Marathon Musts

β€œWhen you run the marathon, you run against the distance, not against the other runners and not against the time.”

Haile Gebrselassie

Midweek I’m going to use a healthy slice of the metaphorical blogging pie to bring you running tips from my very own noggin’. Sit, have a plate, take a fork and enjoy this slice. It’s apple flavoured.

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The slice. Vegan of course πŸ™‚

What the frick qualifies a jumped up 5K runner to talk about marathons? I’ve actually run one. Yep, I ran Loch Ness Marathon this year with my mum (9 time marathoner) and I learned a lot. So before I lose your attention here are my tips for running the Godzilla of the running world.

Mental Game

I’m not going to lie to you, 26.2 miles is a long bloody way. If Jesus decided to run from Dover to France he could do it in a far shorter distance than what you’re planning on doing. For most people it’s over 40,000 steps (I can sense fat Bettie’s Fitbit getting a hard on over that!)

But once you’ve come to accept that, this whole process is going to become far easier. Some of the training days are going to be tough and some days you won’t want to run. But, you must remember why you started this process and what drove you to enter in the first place. Whether that was for charity, to crush your pervious best, or to prove to yourself you have what it takes. You’ll find a way.

Oh, by the way, over half a million Americas ran a marathon in 2011 and their blood is statistically 63.1% high fructose corn syrup πŸ˜‰

Mum and me during Loch Ness. Yes I stole this image but girls love a bad boy πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ

Nutrition

Solids

I was told that during marathon training that you eat what you want as you’ll be running so much it doesn’t matter (untrue). I was foot slapping the pavements for over 60 miles a week in the lead up to the marathon. That’s a lot of calorie burnage. But what you eat really matters (true).

There’s a reason why top athletes chow down on good quality foods during training (amongst other potential… potions πŸ’‰). Clean eating is going to really aid in recovery and help you smash your next workout as well as stopping you getting a dreaded injury.

Do you smell that? That’s the BS of all the people telling you the myth to smash a mahoosive bowl of pasta the night before the race. Uh uh. Carbo-loading is a thing but this process starts 6 weeks prior to the big day. Make sure you’re eating slightly more carbohydrate than you normally would and then 3 days before the race a high amount of your caloric intake should be carb-based. With the lower mileage from the taper your muscles should be swimming in glycogeny goodness. The night before just eat something you know isn’t going to upset your stomach. If that’s pasta have pasta πŸ˜‰ .

See, even Hugh is disgusted with the pasta the night before thing.

Liquids

Drink. Your. Water. Hydration plays a massive role to the whole marathon thing. Before and after every run make sure you’re properly hydrating. Dehydration effects your running performance negatively (obviously). You don’t need to go (quorn) ham with this! Hyper-hydration is a legit problem where you have too much water in your system, throwing off your electrolyte levels.

In my experience having half a litre of water with breakfast and then sips leading up to race gets you in good state with your hydration. During the race I used the same strategy as I’m about to mention below with gels. I took sips at around an hour and then every 45 mins after that. If you can alternate between water and an electrolyte then that would be Gucci. But find a routine that works for you by practicing in those long runs.

Is that a solid or a liquid?

Ah gels, the syrupy-sweet-thick-liquidy thing. If you’re unfamiliar, they’re what you might imagine a bee’s “special hug” juices might be like. These work really well if you know what you’re doing! They come with a warning though, they can make you sh*t yourself. Here are some rules I’d follow with them,

  • Find out if your marathon is handing out gels around the course and if they are practice with those. If you don’t like them try something else and practice with those!
  • Practice using gels during your long runs at the intervals you want to use them in the marathon even if you feel you don’t need them (I suggest 1 after the 1st hour and 1 every 45 mins).
  • Some have caffeine in which for some of you is going to cause… issues. So, I encourage you to experiment way in advance of the race.
  • Please, for the love of all things holy, don’t try new things in-race and wing it. Sods law states that you’re going to react badly and the stuff that’ll come out of you will hit the fan.

I personally used honey stinger waffles (not anymore I’m supposed to be vegan lol). For me a more natural food over artificial spunk was going to agree with me better. Make sure you’re getting enough calories in, a gel is about 100 calories a pop so try to balance it roughly to what you’d be consuming in gel form.

The fuel which got me round safe and sound 🐝

Kit

Chaffage may occur. This is not unusual at all. I’m going to introduce you to a new friend and it’s called Body Glide. This baby is going to get you nice and slick to reduce the friction, even if it’s your first time. As a precaution though wear your racing kit in training as practice (you seeing a theme yet?), you don’t know what might rub where!

Shoesies are muy importante. I know I work in a running specialist shop so I could sound biased but Β£40 shoes from a shop that for legal reasons I can’t name. But, it sounds like “Sports Defect”. Are probably going to cause you problems. Go to your local specialist instead and get them to do a “gait analysis” so you know which shoes you need. Be warned, the shoes will probably be spenny, but they’re worth every penny.

This mans nipples are crying as he didn’t lube up

Taper

Whatever your training program recommends do it. You’ll feel like you should be running more in those final few weeks. All the money is safely in the bank and future you is going to be thankful you’re fresh for the day.

Good luck! You’ll be buzzing your nuts (or tits) off once it’s over πŸ˜€

Tell the above to Susan. Her PB of 3:38:57 wasn’t ‘good enough’ πŸ˜‚

Lots of love,

Will xx

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