Top 5 training tips for Marathon Preparation

As I lead up to the final 2 weeks of my Queenstown Marathon journey I thought I would share my preparation techniques with you- for those either coming into the Keri Keri or Queenstown event- whether it be a full or half marathon, or if you are planning a long running event in the future…this is what I have told clients in the past, so now it’s about practicing what I preach!

CONGRATULATIONS:

“The fight is won or lost, far away from witnesses- behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights”, Muhammad Ali

You have got yourself to where you are now through long runs, determination and commitment to a thought, a goal, a dream. The hard work is now done- 11 days out from the event and now is the time to look after your body, prepare your mind and get your nutrition and hydration on point.

TAPERING

Hopefully you have been following some sort of running plan. For me it has been 2-3 x shorter runs during the week with one long run in the weekend (building up that distance to 30km….a half marathon it would be 16km)…which was done on Sunday! As well as core and muscle endurance sessions in the studio. Everyone has different opinions on what is best leading up the event. For me- I know it is a waste of time trying to get hard runs in and push myself over the last 2 weeks- as this will just increase chance of injury and inflame muscles. My main aim is for my body to be fully prepared and rested for the day. So my plan for the next 11 days will be:

Wednesday: 15 km, Thursday: Gravity Core and Boxing PLUS Yoga, Friday: 5 km, Saturday 10 km, Sunday: Rest

Monday: Boxing Cardio, Tuesday: 5km and Yoga, Wednesday: Stretching, Thursday: Walk and Stretch, Friday: rest and relax

I know for some they like to do longer or harder runs- as it is hard doing less and tapering, as for the mind you think you are getting unfitter! But I feel so much better on the day when having the restful week leading into it….and there is more research backing tapering leading up to an event. But as I said- It is individual and you have got to do what feels best for you and your body.

MASSAGE, PHYSIO & STRETCH

“Sometimes the most important thing we do in one day, is the rest we take between two deep breathes”  Etty Hillesum

 

After 6 months of training my body is feeling a little bit niggly and very tight- especially after my last two runs of 28 km and 30 km. So the above 3 things are called for. I saw Jill our Activ8 physio to release tight points in my calves and hip flexors. Range of movement is restricted when muscles are tight and an increase in pain can occur. She also showed me some great stretches to do over the next week- which I will aim to do daily. This should increase the range of movement, decrease pain and increase relaxation within the muscle. I think if you have any tight muscles or niggly areas- then they are going to be exaggerated after running for long periods of time, so getting them checked before they get any worse is a good idea. Any excuse for me to get a massage…..I would love to get a massage more often- as think this is so beneficial for stress release, lymphatic drainage, releasing tension, muscle soreness and preventing injuries from happening (plus so much more!). So I have booked one weekly for the next 2 weeks at Authentic Thai massage- these are sore, but oh so good.  A deep tissue massage is aimed at treating deeper layers of muscle and fascia. This allows muscles to move more freely and increases elasticity within the muscle. When massaging muscles this also increases the temperature, which increases blood flow and tissue elasticity- helping to increase flexibility and range of movement. Learning to do the right stretches for the right muscles is the key- when you hit the spot you can really feel the muscle releasing and becoming more flexible. So I will be doing my stretches daily! To find out more about Activ8s physios click here: https://www.activ8nz.co.nz/physiotherapy/

HYDRATION

“Water is the driving force of all nature”, Leonardo da Vinci

Every cell in our body needs water to perform at its optimum level. We don’t drink enough water. If we get thirsty- it is too late, we are already dehydrated. For the past 6 months this has been a real focus of mine- and when I have gone for my long runs and not drunk enough- then straight away I get a headache and feel very tired. So drinking water and being fully hydrated is so important over the next 2 weeks (as it is always!). We all need different amounts of water, but a good calculation to make sure your intake is optimal is to have .03 ml per body weight daily (eg. 80kg person would have (.03 ml x 80kg) = 2.4 litres/day.) Then if you do an hours run or exercise to add 1L on top of that. The days leading up to the event I will have extra amounts of water with some added salt, just to make sure Im topped up.

NUTRITION

“Think of food as fuel, and to nourish your body”

It has been perfect timing that we have been doing a Clean Eating Challenge at Activ8. It has been my goal over the past 5 weeks to eat greens with every meal. I am not the sort of person who runs low on energy, but I have noticed an increase in energy from eating extra vegetables. Vegetables are amazing and people under-estimate the power of eating well. Leafy greens and bright, colourful veges contain so many antioxidants (which help clear toxins), are low in calories (so you can eat lots of them), high in vitamins and minerals, and are so quick and tasty to cook. The key to keeping inspired and motivated is to keep up variety. That is where the Challenge has also inspired me- to cook different meals, to try different foods and to get new recipes. (we will be doing another challenge in February- so Ill keep you posted). I have also been tracking Protein intake…protein helps the recovery and repair of muscle tissue- and I can feel the difference on my recovery when I have not eaten enough. The night before long runs I will eat more carbohydrates- like kumara or fruit, and for breakfast on those days I have Quinoa porridge or Green Smoothie with eggs. Once I started running over 80mins I also have been taking Goos- not the most clean food due to being 100% glucose, but it has been working with my long runs- so I will stick to it. I noticed early on in my training that if I had not eaten enough before or after, then my body would feel very lethargic and tired for 1-2 days afterwards. The combination of getting my nutrition correct, plus getting fitter meant that my last 30km run felt great- and i recovered straight away (after eating lots!!!)

Mindfullness

“Dream It, Believe It, Achieve It”

 

This has been my best friend throughout the last 6 months training. Whether it be on my runs, before my runs, before bed, or the first thing I do when I wake up- it has saved me… (plus my amazing husband- Matt…he has also saved me!) Training my mind has been just as important as training my body. And if you have not done this yet- then this 2 weeks is your time. Whether it be meditating, visualizing, being present, doing yoga or just being- I have been focusing on the now. This has helped me get through some stressful days, some hard runs and now- the build up to the run. Not letting fear, guilt, worry or past runs get in the way of the future. Every morning and every night I will be visualizing, feeling and experiencing in my mind what it will be like when doing the run. Whether this be the start line, the middle, the finishing 3 km or the experience of running over that finish line- the power of the mind is incredible (and too much to go into now!). But if you do this- I guarantee it will make your anxiety, nerves, fears  decrease and your confidence, optimism and ability all increase.  To read more on this topic click on :  https://www.activ8nz.co.nz/news/living-present-moment/

Over the next 2 weeks I will also be enjoying! Basking in the already glory of getting thus far, the journey I have been on to get to here and the downtime I can take without all the training I’ll be doing!

Please comment on Facebook post or contact me through Activ8 if you would like any support in your nutrition, training or mindfulness leading up to any events- would love to help. https://www.activ8nz.co.nz/contact/

Good Luck xoxo

Miranda