For the 16,500 athletes taking part in the adidas Auckland marathon and half marathon tomorrow there is plenty of nervous excitement ahead of the big race. Many have trained for months to be ready for their debut while the more experienced are looking to beat their personal best or just reach the finish line. We asked a group of the elite runners for advice on how to be best prepared in the day before the event as they wait for the starter's gun in Devonport.
What is the best advice you can offer people doing the marathon or half marathon for the first time?
Danielle Ingram-Trevis (two-time Auckland half marathon champion, record holder in 73:06): Just relax and enjoy it and try not to go out at a ballistic pace. A goal time can be helpful to avoid doing this. If you have done the training you will be fine.
Rowan Walker (2012 Auckland marathon favourite): Pacing is everything. You need to be realistic in what you can achieve and not go out too fast.
Lisa Robertson (2011 Auckland marathon champion): First and foremost the whole reason we should be out there running is because we love it. Doing anything for the first time can be overwhelming but just use it as a gauge to see where you're at. Use it as a chance to reflect on ways you can improve before the next one.
It's more than just getting out there and running, its changing training and eating patterns to suit you and each race you do, you learn more about yourself and ultimately improve your performance.
Shireen Crumpton (2010 Auckland marathon champion, 2012 favourite): Do not to go out too fast, particularly in the marathon. Go out at a comfortable pace and if you are still feeling good pick up the pace from the 30km mark.
Dave Ridley: (2012 Auckland Marathon contender): Try not to rush the start. Come up with a pace plan and stick to that. Sometimes when racing you feel better when running with others, so aim to run with a group of people and let them pace you. It's a good idea to stay hydrated too.
What would you recommend as the ideal build-up (training wise) the day before a big race?
Ingram-Trevis: The day before a big race I typically just go for an easy jog the evening before and then finish my jog with a few fast relaxed strides so my legs don't forget how to move quickly.
Walker: Do very little. I always run a short and easy 20 to 30 minutes just to turn the legs over. Doing nothing is also a good option, particularly if you are not a high-mileage runner.
Robertson: A day before you are not going to get any fitter by going for a massive and hard training run. You've done the work so just a relaxing walk, jog or swim for half an hour. If possible use the day to relax so you're pumped and ready to go in the morning.
Crumpton: My ideal build-up the day before a big race would be a sleep-in, not usually achievable with a 5-year-old, then a very easy 30-minute jog followed by a leisurely breakfast. I then just relax for the rest of the day, catch up with friends and carbo-load.
Ridley: For endurance races it's really important to carbo-load the day or two prior to the race. You want to ensure your body is fuelled up and ready to go when you stand on the start line. It's also important 48 to 72 hours before to start hydrating too. Training-wise, try not to overdo it. You've hopefully done all the hard work so let your body have a few days of easy running before the race.
How do you typically prepare the morning of the event, when do you get up, what do you eat?
Ingram-Trevis: I aim to have breakfast about two hours before the race starts. This is just my normal breakfast of honey or eggs on toast and a good big glass of water. I then will have snacker bar closer to the start of the race, maybe down it on the ferry ride over.
Walker: I like to rise about two and a half hours before the start and have a coffee and a small meal of maybe toast or an energy bar.
Robertson: The boss says get up four hours before you race so you can eat and not upset your body when you start running. Race-day meal for me is a bowl of Nutri-Grain. I prefer not to eat too much though as I tend to run better on empty.
Crumpton: I get up three hours before the start time and have toast with honey or porridge and a cup of tea. I then go back to bed for another hour then have a shower and get ready. I have a cup of strong black coffee an hour before the race.
Ridley: Auckland's a little different because the event starts so early. I'd get out for an easy 15 to 20-minute run the morning of an event and use the day to fuel up. The night before will be critical to ensure I get to bed early and that I've eaten well. On the morning of marathon I'll be up around 4am so that I can have a quick bite to eat and have plenty of time to warm up for the race.