Kit essentials for everyone!
Marathon runners have been a long time for their racing fix ever since COVID wreaked havoc on the world. With a lot of the European marathons either cancelled or delayed over the past two years, we recently saw the return of the Berlin Marathon and Great Manchester North Run, while the Virgin London Marathon squeezes itself into a packed October calendar.
Are you ready for the Marathon Season?
You've been waiting for months and training for miles. But, do you genuinely believe you are ready for what's to come?
Marathon Race-Day Essentials
In terms of the basics, all you really need is a pair of trainers, shorts, a running top and a water bottle to keep yourself hydrated. It really can be as simple as that. However, if you want to feel your best and perform at your best, you can also do some other specific things to make race days even more rewarding. Whether you're aiming for a podium position, a run-club record, personal best, or to just get round in one piece, these are some simple items that can make a huge difference...
Running Shoes for Marathon
It's not just about style, fit or comfort when it comes to shoes... other things come into play here too! We all have our personal preferences, but we also need to consider things like pronation (side to side rotation of the foot), heel to toe drop and other elements of our running style, as well as the type of surface underfoot.
The On Running brand has developed a wide range of shoes based on their patented CloudTec® technology.
For the fastest urban marathons, the CloudBoom Echo provides a flexible, breathable upper on an explosive Carbon Speedboard, protected with a double layer of Helion Superfoam CloudTec®.
For trail racing, the CloudUltra is your best bet. It features MissionGripTM to give you that extra push on difficult terrain, as well as a Flip Release Tool for fit adjustment on the go.
For a well-cushioned shoe with a wider fit for longer runs, the CloudFlyer is a fantastic choice.
For a more neutral running style on the roads, go for the CloudFlow, with its 6mm toe drop.
Compression gear for fresh legs!
Compression is known by many for supporting and securing muscles during long runs. It's also known for reducing fatigue, lessening impact injuries and improving blood flow in the process. The 2XU brand is the top name in compression, offering competition-beating technology for both racing and recovery at the moment.
For the best support, we run in a combination of compression leggings with calf guards, or you can always wear them separately too.
Long Distance Race Nutrition
The official partner of the Berlin Marathon and trusted by hugely popular athletes including Abdi Abdirahman, Eliud Kipchoge, Mary Keitany and Mo Farah, Maurten products make sure that you continue your peak performance throughout your marathons!0
With a choice of Hydrogels or Drink Mix, Maurten's distinctive formulation is appetising, easy on the gut and provides a smooth carbohydrate energy source of up to 80g. The unique Hydrogel formulation also decreases gastric distress and increases gastric functioning by taking away the sloshing sugar mix of other carb-based products.
Athletes such as the ultra-runner Zach Bitter (the 100 mile World Record holder) tend to prefer a low-carb, high-fat nutrition approach. SFuels is the leader of the pack where LCHF nutrition is concerned, providing a series of training, racing and recovery products to aid your marathon effort. Just ensure you train on LCHF, so your body gets used to optimising your fat-burning.
Another important thing to note is if you try it on race day without any prep, it definitely won't be your best race! Personally, we think that the Chocolate Revival Drink is incredibly delicious for a post-race boost!
If you often sweat or exude a lot of sodium in your sweat, you should be thinking about electrolytes, especially if it happen to be a glorious, humid race day! SaltStick do a brilliant range, from caplets to Fast Chews, which are luscious, melt-in-the-mouth chews that don't have an extensively salty taste to them. Our favourite is the peach flavour!
HOTSHOT Sport Shot
Cramps can be the worst enemy of the very best triathletes. Muscle cramps and soreness don't start in your muscles like some people out there may believe; they actually start in your nerves. These hurdles happen when your motor neurons (the nerve cell that signals to the muscle) get hyper-excited and hit your muscles with continuous and uncontrollable signals. HOTSHOT's unique concoction of all-natural ingredients goes right to the nerve. By energising sensory nerves found in your mouth, oesophagus and stomach, HOTSHOT works to reduce the risk of motor neurons from misfiring. So, by downing a HOTSHOT, this nifty little bottle may just save your race!
A lot of race organisers give safety pins for race numbers. However, some athletes out there feel safer with a race belt. Using a race belt not only helps to avoid dragging on your run top, but it also gives you that needed space to store those highly important gels and bars for your race nutrition. Simple really is best sometimes!
Recovery for Triathletes
Make a plan for recovery, both straight after the event as well as for the next day. Properly feeding your body with high protein and good quality carbs will do a lot of good. On another note, recovery wear such as 2XU's Compression Recovery Socks and compression leggings can improve blood flow and speed up recovery, all while providing much-needed assistance to your exhausted muscles. A clean, fresh pair of comfy shoes in your post-race bag can make all the difference as well!
Don't forget to celebrate afterwards!
If you can, try and do a post-race review a couple of days after your marathon. Work out what parts of your plan worked, what didn't, and how you will approach your next marathon. There are always opportunities to learn, regardless of whether you stormed a personal best or if you never ended up finishing.