Posted on April 26, 2018 by Josh Puttock
It’s marathon season! Well, for some, it’s always marathon season. Nevertheless, whether it’s your first, tenth, or one-hundredth marathon or half marathon there are always a number of pointers to get you in to the right place mentally and physically. Here they are, in no particular order.
Stay hydrated, before, during and after your marathon run. This also includes the days beforehand; make sure you take on adequate amounts of water to help your muscles prepare and avoid alcoholic drinks as they can have many negative effects on your marathon day performance. Electrolytes are also very important, and don’t be afraid of taking a drink at the first hydration station either, as your body will definitely thank you later on throughout the course.
We all know it is easier said then done, but it is vital on the day and beforehand to stay relaxed. You need to be in a good mind-set before your marathon, and anything that can help you de-stress and take time (within reason) for yourself can help you stay in good place on the day. Even if running is your way of doing this, a short run will definitely help.
Plan your meals
You have probably been on a steady diet of carbohydrates leading up to your marathon and eating foods that you are comfortable with. On race day, however, do the same, eat what you are used to eating and don’t try anything new in this regard. Similarly, for the days before your marathon when you would be “carbo loading”, it doesn’t mean eating a huge meal or two the night before. Eat as much as you normally would but increase the percentage of the meal that is carbohydrates; 60 to 70 percent is a good amount.
Make sure you have all your gear ready to go. Have your essentials, and most importantly make sure you have run or trained in them before. As much as you would like to have a brand-new pair of running shoes or running top on the day, it is essential that you are comfortable to complete your marathon in attire you have worn before.
Get enough sleep
Do what you can to get enough sleep the night before; the better rested you are, the better your potential performance. However, the night before the race isn’t everything; in fact many don’t sleep too well the night before their marathon especially some first timers. The key is to not let this worry you. If you have done the adequate training, rested and slept well for the majority of the week beforehand, one bad night’s sleep will not completely wreck your race day as your adrenaline on the day should look to compensate for the lack of sleep from the night before.
The early pace you set yourself should be a pace you have done before. Stick to what you know and take it slow, as any surprises on the day or to your routine could upset your rhythm. However, make sure you are tracking your pace and know what your goal time is for your first six miles – then stick to it. Don’t be afraid of being slightly off early on either, as a busy marathon can start congested and your pace will no doubt even out later on.
There are many tried and true methods, superstitions and expert tips that might want to follow, but after the essentials it’s all about what works for you as the vast majority of the time a marathon is a race against no others but yourself. Good luck!
By David Gordon, Gym & Spa Operative