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12 Top Tips for Marathon Countdown

12 Top Tips for Marathon Countdown    London Marathon With the largest of the UK marathons, the London Marathon, now behind us runners can look forward to the UK’s second largest, the Edinburgh Marathon. Some 30,000 participants will be enjoying the taper period as the Scottish marathon festival looms, some four weeks away. Edinburgh Marathon has also been officially voted (by Runner’s World) as the fastest UK marathon. Apparently the course boasts an elevation drop of almost 40 metres so it’s a great race for a PB. The Edinburgh Marathon Festival 2014 is also part of a fantastic year of sporting celebrations and part of Homecoming Scotland 2014. The event on May 24 and 25 kicks off a line-up that includes the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July and golf’s 40th Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in September. The Edinburgh Marathon Festival  also boasts a half marathon, 10K, 5K, two junior races, a mascot race and the popular team relay marathon, affectionately called the Hairy Haggis Team relay.   Get ready for Edinburgh marathon   These tips apply to the taper period of any marathon. We have asked two fitness experts, Gordon Cunnningham, director and owner of Activ Tailored Fitness, and PT Oliver Jessop with OJPT for their advice in the final weeks of training prior to a marathon. Enjoy the taper: Now is not the time to panic about missed training sessions and whether your longest run was long enough. Your body needs to rest and recover so that it is in great shape for the big day. The taper period is meant to be enjoyed and while you should not stop running altogether you will be enjoying shorter runs and easier training sessions. Follow your marathon programme or coach’s advice. Body matters: At any point during the build up to a marathon it’s important that you take extra care of your physical health, paying heed to aches, pains and niggles. But as the big day approaches, this is all the more important. So, look after yourself with a regular maintenance programme of foam rolling, yoga for maintaining mobility and flexibility and sports massage treatments. DIY massage: Professional massage is a great idea but it can be costly so you can add to your body maintenance routine with self-massage treatments. Gordon Cunningham recommends The Grid or Mini Roller to work on the more specific spots relevant to your personal niggles. Check out the TriggerPoint products. Core benefits: Most runners know the benefits of a strong core for improved technique and reduced injuries. As the running distances taper during the countdown to the marathon, you will have more time to maintain core strength. Again Gordon recommends The Grid for strength (SMRTCORE). Roll good: Oliver Jessop details another helpful pre-marathon Grid exercise. Instead of the IT bands, roll the vastis lateralis. This is located in front of your IT band (towards your thigh) and is shown to be the part of the body that is vitally important for running form and stabilisation. To use the roller effectively turn your toe in while using The Grid™ to roll up and down. Sleep well: Physical and mental health is vastly improved with the recommended minimum of eight hours sleep each night. For long-distance runners, time asleep is important for aiding your body’s recovery and muscle build. In the weeks before a marathon try to ensure you sleep well and get into a good sleeping routine. Also take extra naps when you feel the need. Alarm call: With a month to go before a marathon take a look at the start time of your event. Think about race day and when you will need to get up. Try to reschedule your sleep pattern as much as possible to fit in with this “get-up” time so that your body doesn’t feel the shock of a potentially early start on race day. Feet first: Foot care is essential and something overlooked by runners. Give them the respect they deserve before taking you round the marathon course on the day. Work on different mobility exercises for the feet so you can improve the range of movement and strength. All in the mind: If you feel relaxed and upbeat about your marathon the chances are you will run better (you will certainly sleep better if you are not stressed about the event). Think about the training you have done and do not focus on the negatives, such as the run you missed six Sundays ago because aunty Bessie overstayed her welcome. There is nothing you can do about this now so don’t worry. Be prepared: In the days before the event look out all the items you will need on race day. This includes trainers, running clothes, race number, chip, anti-chafing creams, gels, energy drinks (make sure they include electrolytes, such as Nuun) etc. Do not wear brand new items and only used tried and tested gels and drinks. Know the route: If you live in or near the course, you could cycle the route to check out what you will be running in the marathon. If not, take a look at any route notes and information on the marathon website. Knowing what to expect when you are running a marathon can give you great peace of mind. On the day: Get up in good time and eat a glycogen filled breakfast two to three hours before the race start. Oliver suggests porridge with honey, banana and berries. Make sure you are properly hydrated, too. (Why not make good use of Clean Bottle?) Then Plan ahead so you know how you will get to the start of the event and arrive early. Make sure you have all your kit on and any extra in a bag. If you swear by Rock Tape for any niggles ensure it is properly fitted. Check the weather, to, so you know what to wear before the race start and during the marathon. Being prepared will help to keep you relaxed and allow you to focus on the race ahead. Good luck to all the runners in the Edinburgh marathon – and to all those taking part in other marathons in 2014.   By Fiona Russell www.fionaoutdoors.co.uk  

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