Ask the Experts

We are thrilled to bring you answers from experts at Hospital for Special Surgery to questions on injury prevention and treatment, nutrition, and recovery. Their guidance and advice are designed to help you run to your best potential and to give you the tools you need to recover quickly from injury. 


About Hospital for Special Surgery

Located in New York City, Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) is ranked #1 in the nation for orthopedics by U.S.News & World Report. HSS serves as the official hospital of New York Road Runners for the TCS New York City Marathon, offering educational programming related to injury prevention. For more information, visit


Ask the Experts TIPS

Q&A: Why Am I Still Sore After the United Airlines NYC Half?

Up to 72 hours after running, you can experience Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). DOMS manifests as pain and stiffness felt in the muscles several hours to days after strenuous exercise.

Q&A: Run Your Next Half-Marathon at a Consistent Pace

Finding yourself slowing down in the last few miles of your half-marathon can be disappointing after all the training time. I have some tips for you to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

Q&A: Running with Achilles Pain

Achilles tendinitis is common in runners who have tightness in their calves. 

Q&A: How to Balance Cross-Training and Rest Days

The key is balance. Smart organization of strength training, cross-training, and rest into your week will allow you to increase weekly mileage and successfully and healthily complete 13.1 miles.

Q&A: Training and Racing as a Vegetarian

While it may take a little extra thought and planning, a vegetarian diet is more than adequate to meet a runner’s calorie and nutrient needs. 


Q&A: How Does Coffee Affect Training and Racing?

Caffeine is one of the few substances with good research showing its effectiveness in improving endurance performance, mostly through its effects on the central nervous system and decrease in perceived fatigue.


Q&A: How to Add Strength Training and Core Work

Incorporating core exercises is a great way to help prevent injury while maximizing performance as you train for the United Airlines NYC Half. 


Q&A: When to Get New Shoes Before a Big Race

When it comes to running shoes, the general recommendation is to replace shoes every 300-500 miles. Keeping within this timeframe prevents excessive wear, which can lead to injury. 


Q&A: How to Deal with Lingering Marathon Soreness

You spend months training for a marathon, obsessing over the run, changing your diet and sleep patterns. But how much time do you spend recovering, or even thinking about the recovery process?


Q&A: Should You Try Minimalist Running Shoes?

The “five fingers” shoes are minimalist footwear that more closely resembles barefoot running when compared to regular shoes. These shoes may allow for higher performance, as they weigh less; thus you expend less energy every time you lift a foot. However, this lightweight design also exposes the foot to more stress, and you may put yourself at a higher risk of stress fractures.


Q&A: How to Treat Post-Marathon Soreness

The soreness that you feel after a marathon is known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). DOMS is commonly thought to be caused by the body’s inflammatory response to micro-tears in muscle fibers resulting from activities like running, 

Q&A: Dealing with Muscle Cramps During a Marathon

Leg cramps—involuntary muscle spasms (contractions)—during a marathon can be very debilitating and painful. Runners commonly get them in the calves, hamstrings, and quadriceps muscles, and they often occur in the last few miles of a marathon or a long training run.

Q&A: Tendinitis Treatment from an HSS Expert

The challenge of treating tendinitis is that there’s not always the inflammatory component that the name suggests. As a result, the injury does not always respond to traditional anti-inflammatory treatments. Fortunately, there are many treatment options available.

Q&A: The Experts' Top 5 Tips for Avoiding Injury

Use your training runs as practice for the marathon. Simulate how you plan to manage your electrolyte intake, water stations, clothing, and even your meals the night before and the day of the race. This is valuable time to make your race-day plan.

Q&A: How to Manage Weight Gain During Marathon Training

Training for a marathon is a lot of work, so it can be surprising to some people to find they actually gain weight during the process. While you may find yourself eating more than normal during training, this is not necessarily the reason for your weight gain. There are a number of other factors that can lead to weight gain, some of which are beneficial

Q&A: How to Recognize and Treat Iron Deficiency

Iron deficiency, or low iron stores, is the most common type of anemia. Studies have found that iron deficiency is prevalent among endurance athletes, particularly runners. Iron is a trace mineral that is a major component of red blood cells and carries oxygen to muscles and tissue.

