Positive mindset and the last minute tips for the London Marathon
It seems hard to believe but, finally, the big day is here. This will likely fill you with a mixture of excitement and dread. So much of your attention up until now has been on the physical side of the training. At this stage, it is worth remembering that the run will be a psychological and emotional challenge, as well as a physical one. It is important during this time to stay as calm as possible. Your physical preparation is pretty much complete, and now it is time to start thinking about preparing yourself mentally for today.
Keeping control of your emotions
Often the most over-riding emotion as you approach the race is anxiety. How will you perform? Will you finish? Will you remember everything? These few hours leading up to the London Marathon, it is essential to conserve as much energy as possible (mental as well as physical). To help settle the nerves keep two things in mind. First, give yourself credit for all the hard work and sacrifice you have put into your preparation up until now. If you have got this far, are hopefully injury free, and have done an amazing job. If you have successfully completed your long runs, your body is prepared. Second, although running the marathon is a huge challenge, it is feasible. And it is feasible for you! Hundreds of 1000s of people from all walks of life have completed the marathon. If they can do it, you can do it!
As with many things in life, one of the best ways of keeping your nerves in check is through proper planning and preparation. It always helps to have a checklist ready for kit, refreshments and travel plans. If it’s written down, it is one less thing to think about or have in your mobile. Be sure to have your registration done and ready. Having this number makes you remember that you are not alone at the Marathon, on the contrary, you have a lot of people to share this wonderful experience with, so save energy and set your mind on success!
Be flexible in your approach:
If you have made it this far, you may have started plotting what sort of time you would like to finish the course in. Depending on your personality, you will have either set a rigid goal or a ‘nice to have’ goal. If you are the sort of person who tends to set challenging goals, I encourage you to be flexible. It can certainly help to focus the mind if you have a time in mind. However, there are a number of factors (some of which are out of your control) which can affect your performance on the day. One of the single biggest factors is the weather. Did you already check it?
The weather forecast tells us that we can expect rain from 6am to 2 pm and a temperature that goes from 6 degree Celsius. So keep in mind that these variables can affect your run, it makes sense to set flexible goals. Cut yourself some slack if conditions work against you on the day, and it will allow you to stay focused, motivated and happy!
What to do before the race
Stretch! – Remember to stretch before and after the race. However, do not push your stretching too hard. Be sure to stretch the following areas; calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, the IT band, lower back, neck and chest.
Eat well before leaving home – There is a world of advice on nutrition out there. But at this stage, the best advice is to keep it simple. If you have been tempted by carbo-loading, but have never tried it before, it is best not to risk it. You will need a healthy serving of carbs of course.
As a guide, 8-10 grams of carbs per kg of body weight is going to be ok. In addition, don´t forget to hydrate.
Last minute tips:
Today be sure to give yourself plenty of time for everything. Prior to the run you need to expend as little energy as is humanly possible. Aim to get to the start at least an hour before the race. Before you start the run lubricate any area for which chafing has been a problem. Trust me, chafing during a marathon can be a big distraction.
With the unpredictable nature of London Marathon weather, you will need to find ways to ensure you are as warm and as dry as possible before the race, remember that today rain is expected. As you will be setting off early, layers of old t-shirts can help to keep you warm and are easy to dispose of later on. A black bag, with a few small holes cut in (to allow your skin to breathe) is the customary way to shield from the rain. On the off chance that it is a particularly warm day, find as much shelter as you can, prior to and during, the run.
As the run gets underway BE PATIENT. You are among a mass of people and you will be moving slowly for the first half mile to a mile of the marathon. Don’t be tempted to try and weave in and out of other runners. It is an unnecessary waste of energy. Be glad for the sedate start. It will act as a gentle warm up and allow your body to start using fat as fuel, which is exactly what you need.
As you get into the heart of the race you will start to feel good. Your body will feel primed and the crowd will be giving you a huge lift. Avoid any temptation to start increasing your pace at this stage. If you want to be brave, save it for the last 3 miles. Going too fast too soon can seriously jeopardies your efforts in your first marathon. But my biggest tip of all is to take time to soak up the atmosphere. At times during the run you will feel absolutely euphoric. Keep the faith, keep going and good luck!
We hope this information is useful for you. If you need advice or have any questions about our treatments, please contact us. You can find us in Mill Hill Broadway and Islington. We are always happy to help. If you like this blog, please share!