The word today is "preparation", with the Ascot Park Hotel Southland Festival of Running just around the corner.
Pack everything the night before then check it. Be sure to include warm and dry clothes to put on afterwards. Pack Vaseline to put on toes, inside of thighs and arms and nipples to reduce blisters and chafing. Include a cap, just in case it is particularly cold - a considerable amount of body heat is lost through the head.
Eating the wrong food can upset raceday plans. Stick to meals you are used to, preferably something easily digested and high in carbohydrate such as pasta. Make sure your breakfast is at least two, preferably three hours before start time. Toast, honey, cereal should be fine. Some people find some foods, particularly cheese, eggs and apples, cause stitch, so be wary of what you eat on race morning.
Make sure you start the run hydrated and drink regularly throughout the distance. Do not wait until you are thirsty before taking a drink - it is too late by then. A Sunday morning coffee is not a good idea. Caffeine raises heart and breathing rates and blood lactic levels, which will not help you over the marathon or half marathon distance. Caffeine is also a strong diuretic. Toilet stops during the event is not what you want, nor is the consequent reduction in body hydration.
Take warm clothes to the start (they will be taken to the finish) and it will pay to include sun block in your bag along with the Vaseline, change of clothing and replacement drink for when you finish.
It is recommended that you have a carbohydrate drink IMMEDIATELY after the race and another two hours later. This will restore the muscle metabolic equilibrium quickly, allowing quicker recovery of muscles.
Apart from that, remember the adage, "You do not listen to a piece of music for the express purpose of getting to the end; you enjoy and appreciate it as you go." So look on the race as a favourite song and enjoy it as you go. And good luck.
- © Fairfax NZ News