Marathon Race Tips
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Before the Race.
Days Hours Minutes Seconds
For several days leading up to your marathon, ensure that you hydrate well. It is a great idea to drink a large glass of water before bed, as well as the night before the race day and as soon as you wake up, on the day of the race itself.
“Water or sports drinks are the best fluids. Always drink during the two hours on the lead up to a run and the two hours following the run.”
Aim to eat a simple breakfast that is high in carbohydrates before the start of your race. Porridge (Oatmeal), bars, fruit and even bagels work very well.
“What you eat and drink immediately before and during your marathon will have a huge impact on your official run time.”
If you take the time to lather up with a little Vaseline in those areas of your body that you know are vulnerable to chafing, you will spare yourself unnecessary pain and discomfort (apart from the running itself).
“When sweat mixes with the parts of your skin that touch, or sweaty skin that rubs against your clothes, your skin starts to chafe away.”
Get There Early.
Ensure that you get to the starting line way ahead of time. Try to get into the queue for the toilet 30-40 minutes before the official start time, as the lines may be long.
“You will have enough going through your mind on the day of the race, so don’t add extra stress by showing up late. Be sure to be familiar with where parking is permitted and aware of any parking fees that might apply.”
The Pittsburgh Marathon
The temperature is very likely to rise over the course of your race, so try not to overdress. If you feel cold at the start of the race, consider wearing an oversized bin bag over your clothes to keep you warm until the race begins.
“Wearing extra clothes just makes things worse and we regularly see runners wearing far too much, soaked in sweat or covered in salt stains.”
If you are planning on running with music, be sure to check well in advance whether headphones or earphones are actually allowed on the course, as some marathons explicitly do not permit them. Additionally, running with headphones on can sometimes be dangerous, if you can’t hear what is happening around you.
“Listening to music during the race can cause you to miss announcements from officials, cut in front of someone, or not move out of the way if a runner is trying to get past you”.
During the Race.
Your adrenaline will be pumping at the start of the race but the faster you start, the slower you are likely to finish. Remember, there are plenty of miles for you to increase your pace, if you are feeling up to it.
“Make your first mile your slowest mile of the race. Get passed by someone speed-walking to catch the bus. Slither around like you are playing a game of Charades”.
Slow to Drink.
Never grab a drink from an aid station and attempt to swallow it while running at full pace. We recommend practicing your drinking whilst running at a moderate speed or simply stopping for a few seconds to take a drink.
“Whether volunteers are handing out the drinks, or you’re taking them from a table, ensure that you slow down a bit as you approach ‘the grab’.”
Queues for the toilets are always longest at the first few aid stations, so if you can hold it for another couple of miles without any major discomfort, you will likely save time over the course of the race.
“Plan your running routes out to where they have several toilet stops along the way and always carry some paper tucked inside your running shorts pocket”.
Plan your Cheer.
Lots of runners like to invite friends along to the race, to help cheer them on and provide a valuable boost during those difficult miles. Try to plan ahead of time which spots along the course he, she or they will meet you, so you don’t end up missing them in the crowd.
“Many of the major marathons have a variety of great services to help spectators follow their runners. Check to see if the race’s website has a sign-up for a runner tracking system”.
After the Race.
Immediately after you finish your marathon, drink several cups of water, which will help nourish your aching and tired muscles. Try to walk around and avoid sitting on the ground, to let your muscles cool down properly. Additionally, some gentle stretching and eating some simple carbohydrates will help, even if you don’t feel like it.
“Although your first instinct may be to drop to your knees and thank the gods that you’ve finished, that isn’t the best way to end your race”.
After Race Day.
Ensure that you take a minimum of a week off from any kind of running schedule. After that, take your time as you begin running again and don’t push yourself too hard. Make sure you get lots of sleep and eat well balanced, nutritious meals. Allow your body to heal any injuries or ailments you will probably have picked up during the race. Your immune system needs nourishing after such a feat of endurance.
“The best way to recover is not to do more damage by going out for a run the very next day (that is your ego talking)”.