Q&A: Should I Use a Heart Rate Monitor?

Heart rate monitors are popular among runners and other endurance athletes. Before spending money on the equipment and time learning how to use it, you should first understand what a heart monitor is capable of doing and how it can be used as a training tool.

Q&A: How to Deal with Overtraining

It’s normal to feel fatigued during marathon training, especially when your mileage at its highest. But if you feel tired all the time or experience other overtraining symptoms, take a few days off and see if that helps rejuvenate your body. 

Q&A: How to Stay Mentally Tough

Running a marathon takes a lot of preparation, discipline, and hard work. It can be very easy to lose sight of the fact that running is supposed to be fun! To stay mentally strong during a marathon, you have to enjoy what you’re doing.

Q&A: How to Recover from Injury

Recovering from an injury is an exercise routine in and of itself. It takes discipline, patience, and an incredible amount of self-control. When you’re nursing a running injury, it’s important to partake in what physical therapists call “active rest” in order to come back strong.

Q&A: Tips for Recovery from Races

To recover properly and treat post-race ailments to be sure that you’ll be ready for your next race, follow the usual steps of rest and a gradual return to running and training—with added emphasis on treating any specific areas that are bothering you. 

Q&A: Proper Pacing on Race Day

There are few better experiences than feeling strong throughout a race and meeting a goal time. In one survey, 87% of respondents reported having wrecked their race goals by going out too fast at least once. 

Q&A: Should I Train in Hot, Humid Weather?

Summer’s coming, and so is the hot and humid weather. What should you wear when you run? How should you hydrate? Summer presents its own set of unique challenges for runners.  

Q&A: Is Cross-Training Helpful for the 10K Distance?

Whether you’re preparing for your first 10K or looking to achieve a new personal best, cross-training can be of benefit.  

Q&A: How Do I Treat Runner's Knee?

“Runner’s knee” is a catch-all term for anterior knee pain, which is common in runners, particularly those who are increasing their mileage.  

Q&A: How Do I Train for a 10K Race?

Ten kilometers is a challenging distance, especially for those who are new to running it. 

Q&A: How to Do I Recover After the NYC Half?

Post-race recovery is a process that begins as soon as the race is over and ends up to several weeks later. 

Q&A: Workouts to Make You a More Efficient Runner

Running is essentially jumping from one foot to the other over and over. This is a plyometric workout in itself. To help your running become more efficient, start by adding strength training, flexibility and mobility exercises into your routine.

Q&A: Should You Change Your Running Form?

Despite the absence of previous running injury and running as naturally as possible, inefficient running form could lead to injury down the road. 

Q&A: Recovering from an Ankle Sprain

Ankle sprains are very common and usually take from two to six weeks to resolve, depending on the severity of the injury. 

Deep-Water Running: Not Just Treading Water

Deep-water running can be used as a form of cross training, and it’s easier on the body due to the absence of any weight-bearing while you’re suspended in water. 

Q&A: Can Harder Surfaces Be Better?

Training for a race is like studying for an exam: You get the best results when you’re able to practice in the same or a similar environment to that in which you will be tested. 

Q&A: How to Prevent Overuse Injuries

No two runners' overuse injuries are exactly the same, but there are some generalizations that can be applied to prevent future overuse.  Let me start with the most serious one in your situation first.  The fact that you have had stress fractures (plural) is a bit worrisome.

Q&A: How to Recover from Your Marathon

DOMS—delayed onset muscle soreness—can last a few days after the race or even up to one or two weeks. A marathon is a huge stress to the body, and the damage can last up to a month or longer even when the pain goes away. It’s important to have a plan for recovery.

