The 17th of April marks a significant date for many of you. It is, of course, the date of my first BBQ of 2011. Running a close second is the Virgin London Marathon.
For many of you crazy runners out there, that Sunday represents the light at the end of a long tunnel. Those of you excited at the prospect of trudging the 26.2 miles around London probably need some kind of psyche analysis, but then again, I never really understood the running fraternity.
As there is probably zero chance of me convincing you to forget the race and come to my house for the BBQ (seriously - it’s a popular event!), I suppose I’m going to have to be professional and talk you through your preparations.
Ready? When training for a marathon, you normally take the last two weeks to scale things back so you’re in the best shape for the actual race. It’s called tapering.
“Calm Down, Calm Down”
You would do well to heed this Liverpudlian phrase pre-marathon. Imagine the marathon is a storm making this is your calm, so let your body rest, repair and prepare for what is ahead. In these two weeks, you don’t want to be running anything long and intense as it is only going hamper your body’s preparation and increase the risk of injury or illness.
It’s worth bearing in mind, too, that anything done in the last week is going to have little or no bearing on your performance on the day. So it makes as much sense as missing out on my BBQ! And if you’re carrying a knock or are feeling under the weather, don’t man up and run. Take a rest day and do your run when you feel like you're in a suitable condition.
A Change Is Not Always As Good As A Rest
This brings me to my second point: running whilst injured is going to alter your biomechanics and put excess strain on other muscles or joints. The same goes for if you change you trainers or decide to make conscious tweaks to your running style. These are things that you haven’t trained for and should be avoided.
If you are having injury issues, there is a lot of pretty fashionable kinesiotape you could use (that coloured tape Gareth Bale wears). If you need some, I’d recommend you get down to your nearest FASTER qualified trainer quick sharp!
Being the shrinking violet that I am, I always avoid controversy. And I know many recommend that you need to do as much stretching as possible in the weeks before the marathon, but I really don’t agree with this. True, you need to keep good range of motion around your joints, but I’d advise that you do some running specific mobility work, such as some dynamic stretching or some mobility pivot exercises. I have included some of these in the following video…
Eat well, Prepare Well
The week before, you’re going to need to eat plenty of proteins and carbohydrates as your body gets ready for the marathon. So stock up on plenty of meat, fish and fresh vegetables, and get ready to eat! As a personal preference, I’d try stay away from grains (breads and pasta), eating carbohydrate-rich foodstuffs, such as sweet potato, instead.
When you get three days out from the race, you want to start carb-loading in preparation. This will also require you to hydrate well, so don’t skimp on water during the loading!
As a final tip, I’d recommend you take a supplement containing omega-3 oils. This will ensure good joint health, and it will also combat inflammation.
So for those of you missing out on my BBQ and going to the marathon, I wish you the best of luck. If you have any specific questions, you can email me firstname.lastname@example.org and I will see what I can do!