Four weeks, 28 day, 18 runs. The Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon is just around the corner now.
I’ve trained through these last four weeks a few times now over the years, and it always seems to go the same way. It’s a mix of tiredness from running the biggest weeks of the training program, constant worrying about this little pain and that little bit of soreness, and a hope that nothing bad happens between now and race day that will scuttle all the many months of training I’ve done.
Here’s some advice if you are heading into those last four weeks too:
- Keep running: I’ve been preaching this one since the first week. You need to put in the training to be successful. Keep it up! Get those weekday runs in and continue to build the last bit of strength and endurance that will serve you so well in the last 5km of your marathon.
- Slow down a bit on your runs: Take it a bit easier on your runs and don’t push yourself to the limit. There’s not much more to gain by really pushing it, but there’s a lot to lose by training too hard. Ease back a touch overall, but use the last few kilometres of your remaining long runs to see where you are at.
- Slow down the rest of your life: Take it easy going up the stairs, lifting stuff, and whenever you are doing anything that is hard work. I’ve nearly busted my toe running up the stairs three weeks before a marathon and figured I’d thrown it all away. Slow down, be a bit more methodical and don’t do anything dumb that will jeopardize your race..
- Eat right: Take care of your body and it’ll perform better on race day. That means paying attention to the food fuel you put into it in the weeks leading up to the race. Ease back on the crap, avoid alcohol and try to enjoy good, nutritious food for a while.
- Sleep well: This gets overlooked a lot, but sleep is a big part of your performance. Make time to train, but also make time to rest and get a good night’s sleep whenever possible.
These last few weeks can be really enjoyable. You’re likely as fit and strong as you’ve ever been and the weeknight runs will feel easy. The last couple of super long Sunday runs will add to your confidence and give you a sense of what race day will bring.
Be smart, keep on running and enjoy the last four weeks until your marathon.