Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland

Sunday, May 27, 2007

1 week to go to the Cork City Marathon...

Now that we are in the last week before the Cork City Marathon, I thought it might be a good idea to do a quick review of the advice available on various websites.

On UK Runners World, they give the following advice for the last week...

"During the last week of your taper, things can get ugly. Two weeks ago, you ran 20 miles in a single run, but now you shouldn't even be totalling that distance in the whole week before the race. And as your mileage plummets, your worries can skyrocket. But take comfort that thousands of other marathon runners preparing to race this coming weekend are going through exactly the same thing. And take refuge in your final mission: to ensure that your body is sufficiently fuelled, hydrated, refreshed and recovered for the task.
Training Checklist - Beginning on Monday, do no runs longer than four miles. And when you do head out, remember that these jaunts are more for your head than your body, because training has little effect this week. Almost all running should be at one and a half to two minutes per mile slower than marathon goal pace - except a Tuesday two-miler at marathon goal pace, sandwiched by one-mile jogs. Again, if you want, throw in some quick 100-metre strides after one or two of your easy runs. This helps fight off the sluggish feeling that can occur during your taper. Three days before the race, run just two to three miles easy.
Two days before the race, don't run at all. On the day before the race, jog two to four miles to take the edge off your pent-up energy so you'll sleep better that night.
Nutritional Needs - “Emphasise carbohydrates more than usual in the last three days before the race,” says Tichenal. About 60 to 70 per cent of your calories should come from carbohydrate sources. Pasta, potatoes, rice, cereals and fruit are healthy choices, but even fizzy drinks and sweets do the job. It all turns into muscle glycogen. Wash all those carbs down with fluids so your energy and water levels are high on race morning. Alcoholic beverages don't count towards your fluid totals, however, and you'll need to make up for their diuretic effect by drinking extra fluids. You know you're adequately hydrated if your urine is clear or pale yellow in colour. Don't restrict the salt in your diet. Low salt intake combined with excessive hydration can lead to hyponatraemia, a rare but dangerous condition that can afflict marathon runners. Drinking energy drinks and snacking on salted pretzels will keep your sodium levels up. Don't look at the scales. Because of your fully stocked fluid and fuel stores, you're likely to gain a couple of pounds. But it's worth the weight. Having your body's energy reserves at full capacity will do more for your race than weighing a little less - and you'll lose those pounds by the finish line anyway.
Don't do anything tiring. Let the kids take the bins out. Let the dog walk himself.
Don't try anything new. No new foods, drinks or sports.
Don't cross-train, hike or bike.
Remember: during this final week, you can't under-do. You can only overdo.

From McMillan Running, they advise...

"Hydration - In the three days prior to your race, you'll need to consume 0.5-0.7 ounces of fluid per day per pound of body weight. Shoot for 75-100 ounces daily, consuming an 8 ounce glass at regular intervals. The way I do it is to set the timer function on my sports watch for 1:00:00; and, every time the alarm sounds, I drink 8 ounces.
This strategy: 1) ensures that you drink enough without having to really think about it and 2) provides constant intake instead of realizing you are behind and chugging to catch up. What the latter means is that you will not have to jump up and take a leak every 20 minutes. If you drink more water less frequently (i.e., chug a 16 ounce glass every two hours), you'll be forcing the body to "pass" on the available fluid because it cannot absorb it. If you need an analogy, it's like what a farmer wants when his crops are dry: six hours of light, steady rain that provides a gallon per square meter rather than a 15 minute downpour of the same volume that ends up washing into the lake. Stop drinking water about two (2) hours before you hit the sack to reduce the need to whiz during the night.
Carbohydrate Intake
In the two days prior to your race, you'll want to focus on carbohydrate consumption: it will be 70% of your diet. Even 5K racers need to focus on this, as training can leave the body in a carbohydrate-depleted state that may take a few days to fully re-stock. Research shows that the optimal intake is four to five grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight per day. For me, at 150 pounds, that’s 600 or so grams of carbohydrates.
NOTICE: That’s almost 2500 calories in carbohydrates alone! So, you have to be careful to not just eat more. You are changing the composition of your diet, not the quantity. You’ll need to pay attention to keeping your “bad” fat intake moderate to prevent unwanted weight gain. I recommend you keep a food diary of some sort to make sure you a) eat enough carbohydrates and b) don't over-eat. I typically eat at 7:00 AM, (9:30 AM snack), NOON, (2:30PM snack), 5:00PM, and (7:30PM snack) the days preceding a marathon. That way, I can evenly distribute the intake over the course of the day. If you try to consume the volume of carbohydrates you need at only three meals, you'll barf (or at least feel like it). Your in-between meal snacks (times in parentheses) are a good time for a shake, smoothie or some other liquid carbohydrate source. Also, stock up on healthy nutrition bars and fruits that you know will not cause you gastrointestinal problems. Bananas are usually a safe bet; plus, they have lots of good potassium.
Our rule is that in the last three days prior to a marathon, you should never get hungry. This would indicate low blood sugar and your carbohydrate stores would be used to replace this blood sugar. This is not what we want when we’re trying to store--not immediately use--carbohydrates. In the last three days, keep food with you at all times. You may get stuck in traffic or have delays in your travel to the race. This will make sure that you don’t get stuck without food. And, the same goes for fluids

......and finally, the BBC do a piece on their website called 'Analysis of a marathon runner' which compares 2 runners, one doing 2h 28m and one doing 3h 19m for a marathon. The link is

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