The art of running a great marathon is reaching your peak at the right time – and that time is the day of your marathon! Follow these rules to ensure you reach race day feeling fresh, energised and ready to run the race of your life!
Start your taper three weeks before the big day and run less to achieve more when it matters. This doesn’t mean doing very little. It means maintaining the frequency of your running routine, but dropping the volume. Include some shorter, higher-intensity workouts and some marathon-paced efforts, but make sure, as the race draws closer, you feel fresh. After you’ve completed your final long run, with three weeks to go, it’s time to drop the distance each week. Think about it in terms of percentages: do 90 per cent of your weekly total volume three weeks out, 60 per cent two weeks out and 30 per cent with one week to go.
Follow a well-balanced and nutritious diet that’s high in carbohydrate, to help your muscles recover and load them up with energy for your big effort. That doesn’t mean you need to stuff your face at the pre-race pasta party. A reduction in training volume, coupled with an adequate carbohydrate intake, should optimise your energy stores.
Even though you might have a little more time, don’t fill your taper period by making extra work or social commitments. And leave the DIY until after the race! Now is the time to rest, so limit as much added stress in your life as possible.
Remind yourself of all the good things you’ve achieved in your training over the past few months and imagine yourself running a strong race. Your fitness will only improve during this time so trust the training you’ve done and let your body adapt to the miles you’ve covered
Get an extra hour of sleep each night in the week leading up to your race. Sleep is when the recovery process takes full effect; the body rebuilds itself and re-establishes hormonal balance. Lack of sleep will lead to fatigue, a compromised immune system, reduced concentration and injury, so take it seriously to ensure you’re as fresh as can be come race day!