(Reprinted from an earlier PEI Marathon series by Doug MacEachern in 2011)
Well it is hard to believe, we are only about a week and one half away from the BMO Nesbitt Burns, PEI Marathon weekend. Today we will look at nutrition and a few important considerations for your race day running gear. But before we get started I would like to suggest that if you are not participating in the marathon weekend as a runner or walker may be you could consider joining us as a volunteer. These events could not be successful with out the help of many volunteers. If you would like to offer a few hours or a day or two of your time on marathon weekend please visit the marathon website or call Erin at marathon headquarters at 902-629-6609.
By now if you where training for the full or half marathon you may have logged as many as 500 to 900 kilometers on your running shoes. Depending on the shoe and your preferences, you should expect to get about 700 to 900 kilometers before you should think about replacing them. It is important to understand, shoes, like tires on your car, have a life span. Running on old warn out shoes can often lead to injuries. If you started out with a new pair at the beginning of your training then it is certainly time to think about replacing your shoes. Now would be the prefect time to get a new pair ready for your big day. You still have some time to put a few runs on the new shoes to break them and mold them to your feet. It would be a shame to waste all that training time by waiting until the day of your run and find out the new pair shoes just do not feel right or worse, have given you a blister or other problems. Your second most important consideration should be a good pair of socks that are designed for your activity. They may cost a little more but are well worth it especially if you are prone to blisters. Cotton socks that work fine for normal day to day activities will stretch in your running shoes and will eventually cause irritations that will lead to blisters. There are few things that will hinder your run faster than a blister on your feet and actually could cause other problems that could lead to a more lengthy injury.
While I am not a nutritionist, but there is one thing I have learned over the years while running events. The body is a very complex machine and now matter how fit or prepared we may be with our training. We need fuel to keep going. Almost every time I have a run that doesn’t go as well as planned, I can look to my nutrition and hydration or lack of, to explain the poor performance. I am convinced one of the biggest mistakes many runners make when they don’t achieve their goals in training and on race day is not giving your nutrition requirements enough focus. In a recent endurance event I attend only one third of the participants where able to complete the course. I spoke with many after the run, who where unable to finish and learned that it was not that their training that had let them down, it was the nutrition. One of the most important things we should keep in mind when training, that we are not only preparing for the race , but also preparing for the next training session, so your nutritional needs should be practiced each time out. For those planning to run the 10k, half or full marathon you may be training 5 or 6 times a week. If you are not taking in the proper amounts of nutrition, fluids and electrolytes before, during or after your run to keep our muscles fueled, we may be causing more damage to our bodies and muscles than we are good. If you are finding that you are becoming tried, listless or sore and stiff you are probably not replenishing your body with those important nutrients. An important part of your training should include understanding, preparing and a strategy for replenishing your nutrition and hydration needs. Most often a nutrition plan that works well for one may not work for another. Fortunately there are many expert sources to draw upon, nutritionists, other runners, books, websites etc. If you have not giving too muchconsideration to this topic you still have lots of time to work it out. Give it a try and I bet you will be pleasantly surprised with the results.
Good luck with the final days of your training.