With only one week until the London Marathon, anticipation and nerves will be running high. You can rest assured that your preparation is complete. What you do this week will undoubtedly affect the way you perform on the day, but this last week is more about mental preparation than physical preparation. So if you’re a marathon virgin or a seasoned professional looking to add an extra edge to your performance; here are my top 5 marathon race day tips to make sure that you make the most of your months of training!
You should aim to eat your breakfast between 2-3 hours before your race. You need to make sure your body has sufficient energy so make sure that you consume complex carbohydrates such as brown bread, porridge oats as these will keep you going for longer. Hydration is vital to assist your endurance so it’s very important to sip isotonic sports drink right up until the start line, as an indicator that you are adequately hydrated your urine should be clear in colour – nice!
2. Warm up
Your warm up should be just enough to prepare your muscles 5-10 minutes of very light jogging should suffice as you need to try and preserve your energy stores for the race. Some light stretching of the calves, hamstrings, lower back, glutes and quadriceps should help to ease any stiffness and you should always give yourself 10-15 minutes to rest before the start of the race. Keep as many clothes on as possible until you reach the start line, and be prepared to throw some away if needs be!
3. Relax and Start Slow
You should relax into your running and aim to set off slower than your target mile pace by around 10 secs, and this will enable you to endure the latter stages of the course. Go off too quickly and your glycogen (energy) stores will deplete faster meaning that you could hit a brick wall later down the line. It’s far better to work towards a strong finish so I recommend that you control your breathing pattern from the start and don’t let the nerves get the better of you!
4. Fuel Early
Aim to take on fluid at every fuelling station, not just when you feel thirsty as by this time dehydration would have already set in! Where possible refuel with isotonic sports drink to help replace lost salt through sweating. The better hydrated you are the more effective your body will be at transporting oxygen to your muscles.
5. Go hard
If you’re still feeling good at 18 miles, now would be the time to pick up the pace. Most people tend to feel fatigue at around 20 miles so if you’re feeling good then set yourself small targets like trying to get ahead of people and try to finish strong!
Are you, or is somebody you know taking part in this year’s London Marathon? Why not tweet them this link and give them a nudge in the right direction, or if you want to tweet us images of you in action send them to me @louisehazel