My Marathon Day Checklist – otherwise known as the things no official would tell you about


I can’t believe it but today is the last day before the London Marathon.  I’ve been more successful with fundraising, more injured and more emotional than I could have ever imagined.  However, I already know this is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  Thank you to anyone who has supported me – you all know who you are.

I thought I’d do one last pre-race blog post to talk about the good, the bad and the ugly of essential long run items that you only know about through experience, a close female friend, and now me.  Everyone knows they need trainers and a sensibly hydration strategy.  This is more of the nitty gritty of running as a young woman.  So to kick things off..

1. Immodium

  I am delighted to say that runner’s sh1ts has never been a problem for me, and I can’t quite believe I’m sharing this on the internet, but the fact that it hasn’t been a problem is the sole reason that I believe in mind over matter…

I always take one immodium before a long run.  This is probably not advisable by doctors or healthcare professionals but it’s the honest truth about my long run preparations.  You have to be pretty good friends with someone to discuss the lurking fear of marathon day that is, “but what if I need the loo”.  This is my very unglamorous solution.

2. Eyeliner

I’m not really an advocate of wearing makeup on runs.  I won’t take it off if it’s an evening run after my day, but I won’t put it on for the sake of going running.  However, races are different.  There are cameras everywhere and what you’re doing is tough by anyone’s standard.  For me a touch of makeup on race day isn’t a point of vanity, but a little something that is just for me so I can focus on the more important things rather than how I look in a photo.

Benefit’s They’re Real eyeliner is like an eyeliner tattoo.  This bad boy doesn’t budge through mud, sweat and tears.  It’s a little expensive but it’s worth it.

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 10.03.51

3. Muscle Gel

This one isn’t especially an essential, but it’ a great thing to have in your kit bag if you can budget it in.

Mama Mio Workout Wonder is a miracle in a tube.  I love using it massage my achy legs, especially at the first sign of a niggle.  They say “Instantly cooling and revitalising with V-Tonic TM, extracts of Arnica, Horse Chestnut, Murumuru Butter, Spearmint and natural Magnesium to pep-talk your muscles, increase circulation, ease aches and inflammation and help speed up recovery.”

Again, it’s a little pricey but worth it.

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 10.07.41

4.Vaseline and No New Kit

The chafe.  Not a pleasant experience.  I’m particularly susceptible to it on my underarms.  The answer is vaseline.  Lube up girls!

Secondly, on kit that you have run in before.  The reason I say this is because I was initially going to write ‘no shorts’, but it’s so important to wear kit that you know works for your body and running style.  I shall never forget seeing a very unhappy looking marathon runner wearing a pair of shorts comings towards me as we cheered on at mile 24.  As she ran past I saw why she looked so unhappy – her thighs in her shorts had chafed so badly she had blood streaming down them.  Her determination to keep going is inspiring, but beyond that the lesson to be taken is no new kit. 

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 10.26.24

 5. Tina Turner and Taylor Swift

I’ve written before about how much I love running to music, and I can frequently be found running around my local park air drumming and singing along.

My two essential ladies are Tina Turner for The Best and Taylor Swift for pretty much her entire back catalogue, but Shake it Off in particular.

6. A splits wristband

I only recently discovered this, but if you type your goal time into this website then it provides a breakdown of the split times needed.  This is very useful for those of us who are challenged by mental arithmetic.

7. Suncream

I’ve already gone on about this before, but wear suncream!

I swear by UltraSun Sports.

8. Visualisation and Gratitude
If you’re struggling and you tell your body that you’re struggling, can’t do it and are just generally speaking a let down to your family and friends, it will listen.  Tell yourself the run is going well and remind yourself of the things that have gone well on the day and in training.  This not only makes you feel better but it brings you back into the present moment so you can focus and recognise how great you’re doing.
The simplest way for me to do this is to force myself to smile.  I inevitably end up laughing at what a grinning idiot I seem and it makes me more aware of what’s going on in the moment rather than in my head.
Good Luck to all of the other runners! This time tomorrow it will have begun!
Polly x

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