Q&A: How to Treat Shin Splints

This time of year, as marathon season peaks, I see hundreds of runners each month in my office complaining of “shin splints.” When runners increase their workout intensity or change surfaces (dirt, treadmill or pavement) they can find themselves faced with this common overuse injury.

Q&A: Running Analysis and VO2 Max Testing

The running analysis and VO2 max tests are excellent ways to measure how you are currently training.

Q&A: How to Fuel Marathon Training

You are right to recognize that as your mileage increases so too should your food intake. A basic rule of thumb is that for each mile, caloric needs can increase by 100.

Q&A: Pros and Cons of Treadmill Running

It is often a struggle to find a balance between training for a marathon and the rest of your life's demands. Work and/or weather constraints can often lead runners to train on treadmills.

Q&A: How to Recover from Long Runs

Feeling the after-effects of a long training run for two or three days certainly doesn’t mean you’re doing anything “wrong.” Microscopic muscle damage occurs as a result of impact forces sustained in a long run, and the inflammatory response that leads to muscle repair peaks 24 to 72 hours after the run.

Q&A: Should Marathoners Cross-Train?

Cross-training means including a variety of activities in your training routine, and there are many potential benefits to training this way for a marathon.

Q&A: Tips for Dealing with Runner's Knee

Runner’s knee (also referred to as anterior knee pain or chondromalacia patella) causes symptoms in the front of the knee around the kneecap. A variety of causes may be implicated, including lower-extremity muscle imbalance, flat feet, and/or kneecap misalignment.

Q&A: How to Stay Strong on Long Runs

If you’re running out of energy during your long runs, a few things could be going wrong in your training—including overtraining, poor nutrition, and pacing issues. Don't worry, though; all of these things can be solved so race day feels great!

Q&A: How to Come Back Strong from an Injury

The best way to bounce back after twisting your ankle is to start with the classic RICE: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. If you can walk without significant pain, you should be back to normal within a week or two.

Q&A: Acupuncture as a Treatment for Soreness and Injuries

Acupuncture is frequently and effectively used to treat painful sports injuries, including tight or sore muscles that may result from exercise. There are many different acupuncture styles and techniques used to treat various conditions.

Q&A: Trust Your Training as Race Day Nears

When approaching a race in the final weeks, it is most important to trust your training. The week before the race, you’ll want to taper down your mileage to rest your legs for the main event.

Q&A: Finishing Strong in a 10K Race

The keys to running a successful 10K are preparation and planning. Your individual strategy for the race depends on choosing an appropriate goal, and to do that, you need to have a good idea of your current ability level..

Q&A: Meeting Your Calcium Needs

Consuming enough calcium is important for bone health and athletic performance. This mineral is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth, and it also plays a key role in hormone action, blood clotting, muscle contraction, and nerve function.

Q&A: Dealing with ITB Syndrome

ITB stands for iliotibial band. It’s a strong, thick strip of connective tissue that runs along the outside of your hip down your thigh to your knee. Muscles of the hip and pelvis attach to the ITB, which attaches into your kneecap and to your shinbone on the outside of your leg close to your knee.

Q&A: How to Train to Run a 10K Race

If the farthest you’ve ever run is three miles, doubling that distance can seem daunting, but you’re halfway to your goal! Here are some tips to help you increase your mileage:

Q&A: Is Strength Training Important?

Consider the effects of strength training on running performance.  Registered clinical exercise physiologist, exercise specialist, and exercise test technologist, Polly de Mille has your answer.

Q&A: Sorting Out Health Claims

Seductive claims abound that promise superior athletic performance. Sports nutririonist Heidi Skolnik provides advice on sorting out health claims.

Q&A: Wearing the Right Shoes

Dr. William Briner covers what kind of shoes to wear during half-marathon training and on race day.

Q&A: Fluid Intake on Cold Runs

Even on chilly days, you’re losing fluids out there. A Hospital for Special Surgery expert explains how to get it right.

