Marathons – and how to manage them

From stealing your other halves’ knee-high socks and cutting off the toes to make leg warmers and writing motivational slogans on our hands –  at Overland Park Boot Camp we runners all have our own tricks to help us get ready for that marathon we’ve been thinking about constantly for the past 48 hours or so.

Running a marathon is all about preparation

Canadian Times Colonist columnist Denise Helm loves nothing better than reading up on inspirational stories in her running magazines the day before a race – tales of 83 year olds who only started running two years previously or of women who’ve shed ten stone and completed their first ever run… it’s all good fodder for the soul. She also has a little trick with nail varnish that we like.

“Paint motivation on your thumbnails,” she said. “These digits come into view with every forward arm swing. For one race, I used nail polish to write an S on one thumbnail and M on the other, to remind myself that I was running for my daughter Simone and my Mom.”

Of course another motivational boost, especially when we feel as if we’re about to hit the dreaded Wall is to crank up the volume on the iPod and wheel out our most inspirational tune. Helm loves the William Tell Overture (and we can see why this would work). Other excellent ‘boost tunes’ we use are:

  • Blinded by the Light – Manfred Mann’s Earth Band
  • Bohemian Like You – The Dandy Warhols
  • Start Me Up – Rolling Stones
  • Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen
  • Keep Your Head — The Ting Tings

Other motivational boosts we use here at Overland Park Boot Camp are thinking about the new pair of trainers we’re going to treat ourselves to once we complete the race or knowing how deserved that large bowl of steaming hot pasta and sauce will be later that night.

And talking of nutrition, avoid spicy foods prior to a race and even the night before your marathon. This is because it can cause stomach cramps which in turn can limit your ability to absorb fluids and you could end up dehydrated (which is one of the last things you want during a marathon race).

Stephen Simons, M.D., a sports-medicine physician at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Indiana recommends limiting hard-to-digest foods like protein and fats prior to a race. He added: “The night before or the morning of a run, aim for a meal that is 80 percent carbs, 10 percent protein, and 10 percent fat.”

What’s your running tips prior to a marathon? Share them with us here at Overland Park Boot Camp.

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