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Health & nutrition

Remaining healthy throughout your training for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is the key to crossing the finish line on race day. Tips from Marathon sponsors Gatorade Endurance, Athletico and Mariano’s will help you to finish strong and get the most out of your Marathon experience.

Gatorade Endurance logo Train with what’s on course. Gatorade Endurance is proud to be an official partner of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, hydrating athletes on race day.
Biofreeze logo Your secret weapon for pre, during and post-race. Learn why runners turn to Biofreeze, the #1 clinically recommended topical pain reliever, to help overcome aches to achieve their personal bests.
Athletico logo Remain healthy throughout your training. Check out some tips from supporting sponsor, Athletico Physical Therapy on how to remain healthy as you train. At Athletico, we help runners keep running.
Mariano's logo Pre-race nutrition from Mariano’s
The Importance of Staying Hydrated: Hydration is important before, during, and after the marathon. Learn strategies that will help you succeed in the Chicago Marathon from Mariano’s Registered Dietitian Peggy Balboa below. And for weekly nutritional advice and recipes to aid your training, visit

Train with what’s on course.

Gatorade Endurance logoThe Gatorade Endurance line of products is an elite line of sports nutrition products for endurance athletes who have specific fueling needs. Grounded in years of hydration and sports nutrition research conducted by the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, the Gatorade Endurance line of products help deliver fluids and nutrients endurance athletes need for a training and racing. Learn more about Gatorade Endurance line of products at

Here are the products you will find on the course:

Gatorade Endurance Carb Energy Drink Gatorade Endurance Carb Energy Drink
Where to find on race day:

Start hydration locations

What it does:

Gatorade Endurance Carb Energy Drink is a liquid carbohydrate source with B vitamins, which as part of a daily diet, helps with energy metabolism.
Gatorade Endurance Carb Energy Chews Gatorade Endurance Carb Energy Chews
Where to find on race day:
Start hydration locations and on course at Mile 12.5

What it does:

Designed as fuel for both before and during long-distance training and racing, one package of chews provides carbohydrate energy and electrolytes to help you perform at your peak. Their texture is easy to chew, making them the perfect fuel on the go.
Gatorade Endurance Formula Gatorade Endurance Formula
Where to find on race day:
Start hydration stations and course aid stations (located along the course approximately one to two miles apart)

What it does:

With nearly double the sodium and triple the potassium of original Gatorade Thirst Quencher, Endurance Formula is a specialized sports drink, designed to hydrate athletes engaging in prolonged training and racing when fluid, electrolyte and carbohydrate losses can be significant.
Gatorade Endurance Energy Gel Gatorade Endurance Energy Gel
Where to find on race day:

On course between Mile 16 and Mile 17What it does:
Endurance Energy Gel provides carbohydrate energy that’s easy to take down and has a smooth mouth feel. Recommended to be consumed shortly before and/or during endurance activity and consumed with water.
Gatorade Recover Protein Shake Gatorade Recover Protein Shake
Where to find on race day:
Runner Refreshment (finish chute)What it does:
Gatorade Recover Protein Shake 20 grams of protein that contains essential amino acids needed to help support muscle rebuilding after training or racing. Gatorade Recover Protein Shake should be consumed as soon as possible after exercise.

Where to buy
As you train for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, find out which of these Gatorade Endurance products work best for you. Fuel your pre-race training with Gatorade Endurance products by finding them at a local sport specialty store or ordering online.

Your secret weapon for pre, during and post-race.

Many runners fall into the trap of not dedicating enough time to recovery or addressing signs of soreness head on. Runners often get too focused on pushing through to race day that they don’t take the needed preventative measures. One “secret weapon” that runners have been turning to for years is Biofreeze, the #1 clinically recommended topical pain reliever. Learn more at

Biofreeze spray Fast-acting. Long-lasting. Powerful.
Biofreeze uses cryotherapy to help delay onset muscle soreness and provide temporary relief from aches and pains. Biofreeze is fast-acting, long-lasting and nearly twice as effective as ice.
Biofreeze roll on Trusted by runners.
Biofreeze is especially effective for runners as it is great for pre, during and post workouts. It’s a great option for runners who want to be able to easily tackle their soreness on their own.
Biofreeze gel Where can I find it on race day?
For the first time ever, Biofreeze will be included on-course for runners. At the Biofreeze Relief Zone located in Chinatown, at the Cermak and Archer intersection (Mile 21.2), Biofreeze Brand Ambassadors will be offering complimentary sprays to help runners push through the wall and tackle the last 5 miles.
Biofreeze cream Where can I buy it?
Biofreeze comes in four different forms – spray, roll-on, gel and cream. Spray and roll-on are great for easy application, while gel and cream are effective at targeting specific areas. All forms can be found at your local retailer (CVS, Walgreens, Target, Walmart, etc.) and can be ordered online.

Remain healthy throughout your training.

Athletico logoRemaining healthy throughout your training for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is the key to crossing the finish line on race day. Here are some tips from supporting sponsor, Athletico Physical Therapy.

