You’ve done all your hard work and training. You have endured the wet and/or snowy training sessions in Vancouver, and now you get to enjoy the race. Follow these simple guidelines to help you make the most of your day.
1. Be prepared and plan: Get to know the course and study the map. Pack your bag the night before. Don’t forget the sun screen, anti-chaffing products for sensitive areas, your race number (!) and warm clothes for after.
2. Nutrition: Eat plenty carbohydrates. Your pre-race breakfast should contain at least 100g of carbs. What you consume is a personal preference. My advice is to eat whatever you are accustomed to – bagels, oatmeal, waffles, bananas, energy bars, pancakes with berries, toast with jam etc etc. You should consume your breakfast 3-4 hours before the start of the race.
3. Do not experiment: You may have picked up some really great free samples or new gear at the expo. This is not the time to experiment. If you haven’t used energy gels in training don’t use them on race day as they can have a profound effect on the stomach (to put it politely). Don’t wear brand new socks, shoes, shorts or shirts.
4. Warm-up: Do a nice dynamic warm-up for 10-15 mins before the race kicks off. Light jog, skipping, lunges, high knees, bum kicks, leg kicks forward and back and side-to-side. Avoid static stretching (hold stretches) as these can reduce performance if done before activity.
5. Hydration: Only drink when you are thirsty. If this is your first marathon you will be especially tempted by the 20 water stations. You do not need to stop at each of them, as to do so could result in you over-hydrating. The best thing for you to do is to make sure you are well hydrated before the race and to only drink when you are thirsty.
6. Pacing: You may get caught up in the adrenaline at the start of the race and set off at a pace you’ve never run at before. Try not to let this happen as by the half way mark your body will not appreciate your marathon world record attempt and the end of the race will be much harder. Wear a watch and carefully monitor your pace from mile to mile.
7. What to do after the marathon: This is also a matter of personal preference. Try to keep yourself mobile and enjoy a nice ice-cool bath. Stretch, foam roll, get a massage! Rest for two days then get on the bike, elliptical or go for a swim at a very easy pace for 20 mins. Continue this for the next 3 days. At this point you will be ready to run again (provided you’re injury free). Start back to running with a nice easy 20 minutes of 1 minute run, 1 minute walk x 10.
Finally, best of luck and enjoy the event.
Come see us at Seva Physiotherapy in Kitsilano for some post-marathon TLC including tips on how to perform better at your next event. Book an appointment for specialist advice on running techniques, footwear, training plans and injury prevention.