Last week I saw a quote. It read 'Train like an athlete, eat like a nutritionist, sleep like a baby and win like a champion'. A simple yet powerful route to get us to the finish line of the Dublin Marathon, I thought.
Continuing our marathon theme from the past two weeks, I am going to focus this week on the other important and essential strategies mentioned in this quote, aside from training.
Devising a good 'food' and 'rest' strategy in the build-up will help maximise our performance on race day. With nutrition, I can only say what works for me. Written below is my own simple plan that I use in the lead in to my own sporting ambitions including marathons. It is based on what I have learned from others and on what has worked well for me in the past. It is up to you to decide if is useful to you. We all have different ways of preparing.
As Saturday and Sunday arrive I will consciously begin to eat a little more than usual. On Saturday that means my dinner plate might contain 10pc-15pc more carbohydrates than normal and on Sunday perhaps 25pc more. It is important that I don't overdo this however.
On the morning of the race (9am start) I will eat breakfast at 6.30-6.40am where I will consume about 25-30pc more porridge than normal and a few slices of brown bread. Again, we shouldn't splurge, but given that we are about to embark on a major workout, our energy stores do need to be topped up.
A regular cup of tea will be sacrificed so as to avoid any toilet stops later. Along with consuming three/four gels and a natural energy bar during the marathon itself, I will also eat a banana about 40 minutes before the start. From 6.30am to the time I finish the race is a long period and I find this banana helps stave off any hunger pain.
In the two days before, I will drink a little bit more water than normal so as to add some extra hydration into my system. That weekend, I will also insert some extra salt rehydration into the water bottle so as to top up existing levels of salt in my body. Ten minutes before the start I will consume 200ml of a prepared energy drink and during the race itself I will continuously sip water from the bottles provided at the water stations. This includes the first station which can be so tempting to ignore.
I have a work commitment myself on the Saturday so I will travel to the expo on Sunday to pick up my race number. One important thing here is to be mindful of not staying too long. All of the time spent at the expo is time on our feet. The day before a marathon is a day when we need to stay off them as much as possible. Every particle of energy we can store will be called upon over the 26.2 miles, so I will watch this very carefully. Two hours at the expo should be more than enough. During the marathon itself, I will be quiet and will only speak when absolutely necessary. In that final mile I will be glad, as by then I will be on my last ounces of energy.
I must be one of the last remaining people in Ireland who have never viewed the RTÉ programme Love/Hate but I understand it broadcasts on Sunday nights. I plan on going to bed at 10pm. Don't forget we have an early start the next morning, so perhaps consider recording that episode.
Then you can watch it on Monday evening while you are having a celebratory 'champion's dinner'.
Gerry Duffy is a motivational speaker and endurance athlete. www.gerryduffyonline.com