Although the London Marathon is over two and half months away, to those training for the biggest race in the world, this looming deadline is likely to be considered to be ‘only’ two and a half months away.
While training regimes should be ramping up, increasing in length and aiming to get up to race pace, the Register of Exercise Professionals’ (REPs) spokesperson Jean-Ann Marnoch talks through her “last minute race tips” that should be explored now.
“There is lots of advice out there, with much focussing on last minute plans and tips. While some of this is good advice, as with most other things related to marathons, planning is absolutely key. Planning for the race day starts now. Nothing should be done for the first time on race day.”
“Shoes, clothing, gadgets can all cause irritation during running. Try them all out on the long runs you will do through February and March. If you are going to use Vaseline to stop chafing - try it now, if you are going to wear compression socks, a woolly hat, or even fancy dress, try it out while you have time to make changes.”
She continued: “Every person’s pre-run routine is different, but it can take quite some perfecting. How long before the race to eat varies; some people swear by a full breakfast two hours before, while for others this would cause major cramps, so small snacks in the lead up to a run are perfect. The race starts at 9.30, so wake up early before long runs to practice your pre-race food and drink routine.”
Many runners now use gels and energy drinks on the race day, to help them through the inevitable wall on 20 or 21 miles, Jean-Ann explained, “Considering the variety and different ingredients, tastes and consistencies, it is vital to try these out on a few long runs before using them on race day. Some people will love them; some will struggle to digest them well, while others take time to find a gel or drink that suits them. Taking a gel that makes you feel nauseous on mile 18 can be somewhat disastrous. Even if you are sticking to traditional energy supplies like jelly babies and other snacks, still practice!”
Touching on a subject recently gaining widespread attention in the wake of the Claire Squires’ tragic death, Jean-Ann applied similar advice to supplements, with added caution. “When it comes to dietary supplements, taking the advice of blogs or friends is not advisable. It is key to check with a professional. REPs-approved exercise professionals will be able to give you advice, or point you in the direction of someone who can.”
She concluded: “26.2 miles provides enough of a mental battle, you don’t need to provide yourself with extra negative thoughts and doubts by trying new things out on race day.”