As I write this blog we have 6 days til my 4th Brighton Marathon. I said after the 1st one that I would never run another marathon but here I am about to do my 4th. Why I hear you ask? Well for a combination of reasons. Firstly, after my first marathon I started to get PT clients and running clients asking about training for the marathon, so I decided to start a free group that did the long runs on the Sunday and this has continued for years 3 and 4. Secondly, I really enjoy the discipline and the science behind the training – it’s a big commitment from January to April and even longer (up to 6 months) depending on the level you start at. Lastly, the day itself is fun (although painful) as it is the reward of months of hard work.
Anyway, here are my top 10 tips for the Brighton marathon:
– Same nutrition night before and the morning of the race. The night before the marathon, make sure you eat the same meal you’ve been eating before all your long runs. Similarly, have the same breakfast on the day of the marathon you’ve had before. This should ensure no surprises for your body.
– Sleep well. Try to get around 8 hours sleep the night before and a few good night’s sleep the days before. I can’t overstate how important sleeping is for your energy levels.
– Organise all your kit the night before. For example, make sure your GPS watch is fully charged (if you have one). Don’t forget to get some Vaseline – on the morning make sure you lubricate all the possible points of rubbing – ankles, crotch, under the arms, and guys don’t forget your nipples as rubbing there is very painful.
– Don’t forget your gels, jelly babies, banana, cake or whatever you are using for fuel. Personally, I use a gel every hour although some sources suggest every 45 mins. Whatever you use you should have tried it in training. If you haven’t the safest thing to use is jelly babies as some people get adverse reactions in the tummy to gels.
– Know your pace. Hopefully, you have worked out your pace per mile in your training. Remember consistency is the key and try to settle into your pace quickly i.e. after a mile or so. It’s so tempting to go out fast when you have all the other runners around but be aware of your pace and don’t get carried away.
– Hydration– again hopefully this is something you should have been working on in training. It’s important to judge the amount of water against the conditions. For the last 3 years it’s been warm on the day especially the second year. Personally, I carry a bottle in a belt with my own mix of dextrose, lemon and salt and try to take a couple of mouthfuls every 10 minutes. Regular hydration and consistency is the key – don’t wait until you are thirsty and guzzle lots then. It’s difficult to swallow when running anyway so couple of mouthfuls in manageable. Too much water will lead to needing the toilet which is not good as you have to stop which means you lose time and rhythm making it harder to start again.
– Try to enjoy the day – I won’t say it won’t be tough but do take a moment in between battling the pain to look at the crowds and take the atmosphere in …it really is a great day for the city and you are a privileged position to be taking part.
Every person who completes a marathon deserves their medal for crossing that line. Hopefully, you will have taken the challenge seriously and completed the training. If you haven’t you may get more in terms of pain than you were ever expecting!