Sweaty Betty blog: Run
Empowering Women Through Fitness
A marathon is not necessarily the easiest of sports – in fact many would argue it is the toughest. At mile 20 with 6.2 to go, your body starts to breakdown muscle tissue for energy, and yet it still captures our imagination. It spurs us to train month after month, week after week, and step after step, so we can cross that line and claim the victory.
The first marathon run was in 400BC when a Greek messenger ran from a town called Marathon to Athens, a distance of 26.2 miles or roughly 40 kilometres. Upon arriving he proclaimed “Nike!” (The Athenians had defeated Persia) and he promptly dropped dead. Now we can share the glory, declare the victory and with our months of physical, nutritional and mental training avoid a similar fate. Marathon running can be a joy and you may experience the “runner’s high” but equally there are battles to be fought. We have prepared a Week-Out guide for you to make your 26.2 miles go to plan.
The 7 days prior to race day are crucial training days for your body and mind. During this last week you need to "taper" off your running amount and lighten your workout routine to give your body the rest it needs to repair, recover and renew for race day. A good guide is to run a 1/3 of your weekly training distance at your normal pace and if you have been including interval training, consider an easy session that won’t make you sore. With the extra time on your hands and pre-race nerves you may be tempted to run your regular distance but try to avoid this as you will risk exhaustion on the day. Use the time to relax, perhaps catch-up with friends you have neglected due to your crazy training schedule or watch that film you missed at the cinema. This 1 week of rest will result in improved running economy and heighten your mental freshness; both of which you will be glad of at mile 20!
Try to get a good 8 hours sleep each night of your taper week. Get a good night’s sleep two days before marathon day as its quite normal for nerves to keep you awake the night before.
With 7 days to go to race day it is important to fuel your body with adequate and nutritionally rich foods. Increase your carbohydrates i.e. breads, pasta, cereals, and fruits and vegetables and up your protein levels and fluid intake. Eat regularly throughout the week and eat things that you've eaten many times before your long runs.
The night before the race, eat an early, high-carbohydrate dinner, but don’t overdo it as you want to feel light on your feet, not bloated and heavy come race morning.
If you have travelled for the marathon and will be in a hotel on race morning make sure you pack your normal pre race breakfast – the last thing you want to be doing is running around looking for a banana.
At the beginning of your taper week write a complete list of everything you will need for your marathon. Include; your running number, race kit, sun screen, sport drinks and power gels etc. and prepare these items a few days prior. You do not want to be packing the night before or stressing the morning of your race looking for your lucky running socks. Also, don’t forget to pack your favourite post run fluids and nutrition – so you can begin your recovery as soon as possible!
Marathon running is as much about your mental preparation as it is about time spent on the road. Running distances often becomes a mental game when your legs are exhausted, your energy stores are completely depleted and you are experiencing a degree of pain. When you hit this point, often called ‘The Wall’ (in a marathon it is pretty much inevitable), it becomes a question of not whether you can finish but rather if you believe you can finish. This is where your mental preparation pays off. You need the mental stamina and strength to conquer The Wall and finish your race. With 7 days to race day practice thinking positively, visualise running the last few miles and crossing the finish line. Consider creating a positive mantra that you can focus on and use to block out the pain / hunger /exhaustion that are causing you to slow down, stop or doubt yourself. A common mantra is “The pain is only temporary”.
Yoga, due to its benefits of increasing your ability to centre your thoughts, and visualise your race day triumph, is becoming increasingly popular amongst runners, not to mention the benefit of stretching your muscles.
Make sure you wake up least 2 hours before your start time. Eat a light but high-carbohydrate breakfast and start making your way to the starting line – the last thing you need is the stress of running late!
Start slow. Standing at the starting line, with its heady mix of excitement, adrenaline and nerves, it is hard not to sprint the first mile once the gun goes off! This can throw your pace out and have you struggling at 10 miles. So start slow and if you have energy to burn in those final miles you can reap the benefits by flying past your competitors.
By now you would have practiced and refined your race day pace and nutrition plan. Now you just have to stick to it! Familiarise yourself with the course; where the drinks stations are and identify approximate landmarks of when you will need to refuel.
