Saturday, November 30, 2013

SCSM 2013: Tactical Considerations

'The journey of 42.195km begins with the first step, then second, and another, ad infinitum.' - ECV

About 12 hours out to the marathon, and in case you are now having your dinner (before you sleep) - here are some tips for managing your marathon. As always, to reiterate, never test out new things during your race. Stick to routine, and THE PLAN.

1) Hydrate, albeit in small amounts, with water from now till race morning. Too large a gulp leads to quick emptying (diuresis), and loss of electrolytes. Take 1-2 electrolyte tabs before you sleep, and 1-2 more when you awake. You can take 1 tablet per hour of racing to ward off cramps.
2) Keep dinner adequate, with minimal fibre, and no massive amounts of carbohydrates (especially refined carbs). Carbo-loading is a process, not an event. Loading now is a desperate act, not worth your effort. 
3) Sleep in pockets of 1.5 hours. 3 or 4.5 or 6 or 7.5 hours. Stick to your circadian rhythm.
4 Lay out your race-kit early, so you are ready to dress-and-go. No fumbling or unnecessary stressful decisions. Ensure you have your nutritional support on your race-belt or race-pockets. Charge your GPS-watches. You may appreciate the data later on.
5) Water is your first meal. Then, have breakfast (however structured you would enjoy: meal-repalcement-shake, sandwich, coffee and toast, etc.).
6) Pace smartly. Pacing is key. Go anaerobic too often and too soon, and you will face the 'wall' - a self-fulfilling prophecy. Aerobic pace draws on carbohydrate as a main source of fuel. Stay within your aerobic heart-rate zone before you decide to 'accelerate'.
7) Remind yourself to drink at each aid-station, and fuel up (with calories) every 30 minutes. Bring enough sports-gels for your expenditure (bodyweight and duration).
8) You can walk at aid-stations, so as to get a proper drink. No point racing fancy, and tossing 'empty' cups at yourself. There is NO SHAME IN WALKING.
9) Be aware. Be alert. Be 'in the moment'. If you need medical help, seek it. Play it safe.
10) If you hit a bad patch, 'embrace the suck'. Walk if you have to, slow down, or chat with somebody - ensure you resume your previous rhythm. Never let your body and head get lazy.

May you have your best race tomorrow! Go forth and embrace your potential. Running is not a crime.

No comments: