Author Archives: Brady.Gervais

6 tips to stay hydrated in hot weather

Follow these quick tips to keep your kids safe from dehydration when they’re out playing in hot temperatures.

Summertime definitely is here, and what kid can’t wait to get outside and play? But staying safe in the sun, and avoiding dehydration, is important.

We believe in Making Safe Simple. Here are some quick tips to help your kids avoid dehydration:

  • subscribe_blogOn hot days, make sure you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. The human body requires at least 1 liter of water, daily.
  • Dehydration means that a child’s body doesn’t have enough fluid. Dehydration can result from not drinking; vomiting, diarrhea, or any combination of these conditions. Sweating or urinating too much rarely causes it.
  • Thirst is not a good early indicator of dehydration. By the time a child feels thirsty, he or she may already be dehydrated. And thirst can be quenched before the necessary body fluids have been replaced.
  • Signs of dehydration in children include the following: sticky or dry mouth, few or no tears when crying, eyes that look sunken into the head, lack of urine or wet diapers for six to eight hours in an infant (or only a small amount of dark yellow urine), lack of urine for 12 hours in an older child (or only a small amount of dark yellow urine); dry, cool skin; irritability, and fatigue or dizziness in an older child.
  • If you suspect your child is dehydrated, start by replenishing his or her body with fluids. Plain water is the best option for the first hour or two. The child can drink as much as he or she wants. After this, the child might need drinks containing sugar and electrolytes (salts) or regular food. Also, the child should rest in a cool, shaded environment until the lost fluid has been replaced.
  • Call your doctor immediately or take your child to the nearest emergency department if there is no improvement or condition is worsening.

At Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, we care for more pediatric emergency and trauma patients than any other health care system in our region, seeing about 90,000 kids each year between our St. Paul and Minneapolis hospitals. Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis is the area’s only Level I pediatric trauma center in a hospital dedicated to only kids, which means we offer the highest level of care to critically injured kids. From the seriously sick to the critically injured, we’re ready for anything.

Team Superstars runner returns to her first home

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Children’s child life specialist Melissa Haun plans to run her first marathon in October as a member of Team Superstars, Children’s new running team.

Brady Gervais

At 33, Melissa Haun is back where she started.

Born just shy of 30 weeks’ gestation at 2 pounds, 6 ounces, she spent her first month at Children’s — in the neonatal intensive care unit. After gaining strength and weight, she moved to the transition nursery at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

Melissa Haun as a baby

Melissa Haun as a baby

Today, she is a child life specialist at Children’s, where she focuses on our Comfort Promise. That is, she helps Children’s do everything possible to prevent and treat pain in kids.

“Children’s is where my heart belongs,” Melissa said.

After spending her day educating staff organization-wide about taking the sting out of needle pokes and blood draws — part of the Comfort Promise — she’s training at night for her first-ever marathon on behalf of the cause she loves most.

Melissa in the NICU

Melissa in the NICU

In October, she will go the extra mile by running the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon and raising money for Children’s child life and pain and palliative care programs.

“ ‘Running ONE marathon’ is a line straight from my bucket list. I am not getting any younger, and when I saw that Children’s was having its first charity endurance team — Team Superstars — I knew it was meant to be,” Melissa said. “I’ve been told that you get addicted to running marathons, but just in case, I wanted to make sure Children’s got first dibs!”

subscribe_blogAlthough Melissa ran in high school and has been running since, she shares the same fear as every other first-time marathoner — stringing 26.2 miles together.

She’s anxious for the big day, too.

“I am most excited about my goal of getting friends and family to sign up to cheer as (S)MILE-MARKERS, and pass every one of them,” she said. “Don’t underestimate the power of each familiar face!”

Brady Gervais is an annual giving officer in the foundation at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

6 ways to protect kids’ skin from the sun

Sunlight is important for vitamin D synthesis; however, the risks of sunburn, damage to the skin and skin cancer trump it. (iStock photo)

Molly Martyn, MD

One of the great aspects of childhood is being outdoors. Whether you’re at the swimming pool, a soccer game or the park, it’s important for all family members to practice sun safety. Much of our lifetime sun exposure happens in the first 18 years of our lives, and protecting the skin of infants and children will reduce their skin-cancer risk as they grow older.

What are different ways to protect children’s skin from the sun?

