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Race day prep tips for your marathon #GCAM15

30 Jun

Wow it has been an interesting week this week. In addition to of course counting down to the Gold Coast Marathon my grandad back in the Uk hasn’t been well, my son ended up at hospital and I had a car crash! Everyone is fine but it sure took my mind off the fact that the marathon is this weekend!

It really took a lot to put my running shoes back on and get back into it all but I’m now back focused on the goal and can’t wait. It’s actually come around really quickly.

Race day tips Gold Coast Airport Marathon 2015

Lay your kit out the night before

One of the best things I have learned is to lay all my kit out the night before so everything is ready the next morning and you don’t need to start racing around looking for things. Make sure your running watch/music player if using them are charged up and ready to go too.

If you need a map to get to the race make sure you have that to hand too.

Prep for the weather

If it is likely to be cold then take a shirt you don’t mind throwing away (or if someone will be coming to watch – give it to them before you start) so you can keep warm in the line up. If it is a warm day then make sure you aren’t overdressed!

Generally if I have trained in the cold and it is a warm day I take it very easy as your body may not be used to the heat and you could have issues with dehydration so be careful.

Make sure you are hydrated the night before and eat!Take water when you run - the girl that runs

No further comment about this. You will know what you need to be hydrated by now and also what foods you are eating the night before and on the day. I generally will eat 1-2 hours before as well as have some water and then I have to make sure I have been to the toilet before the race otherwise there will need to be a couple of stops along the way!

Don’t try anything new 

Race day is not the time to open the new trainers for the first time, new kit or energy gels. Everything you do, eat, wear should be tried and tested.

Don’t get caught up in the moment at the start 

I get very nervous at races and then my adrenalin kicks in and it is so tempting to fly off when you feel good but trust me I have learned the hard way from doing that. I ran one marathon’s first 1km 2 minutes quicker than I had been doing in training and seriously suffered. Don’t get caught up – stick to the pace you have trained at and maybe at the end in the last few km (you know your body however – this is just my opinion) push if you feel like you can.

Struggling with motivation in the race?

I do a number of things such as keep someone else in my sights in front of me and follow them – they are generally running my pace but further ahead.

Or

Stick to one of the pacers for the race. Some people stick to the exact time they want to finish in, others go a bit above so that they can drop down if needed. The pacers are great for motivation and there is usually a good group of people running with them.

Or

Get hold of a pace bracelet. The Gold Coast give them out or if they don’t have them at your race you could make your own so if you are going for a time you know you can glance at your pace to make sure you are on time. I’m not going for a time in this race so I won’t be worrying about it but I know there are a lot of people that want to achieve certain times so this is a great way to make sure you do.Above average runner

Enjoy the race and good luck!

It’s hard to say enjoy the race but I figure you have been training long enough for it – try and enjoy it a little bit at least 🙂 And good luck !!

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Marathon Countdown – less than two weeks to go! #GCAM15

25 Jun

marathon prepWow I can’t believe it – it’s less than two weeks until the Gold Coast Marathon. What a roller coast ride it has been! I’m almost there now. Tapering off on my longer runs and gearing up to go.

The flu  that I had has gone now – yay and my shoe issue is 90% sorted. I’m still playing around with strapping to ensure that the skin where the whopping blister was doesn’t rub whilst I am running and I think I almost have that sorted. Have decided on my kit for the race so that’s all good so now I just have the Legends Lunch to get through the day before – I will be interviewed for 5 mins on the stage (very nervous) and then it’s just a matter of finishing the race!

So below are some tips based on what I have been done and done in the past at this stage with a race around the corner:

Tips for when the marathon is on your doorstep 

Taper

By now whatever program you have been following you should be well into tapering off in your training. Your long long runs should well and truly be a thing of the past. It is tempting if your sessions haven’t gone well to try and squeeze some long runs in but don’t. I was so tempted a week or so ago to attempt another 30-36k but my running trainer was quite firm and said no. So I listened to him and I didn’t. My legs feel fairly strong and it’s just psychological now – convincing myself I can finish the race.

Carbs

I’m not going to profess to be an expert on nutrition or carb loading. There are lots of theories re carb loading etc.  and if it is something you want to do properly have a chat with your trainer or Runners World has a great article on Carb loading. I have been ensuring I am eating enough carbs as, as being someone that generally follows a low carb high fat diet I have had to really up my carb intake and have been eating oats, rice and a small amount of bread.

