Stirling Marathon 2017 The Big Day Tip 22: From getting up to getting to the start.

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21-Apr-2017 08:43 PM

Malcolm Hector

Malcolm Hector

Posts: 59

Stirling Marathon 2017  The Big Day Tip 22:  From getting up to getting to the start.


So we’re here at last. Now we just need to stay as calm as possible but focussed on the task ahead. The good news is that you will have no difficulty in going to the toilet this morning!


So here are a few of the things I will do. I’m racing at 9 a.m. so I will be up by 5 a.m. A glass of water then a cup of tea. Slowly. Log on and check forecast and my own temperature readings.  Partial kit up and around 6 a.m, start pre-marathon mobility/warm-up routine. Breakfast - as usual - for me it’s my own special porridge- various oats, milk, raisins, olive oil, treacle,  ginger powder and a pinch of salt and two slices of wholemeal toast and marmalade to be finished by 7 a.m. plus more tea. Brush teeth. Pick up my prepared grab bag and out. No fuss; no rush!


Arrive at my  Race HQ Doune by 7:30 a.m. and transfer to race start by around 8.a.m.  


Having received my underwhelming  ‘race pack’, (apart from Liz McColgan’s straight down the middle tips) it is clear that the advantage of being at home is… overwhelming. I will arrive at the start area  by my own means, fully kitted up, race feed independent,  and wearing disposable overclothes. No buses, baggage bags or queues for me apart from the toilet which doubles up for my final brief warm up. A point of kit: the race number is of very poor quality especially when it also doubles as your timing chip. You MUST reinforce and waterproof it using either cling film or a clear plastic bag before attaching it to vest or belt. If you part company with it, you will get no result and effectively be DQed. With a combined chip and number, there is no back-up.


Arriving at the start can be un-nerving especially if it’s your first marathon. Stay calm and in control. You know what you have to do. So arrive at a time  and by means that suits  you and your race planning  NOT the race organisers. Don’t be intimidated by imperatives in bold type.  When you arrive, get a feel for the set up. First locate the toilets and gauge the queues then clock the assembly and start area…ideally bookmark where you will start or assemble.


Whatever time you arrive, you will see runners jogging around warming up. Ignore them. They are making a basic error. You will arrive with 26 miles 385 yards in your legs…keep them there until you need them.  When you have found your way around, settle down and chill and keep as dry and warm as possible. I take a crossword.


A five minute warm up will suffice with a last visit to the toilet about 15 minutes before the start. I will keep as far away from the ‘mass warm up’ as I can but still within the start area! I will strip down 5-10 minutes before the start depending on the weather. If there are predicted time marker boards I stand by the next one quicker than my target time. Part psychology this: if you stand by the correct time, nearly everyone will start too fast, go past you and possibly lure you into going with them and then messing up the crucial first mile. Go to a quicker mark, and then you will be expecting everyone to go past anyway, so you will find it easier to maintain that self-discipline and start as you wanted to. Within a few minutes, you will be at your optimal pace and position with minimal effort. Only go forward one time slot though: you don’t want to impede fellow athletes or get knocked flying. 


Next Week The Big  Day Tip 23  We’re off! The Start to mile 5
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