TOP 10 TIPS FOR THE DAY OF A MARATHON
1. SLEEEEEEEP! ZZZZZ
It’s no secret that having an early night the night before will give you more energy for the race, the following day. Aim for approximately 7-8 hours, and don’t forget to set your alarm. Waking up late may be detrimental to your plan, perhaps causing you to have a later breakfast.
2. PREPARE THE NIGHT BEFORE
Reduce your stress on the day by being prepared. Make a to-do list the night before, including everything from obtaining the postcode, travelling route and parking arrangements. Getting there nice and early is always a relief, and gives you time to scope things out, perform a thorough warm-up, and then relax and chill with your family. Going to the toilet before you leave the house is a big one, to reduce panic when you arrive.
3. FOOTWEAR AND CLOTHING
Stick to what you know! It is highly advised not to wear new trainers or even new clothing on the day of your run. New footwear can cause a lot of issues, mainly achy feet or blisters, but may also affect joints higher up the chain such as your knees, hips or lower back. Although you may be able to carry on, nipple chafing can be extremely uncomfortable and can be as extreme as causing bleeding- so wear a t-shirt you have worn during training or use Vaseline.
Again, when it comes to nutrition, don’t make any drastic changes to your schedule. The last thing you want is an upset stomach and needing the toilet every 10 minutes before the race. Eat breakfast approximately 2 hours before your race start time, which is high in carbs- but remember nothing new! Glucose gels can provide you with a boost during the race and there is no set time or mileage to top up on one of these- but typically, every 5 miles is a good indicator.
5. WARM UP & COOL DOWN
Not enough people do this and it is extremely important. Keep warm before your race, not only wearing appropriate clothing, but also performing a dynamic warm up routine including squats, lunges, calf raises, leaps and bounds. Keep loose by including some dynamic mobility exercises- leg swings, open gates etc.
6. NO MUSIC ALLOWED?
Yes!! Believe it or not, more and more races are actioning a “no music/no headphones” policy due to road safety. This is worth checking before with your race organisers- and not on the day! If you know well in advance, you can start to train beforehand without music and get used to it. Find something else to keep your mind active.
Drink little and often. You will lose a lot of fluids during a race so it is important you replenish these. However, only drinking water doesn’t replace your electrolytes that you lose. Having an isotonic drink to hand such as a Lucozade or Gatorade will help replace electrolytes and reduce the possibility of having cramp. And…sip, don’t gulp. Gulping will expand your stomach that pushes on your diaphragm, which can cause stitch.
8. PACE YOURSELF
Don’t be put off by the pace of others. It’s your race, and your race only. Stick to your game plan and your training. A quick start by others can often influence you to also start quick, quicker than you are usually used to- this can make the rest of the race a lot harder due to depleted glycogen stores.
9. “HITTING THE WALL”
A common phrase used for runners- no matter the distance! This is almost inevitable at some point during the race. This is all about mind set- view the race one mile at a time- not a 26.2 mile race (13 mile if doing half). The crowd is your best friend, use them to cheer you on- embrace it and use it as fuel to keep you going.
10. BE SMART…AND RECOVER!
So you’ve done it! Be mega proud of yourself because this is an awesome achievement- but be good to your body. A lot of by-products will build up in your system that make your legs feel heavy and tired. Do them a favour and stretch or foam roll, as soon as you can- you may not feel like it, but you will thank yourself the following day. Sports massage is also a great way to help flush these by-products and toxins out of your system. Sports massages are usually provided at the end, either for free or a small fee- DO IT! Sports massage will also be beneficial in the week following a marathon, aiding the recovery of your muscles.
About Function Jigsaw Sports Clinic in Leicester
Function Jigsaw sports injury clinic is based in Wigston, Leicester and we specialise in Sports injury rehabilitation. Our sports therapists have years of experience in sports physiotherapy and sports massage. For more information and booking, please contact us to make an appointment. You can also call us on 0116 340 0255 or email us at