Check final details 

Check the race website to ensure you know where you are going on race day, how long it will take you to get there and all the details such as baggage drop areas and where the water stations are etc.

Gels

SIS Energy Gel

SIS Energy Gel – I use these as they don’t have caffeine in them and a lot of gels do unfortunately.

Buy your race gels if you are using them and not using the official race ones and make sure you have decided what you are having for breakfast and have tried and tested it and got a stock in for the week/night before. I am using SIS (Science in Sport) ones because their orange flavour has no added caffeine and I can’t have caffeine too much and I have had no adverse effects with using them so I am sticking with them. The only issue is they are a bit bulky so I think I will be running with my Camelbak!

Sort your tunes 

If you are planning on running with a music player sort out your music now so you don’t find you are scrambling around at the last minute and also if you are staying somewhere overnight the night before make sure you pack the charger for your music player!

Breathe!

This is what I am trying to do at the moment – trying not to be nervous about the race and trying not to put too many expectations on myself. I used to get so nervous before a race I would almost vomit. Determined not to this time!

I’m sure I have missed things that other people do, this is what I am doing at the moment and like I always say I am not a qualified expert I am writing from experience – so any hesitations about your training please make sure you consult a professional.

Tips for maintaining a positive mindset during marathon training #GCAM15

15 Jun The Finish Line

I had a bit of a not so great week last week. After all the trials with my foot and not having run a decent long run; on Tuesday night I then got sick. I’d been outside for too long at night wheeling my son up and down a cold foyer and the next morning I woke up unable to even get my head off the pillow. I couldn’t believe it! I couldn’t be sick not 3.5 weeks out to the marathon and it was my birthday week 😦

So basically Weds, Thurs, Fri and some of Saturday were spent in bed sick coughing, spluttering and sleeping – and my husband got sick on Thursday too so at least I had some company! We spent the day sharing medicine, sleeping and watching TV! whilst my son got to play and have a ball in daycare. I managed to get out with the girls for a few hours on Saturday night to celebrate my birthday (not quite sure how – it might have been the glass of wine that helped!) and then yesterday again was spent on the couch feeling sorry for myself.

Hitting rock bottom 

I got to a low yesterday and decided that was it – I wasn’t going to run at all or I would downgrade to the half marathon as I was so stressed that I just don’t have enough time. A couple of my friends reminded me why i was doing the race and that it was never going to be about time. Roger my running trainer said I can do it, and my lovely ultra runner friend Zayne told me what she would do at this stage which was really helpful and convinced me I can do it – even if I have to walk some of it.

I was never in this for the time, it was about having a goal and getting back into running after bub being born. It was about doing something for me and feeling like I had achieved something in training,  and it was about encouraging other runners thinking about running a marathon that are not that fast that anything is possible even after having a baby within the year.

Coulda Shoulda Woulda 

It’s so easy to say “if this” and “if that” but life is life and  we deal with whatever is thrown at us. I decided I could choose to quit or i could choose to push on regardless and who cares about the time. I really don’t. I did for a long time but now I don’t.

Tips for keeping a positive mindset when your race is looming 

I couldn’t write a post like this without a few tips 🙂 I did write some in a previous post but these tips are more from a mental mindset point of view

Be positive 

If you feel like you are not motivated or need a pep talk – call a friend and a good one that understands. I found that my perspective was completely different to my friends and whilst I have been concentrating on having not done well – a couple of my friends reminded me that actually within a year I have had a baby and come back and trained for a marathon and that’s actually pretty good.

Write things down 

I like to look over my progress and look back at where I was and where I am now. In January I was unable to run 5k – now in June I can run 36 and will be running 42k in July!  A training journal is a great help. I got sent one from Journal Menu which is great to record training manually rather than electronically 🙂 and again see how far you have come and also make notes on each session as to how you are feeling.

Focus on the end goal 

Try not to worry about anyone else’s training and focus on your own and also that it isn’t forever. There is an end date – focus on it and try not to worry about pressures around you. On the day just focus on what you have trained to do and if you have to walk or if you are slower than you anticipated think about the people that haven’t even got up out of bed yet and give yourself a big pat on the back 🙂

So I think I am in for a very tough race but you just have to go for it right? let those negative thoughts disappear and think about the achievement….and the finish line!

3 weeks to go – bring it on!

