I signed up for a half marathon back in December 2022. Little did I know then that winter would bring illness my way. After a grueling 8 weeks of recovery, with no running mileage since April 2023, the half marathon seemed like a distant dream. That was until my final hospital visit, where my doctor asked a simple yet profound question: “Is your sickness the perfect excuse not to attempt the half marathon?” That question hit me like a lightning bolt, making me realize that it was still within the realm of possibility.
So, with just four weeks to go, I began my preparations. While I may not be as prepared as I would like to be, I am ready to give it my all! I’ve set my goals based on my current fitness level and I’m eagerly looking forward to the big day.
For those of you running on the weekend, here is a guide to how to get the most of your run and also some great recovery strategies as well.
Experts recommend adjusting your diet 2-3 days before the race. This includes carb loading to ensure your energy stores are at their maximum. Here’s a rough guide based on your body weight:
50-70kg: Aim for 350g of carbohydrates.
70-85kg: Target 400-450g of carbohydrates.
Over 85kg: Aim for 500-600g of carbohydrates.
In addition to food, you can use complex carbohydrate drinks like Gatorade Endurance to help with carb loading. Don’t forget to stay well-hydrated with water and quality electrolytes. (information by science in sport ambassador and Sport Dietitian Christie Johnson)
Taper Off Running:
In the final days leading up to the race, it’s essential to taper off your running. This means reducing the distance and intensity of your runs to allow your body to recover and store energy.
Rest and Recovery:
Avoid other strenuous exercises like resistance and weight training in the days leading up to the race. Your body needs rest to perform at its best on race day. Ensure you get high-quality sleep; it’s crucial for optimal performance.
On race day, start your morning with a glass of water to ensure you’re well-hydrated from the beginning. During the race, make use of water stations and stay hydrated. Dehydration can lead to early fatigue.
Depending on the race duration, consider carrying energy gels or snacks to maintain your energy levels. Practice with these during your training to ensure they agree with your stomach. Remember, don’t try anything new on race day.
Clothing and Gear:
Dress appropriately for the weather. Check the forecast in advance and plan your race attire accordingly. Make sure your running shoes are comfortable and broken in. Nothing new on race day, including shoes.
Your mental state is crucial. Concentrate on the big picture of finishing the race but break it down into smaller, manageable chunks. Acknowledge yourself every 5km, check your time, hydrate, and give yourself a mental boost. Breaking the distance into smaller pieces can make the challenge more achievable.
Race Strategy: Have a race strategy in mind. Know your pacing and stick to it. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the race and start too fast, which can lead to burnout later.
After the race, continue to hydrate well. Replenish fluids lost during the run. Consider a sports recovery drink to replace lost electrolytes.
Consume a balanced meal within a few hours of finishing the race to aid in recovery. Incorporate protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Don’t forget to celebrate your achievement with a treat of your choice!
Long-distance running can impact muscle groups like the hip flexors, hamstrings, glutes, and piriformis. Stretch these areas slowly and mindfully to alleviate potential inflammation and create more length and space in fatigued muscles.
Use deep inhales and extended, long exhales to facilitate relaxation and recovery. Focus on your breath as you stretch and let go of any lingering tension.
Give your body the rest it deserves. Take a day or two off from strenuous exercise. Allow your muscles and joints to recover fully.
Reflect on your race experience. What went well? What could you improve? Setting goals for your next race or running adventure can be a motivating way to stay on track.
Remember, you’re embarking on a beautiful and challenging journey. Every step counts. Whether this is your first or fiftieth race, embrace the experience. You’ve got this!
As for me, I’m ready to tackle the course based on my preparations. I’m grateful to my doctor for inspiring and challenging my thoughts. Sometimes, inspiration comes from unexpected sources. Best of luck to you on Sunday! If you need any help or advice with your recovery, remember we’re here for you at Yoga Flame.
No matter how well you know these tips, may they serve as a reminder and ignite your spirit for these last few days before the BIG DAY. Let us know how you did on Sunday, and give it your all.
More information can be found with expert advice at https://melbournemarathon.com.auVIEW ALL ARTICLES