A lot can happen in 26.2 miles. Looking back on my first Marathon I can pinpoint what went right and what went wrong. The main thing to think about is that it can all change very quickly. One minute you feel like you can run all day and the next you can't imagine moving another step.
Here are 7 Deadly Sins we have learnt to avoid when running your Marathon:
1. Don't go off too fast.
We see it at every marathon we visit. You will always feel great for the first few miles at marathon pace. It is very easy (particularly in big city marathons like Brighton, London and Manchester) to get carried away with the support on the roadside and other competitors around you. Know your pace and stick to it like glue. Get a GPS watch or a pace band which you can tick off at every mile. On my first marathon in London I remember getting to 14 miles and thinking 'What was all the fuss about?!' By 16 miles I was completely falling apart! Do not go off too fast, regardless how good you feel at the start.
2. Stay Chafe-Free.
Even for the very best in the world a marathon is just over 2 hours of running. For us mere mortals it is at least double that. It is really important to stay comfortable during the race and chaffing is a BIG problem. Chafing can happen anywhere on the body but the thighs, groin, underarms and nipples are particularly vulnerable. Follow these 3 steps to stay Chafe-Free
A. STAY DRY. Wet and sweaty skin can make chafing even worse. Make sure you stay dry and comfortable at all times by choosing the correct clothing to help this. Runderwear uses a highly technical moisture-wicking fabric to help wick moisture away from your skin which prevents chafing.
B. NO COTTON. To stop the risk of chafing choose synthetic fibres rather than cotton. Cotton absorbs the moisture and keeps it close to your skin. None of our Runderwear range uses Cotton because of this.
C. CORRECT FIT. This is very important to stay chafe free. Choose products which work with the body that are designed to move with you. Runderwear uses 8% of a high grade elastane so we can guarantee a perfect fit.
3. Take on enough Fuel.
This is extremely important, you can't run a car on empty and you can't run yourself on empty either. There are several options out there when it comes to Gels so we would suggest trying different brands in your long training runs to find out what works best for you. DO NOT use a new brand on race day. You must have tried it several times before race day. Have a plan and try and stick to it. Note down when you'll take each gel. Furthermore even if you dont feel you need it early in the race still take it as later on you'll regret it if you don't!
4. Make sure your shoes fit.
The right trainers to run in is imperative to a successful run. Get yourself to a specialist running shop and have a gait analysis performed so you know you have the right level of support for you. Ideally you want to have done at least 2 long runs in those trainers you will race in before the big day. Do not take any chances o something new or different on race day!
5. Get some sleep!
Not just the night before, but the week before. If you are going into marathon day not rested with adequate sleep you are doing yourself no favours. Definitely no nights out that week! Get to bed early and if you have an early marathon start try and practise by getting up at that time during the week before. You will need all of the energy you can get!
6. Carb load and no alcohol.
The most important meal is 36 hours before race day (not the night before). If you are racing on the Sunday make sure on Friday night you are having a large carbohydrate content in your evening meal. On the day before the race avoid foods which are spicy. Also avoid alcohol in the week before the race, it really wont help you on the big day and you can look forward to celebrating afterwards once you've achieved your goal!
7. Keep an eye on the weather.
Watch the forecast in the build up to the race and decide what you need to wear depending on what it is. It is all about preparation. Weather can change quickly (particularly in the UK) and you need to have the right clothing for every eventuality. Being too hot or cold will really affect your race so keep an eye on that weather report!
Good luck with your race, the Runderwear team are behind you all the way!
Co-Founder // Runderwear