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Preparing for the marathon. Questions and answers from the honored coach of athletics

Only 20 days left until 8th international Wizz Air Kyiv City Marathon 2017! How should you train during the last few weeks before the race? Should you keep a diet? How to overcome this challenging course? All of the important questions are answered by the champion of Europe among young men running 10 km, Honored Coach of Athletics, Master of Sports Kostiantyn Liebiediev.

Is it possible to get ready for a marathon in just one month?
Running without proper preparation is a venture. Any workload is a stress for the body, and marathon is one of the biggest challenges. Therefore, if you just begin training for the race now, you should postpone participation until next time. But you should be training now in order to give time to your body to adjust. Set small goals at first, then add a kilometer or two every week. This way marathon will not be a stress to your body but would turn into a pleasant experience.

How should I train during the last few weeks before the race?
You should reduce your workload two or three weeks prior to the race. It would be enough to have 2 or 3 training sessions a week to remain fit. It does not matter how many kilometers you run in that week, what matters is that your training is diverse. You can have temp runs from 1 to 5 km, fartlek (from 5 seconds to 7 minutes of acceleration), running uphill (on segments of 50-60 m) and downhill, jogging with heart rate of 130, long run. Such diversity does not exhaust, but fills with emotional energy instead, which is very important when you are running a long course.
Two weeks prior to the race it is important to overcome 35 km at least once. The result on this distance can help you calculate the time needed to complete a marathon. Moreover, the runners believe that a real marathon starts once you pass the 37 km mark. The last kilometers of the race are the hardest, that is why you need to understand how to properly use your energy and emotions.

It is best to train in the morning, before you have breakfast. Don’t forget to have a 15-minute warm-up. Don’t try to run at the top of your abilities. During the race your heart rate shall be around 160-170 bpm.

Which running techniques shall I use on the course?
Your running shall be natural. Your running technique is not as important as your style. You should feel comfortable.  Try to remove tension from the upper part of your body. If you can relax your cheeks, arms and shoulders, it will be much easier to run. Just the same your feet should be in a natural position. It is necessary to start the course at a slower pace and run this way for about 10-15 km, after which gradually increase the pace every five kilometers. Going uphill, try to take as small steps as possible so as not to kill your breath. On slopes it is necessary to lean forward somewhat, and it will be easier to run, and if the slope is extremely steep, it is necessary to go through it on semi-bent legs, and even slow down a bit, so as not to be injured.

Do not forget to breathe with both your nose and your mouth! If you lose your breath, it is necessary to slowly inhale through your nose and breathe it out through your mouth in order to recover it.

Should I keep a diet as I prepare for the marathon and what should I eat on the day of the race?
You should keep a diet 7 days prior to the race. For the first two days you should cut out all the carbs and eat only food rich in protein. The quantity of meals depends on how you feel, you can eat when you want. Starting on the third day, you can add complex carbohydrates. You should eat regular foods, do not eat anything exotic.

On the eve of the race it is best not to eat after 7:00 p.m.

You can skip breakfast on the day of the race. If you are very hungry, you can eat half of a banana or a small cracker. You don’t need to eat on the course, but you should definitely drink, take 3-4 sips as soon as you get thirsty. You can even pour water on yourself, it will make you feel better.

How to get properly equipped for the race?
You should have minimalistic weather-appropriate equipment. Do not overdress, you don’t need thermal underwear if the temperature is above 8°С or it is not raining. It is best to have a hat and sunglasses not to squint as you run.

As to your shoewear, you should remember to choose training shoes that would be bigger by one thumb. This way you would be comfortable running even as your feet swell.

Attach your race bib number so that you will not brush it with your arms as you run. Tie up the shoelaces on your training shoes tight, or even snap the knot with a small pin to make sure it does not come undone on the course.

What kind of rehabilitation do I need after the training and the race?
Don’t forget to do some stretching after the race. You should also get a massage and visit a sauna once a week to restore your muscles. In a couple of hours after the marathon you can already have a light running training session. In the next 2 weeks your trainings should be light, your heart rate should not go over 120 bpm as you run. Your body will be completely restored in two weeks.