It’s almost that time of year where thousands of people wear incredible costumes and raise huge amounts of money for charity. They all also happen to be running 26.2 mile, yep that’s right the London Marathon is just around the corner.
Running a marathon is AWESOME but before we even get to the physical and mental aspects which are incredible the name Marathon alone has possibly more meaning behind it than you first realised. The first marathon commemorated the run of the soldier Pheidippides from a battlefield near the town of Marathon, Greece, to Athens in 490 B.C. According to legend, Pheidippides ran the approximately 25 miles to announce the defeat of the Persians to some anxious Athenians
Awesome right! Kind of gives it even more prestige in my books.
Running a marathon is no joke and will push most to their limits physically and mentally, some of these limits can be increased via training, proper nutrition & a solid game plan.
For example if you have worked up to a set pace via months of training but then on the day you get carried away by it all and set off like a rocket you could find you hit your “wall” a lot sooner.
You will hear runners talk about the wall a lot, this is point where the marathon is hardest for them, when fuel and energy reserves are low meaning your tired and slowing down. Add that to the mental games in your head that have been going on for hours like
“why did I do this”
“oh man this is getting tough”
“where is everyone i’m all alone”
“I can’t do this anymore”
Don’t be put off by this as most people beat this away with a Rocky Balboa type of determination
“I can do it”
“I didn’t train for 6 months to quit now”
Remember if it was easy everyone would do it!
Food – Nutrition
When it comes food and nutrition you want to rehearse it and find what works for you and you have weeks to do this. If you find certain foods you eat in the morning or night before don’t sit well when you are running then try a different food.
Do you find your energy runs out on the longer runs? Are you taking some glucose chews or energy bars? These are all things you can fine tune.
I personally wouldn’t go to a pasta party the night before if you are someone who feels super heavy and sluggish after eating pasta normally, instead go for a carbohydrate rich meal that better suits your body.
We know that we need to eat enough calories while training and especially before the big run, most people concentrate the majority of their calories on carbohydrates. This is because carbohydrates are a fast energy source for the body to use while exercising, carbs are broken down into a glucose also known as blood sugar, the can also be stored in tissue such as muscle as glycogen.
Your glucose levels will drop during a run and glycogen stores will all but run out often meaning that gels, chews and isotonic drinks which all contain glucose can help with energy. From research i’ve done 30-60g a hour after the first hour seems to suffice, it’s important to break these up and sip water while ingesting to avoid stomach discomfort.
Other top tips
Have your friends and family stood in the back 3rd or the marathon to help spur you on and give you that all needed moral boost right when you need it!
Make sure your trainers are suited to your feet and not just ordered blindly off the internet, big sports shops like Pilch will do your gate analysis and make sure you’re supported. As we will cover in impact shortly if you have a slight dropped arch and/or ankle and every time you take a step your knee turns in after months of training that will likely become an issue or injury.
Tape & toe nails
Fellas you may need to put tape on your nipples to avoid friction that can be painful and even bleed, Vasaline can help everyone if you think your thighs might start to rub. Most importantly make sure your nails are cut as you don’t want them to fall off.
As we touched on earlier with footwear if you have any muscle imbalances that cause your knees run out of alignment then look at strengthening your glute medius with simple banded exercises or clam can help this!
Most importantly don’t avoid your leg strengthening exercises as your joints are going to be taking the same impact forces for weeks or months so we need to make the supporting structures strong. Make dead lifts, squats, lunges and sled pushes your best friends.
One thing to be expected from all this training is tight muscles so make sure you release off via stretching, sports massages and myofascial tissue release, you know like foam rolling.
Foam roll your
IT Bands or Vastus medialis (outside corner of your thigh)
Use a cricket ball or lacrosse ball on the arches of your feet just by standing on it and rolling around for tender areas normally just before or inside the heel, this will often help calf tightness too. This ball can be used on the calfs too.
This video below will help with all the tissue release!
I hope this helps and if you’re running the marathon this weekend, GOOD LUCK!