This week, we chatted with GB Endurance Coach, Tom Craggs about tips for marathon race day….
Keep your nerves in check
As you’re eating your pre-race breakfast or walking to your starting pen or think about five to ten key positive statements to help you keep calm. It doesn’t matter what your training was like, there is alway something that you did well in the 16-20 weeks, whether it was a good core exercise or hill session. Focus on that.
Let everyone run away from you
The first 10km will feel REALLY easy. Stick to YOUR race. Let everyone run away from you. Then, they become targets for you later in the race. Just because it feels easy, this is NOT a reason to go fast. If you’re really gutsy, run the first 10km slower than your race pace.
GRTW add; – sticking to your pace is CRUCIAL. Running faster doesn’t mean you’ve ‘got miles in the bag’ as we’ve heard so many women say when they first start racing. It means you’ll find it much harder at the end. Be disciplined.
Don’t allow the crowds to push you past your pace
Through Cutty Sark, there will be so much noise and the atmosphere is so amazing, you’ll be pyschologically pushed out of Greenwich and then you’ll hear Tower Bridge about a mile away. And suddenly, you’ll find you’re running the second 10km faster than you should. Enjoy the crowds but HOLD back.
GRTW note: Likewise if you’re running Brighton marathon and it’s your home town and you know so many people who are out there to cheer you on, watch you don’t start running faster when you go past them. AT the latter stages of the race (final two miles) it can be helpful but NOT when you’re only mid or even three quarters of the way through.
It’s going to get tough
At some point in a marathon, it’s going to start feel tough, that’s why you’re doing it. The so called wall? No one builds a wall at mile 20. It’s created by you going too fast at the beginning and not fuelling properly or your head.
GRTW note: Accept that the marathon is a huge battle. You don’t escape the fight, no matter how fit you are. No one escapes the mental struggle that you will face. How we do differ as runners is how we decide to handle that struggle.
You have a choice
You will come to a point on a race day where you have a choice to keep going, to keep pushing, or to slow down. Tests show that the key limiter in endurance is not our body and our muscles, it’s our minds. You need to build your mental strategies and that you’re going to go to when you get to that stage. I use runners 20 to 30 metres in front and work on overtaking them. This helps you to apply your focus away from the pain that you will be feeling.
You CAN do this
Every single one of you can get to the end of 26.2 miles. If someone you love needed your help and they were 26.2 miles away, you could make it.