Have you ever wondered what it takes to complete a half-marathon?

Phynna’s journey to complete the Kentucky Derby miniMarathon

Meet Phynna. For the past month, Norton Sports Health has been monitoring Phynna’s journey to complete the Kentucky Derby miniMarathon on April 25. It’s her first half-marathon and she wants to cross the accomplishment off her bucket list. Phynna has learned the importance of preparation and being in good physical condition before the race, as well as the importance of good shoes, breathable clothing and a healthy diet.

Throughout her journey, Phynna has been documenting her daily runs and mileage in a journal. She describes her activity for the day and when and where she completed it. She was ill for a few days and dealt with the wintry mix Louisville experienced in late February, but she did not give up. She mustered the energy to run when she wasn’t feeling well and despite the winter blues, she ran at Cherokee Park or did her exercises indoors to avoid the snow.

Phynna’s journey began when she visited Robin G. Curry, M.D., a sports medicine specialist with Norton Sports Health.

She told the physician about the pain she experienced in her left knee whenever she ran. She was offered suggestions and preventive methods for averting the pain.

If you have any type of injury to any part of your body, seeing a sports medicine physician before beginning an exercise program is important, especially if you are intending on running a race. Phynna expressed in her journal the encouragement she felt when visiting with Dr. Curry.

“I have never had a physical before any type of exercise program. This will be my first one and I’m really excited,” Phynna said.

She also met with a physical therapist, who put her through a series of tests to determine her balance and core strength.

“I found out my shoulder had some issues and got some advice,” Phynna wrote.

During the test, Phynna practiced her balance and stability technique and was given additional information that coincided with the information Dr. Curry had given her during her physical.

“This test will help me on my technique in terms of core and balance that will help me on my run,” Phynna said.

Next, Phynna visited Swags Sports Shoes and learned the importance of wearing the right shoes and appropriate clothing.

“I never knew the importance of proper gear! I learned about layers and proper shoes,” Phynna said.

Breathable clothing is important for protecting yourself from moisture and wind. Phynna was offered suggestions on clothing appropriate for running conditions during the spring, when the miniMarathon will be held. Wearing proper shoes specific to your foot type is essential. Insoles are a great addition to any shoe to relieve pain, and Phynna was encouraged to try the TriggerPoint Grid to help relieve the pain she was feeling in her knee.

“I’ve experienced a little left knee pain, but I think that was because of improper shoes,” Phynna said.

Phynna also met with a nutritionist, who taught her about the importance of increasing her intake of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, along with essential vitamins and minerals. Phynna cut out sugar and sodium from her diet by replacing them with low-calorie sweeteners and spices other than salt. She noticed weight loss within a week. The nutritionist told her it was best to eat a full meal of mostly carbohydrates four to six hours before the run and then a small, carbohydrate-filled snack 45 minutes before the run. A good snack might be graham crackers, apples, bananas or any other food that is easily digestible.

“I can’t wait to put into practice what I learned — like staying hydrated and eating during the run,” Phynna wrote in her journal.

The nutritionist stressed the importance of eating a snack full of carbohydrates post-run to maintain energy and drinking plenty of liquid to stay hydrated. Your body must be able to produce energy for peak performance and endurance.

While you’re training, it also is critical to rest and listen to your body when you aren’t feeling well, as Phynna learned. She took a few days off while she was sick, but eased her way back into her training once she felt well again. Adequate warmup exercise and preparation before increasing your hill training or mileage is also important for preventing running injuries.

Maintaining physical activity weekly is essential while preparing for a race. You can run inside at a gym or indoor track or outdoors if the weather cooperates. Running on a treadmill at an incline and at a gradual pace can be helpful in preparing for a race that will include hills.

Follow Phynna as she completes the rest of her training as the Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon eases closer. Her story might encourage you to run, too! See you at the finish line.


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