1. The first and easiest way to protect children’s skin is to be thoughtful about sun exposure. The sun’s ultraviolet rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so it’s safest to plan for time outdoors in the morning or late afternoon.

2. When possible, stay in the shade.

3. Keep sun hats and sunglasses easily accessible in the stroller or car.

4. Children should be dressed in cool, comfortable, lightweight clothing to cover their skin. Dark clothing with a tight weave is best (you can test this by holding the cloth up to a light and seeing how much light gets through).

5. Use swim shirts when at the swimming pool. Clothing made to protect from the sun is given an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating.

6. Finally, for the parts of skin that can’t be covered, there are sunblock and sunscreen.

subscribe_blogWhat is the difference between sunscreen and sunblock?

Sunscreen chemically absorbs UV radiation and dissipates it as heat. Sunblock provides a physical barrier that reflects UV radiation.  Sunblocks contain compounds like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide that make them thick and may leave a visible layer (or block) on the skin.  Many products for children contain a combination of both.

How important is SPF? The higher the better?

SPF stands for sun protection factor; it measures how well sunscreen protects from ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. When applied correctly, SPF 15 absorbs 93 percent of the sun’s UVB rays, SPF 30 absorbs 97 percent, and SPF 50 absorbs 98 percent.

What should you look for in a sunblock or sunscreen?

Sunscreens and sunblocks are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the labels contain helpful information. Look for a product that is labeled:

  •  Broad-spectrum: This means that it blocks UVB and UVA sun rays.
  •  SPF 30 or higher
  • “Water resistant” or “very water resistant”; that means that the SPF is maintained after 40 or 80 minutes in the water.

What is the best way to apply sunscreen?

Use a lot! Most people only use about half of what they need. Cover all exposed areas, paying special attention to the areas that people commonly miss like the ears, the tops of feet and the backs of hands, along the hairline, and even in parts in the hair.

Be careful when applying sunscreen around the eyes.  It may be helpful to use a sunscreen stick for easier application in that area.

Sunscreen should be applied to dry skin at least 15 minutes prior to sun exposure to allow it to absorb into the skin. Reapply every two hours OR after being in the water or sweating heavily.

Is there anything special to know about protecting babies’ skin from the sun?

Babies younger than 6 months have extremely sensitive skin. As much as possible, they should be kept out of direct sunlight. Dress them in light, protective clothing and use wide-billed sun hats. For areas of their bodies that can’t be covered (like their faces or the backs of their hands), use an infant sunblock with at least SPF 30.

What about getting enough vitamin D? Will limiting sun exposure lead to a low vitamin D level?

Sunlight is important for vitamin D synthesis; however, the risks of sunburn, damage to the skin and skin cancer trump it. Children can get vitamin D through their diet, and some people also choose to take additional vitamin D supplements.

What are the best remedies for a sunburn?

You can care for sunburns by applying cool compresses and aloe vera gel. Gentle moisturizers can be applied to intact skin. Ibuprofen may help to relieve discomfort and can be used for children older than 6 months.

To read more about sun safety and protection, good resources include:

Molly Martyn, MD, is a pediatrician at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

Kangaroo care at Children’s helps baby Lauren

The McConnell family, Jethro and Becky, with daughter Lauren (Photos courtesy of the McConnell family)

The McConnell family, Jethro and Becky, with daughter Lauren (Photos courtesy of the McConnell family)

Brady Gervais

Becky McConnell waited 11 days before she could hold her daughter, Lauren.

Getting to hold her for the first time was a milestone for the new mom and her daughter, who was born prematurely. She remembers how it felt holding Lauren skin to skin, against her chest; it’s called kangaroo care, which helps babies bond, feel less stressed and heal. And it’s what Becky said she believes helped Lauren get through some rough patches.

“She knew she was alive, that she would be OK and that I was her mom,” she said. “I didn’t know I could love a little girl so much.”

Becky uses kangaroo care, skin-to-skin contact, on newborn daughter Lauren.

Becky uses kangaroo care, skin-to-skin contact, on newborn daughter Lauren.

Lauren was born at 24 weeks, 5 days on March 9 at Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia before she was rushed to Children’s, where she since has spent her days in the neonatal intensive care unit. It had been a normal pregnancy until hours earlier when Becky experienced symptoms that pointed to a bladder infection. While her care team examined her, they discovered she was 6 centimeters dilated.

