On Sunday, Nov. 17, more than 30,000 runners are expected to take to the streets of San Antonio to take part in the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio marathon.

Don’t do it. Don’t plan to register and take part in the race unless you’ve spent the past few months (16 weeks minimum) on a training schedule to prepare you to take part in the half-marathon or full marathon. You will almost assuredly injure yourself as proper training is essential to prepare your body for the grueling, yet incredibly satisfying, experience of completing either event.

Having said that, if you’ve never seen a marathon, I hope you’ll go out and cheer on the runners. You can learn about the route and slate of marathon-related activities (which kick off starting Friday, Nov. 15) at the official marathon website – runrocknroll.competitor.com/san-antonio.

You may event want to sign up … as a volunteer! Race organizers have said they need more volunteers to make this major sports event a success. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a volunteer, visit www.sanantoniosports.org.

By going out there, maybe it will inspire you to start walking or running, and maybe getting ready to take part in next year’s event. Run just for fun. Join a running club. Sign up for a 5K and meet people who will encourage you to stay active. Walking and running are great for the body. You’ll almost assuredly lose weight and inches, gain stamina and confidence.

Now, for those of you who have put in the hard work and are about to make this your first half marathon or full marathon – congratulations! Just getting to this point, skirting injury and staying dedicated to your training regimen, are reasons to celebrate.

But when the race is done, you need to take care to follow a strict recovery regimen. If it’s your first marathon, chances are you’re training regimen hasn’t pushed you past the 22-mile mark. Getting your body to complete those last four miles is a major effort the first time (and perhaps every time) you do it. The experience is different for everyone, but first-timers almost always experience a mixture of euphoria and absolute exhaustion.

Here are some good post-recovery tips from Competitor magazine:

  • Spend 15- to 20-minutes stretching the night after as it may help speed muscle recovery.
  • Take an anti-inflammatory the night after the race to help reduce inflammation and to also help kick-start your recovery. But don’t keep taking inflammatories after the first day.
  • Drink plenty of water for the first week after the race as your body will be de-hydrated.
  • Eat a healthy full meal after the race, ideally within the first two hours after finishing.
  • Get back out there! Make yourself take a short jog three days after the race and again every third day for 2-3 weeks. It doesn’t need to be a major run, just 20-25 minutes to keep the muscles and tendons loose.

We are fortunate to have a major event like the San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in our community.  It encourages fitness at home and draws athletes from across the globe to the Alamo City.

San Antonio is becoming a destination for athletes of all types, with swimming about to become the next big thing. I’ll get into that in my next column.

On a side note, I encourage you to go online to the FitCitySA website at fitcitysa.com. You can find a lot of great resources and a calendar of events with links to all sorts of fitness activities that can help you get going.

Whether you are running, volunteering or watching, get out and enjoy the race!

Dr. Annette “Dr. Z” Zaharoff, a former professional tennis player on the WTA Circuit, heads the Non-Surgical Center of Texas, focusing on non-surgical alternatives to relieve pain and repair injuries. Learn more about her at www.drzmd.com.