Do not try to prepare for a race of this magnitude in four weeks. What you did not achieve in a prolonged training period will not be made up for in a few days. Although it depends on each individual, a minimum of 3 to 4 months of planned training is recommended for the Marathon. You should also be wary of overtraining, which can lead to injuries. Overtraining can be just as harmful as a lack of training. Get sufficient rest and avoid strenuous activity the days before the event.

BEFORE THE RACE

Rest is a fundamental part of training and is necessary to replenish energy. The last week before the race you should do light training as what you do this late your regimen is not going to improve your performance in the race. Some people experience difficulty sleeping the night before a race. Nonetheless, taking pills or tranquilizers is not recommended; an herbal tea is a better option. Oversleeping is also not recommended, as muscles tighten when you sleep many hours. Six to seven hours of sleep is generally adequate. To wake up, a shower is preferable to a bath.
Through warm-up exercises and stretching, our muscles warm up and get loose. Warm muscles receive more blood and, as such, more oxygen. Warm-up and stretching exercises should not last more than half an hour so as to avoid exhaustion. The last 5-10 minutes before the race should be dedicated to relaxation – mentally go through your race plan. Do not spend the last 15-20 minutes standing still in full sun at the starting line hoping to be the first to start. Doing so will defeat the purpose of warming up and you may sweat unnecessarily if the temperature is high. Avoid bumping into others at the starting line. Wait in the area that pertains to runners of your level. It will not help you to get across the starting line first if you are not one of the fastest; on the contrary, you will only frustrate and even anger other runners.
The best time to urinate is about 30 minutes before the race; running on an empty bladder can lead to rubbing the bladder wall and cause bleeding.
Use light-colored, lightweight and absorbent clothing. The goal is to reflect the sun’s rays, facilitate heat dissipation and absorb transpiration. Use wristbands to absorb sweat. Do not use new shoes, shirt, pants, socks or other accessories for the first time the day of the race. It’s best to use clothes you have used several times as new clothes are often stiff and can rub against your skin causing irritations and even injuries, especially on your feet. Pay special attention to your running shoes and make sure to break them in before the race. To ensure a good fit, you should be able to insert your finger at the heel; in other words, there should be about one centimeter of space. Keep in mind that while you run, your foot moves and so this space is necessary. Tie the laces well to avoid tripping.
A week before the race it’s a good idea to eat foods that are rich in carbohydrates but low in fat. As such, you should eat plenty of cereal, pasta, bread, fruit, and vegetables. Also, drink plenty of liquids (water, sport beverages). A simple and effective way to measure adequate hydration is to check that your urine is a light, transparent yellow and not dark.
The day before the race, eat foods that are typical for you and drink a good quantity of liquids. Avoid foods that can produce gas like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. Avoid coffee, tea, etc. before the race. The day of the race, eat your usual breakfast about 2-2.5 hours before your start time; don’t experiment with new recipes.

DURING THE RACE

Run at your pace and do the race as you trained to. Don’t compete with other runners as this might lead you to start at a pace that is faster than your own and it will catch up with you. Start at a moderate pace. We recommend forming a group of people who are at the same level in order to motivate, help, and pace each other.
We recommend taking a drink at all the water stations during the race. Don’t wait to be thirsty; feeling thirsty is a symptom of dehydration. Your body assimilates water that you drink about 30 minutes later.
If you experience discomfort during the race (cramps, pulls, stitches in your ribs, chest pain, significant shortness of breath, symptoms of heat stroke such as nausea, intense and cold sweats, hot skin and increased body temperature, tingling in the limbs, shakiness, etc.) don’t hesitate to ask the medical service staff and allow them to assist you. Slow down if you feel fatigued; if you experience muscle pain, stretch and drink water. Don’t sprint at the end; after 21 or 42 kilometers you are not going to improve your time and it will wear down your body more. Think positively and not in terms of how many kilometers you have left. Enjoy the environment, especially the crowd, the views, the city, the monuments, and the journey itself. Don’t stop abruptly, as doing so can lower your blood pressure and cause nausea. When you finish, remember to clear the finish line area in order to avoid possible collisions and accidents.

AFTER THE RACE

Drink water, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Do so slowly, in small sips, as you have exerted yourself enormously. It is not advisable to eat anything at all in the two hours immediately following the race. Stay warm and do gentle stretches.
Once you get home, bathing your legs in cold water is a good way to help relax your muscles. If you have access to a pool, swim a bit the following day in order to loosen up your muscles.
The best thing to eat is fruit. In the days following the race, be sure to maintain a diet rich in carbohydrates.
In the week after the race, rest but be active through walks, etc.
If your recovery does not seem to be going well, don’t hesitate to see a doctor. Perhaps your muscles were overworked and you need extra assistance.
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