Your final checklist for Mumbai!
By Beverly Mathews
You’ve done the work. Now relax and know you can achieve your goals at the Mumbai Marathon, the country’s most popular marathon and the season finale for many on January 18.
In recent editions, Runners For Life has shared articles to help you plan your race day strategy. Here’s a final checklist compiling the tips shared by our experts.
The taper helps your body freshen up after months of hard training which will have left you fatigued. Reduce your training volume by cutting out junk miles and getting enough rest to ensure you arrive at the start line feeling fresh. Full marathoners usually taper for two or three weeks. Half marathoners must taper for at least a week. Progressively reduce the length of your weekly long run and plan short but moderately intense workouts like tempos for the week. Keep them short and limit them to not more than two or three.
Click here for a resourceful article on helping you get through your taper and into peak shape for race day.
Keep your body conditioned with yoga, pilates or other stretches. Apart from core work, it is too late to benefit from other forms of exercises such as strength training. Rather, you will tire yourself out and risk injury.
The final few days are for building up glycogen reserves to the highest possible levels and packing in essential nutrients while keeping your digestive system healthy. Eat several small meals during the day and stay well hydrated, consuming at least 2-3 litres of water. But don’t over do the carbo-loading as you don’t want to arrive at the start line with an upset stomach. Stick to what you are familiar with. As a general guideline, eat a good mix of complex carbohydrates and proteins. Eat your heaviest meal at lunch and keep your dinner light. Eat home-cooked meals. Read here for more on carbo-loading.
Rest well and wake up early through the week
Catch as much rest as you can especially if you are not inclined to get sleep on the night before race day. If you don’t wake up early, get into the habit now so on January 18 your body is not shocked at having to wake up at 3 am – assuming you’ve slept that night. Aim to get at least seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night this week. If you cannot manage this, try and catch an afternoon nap to augment your sleep. Adequate rest is important to start fresh at the start line. This week, manage your schedule carefully limiting, if not eliminating, commitments beyond family, professional and training.
Keep your race-day gear, pouch, nutrition and race-day bag ready at least two days in advance. Don’t leave it for the final day. You don’t want to scurry around looking for missing items when you can be catching some quality shut-eye!
- Know what you are going to wear. Don’t try anything new. Have 2 sets of t-shirts, shorts/slacks, socks, shoes, sports bras, compression gear (if you use it) ready and waiting.
- Have your bib and timing chip ready.
- Have your race day nutrition ready – your water bottle, waist belt or pouch, gels or sports drinks or any other items you will carry. Fill your bottle with water and store in the fridge the previous evening and mix your drink in the morning.
- If you are prone to chaffing, ensure you have medical tape or coconut oil/Vaseline handy to apply on race day.
- Set your Garmin, if you are using one.
- Charge your mobile phone/iPod if carrying one.
- Pack the bag you will deposit at the baggage counter in advance. Useful items to include are some cash, a nail cutter, small pair of scissors, a spare set of clothes, Vaseline, bandages and medical tape, spare nutrition, and a post-race meal of your choice, which can be added in the morning if its fresh food like a sandwich.
Whether your goal is to just cross the finish line or target a personal best, make sure you finish strong, back straight, head held high and smiling for the camera. Whatever your speed, to achieve this you need to plan your pacing and nutrition.
To maximize your performance, do a good dynamic warm up of about 10-15 minutes before you start. There are plenty of resources on the net. This routine will warm and loosen you up, help you go out faster and find your rhythm more quickly.
Start the race conservatively. Don’t go all out early on. Give yourself 7-10 kilometers to find your rhythm. Then gradually up the pace; making sure you are not going out of breath. That’s a sure sign you are going too fast. If you are a newbie, don’t hesitate to include walk breaks. But it would be better to plan it out rather than just running till you are spent. It could be 15-minutes of running and five minutes walking all the way to the finish line. Go with what you are comfortable with on the basis of your training. If you cannot figure this out, trust your gut and don’t push too far beyond your comfort zone. And as you gain racing experience, you will know how to push the pace without knocking yourself out.
Take nutrition breaks regularly especially if you expect to be out running for more than 90 minutes. For most of us, our bodies hold enough glycogen to last for about two hours. So plan these breaks, but listen to your body, and have a drink when you feel like one. Even for a well-trained athlete, nutrition is key to finishing strong especially on the marathon.
If you find yourself hitting the wall, stop, walk, re-fuel. Run again when you feel better.
For more on nutrition strategy, view our article here.
Review our article on the SCMM route here. Your biggest challenge is the Peddar Road incline, which hits you in the 35th and 14th kilometers of the full and half marathon respectively. This 2.3 kilometer stretch will batter your already tired legs. Focus on maintaining your effort. Your pace will drop. But unless you have plenty of gas in the tank, avoid increasing your effort on the incline.
As soon as you finish, resist the temptation to just crash – unless you are in no condition to move, in which case move in to the medical tent just after the finish line on your left. Kick-start your recovery by walking around for about 10-15 minutes, followed by stretches to relax your body. Remember, your stretches should cover your entire body starting with your neck down to your feet as you’ve used all those muscles. Yoga asanas are particularly good. But if you are not familiar with yoga, intuitively stretch the muscles you have worked. Or pick a basic routine from the net. Later in the day, perform 30-60 minutes of (or stretches or foam rolling), which is great for accelerating your recovery. Click here for our yoga series. If you are particularly sore, schedule a deep tissue massage for two-three days later. Don’t do this on the race day itself as your muscles will be very raw.
Finish strong, celebrate and smile for the photographers as you cross the finish line! That’s where most of your Mumbai Marathon pictures will be shot. So look good! As soon as you get your timing, remember to upload it on Facebook and share your excitement with the world. And then get down to some serious partying at the holding area in Azad Maidan, where your running buddies from around the country will be congregating!