So you’re possibly training for a marathon? Or half? Possibly your first or one of your first few? A lot of you will be thinking about your training plan right now, and trying to stay focused on it, but I’ll wager that not many of you will be thinking holistically about the event. Holistically…? Oh so we’re rolling out the big words now are we? Yes, holistically means thinking about things like the post-marathon meal, the things you’ll need to think about on the day, the day before, the kit you’ll need, the kit that will work, the kit that will fail, the race pace, the toilet strategy and so on….
Its easy to become pre-occupied with the running part of the training and think that it’s the most important aspect of the overall plan, well there is an element of truth in that, but its important also to not overlook what will make or break your event ‘on the day’. Remember always that its never funny, after having trained for 3 or 4 months for an event, to be side-swiped by something you hadn’t thought of.
Right now you are probably wondering what possible plethora of items there could be to worry about on the day itself. Well, what about hydration? Hydration can affect performance by up to 30% or so given a 5% decrease in hydration by body weight, meaning that if you get that wrong on the days leading up to, and on the day, you could be looking at a huge decrease in race-performance (http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/dehydration-and-its-effects-on-performance) depending on the event, based on not being hydrated correctly. Then there’s preparing for the weather, you have to think of what the most likely scenario will be and plan for it. Race too hot…well….you’ll only do it once. Then there’s nutrition, then there’s your gels…how will you carry them? Have you tried to eat the gels you intend to use? Will you listen to music or not? Is it allowed? Have you checked the course? Will there be a massive hill at mile 24? Where will you need a boost? How will you travel, or park? What is your race pace? Have you practised it? What time do they serve breakfast in your hotel? This is just the beginning but there are a lot of things to consider if you want to do well.
However, all of that assumes that you want to do your best. You can, of course, decide that all of the above is not so important to you, however, and take a more casual approach but I can bet that you’ll still want to finish, and not be carried off by the St Johns army, so regardless you’ll still need to do some planning.
To set you thinking, why not check out our article on the LFR web (courtesy Chris Taylor) concerning training for success.