The spring marathons are just around the corner but don’t worry, you will have done most of your hard training. That’s the easy part, the last few weeks before the marathon are the ones that matter. The ones where you need to maintain discipline to be at your very best when you are standing there on that start line.
Here is some guidance that will help you prepare in the last few weeks to peak on race day so that you can give it your all and still enjoy it!
- Chill out
Often neglected. You need time to relax in the week before a marathon. It’s a good idea to plan this in advance. Finish those work tasks well in advance and politely decline any social arrangements. Your mind and body will thank you for it come race day. Your mind will be clear and able to focus on what you want to achieve, and your body will be glad of a rest and ready to run the distance.
Carbo loading is often talked about in the week before, stocking up in the pasta. Carbo loading comes with experience and should be planned and tested prior to marathon week. You need to find what works for you. Find what gives you the most energy and fuel for the distance. What works for someone else may not work for you. Aim to avoid white carbs and switch to wholegrain – a much better longer lasting fuel. Brown rice and mild curries and tomato-based sauces work for me – plenty of energy and easily digestible – especially the morning of the race, pasta tends to leave you bloated.
Another buzz word in the marathon scene. But again, experience and well thought out planning will give you a huge boost on race day. The week before the marathon is key and there is no point trying to cram your last long run in. It will not have any benefit but only delay recovery and increase muscle fatigue. Your last long run should be completed 2 weeks before the big day. Instead, small and often is key. Keep those legs ticking over and fresh. Avoid resting and sitting too much as this will cause legs to stiffen up become lethargic and cramp easier on race day.
- Logistic planning
Give yourself time to plan your day before and the morning of the race. Plan in time to relax, plan in your travel arrangements, plan your evening and breakfast meals. This planning will help you to relax. Give yourself more time than you need in the morning to get to the race HQ, this way if things don’t quite go to plan you have time to spare and still feel relaxed. The last thing you will need is to feel stressed on that start line and your performance to suffer.
- Goal setting – positive thinking
Set two maybe three goals. Have your ultimate goal, one realistic goal and a third in case drastic things get in your way such as the conditions or injury. For example, it’s your first marathon and your ultimate goal is to complete it sub 4 hours. Your second goal could be to just complete it without walking as it is your first and your final goal could be to just get around whatever it takes. This way you always have something to keep putting one forward in front of the other on race day, you still have a motivation maintain a positive mind set to success.
The most important thing is to enjoy the occasion. Hopefully these steps will give you some thought of the planning involved to keep the big day stress free and so you can perform at your very best.
For more advice please do let me know and as always let me know how you get on!
AC Running and Fitness