London Marathon 2019: Two weeks and counting.
There are just over two weeks to go until your first London Marathon. It is often the time when a novice runner can jeopardise the months of hard work and sacrifice they have made for the big event. Don’t let this be you.
Here is a quick guide to make sure you keep your feet on the ground (pardon the pun), during these final days.
London Marathon 2019 – Only 2 weeks to go
Reduce your training.
First and foremost, cut down your mileage. So close to the big day there is nothing to be gained from pushing a little harder. This period is for what the experienced runners call tapering. Quite simply, you have to narrow down the workload you put your body through.
The long, slow, steady runs should all be in the bag now. Even if you didn’t go as far, or for as long as you had intended, you still will have built up some reserves. Those long runs are not just mentally tough though, they also put your body through a lot of stress. The added mileage creates micro-damage to your muscle fibres.
Don’t be alarmed by the ‘damage’ – it is a necessary part of preparing the body for what is to come. However, the rest you are going to give your body over the next two weeks is absolutely critical to the body recovering for the onslaught it will receive in the London Marathon 2019!
The commonly held view is that you should cut down your mileage to 75% or 50% of your previous week. Personally, I would always err on the side of caution. I would consider 50% of your previous week as an absolute maximum.
Also, if you have been doing strength training, it is time to ease off on that too. There is little to be gained in terms of strength at this stage. As an alternative, this is a great time to go for a deep tissue massage. With the pounding your body has taken, this will feel like a workout in itself. The type of massage you need to untie the knots, and restore some balance in the muscle, is best done at least a week before the event
The single biggest reason to undertake the tapering stage is to start to store carbohydrates (in the form of glycogen). Over-training at this point will only deplete these vital stores.
Plan your London Marathon Day.
Often when you are about to run your first marathon, it is easy to focus all the attention on the run itself. However, on the day before and on the day of the Marathon, there are a fair amount of logistics to take care of. The registration process itself can even be quite tiring.
If you haven’t done so already, now is a good time to start planning the logistics. Think about practical things you might need on the day. These can include spare laces for your trainers, old baggy t-shirts to wear in case it is cold on the morning of the run, vaseline and spare safety pins – to name a few.
Think of any thing you might need to shop for and make sure it is all bought the weekend before. You seriously don’t want to be charging around to buy stuff the night before the Marathon.
Also take the time to plan routes, transport, meeting points as well as contact phone numbers for the day. Be sure to factor in the logistics for after the race as well as before.
Take a little extra care of your body.
This is the time to get more focused in 4 key areas – what you eat, what you drink, how you sleep and how you rest.
In terms of what you eat, a vital element at this stage, is to make sure you are getting plenty of antioxidants in your diet. A diet that is as much as 3 times greater than the DRI (Daily Recommended Intake) is recommended to fight against the exercise-induced oxidative stress.
This can be done by consuming any combination of at least 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Good food sources for these antioxidants include vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, red bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes and tomato products and avocado. Good fruit sources of antioxidants include blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, plums and raisins (to name a few!)
In terms of what you drink, the advice is quite simple. Cut down on the coffee, cut out the alcohol (if you can), and get into the habit of being properly hydrated.
As for sleep and rest, get as much as you can – and of the highest quality you can!
Next time …. we discuss what to focus on with one week to go to London Marathon 2019