Getting over the finishing line

One month to go until the London Marathon and most of the hard work has been done.

Remember the golden rule and DON’T TRY ANYTHING NEW ON RACE DAY.

As your training intensity increases, your immune system takes a bashing. Do not neglect your nutrition and recovery fueling.

Once you start tapering towards race day, your body will begin holding onto a few extra kilograms. Try not to panic and ‘ feel fat’. These precious pounds will be invaluable for the long route ahead of you.

Some athletes carbo-load by increasing their carbohydrate intake 3 days prior to race day. Most athletes will have stored 60-90 minutes of glycogen in their legs from prior recovery drinks and meals. I prefer to recommend normal eating with an increase in antioxidant fruit and vegetables, omega 3 fatty acids in fish, nuts and avocadoand good quality whey protein added at bedtime. L-Glutamine is a great supplement to protect your immune system, assist with gut health and repair muscle and tendon tissue. This is a good strategy to follow right the way throughyour race preparation.

Avoid hyper-hydration the day before, you will only end up depleting your own electrolytes.

Instead, moderately increase your fluid intakeand pop some fizzy electrolytes into your water.

Many people end up rushing around the day before or spend too many hours on their feet at the Expo. Get your feet up as soon as possible the day before.

The night before is always stressful. Try and finish dinner 12 hours before the start of your event.

The night- before meal should consist of lean protein such as lean steak, chicken or fish with boiled or baked potatoes. This is the only time I recommend low to no fibre! Keep your fats and simple sugar low and save alcohol for the post-race celebrations.

Drink 500ml of water on waking. The ideal time to eat your pre-race meal is 2- 3 hours before your start time. If that’s not possible, then the closer to the start the lower the calories should be. You can start sipping on your energy or electrolyte drink before the start it often calms nerves.

By now you should have settled on your race nutrition strategy. Athletes all have their own brand preference. However, no matter if you choose bananas, nuts and egg sandwiches or can only stomach gels and bars, the primary concern for a marathon is to start fueling for what comes ahead. It’s a long day out there for some and you should have 60-90 minutes of stored glycogen in your legs. Don’t wait to see if you run out of energy, you will!

Start fueling about 40-60 minutes into the race.

Recommended intakes of water (with electrolytes) are between 450ml -850 ml

(10oz-30oz) per hour. Thirst rates differ among individuals.

Endurance athletes are notorious for stomach issues. Gastrointestinal distress can bring your race to a grinding halt. Remember, small sips or bites every 15-20 minutes.

Gels are best to consume for quick energy needs such as before a big hill and those last painful miles. Most gels take between 3-5 minutes to kick in. Avoid having more than 1 gel per hour, unless you have thoroughly tested your gastric response. Don’t glug your fuel down, your stomach is not a storage tank. Many issues affect gastric emptying rates. The dilution of carbohydrates being the main cause, closely followed by anxiety levels, weather conditions and the ability of each athlete to be able to empty the carbs and fluid from their stomachs without sufficient blood flow.

More than anything, enjoy the amazing experience, cameraderie and unrivaled atmosphere at The Virgin Money London Marathon.

Keep going, it’s worth it!

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