Whether you’re crouched on the starting line at your very first Gold Coast Airport Marathon, or a seasoned runner aiming to shave a few minutes from your best time, every athlete’s mind races on ‘The Big Day’. To question or overthink your preparation – or perceived lack thereof – is par for the course when going into battle with body and mind during a marathon.
Matt Whitehouse is the Memberships Manager at Gold Coast “Super Gym”, the Sports Super Centre in Runaway Bay, which just opened its brand new athletics track and field facility. Matt coaches the Sports Super Centre’s Running Club on both the track and road, and is a top-level runner and triathlete, having competed in many marathons and triathlons in Australia and overseas.
In this blog, Matt takes those who are relatively new to the long-distance running scene through some of the best ways to avoid some of the most common mental and physical pitfalls of their first marathon.
MW: As the final weeks literally run by in the lead up to the Gold Coast Airport Marathon, here are my Top 5 tips that will hopefully go a long way towards helping you achieve your own personal goals and, perhaps most importantly, enjoying the race.
1. Trust in the work that you have done. However long you have been in training, when you’re nearing race day, you need to assure yourself that you have already put your best foot forward in terms of preparation. The reality is any doubts you have prior to the gun going off are not going to be of any benefit to you whatsoever. When the nerves and self-doubt set in the days leading up to the event, there is nothing else that you ‘should have done’ to perform better on the day. It’s already been done!
2. Don’t change your short-term race preparation. The 24 hours leading up to the race should be treated like any other training day. You are the only one who knows what works for you, not the person you met in line while collecting your race number. This goes as far as food, sleep, activity and race day nutrition.
3. Mobility work can only benefit your body. Do yourself a favour and make friends with a foam roller, trigger ball and massage therapist. Loosening up those tight muscles and generating some much-needed blood flow goes a long way to recovering in your final training runs so you’re at your peak come race day.
4. Control what you can control and forget about the rest. When things start to get tough during the race, what can you do right then and there to make the final kilometres as easy as possible? We’ve all heard of the dreaded ‘wall’ we come up against around the 32km mark. In these moments, it’s important to not think about how much longer you have to go. Rather, you should focus on what you can do to in that moment that will make you feel better about continuing on. Everyone’s different, so before the race, have a bit of a think about what will get you over that line!
5. Enjoy the weekend. It’s one of the Gold Coast’s greatest events, so don’t forget to smile! ☺
Matt Whitehouse coaches the Sports Super Centre Running Club – an ideal way to fine-tune training in the lead up to the Gold Coast Airport Marathon. For those interested in joining his club, or training at the Sports Super Centre, call +61 7 5500 9988, visit www.sportssupercentre.com.au or email the centre.