Fuelled up: the final push

Categories: Expert guidance

In the run-up to the London marathon, resident expert baker and veteran marathon runner Beca Lyne-Pirkis shares her tips on keeping full and fuelled during training

As the big day approaches like a speeding bullet train, now’s the time to not do anything out of the ordinary. The countless hours of training, running, getting up early to squeeze in a run, getting soaked while out for a run, not having a drink on a Friday night and worrying constantly about if you’ll actually be able to run a marathon will all soon be worth it—I promise you.

You may have a few niggles and aches starting to bother you and if that means you have one or two extra rest days rather than pushing yourself too hard this close to the start line and injuring yourself, then don’t worry and enjoy the rest. Don’t fall at the last hurdle and do something silly—if you’re worried about an ache that just doesn’t seem to go away, then go and see a physio so that they can give you the correct advice and treatment.

Your job now is not to worry and definitely not to get injured, but to enjoy the build-up and countdown to race day and all that happens in the lead up to one of the world’s most exhilarating sporting events. 

A giant red dragon
You’ll need to decide what your race day kit will be and wear it out on a run to check that it’s comfortable and doesn’t just look good. Whatever you do, don’t change trainers this close to the marathon and if you’re running in fancy dress, then it’s a good idea to do a short practice run in it to see how practical it is. If you’re worried about people staring while you’re out running dressed as a giant red dragon (I know from experience), get-up and go out early one morning, then it will only be the milkman who’ll see you.

In the final week before the marathon you will be tapering your running, enabling your body to rest properly so that it will be ready for race day. You will also need to eat a good selection of carbohydrates as well as protein, fats, fruit and vegetables and drink plenty of water.

My staple pre-race day supper is always pasta with garlic bread. I know it’s nothing fancy, but it’s what I always have and I enjoy every mouthful of that meal. It’s become a ritual now—it’s a pre-race routine that gets my head and body ready for the big day.

Revolve around food
It has also become a bit of a routine having pizza for my post-race supper. During difficult sections of the marathon, I try and focus my attention away from what my body is screaming at me and concentrate on happier thoughts, which happens to always revolve around food! I fantasise about what the first mouthful of pizza will taste like, what toppings I’ll go for—something different, or stick to my usual of Italian sausage with lots of chilli and fennel? There has to be olives too. Always.

Food fuels my training and my thoughts, as well as refuelling my tired body and soothing my soul.  That post-race meal is also a huge reward for all your hard work, so choose something you really fancy, stick your feet up as they’ve carried you for 26.2 miles and enjoy every single mouthful of your supper. You deserve it, and congratulations!

Read Beca’s recipe for deep pan pizza