With just a few weeks to go until the London Marathon you should be thinking carefully about your race day preparations. Here are some top tips to help you through what may be one of the most memorable days of your life.
- Eating and drinking – experts advise eating about 2-4 hours before the race starts is the best way to fuel up. Your meal should include a little fat and protein and lots of carbohydrates. For example it could be porridge, toast and scrambled egg or a bagel with peanut butter and a banana. If you feel too nervous to eat then at least have an energy drink or smoothie.
Race day kit – make sure you have practised running in your race day kit. Choose clothing with flat seams that reduce the risk of chaffing. Breathable fabrics will keep you dry and comfortable. Make sure the fit is loose enough to give air circulation but not too loose that straps fall down or excess fabric causes chaffing. Keep an eye on the weather forecast so you have the right clothing for the conditions. The race starts in the morning when it’s cooler but don’t be tempted to wear too much as you will soon warm up and the day’s temperature will increase. If you are prone to chaffing apply some petroleum jelly liberally on all moving parts such as inner thighs.
- Keeping warm on the start line – there’s often a lot of waiting around on the start line and it is important to keep warm and dry. Cut holes for arms and head in a black bin liner for an easy layer that can be shed once the race gets going. Alternatively, wear something old that you don’t mind discarding along the way.
- Getting enough rest – most people are too nervous to get a good night’s sleep before the marathon so make sure you go to bed early two nights before.
Water intake – make sure you start increasing your water intake a few days before the race. You can check that you are adequately hydrated by monitoring your urine – it should be a light straw colour. You don’t want to increase fluids hugely just before the race or it will leave you feeling bloated and uncomfortable. Instead drink about 8-10 ozs of a sports drink 10 minutes before the race starts and then about 5-6 ozs every 2 miles.
- Nails – remember to cut your toe nails straight across and shorter than the tips of your toes to prevent them ending up black and bruised.
- Sunscreen – don’t forget to apply sunscreen if the weather is set fair.
- Stick to your race plan – it is easy to get swept along by the atmosphere and adrenalin of the day and set off too fast. Make a race plan and stick to it! A pace just 2% faster than usual at the start can cause you to struggle in the final 6 miles of the race.
Our running clinic specialists can give you a running assessment and advise on improving running performance, avoiding injury and recovering from problems.
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