It’s nearly here – you’re just weeks away from your marathon day, and it’s time to put the finishing touches to your training.
But there are still a few essential things you need to do if you’re going to ensure you’re in the best possible form.
Follow these tips from our friends at Running With Us to make sure you get the most from your marathon performance.
Motivation and positivity: It can be common to find yourself getting bored on the longer runs in the final few weeks, especially with temperatures dipping. Do stay positive – it happens! Surround yourself with people in training that will help you along the way. Plan to meet up with other runners to help motivate you to get out the door, and get the miles in. If that’s not possible, log your miles on Strava and encourage friends to share comments and kudos when you complete your next milestone. Use your running to explore new routes and places every now and then to keep things varied.
Nutrition is key: Make sure to fuel yourself cleverly. You will be burning more than you realise. Getting your nutrition right during training will help set you up for the perfect race day and give you the best possible chance of achieving a PB. Nutritional products can contain varying quantities of carbohydrate, protein and caffeine, so it’s very important to trial your nutrition during your longer runs and find what works for you. Don’t leave it until race day to try a new gel or bar. A HIGH5 trial pack offers a wide selection of options for both training and recovery. This simple nutrition guide will help you to fuel yourself properly so that you get the best from your marathon experience and enjoy it more.
Taper: Allow yourself to rest in the final couple of weeks. You need to go into the race feeling fresh rather than over-trained and tired. It’s good to keep muscles active and moving, but don’t be tempted to try and log the last-minute miles.
Pacing: Make sure to stick to your pace. Come the big day, try to avoid getting caught up on those running around you at the start. Remember all the hard work you have put into it and run the race just like you have in training. Stay focused and keep to your plan. If you’re attempting to run to a pace maker but find the pace too high, be honest about how you’re feeling, and whether you can maintain it. If you need to tag back to maintain better form mid-race, you might help yourself in the later miles.
Gear: Don’t wear anything on the day you haven’t done in training. This can cause chafing and might even give you a reason to stop. Try out potential race day kit ideas in training on your easy runs to see how you feel in them… never on the day.
Sleep: Don’t be tempted to stay up too late and stand on your feet for long periods in the week leading up to your event: recovery is vital. Make sure in the final weeks leading up to the race you are getting early nights and allowing maximum recovery. You need to listen to your body and sleep when you feel tired. The day before the race you need to be lying down as much as you can. Let family and friends around you know that you need to do this. This is a key period in your preparation – you have one chance.
Hydration: Try to avoid drinking too much, or in excess, during the final few days. It is possible to over-hydrate yourself which can risk leaving you feeling more tired as your body attempts to manage the extra fluid. Little and often throughout the day, (around 3-4 litres daily) is plenty when training for a marathon, however make sure you’re spreading it out. If you need to become better at hydrating yourself, start practising good habits early in your training. Electrolyte drinks are the best way to hydrate without having to take on huge amounts of water. They are filled with key nutrients. Check out this advice on hydration for what to drink and why.