Monday 19 August 2019

Mini Marathon tips to get you across the line

You have put in the hard work - now it is time to enjoy your big day, writes running coach Katharine Teeling

Katharine Teeling. Photo: David Conachy
Katharine Teeling. Photo: David Conachy

Just a week to go until the Women's Mini Marathon 2019. A week of clean eating, drinking and living. Some 30,000 women of all ages, shapes and sizes will be coming out to run, jog or walk the 10km event. Whatever your method to go the distance, these 10 tips can help you to cross the finish line.

Mini Marathon Week, today to Friday

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1. Lunchtime Run

This week do a lunchtime training test run. Most people do morning or evening runs so aren't used to running at the Women's Mini Marathon 2pm start time.

On your test run day, eat breakfast as normal. Instead of lunch, eat something more easily digestible about an hour-and-a-half or two hours before your run. Something to give you enough energy for running - maybe a toasted bagel or toast with butter and jam. And some fruit.

2. Course Route

Familiarise yourself with the route. It is nice to know what's around the next corner. Take note of the water station locations. Plan where supporting family and friends will be on the route so you don't miss each other. You will be overjoyed when you see one.

Mini Marathon Eve, Saturday

3. Don't Run, Do Prepare

As tempting as it may feel, don't run today. Instead, get your race gear ready. Attach your race number to your running top. Get your race bag ready. Pack a disposable rain poncho (or black bin liner) for before. A change of clothes for after.

Pack other race day essentials such as water, medication etc. Tissues for the portaloos. No explanation needed.

If you run with music, phones, watches etc charge them. For a relaxing pre-Mini Marathon evening, don't update your play list or software this evening.

4. Eat, Drink, Rest

Don't eat or drink anything that you normally wouldn't. Today isn't the day for experimenting. Drink plenty of water. Avoid too much coffee and dehydrating drinks. Get an early night.

Mini Marathon Day: Sunday

5. Pre-Race Food & Drink

Eat your breakfast as normal. Eat your pre-tested lunchtime run meal around 12pm, 12.30pm latest. Drink plenty of water. Not too much but enough to keep you hydrated.

6. Portaloos

After bag drop find the portaloos. The queues are always huge so whether you feel like going or not, start queuing. Stretch while queuing as before you know it, you will be herded to the start area where there isn't much space or time for stretching.

7. Starting Siren and Pace

Whether it's your first or tenth Mini Marathon, savour and enjoy hearing the start siren. You are finally putting in motion all that you have worked towards. And there are 30,000 people to share the moment with you.

But be careful not to trip as it's like a cattle stampede at the start! Pace yourself. It is easy to get swept up and carried away with other runners at the start.

With your adrenaline on overdrive you don't feel that you are running faster than normal. So settle in to your normal pace by 2/3km.

8. Water Stations

Whether you are thirsty or not, drink water at every water station. Even just a few sips. I've learned the hard way that if you don't, you will feel thirsty the moment it's behind you. The next water station feels like an eternity away. This doesn't bode well for the head.

Grab the water and drink while running. Especially in the later kilometres as it can be hard to start running again if you stop.

9. Keep Running

If your goal is to run the 10km, do everything in your power not to stop. Slow down considerably but keep running. Think of who you might see around the next corner. Just a small adrenaline boost can help.

Think happy thoughts - like maybe that jam doughnut at the finish line.

Think about how hard you have worked to get here. Not just today but for the past few weeks.

Think of who you are running for, be it yourself, a loved one, a charity. Or all three.

If, however, you are feeling really unwell or are in great pain by all means stop running.

10. Enjoy the Race

Take it all in. You are seeing Dublin from a whole new perspective. People of all ages, familiar and unfamiliar, lining the streets for you and the other 30,000 runners.

You will see people you haven't seen in years. An old school friend, college friend, neighbour, colleague, old flame (look at me now!). Engage with the crowd. Raise your hands passing by them. You'll get a great cheer. Let the adrenaline, atmosphere and crowd carry you along the course and before you know it you will be crossing the finish line. And experience first-hand the Women's Mini Marathon runner's high.

Katharine Teeling is the running coach and owner of Coast Road Runners - learn to run 0-5km and beyond. Contact Katharine at or

Sunday Independent

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