Because of Children’s supporters, the McConnell family has experienced outstanding care and been touched by generosity every day of their journey: the kangaroo chairs are specially designed recliners for supporting natural skin-to-skin bonding; the Ronald McDonald House that provided Becky and Lauren’s dad, Jethro, with a cozy bed and a hot meal just down the hall; the NICVIEW cameras that allow Becky to see her daughter now that she’s back at work.

Children’s nurses have touched the McConnell family, too. On Becky’s first day back at work, she said one of Lauren’s nurses asked how she was doing and how work was going.

subscribe_blog“The nurses have been beyond phenomenal,” Becky said. “They’re not only there for Lauren; they’re there for us.”

Becky said she thinks Lauren will get to go home in June, but “I don’t want to rush things,” she said. “She’s in the best place.”

While the McConnell family is unable to attend today’s fifth annual Baby Steps 3K this year, they hope to participate in years to come to support Children’s neonatal program.

The McConnell family

The McConnell family

Brady Gervais is an annual giving officer for the foundation at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

The trouble with toe walking

Casts

If there’s limited motion in the ankle and a child is consistently toe walking, he or she is put in serial casts or carbon-fiber braces.

Toe walking can seem cute, at first. But if it persists after a child is about 20 months old, it can be a problem.

Toddlers develop a heel-toe walking pattern about 20 weeks after they begin walking alone and no longer should be toe walking, said Nicole Brown, DPT. If left untreated, toe walking can lead to future injury or pain in your child.

“I think with little ones, everyone thinks it’s adorable because you don’t know if it’s causing problems,” said Sara McGrane, whose daughter, Molly, started seeing Brown when she was 5 years old.

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CHILDREN’S GRAND ROUNDS: New evidence in toe walking

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At her daughter’s checkup when she was 3, the primary care physician told her parents they needed to encourage her to stop walking on her toes, McGrane said. When she was 4, the parents were told again to keep working with Molly. It was at her visit when she was 5 that her primary care physician noticed she was toe walking and referred her to the Children’s Rehabilitation Clinic in Minnetonka.

subscribe_blog“When she was little, it was cute,” she said. “She had always been a toe walker.”

Often, Brown doesn’t see patients until they’re 6 or 7 years old. There’s a misconception that kids will grow out of toe walking, she said. Those who are seen at 2 or 3 years old have a better prognosis, and treatment time generally is shorter. She has treated patients as young as 18 months and as old as 13.

“We want to get these kids in earlier,” she said. “By the time they’re 6 or 7, they can have structural damage to their foot.”

Treatment varies and depends on the severity of the condition. If Brown can see a patient before there’s limited range of motion, she can retrain the child to resume a normal walking pattern through physical therapy, which on average lasts six months, she said.

If there’s limited motion in the ankle and the child is consistently toe walking, he or she is put in serial casts or carbon-fiber braces, she said. The serial casts are like a typical fiberglass cast for a broken leg. They’re taken off every week and put back on to accommodate the new range of motion that was achieved. Once a child’s motion improves, Brown uses ankle braces. Physical therapy also is part of the prescription and on average lasts about a year.

In Molly’s case, her heel cord was tight enough that she required bracing, McGrane said. She met with Nicole for physical therapy for about 10 months.

“We were amazed at how quickly the process went,” McGrane said. “We are big believers in the program.”

What is toe walking?

Toe walking is a diagnosis in which a person walks with bilateral toe-to-toe walking pattern. There may be a medical cause or it may be idiopathic in nature.

How does Children’s treat patients who toe walk?

  • We offer serial casting, orthotic intervention and physical therapy treatment for treatment of toe walking.
  • Serial casting has been proven to be an effective intervention for toe walkers in treatment of tight heel cords to increase the range of motion and to also weaken the heel cord muscle to allow us to retrain the child’s walking pattern.
  • Children’s and Orthotic Care Services have designed a new type of solid ankle foot orthotic that mimics serial casts for treatment of toe walking.
  • The orthotic brace is a two-pull carbon-fiber solid ankle foot orthotic. The carbon fiber on the outer shell decreases the amount of available multi-planar ankle motion, which mimics the effects of serial casting through increasing range of motion through the heel cords as well as weakening the heel cords but allows the child more flexibility in that they can take off the brace to shower or participate in certain activities.
  • After serial casting or carbon-fiber-bracing intervention has been completed, children are then placed in a two-pull plastic ankle foot orthotic to retrain their gait pattern to allow for a consistent heel-toe walking pattern.

