucial to listen to your body’s natural signals. If you feel a pain during the race, stop, and try to put ice on the area as soon as you are able to.

Dr. Mark Wade is with the Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Clinic of Fairbanks located in the Surgery Center off Peger Rd.