Making the decision to run a marathon is easy. The hard part is mentally and physically preparing for the big day. While everyone prepares differently, Podiatry Point Podiatrist Cameron Fleet gave us a few tips on how he prepares.
Make sure you look the part. Start your marathon preparation with the right look. Your shoes should be relatively lightweight, comfortable and supportive, with your socks being those you would typically wear while exercising. Proper running clothing made of Coolmax or nylon will help keep you comfortable and cool during the race. My top tip is to do a trial run in the shoes and outfit you plan to compete in. That way, you can determine whether your shoes give you blisters or sore feet, or your clothes irritate your skin.
Mimic the course and climate. About 8 weeks out from the race, establish a route that is similar to the route you intend to run. Before a marathon, I begin tackling the different hurdles it will present every week to ensure the different muscles I will use during the race will be strong. When possible, I also try to train in similar climates.
Learn to drink on the run. During the end of your long pre-race runs, begin consuming the sports drinks or energy gels you intend to use during the race. Keeping hydrated during the race is so important for stamina and will help combat fatigue.
Choose a training program and stick with it. There will be days when you feel like you could conquer Everest, and there will be days when you struggle to put one foot in front of the other. The key is to choose an achievable training program and stick with it.
Run on time. Make an effort to run at the same time of day as the start of your marathon. This way, your body’s rhythms–including the all-important bathroom routine–will be in sync with the marathon. The more times you can do this, the better!
Have a plan of attack, by two. One for if the race conditions are ideal, and one for if the conditions aren’t. That way, regardless of what the day throws at you, you have a contingency plan in place.
Carb-load, don’t fat-load. It is carbohydrates that will fuel your body, and help you hit your peak. Three days out, stock the pantry with things like pasta, potatoes, bread, fresh fruit and sports drinks. Be mindful not to over do it though, as you don’t want to consume excess calories. My favourite go to meal was whole meal pasta with a delicious tomato sauce. On the morning of the event, consume a carb rich breakfast like banana on toast two to three hours before the race. This meal will see you through to the finish line.
Collect yourself. While warming up, collect your thoughts. Visualise your race plan and the end goal. Doing this will remind yourself why you are doing the marathon.
Talk to yourself. At the risk of sounding crazy, talk to yourself throughout the race. Congratulate yourself when you have achieved mini goals and remind yourself of the months of preparation you have done to get to this point.
Have fun. Above all, you need to have fun. This is supposed to be an enjoyable and momentous occasion, one that you will remember for the rest of your life, or until your next marathon.