in less than three days it’s getting serious; on sunday I’ll run the vienna city marathon and finish 42,2 km (or 26 miles) without a break for the first time. the preparation was hard and time-consuming, hence I can’t wait for the race to finally start. so, if you’re planning on participating in a (10+ km) running competition, read the following tips for race day in order to start more successful – though most of them apply to short runs too.
how I’m able to give you advice in advance of the marathon? because during the past months I participated in several training competitions to get used to the race situation and to find out what’s important on race day.
hopefully after a large amount of sleep you should get up in time to eat breakfast at least two hours before the race, as your body needs some time to digest it. in my case this breakfast will be – as almost always – overnight oats with yogurt and banana. that’s out of the ordinary since it’s hard to digest and you should definitely not eat it if you’re not used to it. because I eat this combo previous to every race I’ll also eat it then, just along the lines of no experiments. same can be applied to coffee: if you’re used to drinking it, do it, if not, don’t. by the way, a typical runners breakfast on race day is toast with butter and honey.
besides, before breakfast you should check all needed electronic devices (cell, blue-tooth headphones, hrm watch) because it’s your last change to charge them, if you previously forgot to do so.
after breakfast it’s time to get ready. the already prepared running gear has been waiting for days to be put on: sports bra, top with attached bib number, shorts, chest strap, running socks, runners with chip – all favs, which have been worn and tested on chaffing previous to the race day. further, sensitive spots like arm pits, chest and toes should be covered with body glide to avoid chafed skin. if you are sensitive in general (you should know from the long jogs) put tapes or band-aids on your nipples – this applies to men and women!
while putting the clothes on I also get mentally ready because at that time I’ll probably start to get nervous. therefore I use a mix of positive self talk (“you can do it”), the recall of previous achievements (“you ran already x, so you make this possible too”) and trying to think of nothing, in order to stay calm. being a bit nervous is actually pretty good but it shouldn’t be too much.
if you want to have a few things immediately after the race and your loved ones are there to cheer on you, ask them to bring a prepared backpack. mine contains for example a jacket and flavored water. you on the other hand should take as little as possible with you – after all you don’t want to carry it all race long. in my running bag are only my cell (aka music), blue-tooth headphones, (previously tested) sport gels, my ID, a public transport ticket and the e card. tissues might be also quite helpful.
to avoid stress I try to arrive early at the destination. although one might get more nervous there, I can tell from experience that arriving a only few minutes close to the start won’t help your composure either 😉 on-site I’ll look for the right starting block and hopefully stay calm until the starting signal. then a marathon will be run and how that feels like will be part of a different post…
antisportler aka anti sportsman?
I still owe you one explanation; why does my running shirt say “team antisportler” (team anti sportsman)? well, a few years ago my mum and I were completely nonathletic, meaning not doing any sports at all. so when my mum first started to run with a hrm watch, she choose the name antisportler to log into the respective software. back then she totally meant that.
although I found my passion for sports differently and without her, in the meantime we share our passion for running and during my first half marathon knowing she already ran a few helped a lot mentally. after all, just a little while ago both of us were anti sportsmen.
thus the team name, which my mum (who’s running the half marathon) and I are going to wear, means that there are no anti sportsmen. not everyone has to enjoy running but you gotta find the right kind of sports for you and then you can achieve a lot for yourself – even as an adult. in short even (former) anti sportsmen are able to run a marathon.