Five tips to help you reach the marathon finish line

Nuffield Health personal trainer and health mentor Tan Quddus provides some tips that will help you come marathon day.

The task of running a 26.2-mile stretch is a gruelling (albeit rewarding) experience, even before accounting for weather and crowds. Whether you’re running for the first time, or attempting a personal best, the following tips should help you to the finish line safely on the day.

1. Give your body fuel throughout the day 

Be sure to give your body plenty of carbohydrates on the day of the race, these should be good carbohydrates that give a slow release of energy into the body such as dried apricots, chickpeas, apples, grapefruit, wholemeal spaghetti, porridge, baked beans, peas, oranges and tomatoes.

2. Eat in advance 

On race day, try to eat a heavy meal (lunch/dinner) 2-3 hours before or a light snack 30-60 minutes before your run to allow adequate digestion time and prevent any cramps or unnecessary discomfort. Don't eat anything new the day of or the day before the race. You don’t know how your body will react, so best to play it safe by pre-planning your meals.

3. Carry ID

In the event that you have an accident while running, having some kind of identification or emergency contact details on you can make all the difference. Or fill out your personal information on the back of your bib number. If you have a health condition, make sure you carry a note about that on your person.

4. Stay hydrated

You need to drink more water before, during and after exercise to keep your heart rate and body temperature lower. Even losing a little amount of your body fluids has been shown to significantly reduce your sporting performance. After the race, have another 0.5-1 litres of water to make sure you don’t leave your body de-hydrated.

5. Warm Up/Cool Down

Cold muscles work less efficiently. It is also important to stretch out after your run, as this can help to avoid injury. A gentle static stretching routine will achieve this.

Last updated Monday 9 May 2022

First published on Friday 19 June 2015