If you're in the final stages of preparation for your first half-marathon or full-marathon then here are some great tips from Tribe Sports to make your race day a success!
As your marathon training draws to a close (and you're itching to run a little further than your taper is allowing), there are plenty of ways to mentally and physically prepare for the race without hitting the roads again. The final days before a marathon should be rest days, but if you really feel you can't resist going out on a run, make sure you don't over do it.
The build up...
Months of training and hard work are all coming to a close, so it's understandable to have some last minute nerves! Here are our top tips to keep calm and prepare for race day:
Nothing new - you've had months to prepare for this week, so now is not the time to be re-addressing your diet, race nutrition plan or finally going to that new fitness class you've been thinking about attending - stick with what has got you this far, the last thing you want is an upset stomach or sore muscles before your event.
Eat relatively normally - you're used to doing long runs from your training, so eating similar food to what you ate in preparation for those (with maybe a slightly larger portion) will put you in good stead for your marathon. Now is not the time to compete in a Man Vs. Food challenge in the name of carb-loading!
Taper - possibly the toughest part of marathon running (ok, it's not) but cutting back on your miles this week is important to give your all on those 26.2 miles.
- Prepare your kit - it's time to get all your kit together, make yourself a race page with all your nutrition for the day, clothes to change into after the race, safety pins to put your race number on, and any other kit you like to take with you. Check the batteries in your GPS watch (because you just can't wait for the official times to be released!), so your race day will be as stress free as possible.
Arrive in adequate time - obviously you don't want to be rushing to the start line, but equally, you don't want 3 hours of waiting around getting nervous. Aim for the recommended time your race directors send you in your race packs.
Start line positioning - if you're in a race with pacers, this shouldn't be something you need to worry about too much, find your target time and get yourself a good spot.
Remember your race plan - there's a big crowd, thousands of runners and plenty to get excited about, but if you know what your mile pace should be and you're exceeding it early on in the run, you may find yourself unexpectedly lagging later on. Stick to what you've trained for, if you still feel full of beans at mile 24, by all means blast out those 4 minute miles you're trying to hit in mile 1!!
Interact with the crowd - it's personal preference, but Tribe Sports CEO, Steve Reid claims that high-5ing someone in the crowd once a mile is one of the best motivators to keep a smile on your face and enjoy the day. It also helps to have your name written in large letters on your shirt - let the crowd know who you are.
- Have fun!!
Stretch out and warm-down - although all you will want to do is sit down and not think about moving for the next few days, stretching out and giving your body the best possible recovery will be worth it in the long run (long run, get it?!). A lot of races offer post-race sports massages - they may cost a little more than your average back rub but come on, you've earned it!
Get your bag and get layers on - don't let yourself get cold, you will cool down rapidly once you stop running.
Eat whatever the hell you want (but try and make it a bit protein-y) - eat what you're craving, you've earned it (ok, this tip and the next one may not be rules that elite athletes follow...). If you can get a decent hit of protein then you will be helping your recovery too.
- Have a beer with friends - or the beverage of your choice!
Good luck and enjoy your race!
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