There seem to be a huge number of people racing marathons these days. If you’re reading this, you’re probably one of them. A marathon is only a part of an Ironman, but at Aloha Tri, we consider it the part of the event where an Ironman becomes a race! So even if you are doing your first marathon this weekend or racing an Ironman a few weeks/months from now, we’ve put together a few tips for your race day preparation. The race day starts early and by the end of that day you will be a marathon finisher— it’s a long day. It doesn’t matter what your goal is, but you do need a plan. To have a plan is to be prepared for when things go wrong.
The best thing is to also visualise a flawless event. Doing so will provide you with a base for what is the ideal and where you want to be in your race. Beginners and top elites do this and prepare the minds for what is to come. A particular favourite is visualising something at the end of your race such as a pint of your favourite drink, a giant bowl of ice cream or even to be cheered on by your loved ones.
It’s a very exciting time and what a lot of people do is forget about their training and they run the first 5 km in a marathon at a PB pace. BAM! You will suffer the consequences later on down the road. Stick to your pacing plan and don’t get caught up in the rush. Place yourself close to the pacing group where you plan on finishing. However, beware of being driven too hard by over exuberant pacing groups. Run your own race.
Make sure that you have a solid nutritional and hydration plan, but also be prepared to adapt and adjust when things go differently than planned. You might have dropped your gels or you missed that last water station. It’s not the end of the world just roll with it and keep moving. There will be plenty more opportunities to refuel.
Adapting and Adjusting
Be flexible so that you can calmly deal with things that go wrong in your event. For example, you could hit the wall. The fact is that about 75% of participants in a marathon including elite runners will hit the wall in the last few kilometres in a marathon and will slow down quite a bit. You will feel like your running through treacle! You might just avoid hitting the wall by building a very high level of endurance and the ability to run hard in a state of fatigue in your training, but stuff happens. So trust your training in that respect. Ultimately, stay in the game by concentrating on your race, sticking to your fuelling plan and ultimately getting that finishers medal.
Remember why you started this journey. It might be that you dedicated your race to a loved one, you are challenging yourself to something new and exciting or you might be looking to beat that marathon PB or clubmate/rival. Whatever it may be, you are in it together, having a run with like-minded “friends.” Enjoy your day to the fullest and make some incredible memories.