April heralds the start of the marathon season in the UK. If you are taking part in one, your training should have already begun, you know your pace and are now maintaining your fitness levels.
So here’s a few tips that will help you keep your cool on the day:
Make a plan
Pack and sort everything you will need the night before, leave as little for the morning as possible. Figure out when you will be leaving and then allow extra travel time for heavier traffic. Get to sleep early so you can get up early to counteract any unforeseen setbacks.
Eat a meal
Have a big carbohydrate filled meal the evening before the race, and a nice bowl of porridge for breakfast the morning of.
Look at your feet
Are your shoes comfortable? Have you done at least one 10-mile run in them? Your trainers should be light and supportive. If you’ve bought a new pair, make sure you break them in properly before race day. And don’t forget suitable running socks.
Look at your clothes
Never wear anything new on race day. Stick with your usual running gear to help avoid any unknown chaffing or skin breathability issues.
Before you head off full of enthusiasm, make sure your muscles and joints are ready for action. Build up your strength and always start a run with a thorough warm up session – a light jog and gentle stretch – that way you are less likely to injure yourself.
Take it long, short and slow
Start slow. Remember, the whole race is the pinnacle, so try not to peak too soon, or do something that could result in injury.
Remember to drink
Take on plenty of fluids while you’re running. A mixture of water and energy/electrolyte type drinks are recommended.
If you’re injured
Stop – do not try to push yourself, you could cause a more serious injury that may be harder to heal.
During and after the race
Remember to do some cool down exercises, and congratulate yourself on a great achievement! Advice on race-day nutrition and hydration can be found on the London Marathon website.
Be kind to yourself
Whatever your time, whatever distance you make, be proud of yourself, enjoy it and try to soak up all that the race has to offer.
Find out about Phil Hewitt, a 73-year-old veteran of 15 marathons, including three in London and one in New York, who had his left knee joint replaced at Emersons Green NHS Treatment Centre, and is now back pounding the pavements.