Running a marathon is easier said than done. But proper planning and execution certainly makes it less hard. Key to running a good marathon is in the 3 P’s – preparedness, patience and perseverance. This not only applies to your training but holds good for the race as well.
To those of us who find it hard to cope up with the strain during a marathon, here are the key areas to focus on during the race:
1. Proper gear – You complete a marathon if you are not comfortable in your gear. Whatever you wear should be comfortable and absorbent that keeps you dry. Likewise shoes should be light and comfortable. It’s always a good practice to train in your shoes during the last 15 days.
2. Breathing – If you have ever participated in a marathon before, you would know how quickly you started panting. The primary thing to focus on is to breath through your mouth as it provides your muscles with more oxygen. Once you start doing that, focus on abdominal breathing. You can practice this by lying down and inhaling so that your belly rises. This strengthens your abdominal muscles and helps them to aid your breathing during a run.
3. Pacing – Most people run the first half of the marathon fairly quickly, and are washed up during the second half as running hard at the start doesn’t let your muscles get warmed up to function at peak levels resulting in premature fatigue. It’s always smarter to ease into the race and then pick up the tempo once your body has got the hang of it.
4. Hydration – If you don’t want to collapse mid-race, make sure you keep yourself hydrated. If you feel your mouth is drying up, you are already dehydrated. Always carry a bottle with you and take a few sips every once in a while to keep your tongue moist. Sports drinks are preferred over water for this purpose as it replenishes sodium and electrolytes.
5. Patience – This is the most important. During the race it’s easy to get carried away when you see people running past. Don’t let that get to your head. Rather, stick to your plan and trust your training. You have put in a lot of hard work going into the marathon, so during the race try to enjoy the race more than anything else. While these tips will help you run a race, practice is the only way to be perfect.