April is here – the spring and better known as the month of many marathons (tbc on that one). The hard work has been done and it’s time to settle down and have a great day right..! Over the years, I feel like I have learnt a lot from marathons so have put together 8 tips to having the best day (possible)..!
1. First of all, try to go into the day with a positive mindset. Whether it is your first race or 100th race, it’s very natural to go in feeling anxious. Use the down week leading up to race day to relax as much as you can. Read a book, practice some evening Yoga or even try meditation (I recommend the Calm app). All of these will help to calm the body and mind – helping you to get the all important rest…..
2. Don’t put any pressure on yourself. Be kind, to yourself, what will be will be. For me, one of the hardest part of a marathon is the training – having the discipline to regularly go out and run which can be quite lonely at times. If you haven’t got as much training in as you have liked, remember you don’t have to run the whole way! Actually, out of all of my marathons, I have always walked parts. Relax knowing that you can walk.
3. Break the marathon up. I break the race up into 10ks – you just have to do this 4 (and a bit) times. Once you have done two 10ks, you are already half way! Think about this during your race – these goals will get closer and closer. It may be that you get to 18miles and you say to yourself get to 20 without walking – then at 20, asses how you feel, maybe you can get to 21?
4. Try not to use gels or energy drinks. I think that these should be used for the final push – literally last few miles (and if your body is already used to using). Avoid downing loads of gels throughout as this will wear off quickly. Instead, go for whole foods as much as you can, like nuts or flapjack perhaps. Although you may not feel like eating nuts, your body will thank you. Also, drink little and often throughout – this way you won’t be dehydrated and gasping for water come half way/ second half.
5. Support others. If you see someone struggling (and providing you feel good), give them some encouragement! This is such a lovely thing to do and that person will be given an instant boost that may just carry them home. Below is a pic from last years London marathon, 2 elite runners, one of them (was on for a PB) before noticing the other struggling. He gave up on his own PB quest to help the guy to the finish. If you haven’t seen it, have a watch on YouTube .
6. Have something planned to look forward to after the race. You may not feel like a pint to start with but maybe later on a take away pizza and a drink or two (once you are ready)! I love the feeling in the evening once the race is done – months of hard work done and you can relax, feeling amazing about your achievement! This will also help you to get through the last few miles.
7. Watch something inspirational the night before – last year in the build up to my marathon, I watched Eddie Izzard Marathon man (it has 2 or 3 parts I believe). He completed 27 marathons in 27 days for sports relief in South Africa, a tribute to the 27 years Nelson Mandela spent in prison. This will certainly inspire you!
6. Enjoy every second of the day – the most important tip for me. Even when it’s tough and painful, check in with yourself and say to yourself that you are enjoying it – sometimes smiling to yourself picks you up a little. Either way, completing a marathon is a massive achievement so enjoy each moment – the crowd, the warm up energy, the last few miles. Cherish the lot!
I hope you enjoyed the read! Good luck and keep me posted how you get on would love to hear 😀
Im running the Brighton Marathon with my brother and have decided to run for the Mark Lay foundation, a charity very close to my heart. For more info on the charity and if you’d like to sponsor, please follow this link😀