You have trained for weeks and it’s finally Marathon Day.
Having a good game plan can help ensure that you do the absolute best you can on that day.
What not to do:
Starting too fast.
The first 2km should feel comfortable. If you start out too fast, quickly adjust your pace and your mindset: think ENDURANCE. If you don’t, be prepared to hit the wall – hard!
Starting out too slow.
Negative splits work for shorter distances but for endurance runners, you won’t have enough left in you to go faster as your body (and your mind) start to become exhausted.
Changing things up unnecessarily.
Eat pasta the night before – this is good advice only if it’s something you’ve been practicing in the last 20 weeks of training. Stick to your usual diet so you get a sense of how much you can eat comfortably without bathroom breaks.
What to do:
Control your pace very well.
If you feel great on race day and your test races predict success, lock in your goal pace and be vigilant to maintain it over the race.
Be mentally prepared for the wall.
You will probably hit “the wall” during a marathon (between 27km-35km) depending on your glycogen stores and metabolism.
What starts as a major mental battle transforms into a strange ache, pain, or cramping. Physically, your body is switching from using glycogen, a fast burning fuel, to fat, a much slower burning fuel. Remember it’s not forever. You will come out on the other side ready to finish the final 10K of the race in style.
The last 10K
The last 10K presents the greatest mental and physical challenge. At 32km, here’s where the marathon really begins. Your mind will need to fight off the negative thoughts of doubt and defeat. Our advice? Look at your heart rate monitor and remind yourself that your body is coping just fine. This can also help quiet your mind by getting your breathing back on track. Try to hold on for as long as you can. If you have to slow down, do it in stages, never come to a complete stop.
Enjoy the experience. Be well-aware of your pace, don’t maintain at the wrong pace. Find your pacer and stick closely to him/her!