Marathon Preparation

Marathon Preparation

Marathon preparation is no walk in the park, in fact it can take weeks, months or even a year depending on your current fitness and experience. It is not just a simple routine that you follow from the day you start until the day you run, it is a complex combination of diet, exercise and rest that varies leading up to the final point and continues on afterwards!

The name ‘Marathon’ actually comes from a fabled Greek messenger, who is said to have run a distance of 26 miles and 385 yards from The Battle of Marathon, all the way to Athens. This is also how the unusual, yet traditional length of this race originated.

In order to run such an impressive distance without damaging yourself or putting yourself at risk, it is important that your body has been training for a good few months (at least) leading up to the big run.

Marathon Preparation
66fit Trigger Point Massage Stick

Months before the race: In the months leading up to your race, you want to be getting your body into peak condition. This means:

  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet that is rich in all the nutrients needed to both fuel your body and build and repair all the muscle fibres you are going to be stressing or tearing during your training.
  • Training regularly. You are about to embark upon an epic run of many miles, so you want to be working up towards that in your training. Slowly increasing your distances, but ensuring that you give your body the appropriate rests between long runs.
  • Looking after your body! Not just warming up and warming down before and after runs, but listening to your body. If you feel unwell or that an injury is occurring, be cautious and seek medical advice. Massage your muscles using a trigger point massage stick, when they feel tight and sore to stimulate circulation and release any muscular tension.
  • Make sure you have all the right equipment. This means comfortable running shoes, and clothing that fits well whilst allowing your skin to breath.

Weeks before the race: In the weeks leading up to your race you want to be reducing the intensity of your training, whilst still keeping your body prepared. This means:

  • Space your last long run to three weeks prior to the marathon. It can take this long to repair the training induced muscle damage caused from pushing long distances.
  • In the fortnight leading up to the race, reduce your training distance by a quarter, and then down to half for the final week before the big run. There is no point in trying to squeeze in some extra training at this point and it will only hinder your performance.
  • Get extra sleep! Your body will need this in the week leading up to the race.
  • Increase your carb intake to ensure you have the glycogen stores needed for the race ahead. But avoid eating any new types of foods.
  • Keep yourself hydrated. Make sure you use the hydro light formula you will be using on race day, for a couple of weeks leading up to it, just to ensure that there are no adverse reactions and that your body is used to it.
  • Avoid all strength building exercise in the couple of weeks leading up to your big run.

Day before the race: On this day it is important that you pay special attention to your diet and don’t let the excitement or stress get the better of you. This means:

  •  Get a good night sleep, you will be needing it
  • Don’t eat too late or this may not only interfere with your sleeping, it will also mean you are still digesting the next day.
  • Avoid any stodgy rich foods that could cause digestive difficulties and avoid trying new foods.
  • Go over a map of the route you will be running and familiarise yourself with all the water stops, portable toilets and first aid points.
  • Visualise yourself going through the paces and completing the run.

Day of the race: This is your big day, so it is important that you feel prepared. This means:

  • Have your clothing planned out for you, avoiding any new clothing for possible chafing or irritation.
  • Make sure that you can secure any food or drink you will be taking with you.
  • Eat a carbohydrate rich breakfast about 2-3 hours before your race. Avoid overly fatty foods that will make you feel heavy.
  • Keep hydrated!
  • There is always a long line at the toilets prior to a race so be prepared and give yourself time.
  • Relax, this is your big day!

Whilst racing:

  •  Start slowly, use this time to warm yourself up into the race. There is plenty of distance to cover, go hard late!
  • Keep drinking small amounts regularly, this means stopping at every water stop even if you don’t feel thirsty. If you start to feel thirsty then you are already at risk of dehydrating!
  • Pace yourself and enjoy yourself. If it helps keep your head down and concentrate on the road in front of your feet.
  • Encourage yourself along the way, especially if you start to doubt yourself. You can do it!

After the race: Congratulations you have done it! But remember you cannot just sit down and put your feet up and crack open some bubbly, your body has just undergone an amazing feat, it needs to be warmed down slowly over the next 60 minutes, gentle walking is perfect! Keep hydrating and make sure you replenish your carbohydrates within the next 1-2 hours after completing your run. No matter what the outcome was, be proud of yourself!

Why not join in with the Marathon Preparation conversation in our 66fit LinkedIn group?  You can also find us on Facebook as 66fit Australia66fit UK and 66fit Deutschland along with Twitter and G+. Come and meet us in person at the NEC Birmingham for either Leisure Industry Week (LIW), 22nd and 23rd September 2015, Stand No: Hall 4/C29 or the Occupational Therapy Show on the 25th and 26th November 2015.


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