5 week countdown to marathon – tips #GCAM15

2 Jun

Well the marathon is almost here and the last week or two have not been without drama as you will have read in my last post.

The blister went on to sideline me from a weeks training when distance was at its most crucial. I spent a frustrating week not running and visiting the podiatrist instead. I ended up switching and going to see the guys at InTraining as they are all runners and I figured they would be used to dealing with stressed out runners like me not wanting to rest and needing to run and I was right.

I was given advice of what I should do and what potentially if we fixed me up temporarily what I ‘might’ be able to do. Of course I went with the latter and some plasters and strapping meant i was able to run on the coast in Caloundra on Saturday with no pain! I almost cried with sheer joy! I ran 10k (oops sorry Roger I know I wasn’t meant to!) And then back in Brisbane on the Sunday I ran 20k after a visit to InTraining for restrapping on Saturday – and again no pain. So I am very hopeful about this weekends 36k….

With all of this going on I had a bit of a meltdown and my confidence in being able to finish the race started to wobble. I went out with friends on Saturday and just couldn’t concentrate and freaked out as questions were asked about training in a coffee place afterwards. The 20k run the next day helped squash the doubts and I am getting back on track thankfully. I also remembered a great quote from modern Olympic Games creator Baron Pierre de Coubertin – see photo  below, and it made me feel less stressed about everything. pierre-coubertin-quote

So 5 weeks until the marathon. Here are a few tips based on what I am doing at the moment that may be helpful:

Iron out any niggles with training kit and injuries 

This is the time to be sorting out any last minute niggles with kit and in general. I’ve almost got my kit sorted that RunStopShop kindly sent me and will be writing a separate blog post about what I will be using on race day but if you have any dramas with your kit – it needs to be sorted now! The same goes for any niggles with injuries etc. If an injury is still playing up and not looking like it is improving then I would say don’t run the race at this stage with only 5 weeks left to go. I really thought with this silly blister that I wouldn’t be able to run. Had it been the week before it could have been a real problem but thankfully it seems to be healing.

I’m also still making the decision of whether to run with my Camelbak or Fuelbelt. I often suffer with my stomach and things around my waist don’t help but I can’t decide at the moment.

Food and Drink

make sure you have nailed your food and drink now. Be happy with your energy gels if you are using them and be comfortable with how long you eat before your run and what you eat. I’m still working on mine. I am not a huge breakfast eater these days and so I struggle to eat a lot before a run – but I am getting there. Bananas are my friend at the moment.

Tapering to start soon 

Depending on whether you are following a training program or working with a coach your last longer run may well be this week. I have a 36km run on Saturday and then everything starts to go down distance wise. I need the run on Saturday to give me the confidence that I can do it especially after the last few weeks with issues.

Music

Go back through your music and start to pick our your playlist. I have started doing this as I find when I am struggling I need music to keep me going. Races aren’t too keen on you using your headphones but I always taken them with me for marathons in case I struggle.
Don’t panic! 

I had my melt down at the weekend and it can be overwhelming with the marathon around the corner, especially if it is your first. Chat to friends, feel comfortable in the training you have done/are doing and try to relax and mentally prepare yourself. I have found in all of my marathons that if I haven’t got the mental side prepared as much as the physical training side then I am in for a very tough finish. You’ve done the training, you’re ready to go so relax would be my advice – although I know it is easier said than done!

Anyway more posts coming – I have a lot to say in the next few weeks 😀 Have a great week and happy running! xo

Tips for avoiding blisters when running

26 May

I was all set to write a post following my long run two Saturdays ago –  and then it went a bit wrong and I’ve been a bit down in the dumps ever since – so I decided rather than throw my dummy out of my pram via my blog post I would stay silent for a few days! So this is my calmer version 🙂

I was all set for my 30k run two Saturdays ago – went to bed early, got my kit ready, drove into the city all set for my run, and a quarter of the way round my foot started to hurt and a small blister had formed. I decided stupidly to push on and push through what at some points was excruciating pain and yes you’ve guessed it I made it worse.

I decided to nip it in the bud and booked in with my podiatrist who put some padding and dressings in place rather than try and treat myself – 6/7 weeks to the marathon – I figured I didn’t have time to mess around. I went back to my running, a few niggles no dramas…. then I got to my long run again last Saturday and this time it was a 32k. What do you think happened…?

