5 keys to preparing well for your first marathon
Brad Beer provides his five key tips to help prepare you for your first marathon at the Gold Coast Marathon.
You’ve done all the hard training and now it’s crunch time. Make sure you gain every advantage possible the week before the Gold Coast Airport Marathon with these tips:
You want to arrive on race day with fresh legs. This means tapering. It’s my favourite word as it refers to reducing your training load a week out from the race. Obviously, how you taper depends on your training program and how much running you have been doing each week. For example, I reduce my weekly mileage by half when tapering for an important race. At the same time, you don’t want to do so little that you become lethargic and flat in the last week, so ensure you keep ticking your legs over with light, short sessions and easy jogs.
Try to ensure you get plenty of quality sleep the week of the race, as tapering alone won’t eliminate fatigue. However, don’t stress if nerves get in the way of a good sleep the night before the event. It won’t affect you, as it has been proven that it is the sleep two nights before the race that counts.
Take on water. I use to avoid water stops for fear of them slowing me down, but I’ve since learned what a positive difference drinking water mid-race can make to both the onset of fatigue and my recovery. Trying to drink water from a cup while running is surprisingly hard (most gets all over you or the road), so a little trick is to crush the rim of the cup to form a spout.
In terms of food and drink, my main piece of advice is to stick to what you’re used to. Unless you’ve tried it prior to race day, don’t drink or eat anything you’re not familiar with. If racing for 90 minutes or less, there is no need for carbo-loading, so just ensure that you are well hydrated, and that you have had a good dinner, as well as an adequate breakfast a few hours before the gun (toast with banana and honey is my favourite pre-race meal).
Regardless how prepared and organised you are, it comes down to what you do once the gun fires. I always strive to be relatively comfortable and in control at the halfway mark. Make sure you work out your target time and kilometre splits, and pace yourself accordingly. It’s always better to have energy in the tank toward the end and finish strongly. Utilise the Pat Carroll Online and Onland Pace Runners to stay on track of your goal time in the Gold Coast Airport Marathon, ASICS Half Marathon and Southern Cross University 10km Run. Or achieve your goals in either the Gold Coast Airport Marathon or ASICS Half Marathon with you own personlised ASICS Pace Your Race wristband.
In addition to running smart, you also should run tough. This is what you’ve been training for. It’s your opportunity to lay your body on the line and give it everything. The lingering disappointment of knowing that you didn’t give the race 100% far outweighs the temporary pain of running. As A.C. Green accurately stated: “tough times don’t last, but tough people do.”
Lara is a former World Junior Mountain Running champion and a two-time Australian 10,000 champion. She is also a four-time World Country Championships representative and has represented Australia at the World Athletics Championships and World Half Marathon Championships. Lara won the 2011 ASICS Half Marathon (1:12:19) and 2013 Southern Cross University 10km Run (33:05). She is the online editor for Run For Your Life magazine, a bi-monthly, full-colour magazine containing interesting and valuable information for runners at all levels.
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