Children’s research in toe walking

We compared outcomes in treatment of toe walking gait with carbon-fiber-orthotic intervention and serial casting. Children were enrolled in this study, and results have shown good outcomes. The research study offers financial assistance as well as a team approach in the treatment of a child’s toe-walking pattern.

Longtime Children’s employee goes extra mile for kids

Valerie Butterfield (center) with her dad, Keith (left), and brother, Douglas (Photo courtesy of Valerie Butterfield)

Valerie Butterfield (center) with her dad, Keith (left), and brother, Douglas (Photo courtesy of Valerie Butterfield)

Brady Gervais

Thirty years ago Valerie Butterfield had her first Children’s experience. Her brother, Douglas, who was 7 at the time, was diagnosed with and treated for type 1 diabetes.

This was a scary time for the entire family. Thanks to the progress in juvenile diabetes research and treatment, a diabetes diagnosis is more manageable today.

Knowing what her family went through, Valerie, a longtime Children’s employee in information technology services, has decided to support other patients and families beyond her day job. On Oct. 4, she’ll run her first marathon — the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon — on behalf of Children’s charity running team, Team Superstars.

subscribe_blog“My family thinks it’s pretty awesome,” the mother of two said.

Valerie said she’s excited to raise awareness for a cause in which she believes and is humbled by the financial and emotional support of her friends, family and colleagues. Her dad, Keith, also is a Children’s employee, with more than 20 years of dedicated service. To date, she has raised more than $300.

Valerie always has been active off and on in running and various sports activities. Two years ago, following the birth of her second child, she began running regularly and joined Moms on the Run. She has run many distance races, half-marathons and the Ragnar Relay — an overnight, 200-mile epic relay with 12 of your closest friends (or strangers).

In addition to running her first marathon for a cause, she wants to set an example for her two sons.

“I’m grateful that I have healthy children,” she said, “and I want to show my children an example of healthy living.”

Support your favorite Superstar’s fundraising efforts by giving today.

Brady Gervais is an annual giving officer in the foundation at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

6-year-old boy’s first haircut becomes good deed

Odin Bergs, 6, received his first haircut and donated 12 inches to Wigs 4 Kids and raised $1,000 for the Children's Kids Cancer Fund. (Photos by Kristin Smith Creative)

Odin Bergs, 6, received his first haircut and donated 12 inches to Wigs 4 Kids and raised $1,000 for the Children’s Kids Cancer Fund. (Photos by Kristin Smith Creative)

subscribe_blogLast month, 6-year-old Odin Bergs decided it was time to say goodbye to his beautiful, blonde locks for the first time in his life.

But before he did this good deed, he raised support — a cheerleading section for his bravery of stepping into the hairstylist’s chair — and money online for Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota’s Cancer Kids Fund to help those “bravely fighting the biggest battles they may ever have to face in their lifetimes.” In a matter of days, Odin’s supporters generously donated more than $1,000.

The result of Odin's first haircut

The result of Odin’s first haircut

While it’s just hair to many, to his mom, Sarah Bach-Bergs, Odin’s long locks carried the story of his life — reflective of her journey as a mom, she shared with donors. She remembered watching the hair grow throughout the years and feeling it close to her heart when she held him close; hair that saw both good days and bad days, she also wrote.

On March 18, Odin had 12 inches of his hair cut and donated to Wigs 4 Kids, which helps kids 18 and younger who suffer from hair loss due to cancer or other medical conditions. In solidarity, Sarah also cut 12 inches of her hair to be donated. Stylist Natalie Lovejoy, with Soapbox Salon, generously donated her services.

While it’s goodbye to hair, it’s hello to new beginnings. And it’s a reminder that something as ordinary as getting a haircut can be extraordinary.

Boy honors sister’s life through fundraising, head-shaving event

Brady German (right), of Bell Plaine, Minn., shaves his head annually at the St. Baldrick's Foundation's "Shave the Day" event at Children's in honor of his sister, Emma. Emma died in September, four years after being diagnosed with neuroblastoma. She was 7. (Photo courtesy of the German family)

Brady German (right), of Belle Plaine, Minn., shaves his head annually at the St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s “Shave the Day” event at Children’s and raises money for cancer research in honor of his sister, Emma. Emma passed away in September, four years after being diagnosed with neuroblastoma. She was 7. (Photo courtesy of the German family)

Emma German, of Belle Plaine, Minn., passed away in September, four years after being diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Her brother, Brady, continues to raise money for cancer research and shave his head in her honor through the St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s annual “Shave the Day” event at Children’s – Minneapolis.