Runner with knee pain

5 Ways to stop knee pain in runners
When knee pain occurs, one of the treatment options is physical therapy. Physical therapists are trained to examine, diagnose and treat knee pain to help patients return to the activities they love.  Here are five ways to stop knee pain in runners.
Read more


Strengthen and stretch: It’s what the glutes and piriformis need
Distance running can contribute to tight and sore gluteal complex and piriformis muscles. Stretching and strengthening these muscles will help you run more efficiently and avoid injury. Read more

IT band syndrome: The top 5 causes and solutions

Marathon training season is here and a lot of you want to hit the ground running, but instead, you hit the ground hurting…hurting on the outside of your knee. If that’s the case, you could have IT band syndrome. Here are some solutions to a few of the most common causes. Read more

Runner with shin splints

5 Free and easy solutions for
plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis can be a real pain in the foot. If you’ve ever had pain in the bottom of your foot with the first few steps out of bed in the morning, you’ve probably had some experience with this painful condition.
Read more

Dealing with the pain of shin splints
The term “shin splints” gets tossed around a lot among runners. What exactly are shin splints, what causes them, and how can you alleviate them if you already are affected by them? Read more

Hip flexor tightness in distance runners
As runners begin to build their mileage, they can start to experience hip flexor pain and tightness. In runners, tight hip flexors are mainly caused by repetitive use and weak glutes. Here are some tips for relieving that tightness. Read more

If you experience any aches or pains as you train for this year’s race, Athletico would be happy to see you for a complimentary injury screening at any of their 400+ locations. Request your appointment.

Food for thought from…

Mariano's Logo

Peggy Balboa, Registered Dietitian, Mariano’s

Peggy BalboaThe importance of staying hydrated.
Improper hydration plagues the marathon competitor. Dehydration increases the potential for cardiovascular stress, risk of heat illness, and reduced exercise capacity.  Beginning the race hydrated and staying hydrated is essential for running a successful marathon.

But how much fluid is needed to stay hydrated?  A fully hydrated 70kg (155 lbs.) adult male will average a total body water weight of approximately 60%.  During a marathon, this runner could lose water at an estimated 1-2 L/hour, or more depending upon conditions.  Consuming appropriate amounts of fluid on the days leading up to the event will ensure fluid losses are being replaced.

By calculating sweat rate, you will know how much fluid is needed during each hour of the marathon. Practice consuming this amount of fluid prior to event day to understand the maximum volume your stomach can tolerate during exercise without discomfort. Fluid expands the stomach and can cause delayed digestion.  Try 300-400 mL of water (10 to 12 oz.) prior to a practice run to test stomach tolerance.

Running shoes water and towelBegin the marathon fully hydrated.
Prevent dangerous fluid losses during competition by beginning the marathon fully hydrated. Good sources of fluid include water, sports drinks, juices, soups, smoothies, fruits, and vegetables.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends consuming about 5 mL/kg to 7mL/kg (or 300-600 mL) of fluids at least four hours before exercise, along with a pre-event meal. Water is usually sufficient to hydrate before a race, but water along with sodium from food encourages fluid consumption and helps the body to retain water. Within 15-20 minutes of the marathon, take in another 300-450 mL.

During the marathon, hydrate with water and carbohydrate.
Carbohydrates play a role in rehydration.  Too much carbohydrate consumed with fluid will delay gastric emptying and may cause abdominal pain. The amount of carbohydrate consumed with fluids during the competition will determine the effectiveness of rehydration and contribute to energy.  Consuming 30-60g of carbohydrates per hour of exercise will lead to effective use of energy and fluids during exercise and decrease the likelihood of any abdominal pain.

Optimizing and maintaining proper hydration without overdrinking is a balancing act. To reduce the risk of developing hyponatremia (low blood sodium levels caused by excessive water consumption), sports drinks work well during prolonged exercise. Generally, 4-6 oz of fluid every 15-20 minutes after 30-60 minutes of exercise is recommended. Getting carbohydrate, fluid, and electrolyte can be easily achieved by consuming sports drinks containing 6-8% carbohydrate and 0.5 g/L-0.7 g/L of sodium.

Congratulations, you have finished the marathon!
Now that you have finished the marathon, safely rehydrate to replace all of the fluids and electrolytes lost during competition. Over time, athletes are encouraged to consume 125%-150% of fluid lost during exercise. Determine the fluids needed to rehydrate by using the sweat rate calculated prior to the race.

In addition to fluids for rehydration, don’t forget to replace the sodium lost during competition. Consuming foods with sodium post-race will help stimulate thirst and aid in retaining fluids taken into the body. Examples of salty snacks include pretzels, chips, jerky, pickles, and broth.

Written in conjunction with Peggy Balboa by:
Tessa Adcock
University of Illinois at Chicago Dietetic Intern
American Dietetic Association. Nutrition Care Manual®. Fluid. Accessed March 23, 2010.
Burke L & Deakin V. Clinical sports nutrition.  New York:McGraw-Hill, 2010
Mahan LK, Escott-Stump S. Krause’s Food and Nutrition Therapy. Canada:Elsevier, 2008.
Bank of America World Marathon Majors IAAF