5 signs you’re marathon-ready
How to tell if you are ready to run a marathon
Running a marathon is one of the biggest challenges you can take on and therefore it can be a daunting time when race-day is looming. Here we show you five signs that might prove to you that you are in fact marathon-ready and that you are ready for the 26.2 mile test.
Your race bag is full of running tricks and gadgets
Although some people like to say that runners don’t need gadgets or gizmos to run well, the truth is a marathon-ready runner knows that actually they need a whole pile of running tools in their race-day bag. These tools are by no means hi-tech though; that is not the way of us runners. Our gadgets are basic, to say the least, but no one should underestimate their importance, no matter how tatty or unassuming our race-day tools may look.
So, what gadgets do you need in your race-day bag to ensure you are marathon-ready? You need a big pot of Vaseline to smear onto any areas that might chafe during the 26.2-mile slog – that includes your nipples (at least if you are a man and you don’t already own nipple guards). Some runners also like to line their socks with Vaseline too. You will also need a pair of toenail clippers to make sure your nails are well trimmed for the race. Other running gadgetry you should be thinking of taking to the race destination include energy gels or drinks that you have already trained with, or jelly babies for when your energy levels drop, plus warm clothes and a recovery snack for when you cross the finish line. If you have all of these items on your race-day checklist then congratulations, you are marathon-ready.
You understand that you will be emotional
For many runners, running over the race finish line will feel as though you have been run over by a busload of emotion. You have just run one of the most challenging forms of running races in the world and have had to pour every ounce of mental and physical strength into forcing every foot in front of the other to cover the 26.2 mile distance. You will have experienced highs and lows, seen others fall and fail. You will have been struggling and had strangers pat you on the back and cheer you on.
Now that you have crossed that finish line the entire marathon experience, from the moment you first found out you were accepted to this moment now, will flood up inside of you and you will be a big ball of bumbling emotions. Most people are teary eyed as they walk around the finisher’s area and if you’ve come to terms with the fact that you will probably feel overwhelmed, then it’s a sign you know your stuff and you are ready to take on the marathon challenge.
Your running pace is perfected
To prove you are ready to run a marathon you have to first be able to recite the pace you want to maintain during your race. Then, you have to come to terms with the fact that in a lot of instances, for one reason or another, runners often cannot match the pace they have set for themselves.
Reasons for why people cannot match the pace they hoped for vary and although using pace to help motivate and monitor your run has its uses, if you are not matching your pace during the race do not struggle in order to meet it.
Instead, be flexible. For example, if there is a windy section of the course don’t put all your energy into battling the wind so that you meet your target time for that section of the race. Go with the weather and course and adapt your pace to suit it instead.
If you understand that pace is not the be all and end all of marathon running then you are marathon-ready because this knowledge will help you to stay mentally positive during the race, which is an absolute necessity if you want to complete the marathon distance.
You have a strategy for when you hit the wall
Hitting the wall is something every runner fears because it means that your pace can decrease by about a third. You may also experience some pain and feel extremely tired as a result. Yet hitting the wall is something that might happen to you.
A sign that you are marathon-ready is that you have thought about hitting the wall and come up with a strategy that might help you run right through it. You might choose to get angry in order to fire yourself into a mental state that can help you get through this tough period in your race. Or you may have planned to focus on a nearby marker and stagger the remainder of your race with these mini landmarks. Whatever you decide, try to think about the type of runner you are and if you hit the wall try to stay mentally strong as this can help some runners make it to the finish line.
Carbo-loading – you’ve got it covered
One sign that shows you’re marathon-ready is that you know everything you need to about fuelling your body correctly for the race. For example, you know the exact amount of carbohydrates you need to consume (around eight to 10 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of your body weight) and when you need to be increasing the amount of carbohydrates you need to consume (around three days prior to your race).
A sign that you are truly ready for the marathon is that you have already planned exactly what you are going to eat in order to carbo-load. For example, you might have stocked up on the ingredients for your favourite pasta dish, or bought a bucket-load of peanut butter and bread. Whatever you have chosen make sure that for the period you carbo-load you have enough carbohydrate heavy food to hand when you need it.
Now you know if you are marathon-ready or not, find out the five worst things to do before a marathon.