1. Know The Weather Forecast:
The way you run and what you wear should be effected by the weather.
- If it's hot, don't push yourself too hard and fail to finish through over heating. You need to keep your body temperature down, so run in the shade where you can and even tip water over your head if needed.
- If the sun is going to be out remember sweat proof sun tan lotion.
- Consider a visor hat to keep both the sun out of your eyes and to stop sweat dripping into them, which can be really painful.
2. Avoid Having The Trots:
Sometimes running and on the day nerves can combine to bring about a little too much bowl speed, even if you wouldn't normally expect it! It makes for a seriously inconvenient stress you could do with out on race day and the long queues for the semi clean portal that run out of toilet paper is not a great place to be when you find out. Hence some advice:
- Go last thing before you leave home/hotel.
- Take your own supply of toilet paper to the race start.
- Imodium can resolve the issue - test it on a run beforehand though.
- Don't eat anything unusual the night before on on race day. Try and test everything beforehand. People have had very bad experiences using energy gel for the first time on the big day!
- Don't overdo the energy drinks while running. Much more than you;re used to can leave you feeling sick.
3. Name On Your Running Shirt:
Write it or have it printed on your top; either way it can be really nice when supporters get behind you and actually shout your name.
Only time this became a bad idea was after 20 miles of the New York Marathon. Lots of very enthusiastic and well meaning American supporters had been shouting "Go Chris! Looking good!" for a very, very long time. At this stage I knew, while running slower than my 95 year old granny, it was not true!
4. Cut Toe Nails:
We all know that blisters are fairly unpleasant. But they are easily avoided if you go for the ‘prevention rather than cure’ approach.
Your first step should be to find an emery board and file off those long toenails - especially the sharp pointy bits. You’ll find this might help avoid losing a toenail altogether.
And if you are prone to blisters on your training runs, consider pre-taping your feet and toes in the places that are blister hotspots. You’ve got enough on your plate running a marathon without having to worry about blisters on your feet! But don’t forget to go for a practice run after taping up for the first time.
5. Don't Do Anything New On The Day:
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again - don’t be lured into trying something new on the day of the race. Eat the same breakfast you eat every day, run in the same socks you’ve always used, use the same gels that you rigorously tested out in your training, wear the same trainers you used for your long runs. Stick to what you know - especially your nutrition!
6. Drink Well, But Not Too Well Before You Run:
You want to be properly hydrated first thing in the morning, but stop drinking about half an hour before the start so you won't have to squat in the middle of the start pen! For more race day hydration tips, click here!
7. Lubricate Your Body Parts & Tape Nipples:
If you’re prone to the odd bit of chafage, it might be worth grabbing some Vaseline or a similar product and applying it to the sensitive parts. However, make sure you remember which Vaseline pot you use for your nether regions.
On one occasion before a marathon, a rather pretty girl asked if she could borrow my Vaseline to put on her lips. Being kind, I politely told her ‘that she wouldn’t want to use it’. Having been initially surprised that I wasn’t willing to share my tub, she was later relieved (if a little shocked) when I told her what I’d been using it for.
As many a man will testify, nipple rub can be excruciatingly painful. However, a few carefully placed first aid plasters can prevent that shiny new charity vest causing any harm. You’ll look a bit strange in the eyes of your family and your kids may laugh at you, but you’ll be grateful afterwards. Although there are specially designed nipple plasters, your bog standard first aid plaster will normally do the trick.
8. Stay Warm:
If you’ve ever wondered what to do with that old t-shirt that’s not good enough for the charity shop, then think of wearing it whilst you’re standing in your starting pen.
Once you’ve dropped off your race bag, you can end up standing around for as long as one hour, so you’ll be appreciative of the warmth. Just before the race begins, you can jettison the t-shirt.
If it’s raining, use a large bin bag and cut holes in the side and top for your arms and head. Or use a space blanket.
9. Save Something For the Finish:
Really important not to overcook your run too early, but incredibly easy to get over excited by the occasion and sprint off at the start. Relax and run the pace you've trained for or you will almost certainly struggle to finish. I was very pleased on one occasion to have enough to out sprint finish a Gorilla that had passed me a number of times at one marathon, even if I did get chased down my a Rhino...
10. Enjoy The Occasion And Expect A Sweaty Hug:
You’ve spent the best part of 6 months thinking about and training for this race. And now you are hopefully the fittest you’ve ever been. So, when people shout out your name to encourage you on, thank them with a big smile and a wave. It will make their day and yours! After all, you’re meant to be enjoying yourself!
I finished my first marathon at London and so overcome with emotion at managing to run the while way, I quickly embraced a huge group hug of incredibly sweaty middle aged men, who I have never met before, but enjoyed sharing a few tears with.
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