My weakness is a very sweet tooth as well as bread, pastries etc. I had planned to carb deplete and carb load for London this year, but after a poorly planned effort and miserable failure at trying carb depletion I gave up on the idea!
Hence, in the week leading up to the marathon, I just eat as normal but concentrate on carbs from Thursday and a big pasta meal on Saturday night.
Morning of long runs/races is always a bowl of porridge and trying to stay hydrated with plenty of tea and water.
I usually try and take a gel half an hour before and then at 5,10,15, 18 & 23 miles. (I believe if I hit the wall it is likely to be anywhere from 18 to 23 miles so I take a gel at 18 miles not 20 for an added boost). Very often I can’t stomach the final gel, this year I did manage to take them all as planned.
My gel of choice, and the brand I have stuck with for a long time are Power Gel, this year all were Apple with Caffeine. I have also suffered from severe cramp once forcing me to stop, a few years ago I started carrying the High5 Electrolyte Tablet with me and adding to the water bottle during the race. I am happy running holding a bottle and take sips for a few miles then discard the bottle.
I have found this has helped greatly with post-race cramp and recovery and of course keeping hydrated during the race.
I am usually in bits, can just about walk and cannot eat or drink anything substantial for a good hour. I will sometimes sip a soft drink. However, as I recover then will take on whatever is convenient on my way back home. This year, KFC and chips with a coke!
After my normal long Sunday runs however, I take on High5 tabs during and after and also have a stock of ‘For Goodness Shakes’ Recovery chocolate milk shakes.
- I smashed my PB of 2:55 from last year by almost 11 minutes.
- Hit PB’s at every distance since January of this year so felt that 2:50 was possible
- Sub 2:45 was unplanned and a huge surprise – especially at age 55.
- Felt comfortable throughout and until around 18 miles my aim was just make sure I was on target for 2:50. I then decided to just run at a comfortable effort and not pay too much attention to pace.
- It was only at 40 KM I realised a sub 2:45 was on and pushed harder.
- Very pleased with finishing 2nd in my age group but 1st in the UK rankings for marathon in my age group year to date.
- Managed to run a negative split and almost every 5KM (apart from the 3rd which was only marginally slower than the 2nd ) was faster than the previous.
- I had increased my mileage this year and did more tempo work than in previous years.
- I always feel running sensibly at the start pays dividends later.