Scott sits down with our Aussie based elite runner and physio, Reece Edwards, to give our pre-race tips to help you get the best performance on race day.
Reece was the first non-pro finisher of the Chicago Marathon in 2018, debuting as the 3rd ranked Aussie over the marathon and turned heads, stepping up to his first Ultra winning the 102km Tarawera Ultra Trail event in NZ.
Scott, the founder of Move Clinics in Chiswick, West London has over 30 year involvement in track & field, 20 years as a Physio in athletics and 15 years involvement in the London Marathon working with the elite athletes.
Here’s some of our top tips to help give you the best chance of achieving you goals and enjoying the experience:
1. Last minute training- you are as fit as you are going to get. The work has been done and any cramming now only risks making you tired for race day or worse sore and injured.
2. No changes on race day-race day is not the time to experiment! No new shoes, no new supplements drinks or food. Even a different flavour of sports drink can reek havoc on an unprepared stomach. Distance running is all about routines and consistency and we work out what is best for us in training so there are no unknowns on race day. Even if you don’t have it all worked out, stick with what you are most comfortable with.
3. Pre-race nutrition- don’t make any changes. Keep the volumes consistent and the types of food the same. If you’re carbo-loading the lack of training load will allow the increase storage as muscle and liver glycogen. If you increase the quantities only do it slightly as too much will risk leaving you feeling bloated.
4. Prepare your gear early- don’t be looking for safety pins or one of your trainers in the dark on race day morning. Have all your gear accounted for and tested if necessary and double checked the day before. If you are travelling have all your race gear together in one bag and if you’re flying, your race gear stays with you at all times, in your carry on. Don’t leave your race in the hand of anyone else.
5. Plan your journey- big races have road closures and diversions. Plan your route, check the event websites or local transport authorities https://www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com/en-gb/event-info/road-closures/
6. https://www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com/en-gb/event-info/runner-info/ and give yourself plenty of time to arrive, warm up and relax before the gun goes off. Give yourself time to enjoy the atmosphere that only tens of thousands of anxious and excited runners can create. Love it!
7. Hydration- now, it’s likely to be a hot race so this is important!! Get hydrated in the days leading up to the race. Peeing clear isn’t a bad field test but drink regular from now. On the day keeping sipping water but mainly to balance out all the trips to the toilet you’ll likely be making with the pre-race nerves. Once you’re running have small amounts regularly but no large volumes as this can get dangerous. Check our post regarding exercise in hot conditions for a lot more detail on this.
8. Getting a good nights sleep-if you’ve put the work in, you will be excited and nervous the night before the race. If you haven’t put the work in, you should be shitting yourself! Either way, you’re unlikely to get a restful night sleep so the age old adage, ‘the night before, the night before’ holds true. Give yourself the chance 2 nights our to get some quality rest, sleep well on Friday night then you won’t be effected too badly by one restless night.
9. Pre-race Niggles-taper pains are almost a given and lead to a great deal of anxiety. It happens as you reduce your training and move less. Essentially, you aren’t warming up all the aches as pains as you normally would and you become more aware of them. I would keep doing some light running each day just to keep the legs turning over and feeling fresh.
10. Pre-race massage and rest days-you need to know how these effect you. Personally I always felt flat after a massage or a rest day so I wouldn’t have either the day before an event and with massage, Thursday or Friday at the latest for me. If you don’t know, give yourself a few days as there can also be some post massage soreness to get over.
11. Post-race injury- you will be sore, otherwise you might rightly question your effort on race day;) Muscle soreness and tightness is normal. To help speed your recovery, keep moving after you finish, get your gear and keep moving. Rehydrate with a goal of peeing clear again and sugary drinks are helpful to kick start your recovery and will probably be tolerated better that solid food. Eat as soon as you can. This might be supplements initially but try to get a meal ASAP for a decent source of protein. If there’s any intense pain get it check by the medical team and if anything continues to bother you get in to see a Physio that has a background in sport as your first port of call.
12. Relax to go fast 🏃🏼♂️💨One of the best bits of advice I received as a young athlete was that if you want to run fast, for a long time, you have to relax. When the gun goes, take a deep breath and RELAX! Get through the first few miles in one piece. The excitement will ensure it’s not as slow as it feels and being in a mass start, the crowd will help stop you from going out too hard. Roll with it, concentrate on breathing, get a rhythm and switch off. Your legs will find their rhythm and when they start to feel the pinch concentrate on your breathing, relax your shoulders and keep tapping out your rhythm with your arms. The legs will follow the rhythm set by your arms…….and RELAX.
Now, get out there and enjoy being part of one of the greatest experiences in running. It might not feel like it straight away but you will remember this as one of the greatest moments of your running life!
Please share with any family or friends involved in endurance sport!