Ace your marathon run

Here are some basics of marathon running that will apply to you—whether you’re a first timer or a veteran

Tackle pre-race nerves

Pre-race jitters can add more challenge to marathon running. But they’re preventable nonetheless. As you train your body to sustain the high demands of the marathon, you should also train your mind to perform at the same high level.  Fortunately, tackling this is issue is simpler than you might think.

A couple of weeks prior to the event, spend at least 10 – 15 minutes a day mentally rehearsing every aspect of the race, from the starting line, the early sections of the run, half-way through and picture yourself successfully reaching the finish line. Imagine different scenarios—hitting the wall, weather, fatigue, crowded start, and so on. The key is to imagine yourself successfully tackling the race. And as you may know, where the mind goes, the body follows.

Taper your miles

Tapering—the practice of scaling back on miles to allow your body and muscles to recover and rebuild to peak strength—is the vital last phase of training before an event. However, trimming on the spot might not be the best move. In fact, keeping a higher volume throughout the taper period boosts your chances of peaking on the race day. You just can’t tapper too much.

So what’s the best tapering strategy? According to most experts, aim to cutback by 10 – 40 per cent for the three weeks prior to the event.

Here is how to do it

  • Week 1:  On your first tapering week, shoot for about 80 per cent of your usual training volume. You could also substitute one of your hard work outs for an easy run.
  • Week 2:  Aim for around 60 per cent of your usual training volume.
  • Week 3: You should run about 30 – 40 per cent of your usual training volume in the six days prior to the race.

Taper your diet

Your diet is also subject to tapering. In fact, tweaking your energy intake is as important as the training itself. A proper diet taper period ensures you have plenty of stored fuel before the big event.

Here is how to do it

  • 7 days before the race: Cut your energy intake by 100 calories for every mile you reduce from your training.
  • 4 days before: Begin the carbohydrates loading. Shoot for at least 500g per day. Get plenty of wholegrain pasta, vegetables and fruits.
  • 2 days prior: Begin fluid loading. Milk-based shakes and sports drinks are highly recommended.
  • The night before: Consume a high-carb meal of 1,000 –1,200 calories.
  • Race day: Opt for 600 – 800 calories of low-fat carbs as a pre-race meal up to two to three hours prior the event. Avoid high glycaemic index foods on race day.
  • During the race: Eat high G.I. foods to get the most out of the energy release and absorption. Make sure to get plenty of energy gels, energy bars and high-carb sports drinks. But, remember this is a race, not dinner!

Here you have it! Now all you need to do is, put into action what you’ve just learnt. Success depends on your speed of implementation. So start the training now and remember to stay within your fitness level. Enjoy your marathon training!

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David Dack
David Dack is a runner and an established author on weight loss, motivation and fitness. His mission is to help people discover or rediscover happiness in their physical and mental performance while enjoying growth and better health and achieving their life objectives. For a limited time you can download his eBook Weight Loss By Running for free from his website


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