Yes You’ve guessed it the blister returned with a vengeance and this time it was a whopper. How I managed to run 32k on it I will never know but I got back home and was howling in pain and out of frustration.

blister before treated - the girl that runs

This was my blister at its largest – it was a monster – at least an inch and a half big! yuk.

My friend who is a nurse came around a day or so later and popped the monster of a thing and dressed it. I was a bit of a baby – but I have to say it is getting better but I haven’t run in a few days and I am just accepting I need to rest it as there is some tissue damage underneath.

Hoping that this weekend I will be able to get back into things but I wish sometimes I would take my own advice!  But I am amazed that such a trivial thing as a blister can cause such a hassle and essentially sideline you from running! So don’t do what I did!

Anyway ignoring what i did above here are some tips for what you potentially should do if you find you have a blister. Again remember these are just my thoughts and opinions – if you have a medical issue always seek professional advice.

Tips for avoiding blisters

Double up 

Many people swear by wearing two pairs of socks saying that the friction will be between the socks rather than the sock and the skin. My foot was rubbing against my shoe so in that instance that might not be the best option but it might help with an extra layer…..

Cornflour

My Podiatrist told me to put cornflour in the bottom of my shoes which will basically help absorb any excess moisture and ultimately help avoid blisters forming.

Footwear needs to fit 

Make sure that your footwear fits correctly. If your shoes are too big they will push your foot around and rub, if they are too small they will potentially present issues also so good shoes for your feet especially when running long distances are a must and will help avoid blisters.

Cotton a no no

Again many posts by experts that I have read say to avoid cotton socks and to wear moisture wicking ones or those made of nylon. I have a wide range of socks and I haven’t always found this to prevent blisters but it does help.

Vaseline or blister spray 

Rubbing Vaseline or equivalent onto the feet is also meant to be a great way to avoid blisters and there is also a blister spray that I was given a sample of at a running expo which my Podiatrist mentioned might help me also. You can buy these from any large chemist or I would imagine a specialist running store.

Pre empt the blister and cover up

I think I tried too late but if you feel a sore area on the foot when running you could always put a plaster such as Compeed on even though you don’t yet have a blister. I think I did it too late and my blister actually expanded but I already had a blister and it was a biiiiiiiig one!

Blister

Here is my blister now after my friend popped it. There is a bit of tissue damage so I need to let it heal before running on it but it is much better.

Got a blister already?

If you are in the unfortunate position of having a blister right now I found this great post which you might find useful – it’s from 2012 but it seems to be one of the most balanced articles I could find.

Runners World are a good option too to have a look at. If you have a really bad blister then pop along to your podiatrist or local running store depending on the severity of your issue. In Brisbane we are lucky to have some specialist running stores that also have podiatrists attached to them such as InTraining. They weren’t who I went to but having a had a chat to one of their people this morning they do offer some great advice and I am considering going in to see them if this doesn’t improve!

Staying motivated when the running gets tough in marathon preparation #GCAM15

14 May

It’s a 7 week countdown now to the Gold Coast Marathon and I have struggled this week to remain motivated. The weather has gotten colder, it’s dark in the mornings and early evening and I just want to stay in bed!

I had a couple of sessions where I pushed them to later in the day rather than the morning, and a couple of sessions where I didn’t want to run – I did feel better once I was up and running though but I hate it when it is hard work to get motivated and the mileage is pretty long as the marathon edges near. I’m at about 75-80km this week.

So once again I kept going and have a few things to share below that I did that have helped me get back on track this week that might help you if you are feeling the same way. Other than that training is going ok and I am happy with my kit which I will write about soon and I’ve been using Body Glide to deal with my chafing issues and it works wonders – so happy bunny in that department 🙂

Tips for staying motivated when the running gets tough in marathon preparation 

See the end goal

Post training - The Girl That Runs

Post training with my lovely friend Karen who has kept me going on the long runs with her company, jokes and encouragement!

I think I have said this in a number of posts now but it’s so true. Whenever I have felt demotivated in the last week or so I have just looked at my photos from races and put my eyes back onto the goal – the marathon. It’s been good as The Gold Coast Marathon have sent a few emails out this week so it has forced me to think about the race anyway!

Crank up the music

I am a person motivated in my running by my music – so when I feel really demotivated I crank upon the tunes. Each month I share some of my running tunes I listen to and I will be putting a list for the marathon together which I will share but I find that certain songs really lift me and push me so music has been a great motivator for me this week.

