Marathon Race Day

You’ve made it to race day, you’ve put in the miles. Well done! The hard work is over. Take confidence from the effort you have put it.

Do a light warm up of some very slow jogging and finish 15 minutes before the start. Do some ballistic stretching such as knees up, calf raises and heels to bottom. You may be in the starting pen for a while before the start so do some jogging on the spot to keep your heart rate up. Take the first few miles easy. It’s easy to get swept away with the crowd and start off faster than you would like. Keep to the plan.

The two top pieces of advice I received about maintaining motivation during the marathon was 1) have three finishing times in your head; the one you have been aiming to run (i.e. your top possible time); the time you would still be delighted to get and then the time you would be happy enough to finish in. That way if you lose time during the race or feel yourself slowing, you still have a goal. 2) A slow jog is better than a fast walk. Someone in a crowd shouted this to me back in London 2000 and it got me across the line of my first marathon. It’s definitely my favourite running mantra. Make sure you hydrate well during the race and do not take anything offered on route that you haven’t tried on a long training run.

Once you cross the line, smile, take in the moment and then keep moving! Get your warm clothes on, then walk 15-20 minutes or half an hour if you can. The walk back to a hotel or car can make all the difference. Some static stretching will also help and if you keep an eye out the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists (ISCP) will have a tent where they will take a stretching session for the runners. There isn’t much evidence around the use of ice baths post-race but if you enjoy that kind of thing why not!

race day advice