long time without a post! Yeah, life can be tough sometimes! Exams, work, your dog that has digestive problems, I am sure you understand. As you know ( or you don’t ) I work as a fitness coach in The Village Hotel Swansea, it is a VIP gym and I am more than happy to be part of its fitness team. The point of course is not where I work but the upcoming Swansea marathon at 5th of June. So, while it is too late to improve race time due to training ( it is the week before the race ) , these do’s and don’ts will be for sure helpful especially if you are new to the hobby.
A Few Thoughts…
Once a marathoner, always a marathoner…. It is not a secret that marathon running is one of the most beloved fitness hobbies worldwide. You are wondering why? Well, you better don’t! Besides the fact that it is a self improvement hobby and that you constantly try to beat your inner best, you make a lot of new friends, you become part of one of the biggest communities in the world, you spend your spare time doing something good for your health and you have a big variety of running gear and accessories to play with. If you are thinking to make that step , here are some helpful DO’S and DON’TS that will make you a marathon pro without even running a marathon.
#1 Choose your shoes and socks wisely. No, it is definitely not a joke. Your feet are the most important thing in this sport and you have to be sure that they will be able to carry you until the end. So pick the best training shoes you have and make sure you test them at least once in a 10 mile race. If you get sore legs or if you firm blisters change the shoes. Choosing the best pair of socks is easy, your comfy training socks are more than fine.
#2 Mimic the race. A key to success is to live the marathon before the marathon. Choose your marathon outfit, do the same routine you plan to do at the day of the actual marathon ( breakfast, toilet etc ), start the test marathon at the same time as the real marathon, refuel your body the same way as you would do at the race ( a good tip here is to find out how many water stations the race will have and drink at the same frequency ) and most important choose a path that is pretty much the same as the path you will follow at the marathon. For example if the marathon you chose has hills and a lot of ups and downs it is important that you test yourself accordingly.
#3 Have a plan. It is safer to plan the whole race beforehand than just turning up and running your soul out. With the help of tip #2 and the right training, you will be able to form the perfect plan and stick to it.
#4 Play with the speed. It is wiser to complete the first half at your average time and a little bit slower so as to keep your energy for the end. Professional runners use this method and while there is a chance that you will be slower than expected at the second half of the race you will still have a good race time.
#5 Eat Breakfast. The best choice is to eat a very rich in carbohydrates meal 3-4 hours before the starting time. That way your body will be able to digest the food you consumed and you will have the energy needed to complete the race.
#6 Warm up and stretch before the race. Do a light warm up and a soft stretching routine right before the race, so as your body will adapt faster to the running condition. Also don’t keep yourself completely still while you are waiting. Run slowly in place until you start.
#7 Say yes to drinks early. Hydration plays a main role at a marathon and is essential to a good race. Have your first drink right after the first 10 minutes of running ( approximately 8-10 ounc. ) and then every 2 miles ( approximately 5-6 ounc. )
#8 Keep your mind busy during the race. Instead of suffering while running make the most out of it. Choose your favorite songs, podcasts or videos and listen to them during the race. If this is not motivating enough try to make stories in your head, sing or think about what you will do after the race to encourage yourself.
#9 Stick with groups. While some people prefer running alone, some other form groups and enjoy the running time more. Running in groups is much more fun! Why? You meet new people, talk and help each other. Especially if you are new to the sport and your race time is not the best, choose groups that will help you achieve a better race time.
#10 Sprint at the end. After the first half of the pace start speeding up and get into the ending mood. The last 5 miles use all the energy you have left.
#1 Leave everything for the race day. Prepare your clothes, drinks and accessories the day before. Wake up early, have your breakfast and be on time at the starting point. Also, avoid to drive more than 1 1/2 hour at the marathon day. If the distance is bigger than that prefer to get there the day before.
#2 Overeat the day before the race. You will think what the previous day has to do with the race. It is very important to eat light that day with your last meal not later than 7 pm, so as your body has the time to digest.
#3 Be nervous. Causing anxiety to yourself for no serious reason will not make yourself feel better or run faster. The main reason you are taking part at a marathon is to have fun and experience something new. So enjoy it!
#4 Let yourself freeze while you are waiting to start the race. If you are running your 26.2 at a big marathon like London Marathon, you can imagine the hours you have to wait before you start. Therefore protect yourself with warm clothes that you don’t need any more or if it rains make a DIY waterproof jacket with a garbage bag.
#5 Mix up drinks during the race. Energy drinks with gels and water can be a very bad mix for your stomach and your carb absorption. Having the same energy drink during the race is more than enough.
#6 Concentrate on each mile. It is more than frustrating to concentrate to each mile and try to stick to your average race time. Instead of being crazy about each mile, focus on every 3 miles.
#7 Walk. No, this is not an appropriate method and no, it will not help you at all. When you run and stop and run again your body consumes more energy. So if you get tired or even if you hurt continue jogging until you feel more comfortable to run faster.
#8 Train the day before. If you are new to running prefer to take the day off and rest. If you are a runner do a 2-3 mile jogging to keep your muscles working.
#9 Continue running if you feel you have injured yourself. If you feel pain it is better to stop the race to avoid serious injury. If you continue running you may finish the race but it is possible you will not be able to run soon again.
#10 Keep moving after the finish line. Let yourself adopt smoothly to the not running condition, keep walking and breathing at a steady pace and after your heart beats are back to normal allow yourself to sit down and stretch.
Follow these DO’S and DON’TS and there is no way that you will not run your first marathon like a pro.
Thank you for stopping by! If you have any questions leave them in the comments below.
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