Friday, 11 October 2013

Preparing for the Melbourne Marathon

My Melbourne Marathon Race Kit
My Melbourne Marathon race kit.

Am I ready for the Melbourne Marathon tomorrow? To be honest, not really. I've had an injury interrupted preparation and I've given up on the hope that I will be able to set a time anywhere near my potential. I am under no illusion that tomorrow I will have to suffer in my bid to run into the MCG and complete my first ever marathon. At times my legs will probably implore me to stop and give up but I will push on. This will be the culmination of 6 months worth of training for me and nothing will stop me from crossing the finish line in front of my family and becoming a marathon runner. I can picture that moment of elation in my head now and I'll use that vision to spur me on and keep me going tomorrow.

My first aim tomorrow will be to finish the marathon, joining that special club of people who can say they have conquered the marathon. Factoring in some potential walking time, I would like to finish within 4.5 hours and to enjoy myself as much as possible while doing it. Now that I'm not gunning for a fast time the pressure is off somewhat and hopefully that will help me relax and soak in the atmosphere of my first marathon. I'll be using Runtastic on my Android phone for tracking my run, and I'll make sure I get my phone out to take some photos when I get a chance.

My biggest concern is my lack of conditioning. I have only once run more than 30km in training which is definitely not ideal and so I expect to be walking at some point tomorrow although I will do my best to avoid it. The battle I will need to win will be in my mind, especially once the inevitable soreness sets into legs full of lactic acid. This is when I will rely heavily on the other runners around me to keep me going and of course on the vision of the end goal, me crossing the finish line at the MCG!

I've just checked the weather forecast and it doesn't look like today's wind will be abating for the marathon. Fortunately it's a westerly wind so we'll be running perpendicular to it for the majority of the course. The overnight low will be 12C and the expected maximum is a cool 17C, perfect race temperature! Hopefully the predicted scattered showers stay away and the chance hail and thunderstorms don't eventuate!

This Weeks Training

In order to have my legs as rested as possible for tomorrow, I completed my last training run on Monday. I managed 10km around Fawkner Park during my lunch break. On Wednesday I booked myself in for a remedial massage with The Body Whisperer in St Georges Road, Thornbury. I've never paid for a massage in Australia previously but a running mate from work recommended these guys and suggested I get a remedial massage to soften up those sore areas in my legs. I paid around $50 (with private health rebate) for a 45min session which was extremely painful but well worth it. The masseuse expertly worked her elbows into my quad, glute and calf muscles and after a few days my legs feel great. I'm all for trying anything that will help me on race day!

Carb Loading

The rest of the week has been devoted to the most important and fun part of training in the final few days before a marathon. Carb loading! I've eaten pasta for lunch and dinner for the past couple of days and will have another bowl of pasta tonight. Plus I've been eating heaps of bananas which are rich in carbs and potassium. The idea of course is to load up the glycogen stores in the body's muscles so that tomorrow I will have plenty of energy to burn.

Hydration

I've also been drinking plenty of water over the last couple of days and have added in some electrolytes with Dektro sports drink today. It's not going to be a hot day tomorrow but I'm still a heavy sweater so this is a vital part of my preparation.

Race Gear

This is my race day kit. I'll pack five energy gels and take them every 9km with sips of water and sports drink in between. Hopefully that will meet my energy requirements and will get me over the line. I'll wear a singlet even with the predicted cool weather because I tend to overheat. I've got my pouch belt for carrying a couple of the gels and my phone which I will be using to track my run and give me voice feedback with Runtastic. I'll wear a visor to keep the Sun (if any) and potential rain off my face and I can also use it to keep a couple of the gels. That's my kit sorted!

Torqgel Energy gels
The Torqgel Energy gels I'll be using tomorrow

Tonight

After dinner I'll watch Melbourne Victory hopefully smash the Heart in the Melbourne derby and then retire to bed for a very early night.

Race Morning

The marathon begins at 7am tomorrow so I'll be up at 5am having my pre-race breakfast. I'll have the same thing I eat whenever I go out for a long run, two weetbix with milk and a banana. I'll also drink a bottle of Dektro before 6am and then no more food or drink before the start. Hopefully the pre-race nerves will kick in and help me empty my bowels before leaving home because there would be nothing worse than having to hit the porta loos mid race.

I'll apply Vaseline in all the right places for race comfort and put some talcum powder on my feet in order to help keep them dry and hopefully blister free.

With no public transport at 6am on a Sunday morning (how can this be in a city the size of Melbourne!) I'll be driving and parking near the Fitzroy gardens. Then it will just be a matter of following the trail of runners to the start line. If it's cold, I'll wear a throw away old t-shirt to keep me warm before the start.

Race Plans

Then the run itself. I'll start off at a comfortable pace and see how I feel. I'm not gunning for a certain pace or time so I'm happy to take it easy and nurse my body through the course if need be. If I'm feeling good then I might push harder as the race goes on. It will all come down to how I'm feeling. I will definitely leave something in reserve for the final run through the MCG. My family will be waiting there so I want to make them proud. There will be no walking into the MCG!

Tracking the Race

One really cool thing about this event is that you can track the realtime progress of runners using mapandrun.com. All you have to do is enter in their bib number and you'll be able to see where they are on the course. Really neat for spectators who want to position themselves to catch a glimpse of family or friends!

After the Race

Sure its not the recommended recovery option but I'll be at a pub, most likely in Swan Street, having a beer and parma and sharing the tale of my first marathon with family and whoever else wants to listen! Then it will be off home to ice my battered legs.

To all those running tomorrow, happy racing. I hope you hit your goals and have a fun event!


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