So, you are working on your training and getting those sessions ticked off. Hopefully at this stage you are starting to see some improvements in fitness and an increase in endurance too. Check out these helpful tips below to help with nailing down & controlling your race day pace!
The Long Run
The long run you complete each week as part of your training is a vital part of setting a good and realistic pace on race day. There are many theories out there on the best ways to run a long run and how to pace a long run but the best thing to do is to keep it simple. Things like heat, hydration & the course profile will all have parts to play on the big day.
If your goal is to run the marathon in under four hours, your long training runs need to reflect that. Therefore, doing every long run at a 4-hour 10-minute pace and expecting a miracle on race day is a recipe for disaster! The wheels will come off later in the day but there are things we can do to avoid this. Practice makes perfect, so if we look at a 20-mile-long run. Good practice here is to run easy for 8 miles with only vaguely looking at pace and running to feel and then for the remaining 12 miles of the long run, start dialing in that goal race pace.
Again, keep it simple – this will allow you to run to the 20-mile mark in training at the pace you are planning to run on race day. In long training runs people will often do the opposite – start too hard and be unable to finish correctly. In essence you are negatively splitting your long training runs – which means you run the second half faster than you ran the first half.
Hydration & Water Stops
I highly recommend you practice your hydration strategy in training and not to leave it until 6 miles into the marathon to start thinking about it.
On the day of the race there will be 10 Celtic Pure Irish Spring Water stops out on the course. That’s 10 opportunities to get some fluids in and personally, I would stick to water on race day perhaps some electrolytes the day before and the morning of but, the same general rule of thumb applies to hydration as it does to nutrition – nothing new on race day!
Looking at the SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon route you have Celtic Pure Irish Spring Water Stops at miles 3, 5, 7, 9.5, 11, 13, 16, 19, 21 & mile 24 – so there are plenty of places to keep topped up! With that in mind I would also mirror this in your long training runs. The aim is to make the long run as specific as possible. In training you can make note of these locations & consume water at the same points during the long run.
For me I find it helpful to do loops, or drop water off at certain points before a long run, but do whatever works best for you. Consuming & sipping on water at those markers in a long run will remove any guess work on race day too in Dublin.
Heat & Course Profile
The average temperature in October for the marathon will be somewhere between 12-14 degrees Celsius, maybe plus or minus one or two but it shouldn’t deviate too much from that. However, it is Ireland so expect anything! Regardless of the race day temperature – keeping tabs on your hydration is key. Hydration for running is something to look at all the time, not just the 2/3 days before the marathon! It’s easy to under consume water if the day is a little cool or even cold.
So, sip throughout the days before hand and on the morning of & be careful not to over consume either.
Things like temperature and the course profile can have an influence on your heart rate too and the overall rate of perceived effort.
Keep the consistency in your training over the next few weeks & make that longer run specific to what things will be like on race day, and as always keep enjoying the process!
Celtic Pure Irish Spring Water Ambassador Shane Finn