Tips on how to prepare in the run up to a marathon

Marathon runner and Fortius Consultant Foot and Ankle Surgeon Mr Ali Abbasian shares his tips on how he prepares in the final weeks before a marathon.

Having run the Paris marathon and soon to run the London marathon, I know the importance of proper preparation. Below are some suggestions for final week preparations which have helped me.

Nutrition – fuelling your body with the right nutrients before a marathon is vital. Stick to a balanced diet and avoid foods which may upset your stomach. The week before a marathon I eat complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats. You should also make sure you hydrate throughout the day

Alcohol - although it can be tempting to have a few drinks to celebrate your forthcoming race, you should avoid alcohol in the week leading up to the marathon. As well as affecting your sleep, alcohol can dehydrate you which can negatively impact your performance on the day

Foot hygiene - looking after your feet is important during the run up to a marathon. Ensure you keep your feet clean and dry and wear clean socks every day. Using a foot cream can help to keep your feet moisturised and prevent blisters

Toenails - trimming your toenails before the marathon will stop them from rubbing against your shoes and causing discomfort. But don’t trim them too short as this can be painful

Shoes - continue to wear the shoes you’ve been training in during the final week before the marathon. New shoes can cause blisters and other foot issues. Some runners have ‘race day shoes’ which are usually lighter and more cushioned than shoes used for training. Make sure you wear your race day shoes before the race day so that they are comfortable

Last minute purchases - in the final week before the marathon, write a list of last minute items you may need, for example energy gels, electrolyte tablets and running belts. Buy these items in advance so you’re not scrambling around on race day

Make a playlist – if you like to run with music, create a playlist to keep you motivated during the marathon. Upbeat songs will boost your energy. Your playlist should be 30 minutes longer than your expected finish time

Rest and sleep – prioritise rest and sleep to allow your body to recover from training and conserve your energy for race day. Get a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep every night and have a nap if you feel tired during the day. Listen to your body and take rest days if required. Overtraining can result in injury or burnout. Give your body time to recover

Strength training and cross-training –  by incorporating strength training and cross-training into your final week preparations you can improve your performance and reduce your risk of injury. Strength training helps with your running economy, speed and endurance by targeting the muscles used in running. Cross-training, including cycling or swimming, provides a low-impact workout which maintains your cardiovascular fitness without putting extra stress on your joints. Focus on low-intensity workouts so you aren’t feeling sore or fatigued on race day. You may want to do light weightlifting, bodyweight exercises or gentle yoga

Weather – the weather can significantly affect your marathon experience. Check the forecast in the days leading up to the race and notice if there’s supposed to wind or rain. Ensure you have appropriate clothing, such as a waterproof jacket or hat. Leave yourself enough time to buy any additional clothing or gear.

These final week preparations will ensure you’re ready to tackle a marathon with confidence and ease. Good luck!

People running a marathon

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