Last Minute Training Tips
In the build up to race day you'll be feeling a mix of nerves, excitement and aching limbs! Here's a few tips from our resident fitness expert to make sure you have a successful and enjoyable race!
This is the perfect time to refine your training and gear up for race day. Whether you've had a perfect training season or have struggled through, now is the time to refresh your motivation, think about your race day logistics and fine tune your training.
You'll probably feel tempted to run longer and harder during this time, but you must resist the urge. You're not going to make any fitness improvements with two weeks to go before the marathon. Try to remember that less is more. Running less reduces your risk of injury, gives you time to rest and recover, and allows your muscles to store carbohydrates in preparation for the big race.
Two Weeks Before
- With two weeks to go until race day, cut mileage to about 50 to 75% of what you had been doing.
- Beginner runners who want to do a tune-up race during this time should stick to a 10K or shorter. More advanced runners can do a half-marathon up to two weeks before the marathon. Doing a tune-up race before your marathon can help you predict your time
- Don't be surprised if you feel some new aches and pains during the tapering period. It's a normal part of the process, as your body repairs itself from months of training.
- Sleep is also an important part of the tapering process. You don't need to sleep for excessive amounts of time, but try to get at least eight hours a night.
- If you want to get a pre-race, deep tissue massage to loosen up your muscles, do it at least a week before your marathon. A deep tissue massage can have the effect of a hard workout on your muscles, so you don't want to do it too close to the race.
One Week Before
- Cut mileage to about one-third of normal during your final week before the marathon. Keep your normal pace for the most part. Slowing too much can alter your stride or make you feel sluggish.
- Give your muscles a chance to rest and skip your strength-training routine in the final week before your marathon. You won't get the benefits from it until after the marathon anyway.
- Work on your mental preparation by reviewing the course map and visualizing yourself during the race.
- Eat a diet rich in complex carbohydrates (whole-grain breads, pasta, and cereals), and drink plenty of fluids. In the week before your marathon, about 65-70% of your calories should come from carbs. Avoid alcoholic beverages since they have a dehydrating effect and can also interfere with your sleep.
- Take at least one or two days off from running during half marathon week. Some people prefer to take off the two days before the race, while others will take off Friday before a Sunday marathon and do a very easy 20 to 30-minute run the day before the race to work out last-minute nerves.
- As race day approaches, you're likely to be stressed and irritable. Stay relaxed and confident, and know that pre-race nerves are normal. Try to avoid stress-inducing activities or situations.
On the Big Day
Walk or crawl if you have to but never, ever give up!