Brady Gervais

In the small town of Belle Plaine, Minn., everyone knows about Emma. A “girlie girl,” Emma was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 2010 when she was 3. She loved fashion, sparkles, makeup and accessories. The more glitter, the better. She loved to dance and sing, play piano and do arts and crafts. She and her older brother, Brady, entertained their family with weekly skits and dances.

Emma was so adored that in 2013, she was invited to be a “celebrity shaver” at a St. Baldrick’s Foundation head-shaving event at Children’s that raises money for cancer research. While watching Emma shave heads, Brady was spurred to help, too. Emma’s doctor offered to donate to St. Baldrick’s if Brady became a shavee. He agreed and then challenged his mom to donate, too. Earlier that day, his mom had received an anonymous cash gift. She donated the money for the cause.

Later that night, Brady told his mom that he wouldn’t cut his hair until the following year, when people would shave the day again for St. Baldrick’s at Children’s. As his hair grew throughout 2013 and early 2014, people commented on his long locks. Whenever they did, Brady told them that he was raising money for pediatric cancer research, his sister was undergoing cancer treatment and he wanted to help kids like Emma get much-needed medicine. He raised more than $4,000.

Emma hugs big brother Brady shortly after she helped shave his head during the 2014 St. Baldrick's Day event.

Emma hugs big brother Brady shortly after she helped shave his head during the 2014 St. Baldrick’s Day event.

After spending four years in and out of the hospital, Emma passed away Sept. 24, 2014. She was 7. But her story doesn’t end there; it lives on in her big brother. This year, after Emma’s death, Brady has aspired to do much more.

“Brady loves and misses his little sister terribly, and it hurts him SO much to do this without her,” their mom, Keriann, said. “But raising money to help fund clinical trials that can hopefully help find treatments that can save other children battling cancer is a great way to honor someone we have lost to the disease.”

Brady recruited eight of his classmates from his fourth-grade class at Oak Crest Elementary and his favorite teacher, Mr. Don Fraser, to commit to shaving their heads and raising money, too. Brady named his team “Emma’s Acorns” — a tribute to his sister and school. He tells his friends that he wants to “help the doctors and scientists find better medicines for kids with cancer so that other kids don’t have to lose a brother or sister to cancer like he did.”

Brady (in green) recruited eight classmates and his teacher to raise money for cancer research and shave their heads this year. The group has raised more than $10,000.

Brady (in green) recruited eight classmates and his teacher to raise money for cancer research and shave their heads this year. The group, “Emma’s Acorns,” has raised more than $10,000.

subscribe_blogAt the St. Baldrick’s event at Children’s on Thursday, Brady’s friends will wear pink, a color they unanimously picked to honor Emma. Their moms will wear purple, another favorite of Emma’s. So far, Brady and his friends have raised more than $10,000. And each one has told Keriann that they plan to shave their heads and raise money annually to honor Emma.

“I know that Emma is the reason Brady is doing this,” Keriann said, “and his friends are proud to support him in his efforts to raise money and awareness of the importance of funding clinical trials for pediatric cancer.”

Learn more about how you can “Shave the Day” on Thursday.

Brady Gervais is an annual giving officer in the foundation at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

Couple will run their first marathon on behalf of Children’s

Emily Mahr and Ryan Olson will run their first marathon in October on behalf of Children’s. (Photos courtesy of Emily Mahr)

Emily Mahr and Ryan Olson will run their first marathon in October on behalf of Children’s. (Photos courtesy of Emily Mahr)

Brady Gervais

Earlier this winter, I emailed back and forth with Emily Mahr, after she RSVP’d to attend Children’s party kicking off Team Superstars, our inaugural charity running program. She was interested in running the TC 10 Mile for us, and I was determined to convince her otherwise. We had several Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon spots and precious few 10-mile entries. I needed runners to commit to 26.2.

Fast forward to Feb. 5, the night Mill City Running hosted Children’s kickoff party. When I greeted Emily and her boyfriend, Ryan Olson, I said I was determined to get her to run the marathon on behalf of Children’s. Then, I left Emily and Ryan alone to browse the store — and think about it.

