The training is almost done and the race is drawing closer and it’s natural to jump between excitement and nerves very frequently! Here are my tips to get you through these last two weeks.
Change Your Focus
The closer you get to a marathon can often feel harder to deal with than the rest of the plan as you’ve been slowly building the distance over the last few months and now you are reducing them. When you’re into the taper, it’s important to cut the mileage but maintain the intensity so you’re in peak condition for race day. This means keep the same number of runs, still do the interval sessions but reduce the distances of your longer runs.
This is a good time to change your focus and start thinking about other stuff around the race like making sure you’ve got everything you need like gels or energy drinks, vaseline, blister plasters, plasters (guys, for your nipples), think about the kit you’re going to be wearing for the race, to wear around the race and get them looked out. If you’re doing London then think about going to registration (I always recommend the Friday evening as it tends to be quieter and less stressful) how you’re going to get to the start on the day. I’ve learned over the years to book a hotel within easy traveling distance from the start/finish of the race and that’s made such a difference to how I prepare for the day.
Plan Your Run
It can also be useful to start thinking about how you plan your run in the marathon. This might sound daft as you’ve spent the last few months preparing for the race but have you thought about your strategy for the race, other than start running and get to the finish? It’s worth trying a couple of runs this week at your target pace to get to know how it feels for you so you can settle into this quickly on the day and do it instinctively without constantly having to check your Garmin.
Other than that, just keep doing what your doing and try not to do anything new as it won’t make any difference. It can be tempting to add in another long run, particularly if you missed one, or try something that you’ve read in a magazine or online but it won’t make any difference to your performance and there’s a greater chance of doing harm from doing something your body isn’t already used to.
The main thing is, enjoy the quality of your runs this week and next week I’ll give you some tips on what to do in the final week.
I’ve learned the hard way that finding a hotel close to the start/finish line can reduce stress on race day immensely, regardless of distance. It makes such a huge difference.
We learned after our first Paris Marathon that there were no escalators on the Metro and I had to walk downstairs backwards! Ever since, we’ve stayed closer to the start/finish and being able to walk either way has not only reduced stress but also helped speed up the recovery in the legs