Once you have settled into your running rhythm, you will be sure to find a few competitors keeping the same pace. Don’t be shy, make them your friend and the miles will slip by as you motivate and encourage each other to cross that finish line.
Hurrah – you made it! Refuel as soon as you can with fluids and your favourite post run snack. Wear your marathon medal with pride and well into the night and even all week if you like – you certainly earned it!
Well what a weekend I have had, more precisely what a Sunday Morning!
I completed my 1st Half Marathon!
I did it in 1:57:56!
I got up at 5.30am on a Sunday, I didn't think that time existed on a Sunday and I caught the train down to Brighton to finally take part in a Half Marathon, a goal that I had wanted to achieve since I had started here at Sweaty Betty. I have done many 10km races and felt the natural progression to challenge myself would be a Half Marathon.
To say I was nervous would be a slight understatement, but I had put in all the training and I was well equipped, in my new Victor Seamless Tee, and favorite 10k tights, my trusty Shock Absorber Run Bra, Asics Gel-Kayano17, and my favorite of all the socks the Anti- Bacterial Run Sock which is made out of soft Bamboo, they are like little blankets on your feet when running! Finally but my no means least my Trusty Swiftie Cap...
Whilst you shouldn't run a race in something new I was determined to wear my new Tee, and well I have to say it was GREAT! Very comfortable and easy to wear and the best thing about for me was it stayed down and didn't slip up and to top it off was super flattering across the stomach area!!
Also, it was the perfect layer for the weather, which wasn't too cold and thankfully it wasn't too windy, which was a bonus considering the route was along the sea front!
How was it I hear you ask...
Well, I received a Facebook message on Saturday from a friend and she said,
'Go hard on the run Lisa tomorrow! The pain will only be temporary!’
And, while I still have sore knees she was right, all I kept thinking when I was running was, 'The pain will be temporary, the pain will be temporary...!' and with that, and thinking come on the faster you run the faster you get to the finish line, I went as fast as I could all the way round, and well when I turned the soft bend to reveal the finish line it was like tunnel vision... nothing, and I mean nothing would have distracted me from getting to the finish line!
I was a woman on a mission in that last 200m....
When I got over the finish line, I had a massive rush of elation and emotion I nearly even shed a tear of joy, but held it back!
This had been just about one of the most challenging experiences I have had! Whilst it was not the most physically painful I have had, it was one of the most mentally tough things I have done!
But, the crazy thing is I would do it all over again!!!!
I LOVED it.... :D
The high from achieving something you have dreamt of achieving for such a long time still hasn't gone , and I think I could live off this feeling for a while I have to say it could become addictive!
So much so when a work colleague Facebooked me, 'What's next?' I replied 'The Kingston 16 miler at the end of March!'
So to finish I have a quote which I feel is so true and has helped me to believe I could achive my goal and any goal one sets oneself:
"Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I shall have the belief that I can do it. I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it, even if I may not have it at the beginning."
Mahatma Gandhi 1869-1948, Indian Nationalist Leader
Lisa, Sweaty Betty Designer
I have decided that spring, summer, autumn and winter simply werent enough for me. I needed another season...race season! It has been a while (coming up for 3 years) since i competed at a high level in sport. Since then i have dabbled here and there and generally just enjoyed the fruits of my labour, by that i mean that an early introduction to sport has meant that I have enough years of experience and training to simply enjoy the sports that i now do. That said i need a goal and a focus now more that ever.
The winter just gone was more than just a little tough. I felt like i was permentantly running against an arctic wind, and most days i actually was! - my asics are not made for snow!. I bounced from one chest infection to another and never got past 15milers. I was stuck at a certain point and it is testment to my friends that i still have any - winter blues? you could say that! But spring has sprung, and with it a whole new set of challenges and goals. I am looking forward to running in the early morning sunshine. I am relishing the thought of power yoga in the garden or the park. I have my sights set on a full race season. There wont be any gold medals but to compete for a full season is good enough for me - we will start time trials in October and my first competition? Well a winter triathlon of course, but more on that later.
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