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Archive for the tag “getting sick during marathon taper”

One Final Run

Today I did the final training run before the race tomorrow. 5km very slowly wearing my new GPS watch. I felt good running, and the temperature was nice and cool (same predicted for tomorrow). My hand seemed to cope…

After I had finished I waited outside our resort to watch the 10km race pass by. I was amazed at all the different running styles, some people seem to glide past and others almost stop each step they take. I sat on the side of the road for a while until I started to feel cold then went in to have breakfast and a shower. While sitting there I noticed my hand was hurting a little and had swelled up a bit.

My hand has been a little grumpy all day, the thought crossed my mind to pop the blister, but I am not sure if that’s a good idea. I hope tomorrow it will be okay as I get quite puffy hands when I run long distance anyway. We shall see…

My running gear is laid out, my race number and gels all ready to go. All I have to do is set my wake up alarm for 5.15am and I am all set. All the training, tapering, carb loading and hydrating has been done, now it is time to do that Marathon!

Thoughts on a marathon journey

I think I have a slight cold…

This is not unusual following a race like a marathon. Apparently your immunity is lowered from excess physical exercise. While moderate exercise has been proven to help your immunity, more prolonged vigorous bouts actually lower it. This is because any exercise places your body under stress, and stress increases your levels of cortisol – not a good thing.

This last week has been interesting, I have felt quite tired and when I finally did go for a (very short) run, it felt like I was lugging around a sack of potatoes. Interestingly, over the weekend which we spent relaxing in Colville, I went for a short bike ride and that felt okay. My running muscles are obviously tired.

Anyway, I thought today I would make a list of the top 10 things that helped me on this marathon journey.

1)      Good support from family and friends – without this I would not have been able to complete the hours of training, and calmed my panicked mind, nor able to physically do the long runs.

2)      A well planned training schedule – I can’t stress the importance of getting those hours on your legs. Also you need a good running base before attempting such a long run. Your tendons and ligaments take about a year to become strong enough to handle the stresses of such a race. Sure, you can do the distance with less training, but your chances of getting injured are far greater. This becomes even more of an issue as you get older.

3)      Good nutrition and hydration throughout the whole process. During your training, during the race. Practice how you will do this during your training runs so on race day you have it all sorted.

4)      Get enough sleep.

5)      Self motivation and mind control. You need to be able to talk yourself through those last 10K of the race, and you need to be able to get yourself through your training runs. This means getting up early if needed, running in the rain and wind, even when you don’t feel like it.

6)      Good running shoes – a vitally important factor. Get your gait checked by a specialist running shop. And buy two pairs and rotate them.

7)      Get regular massages, they help to iron out any niggly bits before they grow into full blown problems. I also got regular chiropractic adjustments so do something like that as well.

8)      Don’t just run, especially if you are older. I do strength training as well to help with all the running muscles and build balance. Luckily for me, I am a personal trainer so I can set my own program, but I would highly recommend getting someone to draw up a proper program so you target the correct areas.

9)      Towards the end of your training journey, in the final four weeks, supplement your diet with anitoxidants like Vit C. I took 1000mg a day, and still got sick, but the severity was far less and I recovered a lot quicker. While I was ill, I took it three times a day!

10)   When race day comes, remember this is your race and enjoy it. Just do it the way you want, don’t get hung up on time if it is your first race. There are so many interesting things to see while running for such a long time, take time to look around and have fun. The spectators can really give you a boost along the way, and interacting with them helps to take your mind off the task at hand.

I have one final thing to add that I believe is very important. Have your post race plan in place a few weeks before, and plan your next challenge. It doesn’t have to be another marathon. So saying, I have mine and here it is:


The best laid plans of mice and marathon runners

Robert Burns wrote a poem in 1785 called Ode to a Mouse. In this poem is the following verse:

But little Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often awry,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!

Basically this means “No matter who makes a plan or how good it is, things can still happen to make the plan fall apart.”

And so they have……

On Thursday last week, Geoff started a nasty cold. By Tuesday this week I had caught it. I went for my usual run on Tuesday morning the day I encountered that silly man. The run went well, I was feeling good afterward and then by lunchtime I had started get a scratchy throat. This rapidly progressed into a sore throat and a general feeling of lethargy and miserableness. Yesterday was no better, in fact I felt even more miserable as well as extremely stressed out that I was missing another run and the race is 10 days away! The entire afternoon I tried to calm myself down and did not succeed. While the little logic that was trying to come through from my tormented mind was trying to tell me it will be okay, I will get better, these things happen, I have trained and all will be well, my emotional egg was almost overflowing and I would not see reason.

This is the worst possible place to be in, as when you are stressed your cortisol levels go up and suppress your immune system even more…..round and round the hamster goes. To top it all, last night I had the most horrendous nights sleep, on the couch (Geoff was coughing) and woke up in such a foul mood.

This led me to start thinking about the reaction I was choosing to all of this. We are totally in control of how we react to things, events, words, everything, I decided to stop then and there. I will be okay and need to concentrate on getting better and stop stressing about the runs I am missing. I will make the 42K, I have done the training and I have a strong will. And guess what…..on a positive note? Today it is dreadful weather and I have the perfect excuse! “Can’t run today, I have a cold!”

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