Top 15 Tips
1. Enjoy your running – do not over do it
2. Always warm up and stretch properly
3. Dress appropriately – be seen be safe and keep warm
4. Look after your shoes.
5. Try to run with others – it helps motivation
6. Join a local club or running group
7. If you feel unwell, don’t run – wait until you feel better
8. If you are injured see a physio or massage therapist – never ignore injuries they don’t just go away!
9. A sports massage once every two weeks will help keep you in good physical order
10. Drink lots of water
11. Watch your diet
12. Keep a record of your training – you can then see the progress you are making
13. Always warm up well before races and jog to cool down afterwards
14. Don’t forget the sections on stretching and mobility
15. Run off road on grass or tracks whenever possible, it reduced the risks of impact injuries
Warm up properly and make sure you stretch a lot
Wear appropriate gear and keep it clean and in good order
Keep more than one pair of shoes on the go at a time
Keep a record of your training and diet
Run with others as often as you can
Get support from your family
Check with your Doctor before you start the programme for trening and before the start of half marathon
Bolt out of the door and sprint down the road
Wear old worn out shoes – this will cause injury!
Run only on roads, get on the grass when you can
Eat too much fatty food or drink a lot of alcohol
Train if you are ill or injured, it will make things a lot worse
Run straight after a meal – unless you enjoy indigestion!
Run if conditions are very dangerous ie ice or snow
Race Day Checklist
So race day is approaching rapidly so you need to have a checklist of things to think of and take with you on the day:
1 Make sure your travel arrangements and travel has been booked in advance, it saves last minute panic’s.
2. Use the baggage tent provided – you will find your kit easily when you finish.
3. Kit – prepare your race day kit in advance (see check list below), never wear new kit or shoes on the day, it may look good but if you get blisters it will hurt a lot in the latter stages.
4. Eat well, plenty of carbohydrates in the last 3 days and drink lots of water, have a good pasta meal early on Saturday evening and just a light breakfast 2/3 hours before the start.
5. Get a massage during the week before the race if you can.
6. Do not panic if you missed some training last minute cramming does not work.
7. Avoid alcohol in the last week, plenty of time to celebrate after the race.
8. Rehearse your race mentally, be positive and confident.
9. Get to the start nice and early.
10. Use the loo’s early and avoid an unpleasant delay.
11. Drink a little at each water/sports drink station.
12. Warm up lightly, jog for 15 mins or so to get your muscles warmed up.
13. Find your start place early
14. Don’t go too fast in the first few kilometers, it is far better to be slightly slower in the early stages than to be infront of your target plan.
15. Enjoy the experience – not many people will ever have the guts to do what your doing – be proud.
16. When you start to get tired – enjoy the crowd and soon you’ll see that finishing line!
17. After the race take a carbo snack or sandwich as soon as possible it will really start to aid recovery.
Checklist for race day
- race shoes
- dry socks for after race
- start number and pins
And most important – a partner to carry your bag…
Carbohydrate 65/70% + Protein 15/20% + Fat 15%
Add to this water, vitamins and minerals and you have the ideal mix that will refuel your body and provide you with energy stores that can easily be released when exercising.
Carbohydrates provide the main source of fuel for marathon runners and it is therefore vital that it makes up the lions share of your intake.
These foods are stored in the body in the form of a substance called glycogen which fuels your muscles. It is therefore vital that when training heavily these stores of glycogen are kept topped up and you should try to eat a carbo snack as soon as possible after running, bananas or a sandwich fits the bill until you can have a full meal. If you don’t refuel, you will start to feel increasingly fatigued and muscles will get sore, this is when you are at risk of injury or picking up an unwanted cold.
The next area to look at is vegetables, please try whenever possible to have fresh vegetables and never overcook them, this simply takes out the vitamins and minerals that you need.
Simple carbohydrates such as confectionary and sweet foods are also helpful in giving a quick boost of energy but they will not provide a lasting benefit so should be used sparingly.
A good breakfast of complex carbohydrates will give you a great start to the day and if you have had a morning run will restore your energy levels quickly, never neglect breakfast, when you are marathon training it is important to eat regular meals.
Hand in hand with carbohydrates is the importance of keeping your body well hydrated, ie drinking the right types of fluid, water is always the best.
You should drink before, during and after exercise, sports drinks are also useful for boosting energy reserves but read the labels before buying, some are full of ‘e’ numbers and are of no real benefit.
If you feel dizzy, you have left it too late, it is better to drink slightly more water than you fancy than not enough, even in cold weather you will lose body fluids when training so be very careful.
Tea and coffee are ok in small quantities but are essentially diuretic, this means they will cause a degree of dehydration, so if you are partial to them make sure you also drink plenty of water during the day. Also try to drink with meals, if you have a glass of wine, fine, but have a couple of glasses of water as well.
When using powdered sports drinks practice to get the right consistency and use them while running, some can cause slight stomach problems so better to learn now than halfway through the marathon!
Protein is not as vital as carbohydrates but still provides an important part of your overall requirements, it will kick in to aid energy stores when glycogen stores are depleted, usually after 2 hours + of exercise and helps your body to burn fat supplies, for most of us this will kick-in in the later stages of the marathon.
High protein foods include, white fish, white meats, cheese, lentils and beans. If you are keeping to a low fat diet these foods will help to reduce your levels of body fat-most of us carry more than we need, but be careful a marathon build up is not the time for crash diets!
Generally fried and fatty foods should be avoided, they are not good even when not marathon training so use this opportunity to clear some out of your diet, the odd bacon sarnie won’t hurt though you still need some treats.
It can be helpful to keep a record of your food intake alongside your training record it may identify trends that work well for you.
- Carbohydrate high diet
- Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetable
- Drink loads of water
- Avoid fats where possible
- Odd treats are ok, you deserve them
Personal safety for training
Planning your route
Try and choose a circular route so that you don’t have to retrace your steps.
If possible, avoid deserted areas or places where people could easily conceal themselves e.g. paths with lots of bushes beside them.
Well lit, populated routes are especially important if you are running after dark.
Look for places on or near your route where you could be sure of finding people and where you could call for help e.g. shops, garages etc
See if you can run with a friend or in a group.
Before agreeing to exercise with someone take time to get to know and trust them.
If possible, tell someone what route you are going to take and when you expect to return. You could arrange to contact them on your return, in which case you need to make sure they know what to do if you don’t contact them.
What to take
Think about what you wear. Some sportswear can attract unwelcome attention.
Keep expensive watches or jewellery out of sight or take them off.
Avoid hooded tops or anything else that restricts your vision.
Headphones may prevent you from hearing trouble approaching and distract you from your surroundings. Expensive equipment could also make you a target for thieves. If you really want to listen to music, why not put your head phones in only one ear?
A secure pocket or bum bag is a good way of keeping things out of sight and safe.
A mobile phone will enable you to call for help or alert someone to a change in your plans.
Take some money or a travel card so that you can get home if you are unable to walk / run there.
If you are not totally familiar with your route, then take a map (it is usually easy to print one out from the internet).