Firstly, you need to keep yourself healthy and in tip-top form the week before. You need to ensure you are recovering effectively from any last training runs or workouts and lastly you need to prepare your body for the event and ensure you have provided your body with all the nutrients it needs to perform at it’s best.
Below are tips to make sure you arrive at the start line ready to go.
Hydration is a really important factor and something I am sure you would have been mindful of during your training. Ensuring you are hydrated in the last few training sessions will allow your body to recover effectively before and after the race. Keeping our mouths lubricated also helps release IgA, an anti-body that helps to defend us from upper respiratory tract infections.
It is important to ensure you are recovering properly from your final training sessions. The last thing you want is to go to the race tired. Generally, any training done during the week leading up to the marathon should be light sessions based around mobility and stretching. If you do decide to do a final short run, I would suggest performing this run in a repleted carb state and consuming carbs after the run as well. Although the carbs may not be completely necessary with a short easy run, it will ensure you maximise your recovery and replete your glycogen levels.
This strategy is used to maximise our glycogen stores (storage form of glucose) enabling us to have the most amount of energy available to use during our run. In the past carb loading strategies have spanned over 3 days but research now shows that a 24-hour carb loading period is sufficient to replenish and maximise glycogen stores.
On the day before the marathon you want to start focusing on consuming carbs throughout the day at all main meals and snacks. Keep the majority of your carb intake to high Gi natural sources, 7g per kg of body weight should be sufficient (over the course of the whole day). This strategy will ensure you arrive at race day in the best state with plenty of energy to burn.
It is important to note if you have not tried this before it would be worth doing a trial run as a heavy day of carbs can at times cause stomach upsets. If you do experience digestive issues you may need to adjust the type of carbs you are consuming, maybe staying away from wheat-based foods and for example choosing rice or potatoes. This is all individual and important to find what works for you.
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