The Preparation

The Race Itself

  • Make sure you have sorted out all your clothes and race number in advance the night before. If you have an early start on Sunday you don't want to be running round in a flap getting your kit together. Plan your transport and route and make sure you take into account weekend road works!
  • Eat breakfast early (at least 2 hours before the start). I usually have a bowl of porridge, a friend has scrambled eggs on brown toast. Top up with a banana or a flapjack around 30 minutes before the start of the race.
  • Aim to arrive 45 minutes before the race, allowing for logistics like baggage-drop, loo queues, getting to the start, etc.
  • Don't do anything new. This is not the time to wear new kit for the first time, or to experiment with food, drinks, gels, etc. that you have not tried in training.
  • “Dress for the second mile.” If it's cold, wear an old T-shirt over your running kit and throw it away at the start. If it's raining, a black bin-bag makes a good disposable poncho to keep you dry while waiting for the start. Don't over-dress for the run itself, you'll soon be warm enough not to need multiple layers.
  • Large plasters will save you from painful (and very unattractive) bleeding nipples, especially if the weather is cold and wet. A bit of Vaseline will protect moving parts from chafing.
  • Stick to your pace plan if you’ve got one. Don't get sucked in to going too fast at the start by the excitement of the large crowd or by the desire to overtake people to give yourself some space. If you go 10 seconds per mile too quick at the beginning it may cost you more than minute per mile towards the end. Try to run a consistent pace every mile, that way you won’t be tired out by mile 10 (it took me about 5 halves to crack this one)
  • Don't weave in and out trying to overtake - you're just adding to your distance. Be patient and the gaps will open up.
  • Know where the water stations are and plan for them. Take on a little water at each one, if it's in bottles don't feel you have to drink the lot. Do drink before you are thirsty though – if you are thirsty it’s too late.
  • All roads have a camber (i.e. a slope from one side to the other or a crest in the centre to allow drainage). Try to run on the crown of the road (i.e. the highest point of the camber) as the surface will be better and you won't feel that you're constantly battling gravity or twisting your ankles to stay straight.

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