By Hayden Shearman // You’re probably well aware by now that 42.2km is a long way. As a result, it provides plenty of opportunity for something to go wrong, especially if you forget a crucial piece of equipment.
Here are the top ten things typically forgotten on race day. I’m sure there are many more, but these are some key points you can add to your pre-race checklist.
10. Double Knot Laces
This will be one of the last things you do before you leave for the race. Double knot your laces AND tuck them in.
It sounds like overkill but, whether you’re going for a PB or just completion, the effort and time involved in having to stop, bend down and fiddle with laces (potentially with numb fingers) can easily be avoided.
9. Race Bib, Pins & Timing Chip
These are the most important items in your race kit—without them, you may as well be just out on another training run.
Secure your bib to your race tee or singlet the day before (leaving time to get safety pins if needed). And also secure your timing chip to your shoes in a way that feels comfortable and won’t fall off (a cable tie can come in handy here).
By now you should know and have practised your race day breakfast routine. Have it ready to go in your fridge well before the Rotorua supermarkets close.
Similarly, you should have practised consuming your race nutrition while running and know exactly how you will carry it. The day before, attach gels to belts or fill pockets and mix electrolyte drinks and fill bottles.
7. Charge GPS
Sync your GPS watch to your computer, delete old workouts and download any new software. Make sure your watch is charged and ready to record your incredible feat of endurance. Remember: If it’s not on Strava, it didn’t happen.
6. Connect GPS
Ten minutes before the start of the race, set your watch to connect to satellites. Even if your watch is fast at connecting, Murphy’s Law says that race day is when it will decide to take forever. So sync EARLY.
5. Chafe Protection
Personally, my problem area is the old cheese-grater-between-the-thighs chafe. Yours might be the armpits or the groin or the nipples. Whatever area has the possibility of becoming rub-o-rama be sure to take the necessary precautions (e.g. compression clothing, Vaseline or baby oil and plasters on the nipples).
4. Miscellaneous Clothing
Start with the obvious: shoes, socks, underwear, shorts and top. Then think about the weather: gloves, beanie, arm warmers, compression stockings, jacket, hat (a cap to keep rain or sun off your face), discard-able layers. And finally, think about the start: poncho (if raining) or old sweater (if cold).
3. Pacing Strategy
Aside from all the gear and stuff I have talked about, this is the NUMBER ONE REASON why runners might have a measurable marathon: just by going out too fast. I can’t stress enough how important it is that you have a target time and you avoid, at all costs, going any faster than this pace during the first half of the race. At the start, if it doesn’t feel too slow, it’s probably too fast. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Hopefully we will have a nice sunny day and, if so, you’ll be accumulating 2-4 hours of sun exposure in the half and 3-7 hours exposure in the full. Imagine just lying in the sun for that long! You don’t want to be beetroot red after the race as well as unable to walk down stairs—so slop on some sunscreen.
1. To Have Fun
Most importantly, remember to have fun! It’s just running. It’s something you’ve paid to do; you have absolutely no obligation to do it. So remember to treat the race more like a party than a chore.
Meet new people along the course, dish out high fives, soak in the scenery, feel the emotion of the kapa haka performance, and let the iconic cannon fire at the start remind you that you’re joining a very special club of people who have, for months, passed up the couch for the trainers and have this morning forgone a sleep-in to be part of a very special race.
Enjoy yourself. And, remember, it’s not just a marathon; it’s a massive party for your running muscles. Let them get their groove on!
This is the final blog of a fortnightly series all about getting you trained up and raring to go for the 2016 Lion Foundation Rotorua Marathon (or half or quarter).
Looking for your next running adventure? Join the TempoFit Auckland & Queenstown Marathon training team: A16 (kicks off 1 July). See www.tempofit.co.nz for more.