Ace the Pace for a good Race!

JAKE FENECH – Physiotherapist & Running enthusiast

Follow up article from Running a Marathon

It is that time of the year again – there are regular road races almost every weekend all in preparation for the anticipated Malta Half and full Marathon. Last year you happened to read my article on preparing well for long distance events so this year you took the time to prepare seriously for this event.

You have been patient, you have gone through the ups and downs that each and every runner goes through and you feel you have done enough to run a good time and more importantly enjoy the experience from start to finish.

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So here are some final tips and suggestions ahead of the event:

You have done enough, you are prepared. Be confident in your months of training. “You are not going to learn anything tonight that you have not yet learned in the last few months” my mum would say on the eve of an exam and it’s true. You are not going to do anything now that will make a huge difference – all the preparation has been done.

Eat right. Running a half or a full marathon is no joke. Make sure that in the lead up before the race, you fill up your system with vegetables and good carbohydrates. Your body needs nutritious food to store and burn the right calories on race day. There is enough time for a cheat meal post race.

Taper down. You do not need to keep your full mileage as you were in the last few weeks and months. Slow it down now and allow yourself some time to recover and repair the system.

Sleep. Can’t stress this enough. Sleep is the best form of recovery the body can get. Make sure that in the days leading up to the race you are getting plenty of sleep. Allow your body to recover as best you can. On race day, sleep early and sleep enough.

Prepare your bag. Kit lay the day before, prepare the number on the vest, prepare your running shoes. Last thing you want in the morning is to be hassling around looking for your lucky charm at 5:00am or end up forgetting the number at home (speaking from experience here).

Warm up well. Although we are lucky to have some really good weather through the year, it does get cold and wet in February. Make sure you have rain jackets to warm up if it is raining and even a new pair of socks to change if need be prior to the race. Don’t be tempted to put too many layers on especially if it is sunny, you are ultimately running so you will get hot as you go along so try to gauge that right.

PACE IT!! (MOST IMPORTANT POINT). You have done all the work, you trained really hard, you are all prepped, only to throw it all away because you started too fast. Remember, it is a long race and the race is not won in the first few metres. Speak to your coach, know your pace, prepare it in your head and make sure to stick to it. In the early stages with all the excitement of people just suddenly running you might get tempted to start dropping down the pace. Be cautious, take your time, build into the rhythm and momentum of the race and progressively build up the pace.

Ultimately enjoy yourself. There are going to be people cheering you on. On that start line, you will feel part of this big community of people. Soak up that energy, savour that moment, enjoy it, feel the energy of the spectators and don’t forget to smile at the cameras.

I hope that this has given you some good last minute tips ahead of this race. I sure hope that I will actually be taking part this year as my participation is not yet certain in view of a recent injury (yes physiotherapists get injured as well). I wish you all the best of luck but one way or another, see you all on the start line.

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