In the run up to a marathon you often see written what to do in the week prior to a race.
BUT what about what NOT to do?
- Anything different!
When I was getting ready for an upcoming race I would often go stir crazy in the run up and so would find other things to do. As a swimmer, I would go for a run and hurt my back. As a rower, I went to a driving range and strained my forearm! Remember: the caged animal allows us to perform better but sends us mindless in the meantime. So stick to your normal routine!
- Experiment with food
If you’re not used to ingesting gels or lots of sugary sweets during a race and haven’t practised, it can have a shocking affect on the gut.
The night before is a good time to have beige carbs like pizza or pasta. Often plagued with nerves people struggle to eat before a race or early enough – but if you can, try a banana and some peanut butter (rather than forcing down and digesting porridge) to get something in your system. Brown bread is better before a race but post-race try to eat beige food like white bread within an hour like a jam sandwiches or carbs with some protein to allow glycogen reloading.
- Get a massage
I’m all for soft tissue work in the run up if your body is used to it. However it can be fairly traumatising to your body if you’re not. I try to advise to get your massage early in the week if possible and really think of how you usually feel afterwards. If it takes days for the soreness to go, would you want to take that to the race with you?
- Rest too much
Now rest and recuperation can be very nourishing when the body needs it. If when you stop you tend to get ill as your immune system is low, you need to find the right balance. Active recovery is sometimes a better option to keep the body ticking over with shorter/slower runs followed by stretching and a bath is great self care. Getting good quality sleep is essential for preparation.
Please remember, we are all different. Everyone prepares differently so be careful who and what you listen to. Usually your body knows best, even if your mind tries to convince it otherwise!