LESS THAN A WEEK TILL DUBLIN MARATHON DAY!
You’ve decided to run a marathon, whether it’s been on your bucket list for years or you’re a seasoned pro we all need to prepare. Running long distances is physically and psychologically demanding – hopefully you will enjoy the run and find it rewarding. Here are my top tips to get you ready for race day.
When the nerves start to settle in, remember all your commitment, time and why you chose this challenge to begin with. When the going gets tough and it will at some point in the run, remember the ‘WHY’. Why is this important to you and what you want to achieve. Knowing/remembering your ‘why’ can help you out of most mental blocks1
The training is done. There is little more you can achieve at this time. Trust in what you have accomplished this far. If training has not gone to plan, then readjust your goals.
- If you have a time goal. What is it? Is it realistic?
- Are you aiming to run alone or in a group? Will you try and settle in with a race pacer?
NIGGLES AND INJURIES
Niggles and injuries are common! You most likely experienced something through your months of training. Not all niggles require treatment or are indicative of injury. Use this knowledge to help you get through periods of the race where something doesn’t feel right. This can often occur but with a change of focus, e.g., next water station, friend /family member to see, you can find the distraction alters your thoughts and the discomfort settles.
Remember, not all injuries require you to stop running. Most just require some temporary adaptations, e.g., pace, stride length.
NUTRITION: FUELLING AND HYDRATION STRATEGIES
Remember your nutrition on the course and have a plan on what you plan to use. Do not get distracted by others or the excitement of the day. Basic carbohydrate guidelines of exercise are for an intake of up to 90 grams per hour (IOC, 2012).
You don’t want to find out on race day how much those new shoes rub. Test out shoes, socks, outfit, any chaff cream, packs, or belts and where/how you’ll carry nutrition or fuel.
Self-talk when it gets hard is normal though everyone’s a little different with this. Have some tried/tested positive distractions to re-focus your attention to the task at hand, e.g., count steps, repeat something positive in your head like ‘one foot in front of the other’. Have some ideas you can go to during the run.
A marathon taper is a gradual decline in mileage prior to the event to allow rest, recovery, and absorption of the physical stress. This week allow your body and mind to recover and get ready for race day. This phase gives you mental rest from training, and allows your glycogen levels, hormones, and immune system to recover from training.
During this period, you may feel tired, your legs can feel a little heavy and your mind starts to question everything ‘Did I train enough?’ ‘‘Is that a niggle?’.
Remember you’ve done the work and you’ll be great.
After months of hard work, sacrifices and preparation, race day is nearly here. A few tips and things to avoid for a good day!
Plan: Plan your evening, dinner, and race kit the night before. On race morning plan your breakfast, this should hopefully have been dialled in through trial and error in training. If you haven’t, then eat something familiar to you. Arrive early to the event so you have plenty of time for toilet stops (there will be Q’s) and getting to the start line.
Warm up: Space is often tight but find a space to do a warm-up to prime your muscles for the day ahead. Have warm gear if needed as there is a lot of pre-race standing around. You can throw away this gear at race time and it is usually collected and goes to charity.
Avoid new things: new gear, new nutrition, keep to what you know and have tested.
Pre-race nerves: Know that you’ve done the work, trust in the process, all your training and enjoy the ride! Remember all the things you faced in training.
Run your own race: The atmosphere is exciting, and the Dublin crowd cheering is amazing. Stick to your own race plan. Maintain the pace that is sustainable for you.
Fuel and hydration: Take in fuel regularly from the start, set a timer on your watch to remind you if necessary.
ENJOY the experience! Chat to other runners, high five kiddies, say thank-you to volunteers and smile even though it may not feel like you want to.
Recover: start recovery protocol at the finish line. Cool down, take in some carbohydrate and protein as soon as can and go for a gentle walk the next day.
Unfortunately, I won’t be there this year as a knee injury took me out early in my training. I’m in rehab and looking forward to running the roads again soon. I will be out on Sunday cheering you all on.
Roberto Pelosi is the founder and principal Physiotherapist at Premier Physiotherapy. He has over 25 years experience as a Physiotherapist, working in the United States, Australia, the UK and Ireland. He and the team at Premier Physiotherapy are committed to helping clients remain painfree, mobile, independent and doing the things they love to do.