University Professors Offer Blueprint for Marathon Fitness

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SOUTH ORANGE – With warm weather and an influx of marathons and triathlons on the horizon, faculty members from Seton Hall University’s School of Health and Medical Sciences, share their own mental and physical preparation tips for these strenuous races.

Richard J Boergers, assistant professor in the Department of Athletic Training, is an avid triathlon competitor, and is currently preparing for the WoolSports Musselman Triathlon in Geneva, N.Y., on July 15-17.


“Someone that goes into a race with negative thoughts is doomed from the start,” said Boergers. “Developing affirmation statements is an important part of race preparation. They should be realistic, yet positive. For someone who is an average swimmer to have a mantra ’nobody is going to pass me on this swim,’ is only going to be disappointed with the result, which could let more negative thoughts to set in.”

Angelo Gingerelli, Seton Hall University’s head strength and conditioning coach for the Department of Athletics and Recreational Services and an exercise physiology lab instructor for the Department of Athletic Training at the School of Health and Medical Sciences, has been preparing throughout the winter to tackle his first marathon this May.

Gingerelli hosts “Realistic Fitness,” a weekly online fitness show on Seton Hall University’s website where he adapts physical fitness programs for the general population. In his 10th episode, Gingerelli focuses on preparing for road races.

“Races are a great motivating factor to stay on track with your scheduled workouts because you have a definite goal,” Gingerelli said. “Train with a partner or a group, or simply enter a relay race. You will be motivated to train and perform because you are accountable to your group.”

He also suggests running in various locations and settings, including parks and neighborhoods. “Running through an area will give you a whole different perspective than driving through it,” explains Gingerelli.

Physical and mental preparation is important, but it’s also good to keep in mind proper clothing and nutrition tips while preparing for any race. Dr. Vicci Hill-Lombardi, associate professor in the Department of Athletic Training and a seasoned trialthlete and marathonther, shared a few of her own preparation tips. She will be entering the Waterman’s Half Triathlon in October, and either The ING New York City or Philadelphia Marathon in November.

What to eat before and during the race?

  • Several days prior to the race, put more salt on your food than normal. This will help to ward off hyponatremia, which means sweating out too much sodium.
  • Be sure to limit fat intake and focus on eating complex carbohydrates and lean proteins, such as whole grains and lean cuts of meat.
  • Stay hydrated! It’s crucial to avoid electrolyte loss. Consider rehydrating with an electrolyte drink, and be sure to eat during the race, too.

What to (and not to) wear?

  • Articles of clothing should be worn at least one time on a long run before being used in the race. A big mistake some runners make is buying new equipment to wear just for the marathon.
  • Be sure that clothing fits properly. Check for bulky seams in areas of friction such as pant/short inseams, waistbands and underarm areas.
  • Avoid wearing clothing made out of cotton. Instead, try technical fabrics that allow the sweat that forms on the skins surface to evaporate, otherwise known as “wicking” the moisture away.

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