Marathon preparation

DSCF1459.JPG It is getting exciting. Only one day left until Sunday morning. So what is going on in these last moments before a marathon? Here are some ancedodes and tipps for the frequent runnner.

Running programme in the last week

On Monday, I did my last test run over 10 ks at my marathon speed and heart rate. I covered the quarter marathon in 40:59 minutes at an average speed of 4:08 min/km and an average HR of 157 bpm. It was a good last test although I had my doubts since my HR went up over 160 on the last few kilometers, which Georg, my coach, dismissed by acknowledging a superb test run. The rest of the week was like a holiday: On Tuesday, I completed 16 km in 1:14:36 hrs (4:39 min/km) at an average HR of 135 bpm. Wednesday was a recovery day, on which I just went for a 35 min slow jog. On Thursday, I ran my last proper run in this week over 10 km (4:44 min/km HR 135). And this morning I went for a short slow run throwing in 5 tempo runs. Three massages complemented my last-week preparation programme.

Sylvia’s Cranio

DSCF1470.JPG My feed are fine, there are just minor problems with my achilles’ heels, which Sylvia is going to take care of later today with her superb Cranio-Sacral therapy, a very sensitive kind of osteopathy, which I can highly recommend to anyone doing sports or suffering from stress-induced pressure. A 30 minute session does not only away with the pain in my achilles’ heels, it is also very refreshing and stimulates the energy flow within my body.

Drinking the ‘right’ stuff

Running a distance of 42.175 ks is not healthy for your body, so you have to make sure that it is in the best possible condition. Running has already changed the way I eat and drink but specifically in the week before the marathon, nutrition and substituting essential vitamins and trace elements like magnesium and calcium are at the top on my agenda. It is not always easy to drink enough, especially, when I am not thirsty. In the past I used to drink too little for my height and weight and more often than not I also drank the wrong stuff. I like to drink pure water but water by itself is no good since the body cannot resorb pure water. The ignorance of this fact made me suffer quite a bit at the last marathon in Graz. There I only took water instead of isotonic drinks which resulted in my muscles starting to revolt after 30 ks. I learnt that it is crucial to add at least a little bit of salt or sugar to your drinks.
So what I do is to add a spoon of Enervitene to my mug of water. Today I have already had six or seven 400 ml mugs of this kind of drink, thus “soaking” my body in valuable liquid.

Your eating habits should come naturally

DSCF1468.JPG Food is also an essential prerequisite for a good marathon performance. I have adapted my nutrition in the course of the last few months and I did that quite naturally and intuitively. I had never been particularly fond of fast food but I loved my pizza. Still I realised that my pizza intake has been dramatically reduced since November and although I used to love it, I do not miss it. The same is true for alcohol. I still like a beer or two or a glass of wine. But the occasions where I indulge in a pint of Guiness, my favourite beer, have become rare whithout missing them. Thus the drama that is so often a companion of diets is completely absent. People too often have to force themselves to keep to certain diets while they crave for the food they love. Whenever “the force” is with you, there’s an inner drama going on – a drama that you play with yourself. Either stick to a diet naturally without justification or force or leave it completely – it won’t do you any good.

Nutrition in the last two days before a marathon

DSCF1472.JPG Still, what I ate today was very delicious. Sylvia prepared omelettes filled with joghurt and Nutella for breakfast. I enjoyed three of them with half a litre of green tea. For lunch I cooked myself smashed potatoes with smashed carrots adding olive, sesam and walnut oil for better taste and resorption. Milk rice at 5 pm is served for dinner. While this is not what you understand by proper carbo-loading done with the Saltin-diet, it is a good way to eat valuable carbohydrates that are easy to digest.

My diet 24 hours before the marathon

Saturday morning: Cooked spelt with banana, apples, lemon juice and marple sirup

Lunch: Kaiserschmarren

Dinner at 4 pm: Pasta with a cake or tarte

Sunday morning: Cooked rice (300 g) with squashed bananas at about 06.00 a.m with at least 0.5 litres of tea or juice. Two carbo bars and four to six spoons of amino-acids (from AMSports which dissolves fast and does not granulate) with approx 1.5 litres of Enervit until approx 30 minutes before the marathon starts.

Set goals, let go of them afterwards and let them just happen

While it is important to have goals, goals should not be at the top of your priorities. Goals can easily start to dominate your running experience so that you lose sight of all the other dimensions, specifically those that made you run in the first place. As a consequence you might, at worst, stop doing what you really liked in the first place because competition has won over experience.
Set your goals but let go of them afterwards. I see goals more like a guidline, a kind of light-house in the future. Having a running-goal is import for me because it makes sure that I train on a regular, daily basis. Sometimes I am lazy and cannot be bothered to put on my running shoes and go out into the rain for your daily run. Training for a marathon, has simply stopped the usual negotiations whether to go or not within myself. Still daily running has not become a rule which I have or want to enforce. It has become a habit and it comes quite naturally (with differing degrees of motivation, of course), which makes it all the more enjoyable.
The same is true for goals. Set your goals but let them loose. Let them motivate rather than dominate. Thus you ensure that you are able to fully enjoy the activity you are engaging in, while your goals just happen as a result.