Our Keith Prowse Travel team have run a combined 38 marathons across the world! Through their many experiences both in the lead-up and on the day, they have compiled a list of things to do and be prepared for before running a marathon.
It started when our Chairman Rob, let us know of his worst experience and helped to advise us of what NOT to do…
“In 2003, I learnt a great variety of things to not do before a 42km run on my way to the London Marathon. It started with a long haul 30-hour flight via the USA which arrived the day before the run. Not only does this scream jetlagged running, but we threw some more challenges in by partaking in some very nice champagne, red wine, and rich food for the majority of the flight. We definitely focused on the wrong sort of hydration.
When arriving in London, I drew the short straw in our triple room share and ended up sleeping on a rollaway which was only big enough for a leprechaun. As you can imagine, the sleep was not the best and the mere 3 hours of it in the world’s smallest bed the night before the race was not the greatest idea.
Waking up like a zombie, race day did not start well. We rushed breakfast, with no thought to what we were eating, and arrived late at the starting line, leaving no time for a warm-up. With all of this in mind, we powered through the race with no refuelling sachets with what can only be described as the most challenging 4 hours and 40 minutes of my life.
All in all – would not recommend this preparation for running a marathon.”
To avoid his pitfalls, we have put together a list of tips that you should know before running a marathon.
HOW TO GAIN TICKETS/ENTRY INTO MARATHONS?
Each marathon is slightly different. For local marathons, you can generally just go online and purchase your tickets before the event. A lot do sell out, so it’s important to get in there early.
For the major international marathons, there are a couple of ways. The first is through the ballot which is something that feels like a lottery in itself. There is a separate domestic and international ballot for most of them, so you enter the one relevant to you and hope that your name gets drawn as one of the lucky few. This ballot is normally drawn nine months prior to the event. If you miss out on the ballot, more than likely you have to purchase tickets through an International Travel Partner, like us, or run for a charity.
A lot of the major marathons also sell out quickly – some often a year in advance – so make sure you get in early to secure your tickets.
Also note that some, like the Boston Marathon, require a qualifying time so make sure you know what the requirement is. If you need help, just call our team and we can talk you through it.
FOLLOW A TRAINING PROGRAM TO KEEP YOU ON TRACK (P.S. THIS TAKES UP A LOT OF TIME)
If this is your first marathon or first long-distance run, it is important to know that training is going to be essential, and there will be a fair bit of it. For those who have built up a solid level of fitness already, training will take around 3 months, however, the earlier you start, the more time you allow yourself to build up your strength to be ready on the day.
We recommend finding a 12-week program (minimum) that suits you and if possible, consult a trainer or running coach to get some one-on-one advice. The most important thing is to look after your body and avoid injury. If you need help finding a program, let us know and we can recommend ones that our guests have used successfully.
COMFORTABLE RUNNING GEAR THAT HAS BEEN WORN IN
Running 42km is going to take its toll on your body, and you will feel it even more if you are not prepared with the right running gear. To avoid any blisters, chafing, over-heating and everything else you can imagine that can go wrong with clothing, it is essential to be prepared. One of the more important ones is wearing the right shoes that suit your running style.
Our Chairman Rob recommends ensuring all your running gear is effectively worn in before the day, to ensure there is no chance of blisters.
Obviously eating fast food every night in the lead up to the event isn’t going to make you feel great or perform at your best. It’s important to take care of the inside of your body (just as much as the outside) so it’s in tip-top shape. Find a nutritional plan that has you eating all the right food to match your training schedule.
It’s also handy to test which foods to eat before running so on the day, you already know what breakfast food will work best for you. The fewer surprises your body will receive, the better.
AVOID ALCOHOL IN THE LEAD-UP
Just like eating junk food in the lead-up, alcohol is also a no-no when it comes to performing your best. Whilst it gives some the boozy confidence to get over the finish line, in most instances, it does more harm than good. Our advice, save the alcohol for celebratory drinks after the race!
REST UP WITH A GOOD SLEEPING PATTERN
With busy lives, work, training, commitments, family and friends, it can get quite overwhelming and taxing on the body. So it’s important to get a good amount of rest and a solid sleeping pattern in check. Not only will it help you focus, but give the body the time to repair and revive.
ENJOY A VARIETY OF TRAINING – NOT JUST RUNNING
When training for the marathon, it’s easy to get into the headspace that we need to continually improve our running technique, pace, distance, etc. but to avoid repetition, and strain on the same muscles, it’s important to give the body a bit of variety! Our Chairman Rob would change up his routine and include mountain biking, surfing, ocean swimming, and kayaking!
STRETCH IT OUT
An important one that is often overlooked – stretching! Make sure you stretch both before and after your runs. Trust us – your body will thank you for it!
A good tip from our Marathon expert Shannon, who has run 24 marathons! Sometimes you can get so wrapped up in performing well, that you can overtrain and push your body further than it can handle. This can cause a raft of issues and injuries so ensure to stick to your training schedule and give yourself the rest you need.
FOCUS ON THE END GOAL
When times get tough, (and believe us, they will) one of our customers Di advised focusing on the end goal and the personal achievement. Think of how great it will feel crossing that finish line! Hear her full experience here.
DON’T OVER COMPLICATE IT & ENJOY!
At the end of the day, reaching the starting line alone is a huge achievement that you should be proud of, and when the starting gun goes off, just focus on putting one foot in front of the other. With thousands of other runners around you, screaming supporters and streets of entertainment, make sure to enjoy yourself! You’ve come this far, take it all in and enjoy every moment of this momentous accomplishment!
If you are looking to run a marathon, we can offer guaranteed entry into a variety of global marathons including the London Marathon, New York Marathon, Chicago Marathon, and Berlin Marathon. Chat to us today about planning your next trip!