Adjust running times

Like I mentioned before I switched some of my training around so I ran later in the day rather than early in the morning and I found it worked me. Stepping outside of the door when it is sunny and warm rather than dark and cold does wonders for the motivation!

Join a group to get you through the longer runs  

I haven’t done this but I know a lot of people that when they did their marathons joined a marathon running group or a friendly running group so that they had company to run with. I have my lovely friend Karen who is running the half marathon this year who runs with me on my long runs for part of the way and makes me laugh so much I forget about the distance ,and then the other part once she is finished it’s me, the music and the open road which sometimes gives me time to reflect so not running as a group isn’t an issue for me but it might be something you find you need.

Tips for preparing 2 months before your marathon #GCAM15 #runstopshop @runstopshop

5 May Marathon Training Kit from RunStopShop - The Girl That Runs

The last week or so has been a blur with training and organising my son’s first birthday party. I never tend to do things by half so I put far too much stress on myself in preparation for his party and ended up making 4 cakes for his birthday as trial runs and they all went bad – so King of Cakes saved the day! But anyway as a result I haven’t written many blog posts lately.

Marathon training is up and down and it is now less than two months until the big day. I ran 28km on Sunday and the long runs are going up and up so all going ok at the moment but I feel like a bit of a tortoise crawling along and very tired.

I’m starting to get a bit nervous about race day and I whilst I haven’t put any pressure on myself to run a specific time it’s starting to stress me a bit and I keep thinking – what if I don’t finish!?! My last marathon was nearly 10 years ago and I was a spring chicken then, it has been so much harder training this time and yes of course I am coming back from having a baby so there is that!

Anyway here is my 2 months countdown to marathon checklist

Make sure you have entered the race!

Sounds crazy but you can get so carried away with training that it might slip your mind to actually enter the race. This should be top of your list to get done. I know with the Gold Coast their early bird entries are closed now but you can still enter – but make sure you enter whatever race it is you are doing!  Also if you need accommodation get it booked ASAP – in fact in hindsight this should have been a 3 months before… I struggled to find accommodation for the Gold Coast Marathon but my awesome travel agent managed to get me some as I didn’t fancy driving from Brisbane on the day – just another headache.

Practice in your kit

Marathon Training Kit from RunStopShop - The Girl That Runs

Marathon Training Kit sent from RunStopShop

As a RunStopShop Ambassador I got sent my Marathon Day clothes and shoes last week! and I am now busy trying them out to ensure they fit properly. The leggings were not right and the crop top was too big so I’ve had to send them back and will get replacements through shortly but I will be wearing them on most of my long runs now to ensure that I am used to them on race day.

Also if you are planning on running with energy gels start trying them out now too. As I said in my previous post 3 months before your marathon I had bad experiences with not trying out gels beforehand. Find out what the official gel for the race is and try that or choose your own but make sure you try them first.

Longer distance runs should be the norm

You should be feeling very comfortable with long runs now. I ran 28k at the weekend and I will be doing 20k this weekend and 30k the following. Depending on your program 2 months before the race your long runs should be up there too. I don’t stress about the time I do it in as I’m not trying to win the race – I just concentrate on time on legs for my long run.

Train at the time of race 

Training kit

I’m trying out all my race day kit

I have a few friends who ran a marathon a couple of years ago and they had been doing all their training very early in the morning i.e. 4am and the actual race started at 7.30am – and on the day it was an unusually warm day for that time of year and they struggled as their bodies weren’t used to running later in the morning.

I have started running later and later for some of my runs as The Gold Coast Marathon starts at 7.30amish and a lot of my runs have been either at 5am or at the gym in the evening so I am trying out running later in the morning and boy it makes a difference – I think that’s probably why I am finding it hard at the moment whilst my body adjusts to the temperature.

Massage and Physio if needed

I have started going to see my massage therapist as my calfs have been getting quite tight and I am worried I will get an injury so that has been helping, and I have friends who have their physio on speed dial during training to check out niggles they keep having. Worth considering if you are getting a few aches and pains.

Anyway the countdown is on! Less than 2 months to go until my marathon. Hope your training is going well and Happy Running 😀 

 

Please remember I am not a qualified professional when it comes to training and injuries. I write based on my experiences –  so always consult your doctor or trained professional before trying out anything new or if experiencing pain etc.