My race bib and medal

We’ve all heard this one critical rule before – but seriously, this is an important rule to follow. Trying something new and untested could really mess up your race! Honestly this is a one very basic rule of marathon running, but one many of us tend to forget. We see an elite doing something particularly different, and we decide to try it out! Remember, leave the trial and error to training, and never on race day.

#1 Nutrition

Don’t try any new gels on race day. Gels are a very delicate thing. Some brands just don’t sit well with out gut and can cause a massive mess on race day. Just because your friend recommends this gel as the best gel ever, does not mean it is the best gel ever for you! Don’t even try a new flavour! Try what your stomach is accustomed to. If it’s a no caffeine gel – stick to it! Don’t go caffeine!

#2 Hydration

Try to mimic your fuelling strategy in training as closely as possible in your race. If you are not accustomed to taking isotonic drinks, do not take them during your race. Some people can’t take isotonic drinks with gels. With blood being diverted away from your gut, the accumulation of sugar from gels and isotonic may cause gastrointestinal problems. Don’t wait till race day to find out if you’re one of those people!

#3 Shoes

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This is probably the most obvious. Don’t wear that brand new breaking 2 shoe you bought at the expo, you don’t know how well your feet may take it. You may end up getting blisters, or a painful arch – why risk it? Some shoes require breaking in as they can be a little to the hard side. So, just stick to what you are used to.

#4 Apparel

Don’t wear the race tee! The sleeves may be too long, the shirt may be too short, the sizing may not fit you too well – and all this could make for an uncomfortable 42.195km. Worst of all is of course the chaffing! Make sure you’ve tested your race gear in a long run – not even a short run. You need to know how the apparel will affect you when it’s drenched in sweat and you’re running tired! This doesn’t just apply to your top but bottoms and sports bras as well.

#5 Breakfast

If bananas and bread are your typical pre-long run breakfast, stick to it! Don’t have cereal and milk instead. I mean yes, of course it’s a healthy breakfast, but what you want is what you’re used to, not what is healthy! First of all, your stomach may not react well to it. And second of all, your breakfast may not provide you sufficient energy. Let’s say you normally take a peanut butter sandwich, and now you switch to 3 biscuits – you may not be providing your body with the energy it is accustomed to. This will affect your race!

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