Jo’s Marathon Blog – The Final Week! (3rd– 8th Oct)

Jo’s Marathon Blog

So this is it… what the past 15 weeks of hill reps, long runs, short speedy runs, interval training and races have all been leading to!

My training guide has the following for week 16:-

Monday – cross-training

Tuesday – 30 mins easy

Wednesday – 30 mins easy

Thursday – Rest day

Friday – 20 mins easy

Sat – Rest day (although my Simon always recommends a very small, gentle jog the day before an event)

What a relief, and yet in a strange way it feels wrong… I don’t want to lose the fitness I have built up; the strength in my legs, the endurance … will it all disappear this week if not used? Will I feel fat and lazy on the start line on Sunday due to lack of exercise? Part of me rejoices that the hard work (apart from doing the actual 26.2 miles of course!) is now over, but at the same time I don’t want to let the momentum go!

The first bit of running of the week was indeed Tuesday, when I did a 2 miler with my Beginners Group. An upset tummy in the afternoon (anxiety?) and not sleeping too well (more anxiety?) left me feeling really out of sorts though, and I was so glad to get home that night. Dreamt about running…

On Wednesday Deb and I were able to coordinate a 3 miler in Ryde together, whilst my Simon went for a sports massage, and we were chuffed when Sarah and Keith managed to join us, along with other lovely running buds. It was a nice gentle run (against a stiff breeze on the outward journey!), but I was once again struggling with an upset tummy, another poor night and a busy day at work, so was frankly relieved  when we reached our 3 mile target. I hope to goodness I feel better on Sunday L  Chatting at the end was quite emotional… Seeing me, Deb and Sarah now – nearing the end of our amazing journey together – was both exhilarating and surreal; scary and exciting. There were lots of “good luck” hugs at the end as we parted, and many promises to come and support us on the day.

I had a nice chat with my London marathon running friend – Claire – earlier in the day too, and she was full of support and advice. She even bought me some post-race chocolate, which makes her an angel! I also plan to have crisps and coke on me for afterwards, as these are what I have craved after my long runs and many long distance runners have said the same, and I only hope the Takeaway is still open by the time I finish! Went to bed and dreamt about running…

I have learned many things along the way, and discovered many race tips. Here are a few in case they help you (or indeed me if I do another one!):-

1) Never wear new stuff on race day – not socks, DEFINITELY not shoes, not leggings, not a new bra… stick to comfy things you have trained in as much as possible. I have adapted the popular wedding quotation to enforce this:-

Something old (as in pre-worn!) but nothing new, Nothing borrowed, nothing blue (referring to sports drinks!)”

2) NEVER use any nutrition or drinks on race day that you haven’t used successfully on your training runs. Also, don’t eat or drink anything different for breakfast on race day. Your vital organs will have enough to do to keep functioning properly during all that crazy running, without having to process things it is not used to!

3) Eating and drinking properly in the 48 hours leading up to the event is the most critical time. One friend has even recommended using carb drinks as a normal drink during those 48 hours to get your energy fully topped up before the race, and this could be especially important if – like me – you have had an upset tummy and can’t eat what you hoped to eat beforehand, or have a job where you can’t eat regularly or properly.

4) Sleeping well in race week is important. Early nights, restful bubble baths, gentle massage, foot spas, milky drinks, soft music…. even refusing to associate with anyone or anything that upsets you! Do whatever you can to get as much R&R as possible.

5) Get all your kit prepared days in advance, and visualize the day itself from the moment you get up. Everything from the underwear you intend to wear to the things you need to carry and how you will get there. Check that you already have all the gels/sweets/bars you anticipate needing so that there is no panic shopping on Saturday afternoon, and organise your race belt in advance. Make sure you remember to pack your post run food and drink in your kit bag.  If you plan to leave bottles/food at one of the race feed-stations, be sure to put your name (and the name of the feed-station) on the item asap, and be sure to arrive in good time to pass it to the crew at race HQ (for the IOW Marathon this is 11:15am). On the day you will need to add your race number to the label too. Think the day through, and then think it through again to be on the safe side.

6) Plan your meals for the last couple of days to make sure you are eating sensibly. The key words are pasta, pasta and pasta!!!! If you are menstruating, prone to anaemia, have vitamin B or iron issues, are getting over an illness, are around someone who is poorly or are just feeling under the weather yourself, consider taking a multi-vitamin tablet/drink every day this week too. Adding a glass of fresh pineapple or orange juice to your diet is also good advice as they are both naturally high in electrolytes – which are runners’ best friends – so make them a part of your life if you can! Vitamin c also helps the body to absorb nutrients, so having a glass of fruit juice with meals might help you to get the best from the food.

7) Charge your GPS watch on Saturday night!!!!

I have my last gentle 3 mile run tonight, and will be putting all the above into action with immediate effect! If you have followed me this far thank you very much, and I hope you will catch my final blog in the series next week, by which time I hope I can call myself a marathon runner!

If you are out and about on Sunday do come and shout “whoop whoop” at me and Deb, Sarah, Poley, Ian and Kelly,  plus all the other “crazy people” taking part! You may not realise it at the time, but it might make all the difference to us  🙂

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