The Brighton and London marathons are right around the corner. We’re getting into the big weeks of training, tiredness is setting in, you climb the stairs up on your hands and knees rather than walking and you will literally eat anything that isn’t tied down and you wonder “how the hell can I keep going?”
Keep the faith!
My first bit of advice is don’t change anything on race day. I’m running the London marathon this year so I’m already having the internal struggle of changing the time I’m aiming for, changing my shoes, changing my fuel, changing my long runs and trying to change the weather on the day.
If you’re a very experienced runner then you may be able to change some of these and get away with it, but for most people, keep doing what you’ve been doing, it has got you this far, trust the training and trust yourself.
Remember when you were In school, getting ready to play Shepherd number 5 in the Nativity? When it came to the big day you weren’t as nervous, as you had done it several times before, your cotton wool beard was on point and you nailed your one line.
Use the next few long runs as an opportunity to practice for your race day. This is the time to test everything.
- Run in the exact outfit that you’re hoping to wear on race day, pants and all
- Practice your race day nutrition, including the food planned for the day before, breakfast and in-race nutrition.
- Set off at the time of the race. If your race starts at 9.30 am, let’s get your body used to that with these dress rehearsal runs
- This is not always easy, but try and run on the same undulation as race day.
Your pace or mine?
If your training and taper has gone well, then there’s a good chance the pace you start running at is going to feel a little easy. This isn’t a bad thing; remember you have to do this pace for 26.2 miles. On the day, with all the excitement and the crowds, it’s easy to get dragged along with other runners and before you know it, you’re head to head with Mo Farah.
There are a few things you can do to prevent this
- Set up your watch to bleep if you go over a certain pace or heart rate
- Buy a run pacing tattoo (they’re temporary!)
- Get a friend who you can trust to stick to your exact pace
You can’t finish a marathon in the first 10 miles but you can make the rest of it a horrible experience if you go out too soon. Trust the process
Try not to stress the small stuff
Lastly, you can’t control the uncontrollable. Sometimes life can throw you a curve ball: your child has a sickness bug all night; there’s a heatwave or the rail workers are on strike on the big day
All you can do is control how you react to these problems. No-one’s training or race ever goes perfectly but know that you did everything in your power to get it right, you controlled all of your controllables and you’re going to FINISH THIS DAMN RACE.