On Saturday 4th March I was lucky enough to attend the Reebok Marathon Training Day at Sweatshop, Trump Street.
I has to leave early to get to work but I was there for most of the sessions.
Shaun Dixon : Running Coach
Running your best Marathon
- There are 35,000+ people running on marathon day but you will feel like the day is about you.
- If you get to 2.5 hours in training and you’ll be in good shape.
- It’s very rare to feel that you’ve had perfect marathon prep. So don’t panic if you feel that way.
- Marathon Mindset: You will achieve what you want to achieve. Think “This is going to be the best race of my life”. Be positive and relaxed.
- Train your body and don’t get caught up in numbers.
- Shaun training focuses on time and effort rather than pace & distance.
- General aerobic conditioning: You get this through consistent routine of steady running and your long runs. There is evidence that the pros of running over 3 hours are outweighed by the damage you could do. If you’re worried do the longer distance over 2 days so you’re running on tired n the 2nd day. Learn to hold and maintain challenging pace for prolonged periods.
- Big heart: Work on your heart through long sustained pace challenging runs.
- Powerful lungs/aerobic capacity: Increase through interval training. Do intervals once a fortnight for 1/4 to 1/2 of running time doing 3-5 minute intervals.
- Efficient movement patterns: Improve this through strength and conditioning/ speed training/ technique. Strides and hill sprints help improve communication with the brain. Aim for smooth, fast running.
- Taper: Keep your frequency and intensity – just drop about 20% each week.
- Race Day: Control the controllable. List the things that could go wrong and how to deal with it. Have a strategy and be ready for the final 3rd of the race. Remember you can only do your best in the moment you’re in. Enjoy it! You will have a bad patch….and you will get through it. Remember: Don’t worry! There are bigger things going on in the world than the marathon (surprising I know).
Renne McGregor: Nutritionist
Renee works with the GB ultra Team (impressive!).
- Think about who & what influences your food choices. Time/ Stress/ etc.
- You will see conflicting information. Be wary of where your information is from. Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist.
- Everything Renee told us is evidence based information.
- Everyone is different so, unless you see a personal nutritionist, remember the information isn’t specific for you.
Why is nutrition important for performance?
- Tailor it for your sport session. Think about what you need and why you need it. Get consistency- get results.
- For recovery you need carbs & protein together as your body won’t use protein alone for recovery.
- 24-48 hours before you’ll want carbs in your system for a long run &/or tempo. Make sure you’ve got enough energy.
- Look at your plan (including life style etc) and organise what you need & when.
- Compartmentalise your day – think about hydration and nutrition.
- Food doesn’t need to be gourmet – it just needs to be functional.
- Think about race day- where will you go for dinner the night before? Where are you staying? How will you do breakfast?
- Don’t panic if you don’t sleep well the night before- its perfectly normal. Ensure you get a good nights sleep the night before that.
- Start preparing for Sunday LSR on Friday. Keep practising it in training.
- When planning your meals think about what’s available. A slow cooker can be a great help with limited time.
- Planning your food makes sure you are eating the right things.
- Objective: Maintaining glycogen stores throughout the training week. Think about what you’ve done & how you’ll replace it.
- Don’t be afraid that sometimes you won’t get it right. If tired, rest, take a couple of days and try again.
- 2 weeks post marathon your immune system is depleted so it’s when you’re most likely to get ill/injured. So look after your body and boost your immune system with pro biotics; vitamin D; fruit & veg.
- Carbs are the only fuel used in high intensity training so you are more likely to get injured if there isn’t enough fuel in your system.
- Be mindful that if there is not enough energy in your system when training it can negatively effect your bone density over time.
- You need to get protein right throughout the day – especially if you’re an endurance runner.
- Use real food as much as possible.
- Professional athletes don’t use protein drinks as it’s hard to endure that they’re clean.
- Be mindful of choices: Nuts are high in fat; veg is high in fibre.
- Milk is carbs/protein/electrolytes and is a great combo for runners. This is the same in each type of cows milk. Soya milk is the next best option.
- Replacing protein post workout is important. If you’re next workout is 24hr+ away then you can use your next meal to replace that protein. If your next workout is under 24 hours away it becomes more important to replace as soon as possible post workout.
- If you can’t eat post marathon get in some electrolytes as quickly as possible. Try to eat little & often.
- Dairy before bed helps your body with recovery.
- Practise your race day strategy every week or 2.
- In the build up to race day change your diet so you have carbs little & often to make your body more efficient. A huge carb intake the night before can lead to problems in the race as your body doesn’t have time to process it all.
- Don’t panic if you can’t eat breakfast on race day. Many can’t due to nerves. As long as you’ve been taking on board carbs little & often you’ll be sufficiently fuelled.
- If you get nervous and drink too much before a race add some electrolytes so you’re not diluting the sodium in your body.
- Have a contingency for weather. It could be anything. Think about say loss if it’s hot.
- Practise gels/jelly babies etc. Everyone is different so find what works for you.
- 500ml of energy drink generally = 1 gel so bear in mind a drink may not be enough.
- It can be a good idea to take on caffeine before race and at last 5k.
- *Always practice*
- Try to have some rehydration & food before you celebrate with a beer.
- Getting to the start line fit & healthy is your main priority.
- The body will adapt to stimulus given time.
- Most runners get injured because their doing too much too soon
- Don’t stick your head in the sand. Be proactive & manage it.
- Do strength & conditioning. Your muscles are your best shock absorbers.
- If you miss 2 weeks because of illness don’t play catch up! You’re likely to just get il again. Continue the distances build up gradually.
- Evidence suggests that a comfy shoe is best. If you have a shoe fitted to your foot it can actually increase the injury risk.
- Listen to your body!
- Monitor how your body is responding to your training and be prepared to adjust your schedule.
- A missed session, or an easy session or two is better than a month off.
- Sharp pain or pins & needles or numbness.
- Pain that is getting worse each run.
- Pain or discomfort you feel when walking.
- Pain that has been present for two runs or more.
- Pain when you push on the bone? Stress reaction can lead to stress fractures!
The rest of the day…
I had to dash off to work at this point so I missed the presentation of the new Reebok Floatride shoe; the talk with Steve Jones and the running session.
Luckily I got to meet Steve Jones briefly before the talk so I asked him a couple of questions. His top tip for marathon runners is: the more you train the more you can enjoy it. Being undertrained can be soul destroying. He achieved the marathon World Record when he ran a 2:08 marathon in 1984; his PB is now 2:07. He didn’t run with a watch or have any idea he was on WR pace until he got to the finish line.
I have the floatride shoes and am loving them. I wore them for Barcelona Marathon in March and I will definitely be wearing them for London.
Thanks for reading x