Q&A: Should You Tape Your Injuries?

The Kinesio Taping® Method was developed by Dr. Kenzo Kase in 1979. It has become increasingly popular among professional and recreational athletes in recent years.

Q&A: The Low-Down on “Compression” Gear

A Hospital for Special Surgery expert weighs in on the benefits of “compression” clothing for runners.

Q&A: Ward Off Common Running Injuries

Supplementary exercises can help prevent many running injuries.  Running is a great way to build cardiovascular endurance, but it doesn't do much to build muscle strength. Strengthening your legs and core can decrease the likelihood of developing some of the common aches and pains that runners go through.  Here are examples of such preventative exercises.

Q&A: Choose Your Running Surfaces Wisely

The type of running surface, quantity and intensity of training, and type of running shoes may all influence the incidence of injuries in runners. Recent research in this area shows that more compliant or flexible running surfaces, such as grass, may reduce the total stress on the muscles and joints when compared to more rigid surfaces like asphalt and concrete.

Q&A: Pre-Marathon Massages

The link between massage and sports performance and recovery goes back to the time of ancient Greece. Sports massage has been used to treat pain, soreness, and stiffness associated with athletic injury and training, as well as for injury prevention. It is believed to potentially increase blood flow to the muscles, decrease swelling, reduce muscle tension, and increase a sense of well-being.

Q&A: Orthotic Inquiry

Foot, ankle, lower leg, knee, hip, and lower-back problems are often treated with orthopedic appliances called orthotics. Prescription orthotics are medical devices inserted into shoes to correct an abnormal or irregular walking or running pattern. Orthotics work like shock absorbers to remove pressure and stress from painful areas in the feet and ankle and promote the proper alignment of the feet.

Q&A: Recovering from ITBS

Iliotibial band friction syndrome (ITBS) is a reactive inflammation under the iliotibial band, just above where the lower part of the thigh bone meets the knee. Managing the symptoms (pain, sometimes cracking or popping noises) can be as simple as rest but may extend to medicines and/or injections, and in extreme cases may require surgery.

Q&A: Nix Your Poor Nutritional Habits

We are thrilled to bring you answers from experts at Hospital for Special Surgery to questions on injury prevention and treatment, nutrition, and recovery.

Q&A: Don't Stress Your Stress Fractures

Stress fractures are micro-cracks in bone that occur when a bone is faced with more load, or "stress,” than it can handle. The most common sites of stress fractures are the bones of the foot and lower leg, but they can occur in virtually any bone, including the femur (thigh bone), pelvis, and back.

Q&A: How to Safely Increase Your Mileage

This question is actually very common. One of the likely sources of the pain is the kneecap or patella. Every step you take walking or running, your patella “tracks” in a groove at the end of your thigh or femur and the movement of the patella can become altered. Other potential sources of the pain, besides the kneecap, would be related to a tendon.

Q&A: What to Do For Aching Arches

Foot pain with the first few steps in the morning is commonly associated with plantar fasciitis, an irritation of the plantar fascia. The condition, which is very common in runners, causes heel pain that can also radiate into the arch. It is often associated with a tight Achilles tendon and calf muscle.

Q&A: What to Eat Before a Long Run?

It is important to have a pre-run meal or snack to maintain energy sources and delay fatigue. This is especially true if you plan on going for a long run. The challenge is finding the right type of food that you can tolerate and won’t cause stomach discomfort while you run. Here are some tips for meal planning before a long run.

Q&A: How Much to Drink on Training Runs?

How much you drink while running should be determined by the duration of your run, the weather, and how much you sweat.

Q&A: Shin Splints

Shin splints” is a term for a spectrum of pain in the front of the shin. The condition—very common in runners—can result from a stress injury (irritation of the bone) or a stress fracture (actual crack inside the bone). You’ll know you have shin splints if your shin bone (tibia) hurts when you press on it firmly with your finger.

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