Now is the time to start thinking about all the last details for EMF weekend. With 4 weeks to go there’s still plenty of time to increase your fitness, dial in your nutrition, replace old shoes, and mentally prepare for your chosen distance.
Make the final weeks of training count!
Anticipate the course & conditions
Most of you will have a clear plan as to what training you’ll do over the last few weeks. However, it’s worth looking at the course map in more detail, so you can tailor your sessions more specifically to the demands of it. For example, while Edinburgh Marathon is a relatively flat route, the turnaround point at Gosford House leads on to some undulating road. You will not notice this on a bike or in a car but after 18 miles of running, the small slopes will take a lot more energy to run on than the flat. Doing some hill repeats in training will pay off at this point of the race. Try 5-10 repetitions of 2 minutes of running on a steeper slope, with a walk back down as recovery. Hill reps make all the difference!
Edinburgh is renowned as “the windy city” for a reason. There will most likely be a head wind at the turn around point in the half and full marathon, so try and do routes in training that mean you have a head wind for the last section. This will prepare you mentally and physically for the race.
Push the tempo
Incorporating some interval training over the coming weeks will help raise your threshold and allow you run a little bit faster on the day of the race. Be careful not to run too far in training. For the marathon runners, running more than 20 miles is not advisable as it may fatigue you too much before the actual race.
Master your race day nutrition
Practicing you race day nutrition now is essential. Your body can only store around 90 minutes worth of carbohydrate and if this runs out, there’s nothing you can do stop yourself slowing down. You’ll need to refuel or you may ‘hit the wall’ early. We recommend taking 50-60g’s of carbohydrate every hour of your run (that’s 1 energy gel or bar every 30 minutes post the 90 minute point). Your gut is just as trainable as your muscles, so commit to practicing your nutrition in training and reap the rewards. If you don’t practice and then come race day quaff energy gels you’re not used to – you’re asking for a poorly tummy!
Energy gels are the easiest way to take on carbohydrate but there are alternatives like chews (if you’re not a gel fan). Nutrition products from brands like Torq, SIS, Clif Bar & HIGH5 use different carbohydrates to sweets, so Jelly Babies are no match! (Sorry folks!) In nailing your nutrition, you could shave as much as 10-20 minutes off your time in the full marathon and 5-10 minutes off a half marathon.
Rock the race day breakfast
What to eat for breakfast? It’s the million dollar question! Avoid foods which are high in fibre and that are very high in sugar. Having a combination of fat and carbohydrate is advisable, as having a higher fat meal will prime your body to metabolise fat and spare your body’s precious carbohydrate stores. Scrambled eggs on croissant is my go-to and a great choice! Practice by eating your pre-race breakfast before your last long training runs.
Post-run nutrition will help your muscles to recover, repair and refresh for the big day. Longer runs put severe stress on your body and taking a specific running recovery drink (packed with high quality nutrients that help you recover faster) will ensure you get the most benefit from them. Taking 15-20 grams of protein and 45-60 grams of carbohydrate within 15 minutes of completing a long run is ideal (that’s a 400 ml recovery drink).
Have a good look at the wear on your trainers and try and work out how many miles you have run in them. Running shoes can last anywhere between 400-500 miles after the first wear. If you’re close to this sort of mileage or will surpa
ss that by EMF weekend, then it might be a good idea to upgrade your shoes. As shoes are worn, the midsole cushioning breaks do
wn and the shoe gets flatter. Your feet, kneesand joints will seriously suffer in shoes without sufficient cushioning.
Whilst rocking up on race day in brand new shoes is a cardinal sin and terrible idea; with 4 weeks to go, you still have plenty of time to break in new runners, if you feel you need them!
Dress head-to-toe in ‘technical’ material
What you wear on race day can make a huge difference to your performance and comfort. Avoid cotton at all costs! Technical clothes that are lightweight, breathable and free of any irritating seams, will wick moisture away from your body, keeping you cooler, drier and more comfortable.
Well-fitted clothes tend to rub less and regulate your temperature better. For example, wearing 2 in 1 twin shorts that have a lycra liner is one of the best ways to prevent chafing around the thighs.
Despite all the efforts made by brands to eliminate rubbing and irritation from clothing, running over long distances can bring on some unwelcome chafing. Slap on some Body Glide before you head out the door for extra protection in those sensitive areas! Don’t use Vaseline as it blocks up your pores and does not let your skin breathe.
Compress for success
Compression clothing is a great way to improve your performance too. Compression stops the muscles from oscillating (moving around), increases the power output and helps improve blood flow. Many runners find that compression helps them in longer runs because their muscles do not fatigue as quickly and they can push harder for longer. If you have a particular muscle group that gets tight then you can get a compression garment for that area. For example, if you get sore calf muscles or your shins hurt, then compression calf guards will help take the stress out of them.
You’ve got this!
Covering all eventualities of the race in training will put you in a stronger position – physically and mentally – come race day. BEST OF LUCK to everyone running! Trust in your training. Believe in yourself. You’ve got this!