Marathon tips for novices: 'Break the marathon down into key mile markers to keep it interesting'

Marathon tips for novices: 'Break the marathon down into key mile markers to keep it interesting'

In 2016, Alex Cox set out to complete a half marathon, duathlon or triathlon every month of the year in his fundraising drive for the MacMillan cancer charity trust. 

Then a newcomer to triathlon and half marathons, Alex banked plenty of events and didn't shirk the tough races in that brutal year, taking on the likes of Slateman extreme triathlon in the wilds of Wales. 

Here Alex provides his big-race preparation and recovery tips: 

1. Best race preparation

The afternoon before the race get all your kit laid out and double check you have everything you need. Once it’s all accounted for, pack into your race-day bag so you don't have to rush around on race morning.

Don't forget to load on CurraNZ the week leading up to the race and two hours before the start. It'll give your performance a boost and help start post-race recovery too.

 2. Best post-race recovery strategies

Start refueling after the race, ideally within 30 minutes of finishing, with a recovery shake that contains protein and carbohydrates. I personally use SIS Rego Recovery Plus. Don't forget to take some more CurraNZ and get a good quality meal inside you.

3. Setting goals in the race

You’ve done the hard work in training so it’s now time to stick to the plan you have been working up to. Pick key mile markers to break down the race into smaller chunks, I use three-mile stages to keep it interesting and seven blocks to count down is less than 21 ;) 

4. Fuelling during a race

If you are carrying your own nutrition that you’ve trained with then stick to that if you can. If not, then try to eat and drink little and often from the feed stations around the course. If you’re given a bottle at a station you can take it with you and sip from that until the next station, when you can change for something different.

 5. The 'mental game'

When the going gets tough it’s time to start chatting. You need to take your mind off the pain and chatting to people around you is a great way to block it out. If all else fails start singing!