Take it from someone who has run the London Marathon a few times now, the week before is all about those last-minute preparations. From sorting out your toenails (or witches feet as the hubbie affectionately calls them) to sending out multiple messages cajoling all and sundry to donate, donate, donate, it’s worth getting organised. So I made a little list of things to do less than a week before the London Marathon 2017.
- Sort out your feet
I learnt the hard way that looking after your feet is paramount. Seriously, there’s nothing worse than blisters, black toenails and consequently no toenails. As well as moisturising them well and checking that the shoes you’re going to run in are comfortable, trim those nails. Better yet, treat yourself to a pedicure. If there’s one time you can justify a buff and shine, it’s the week before the marathon. Not only will your feet look more presentable, you may be able to prevent the horrors above.
- Indulge in some shut-eye
There are many factors that can make or break a race: enough training, drinking enough (water), injury, pressure on yourself, eating right. But sleep is possibly one of the most important. Wake up on raceday feeling knackered and you’re disadvantaged from the start. Have a quiet one this week and rest so you wake up feeling fresh come Sunday.
- Run…a little
You should have reduced your training by now anyway but that doesn’t mean you should stop completely. In fact, some experienced runners suggest reducing your speed and upping your intensity. This can mean 12 x 200m on a track or a bit of fartlek. I’m not entirely convinced and tend to ease off a little but continue running up until the day before. I find that jogging and keeping your body moving prevents ‘heavy legs’ on Sunday.
- Massage those muscles
Whoever said running was a cheap form of exercise was a big fat liar. As with any moving object, you need to keep it in tip-top condition, which means regular massages. Book yourself in for a massage now or at the London Marathon Expo.
- Don’t overdo it at the Expo
Remember the London Marathon Expo is not the pick-a-mix counter at that long but not forgotten high street store Woolworths. Don’t binge, restrain yourself and get in and go as soon as possible. OK, this may be a little extreme but you need to have a plan or you’ll end up expending way too much energy unnecessarily.
- Plan your journey…in advance
Once you’ve gathered all the info as to where you start (London Marathon normally has three different starts), plan your journey to the race in advance and give yourself enough time, around an hour, to go to the toilet, put your bag in and sort out your gear on raceday.
- Prep your kit
It goes without saying, you don’t want to be pulling out odd socks on the day. Get all your kit out the night before, take the obligatory flatlay of your kit plus race number, post on social media. Job done.
- Talk to your supporters
Even if you’re not a big fan of road races, you can’t help but be impressed by the turnout at London. The only problem is that the crowds can make it very difficult to spot your supporters. Find out where they’ll be standing and what they’ll be wearing so you can wave, shout, cry or react when you run past them. And not waste energy or stress yourself out trying to spot them in the crowds. (Note to hubbie: this DOES NOT mean you can wear the disgusting Christmas jumper no matter how distinctive it is.)
- Don’t stress and smile
Or put too much pressure on yourself. You want to arrive at the start feeling confidently relaxed. You’ve done the hard work, now it’s time to put it into practice. The best races I’ve run have been when I’m relaxed that’s why I listen to the Archers or Radio 4. If it helps, make yourself a plan, break down the distance and take each mile as it comes. After all, it is a marathon not a sprint.
- Sort out your feet