Emily and Ryan completed their first race together in August 2013 at the Fifteen’s 5K.

Emily and Ryan completed their first race together in August 2013 at the Fifteen’s 5K.

Several minutes later, I saw them at one of the laptops we had set up for marathon registration. They were signing up to run the Twin Cities Marathon — their first marathon — and fund-raise on behalf of Children’s.

“My heart was saying go for it. I’ve always wanted to run a marathon,” Ryan later told me. “I’ve always wanted to give back. This is a way to start.”

I immediately hugged them both. I was excited for two reasons: 1. Team Superstars was growing by two more members passionate about Children’s, and 2. I had been in their shoes as a charity runner and knew they were in for something special.

Team Superstars is Children’s first-ever charity running team. Runners are not only asked to participate in one of the Twin Cities Marathon weekend events but to also go the extra mile by committing to fundraising. Running for a cause gives purpose to every mile, ounce of sweat and tear shed.

subscribe_blogEmily, 31, has been running since 2007 and started racing in 2011. She ran her first half-marathon with Ryan in 2013 in Las Vegas and plans to run her second in May. Ryan, 32, caught the bug when he started dating Emily in 2011.

Neither has a direct connection to Children’s — just the desire to support the cause in a meaningful way.

“I don’t have a connection, but why wouldn’t I run for Children’s?” Emily said.

Support your favorite Superstar’s fundraising efforts by giving today.

 

Brady Gervais is an annual giving officer at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. Learn more about Team Superstars. Interested in joining? Email Brady at [email protected] today. Read last month’s story about Robyn, who will run the marathon in memory of her 21-month-old grandson who passed away unexpectedly.

Advice for first-time marathoners from Coach Antonio Vega

Coach Antonio Vega of Zoom Performance will guide Team Superstars with an online training plan, weekly training tips and two group runs and presentations. (Photo courtesy of Antonio Vega)

Coach Antonio Vega of Zoom Performance will guide Team Superstars with an online training plan, weekly training tips and two group runs and presentations. (Photo courtesy of Antonio Vega)

Earlier this year, we launched our first-ever charity endurance program. With Coach Antonio Vega’s help, Children’s Team Superstars will participate in the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon in 2015. Because many of our runners will be lining up for 26.2 miles for the first time, we asked Antonio a few questions.

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RELATED: Add a Children’s race to your calendar

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How do you start training for your first marathon?

Starting to train is always the hardest part of training. Keeping yourself accountable and motivated can be challenging when starting to train for a marathon. The best way to get started is to make a schedule of days and times when you will dedicate time to getting your run in. Find a friend who is willing to keep you company during your training. Keep your running fun by finding new places to run, join a running club or meeting a group of friends for a run and then going out for brunch, post-run.

Do you recommend doing any races while training and gearing up for a marathon?

Racing during marathon training is a great way to break up the monotony of training, and it’s a good time to gauge your fitness. I recommend adding in a couple of 5Ks and 10Ks before the marathon.

What is the best cross training?

Cross training is a great way to give your body additional time for recovery while still working your aerobic system. Any form of cross training that you enjoy is a value toward your marathon training.

What do you recommend for fueling before, during and after training runs?

Fueling can be one of the most important aspects of your marathon training. Having a good meal about two hours before a run is important. Keep with foods that you are used to and sit well in your stomach. During training runs, practice taking fluids and some form of nutrition. With the athletes with whom I work, we use a diluted sports drink and a gel during long runs. Post-run, it is just as important to replenish the calories that you lost during your long run. A 16-ounce glass of chocolate milk has the right balance of fats to protein and is a great way to replenish the calories you lost.

subscribe_blogTo stretch or not to stretch before and after runs?

I like to stretch after doing a run. This allows me to focus on areas that were tight during my run. I find that before doing a run I like to do more of a dynamic warm-up. A dynamic warm-up is a way to get your heart rate up and stretch out the muscles that you will be using during your run.

What is normal pain versus bad pain while running?

It is always tough to determine what is considered pain and what is just regular training soreness. My rule of thumb is if you start running and the pain starts to go away the more you warm up, this is usually a sign of training soreness. Training soreness is to be expected and not something to worry too much about. However, if you start to run and the pain stays the same or gets worse the more you run this can be the start of an injury, and it might be wise to take some time off.

There’s still time! Join Team Superstars by contacting Brady Gervais at [email protected] today!