October 31st is fast approaching! At this stage you have probably started your taper and just completed your last long run at the weekend. This is often the time that injuries can rear their head, the combination of the final long run at peak weekly mileage, followed by the change in training with the taper.
This is also a time when you will progressively have more time on your hands as the mileage reduces, which can cause panic to set in.
My advice for this final phase:
- Don’t panic- as I say time and again, your training is essentially done, so its a bad idea to try to make-up lost mileage- you need a fresh body at that start line, that is the reason for the taper.
- Don’t make any unplanned changes to your training/clothing/footwear/diet etc.- with extra time on your hands and extra time to think, people can end up doing daft things before a marathon- my advice is not to try anything new, or make any changes to your training plan- the plan is designed for your body to peak for race day, and messing around with this is risky.
- If you are having any niggles, best get them seen to now- the later you leave it, the less time there is for it to get sorted for the big day.
- Having a rub-down in the week prior to the marathon (but not within 3 days) can help to keep the muscles feeling loose and fresh.
- Keep well hydrated.
- Distract yourself with other activities if you feel the panic setting in!
And after the race (which most people haven’t thought about!):
- Have something warm to wear.
- Eat something salty (eg crackers) within 15 mins of finishing, and…
- Stretch well afterwards- this will help your recovery no end.
- Recovery bath- some people swear by the ice bath (science is undecided), or a lukewarm bath with epsom salts may be more pleasant. Avoid a hot bath.
- Take adequate recovery time- I often see injuries months after a marathon, as people didn’t take a break. The jury is out on how long is needed, and of course it varies per person, but guidelines would state not to return to intense training until 26-40 days after the race.
- Cross-training is a great way of assisting your recovery- a gently cycle/swim/walk in the days after the race can get the blood flowing and ease the leg stiffness.
- Avoid alcohol after the race! This is obviously going to affect your recovery. If you do decide to go for that pint of Guinness, just make sure its acccompanied by some water.
- Having a rub-down in the week after the race can help to alleviate muscle soreness.
Let us know if you want a rub-down prior to or after the race (discount voucher still valid!)
Best of Luck