StanChart Marathon 2015: Melvin Wong’s Race Day Do’s and Don’t’s

We have about two more weeks to go before the StanChart Marathon. So Melvin Wong, a national distance runner who represented Singapore in the 5,000m and the 10,000m events at the recent South East Asian Games in June, will be sharing some Do’s and Don’t’s with Prischew.com.

Melvin Wong (in black).

Melvin Wong (in black), advocates a short warm-up at the start-line.

Do not try out new things

According to Melvin Wong, 32, who had come in fourth in the 42.195km Men’s Local Category in SCMS 2014, runners should not be trying anything new at this late stage. He said, “I will not advocate injection of new training stimulus now. Everything should be planned and geared towards getting you healthy and confident on race day.”

Added Wong, a Sales Associate, “For example, don’t run a super fast workout or implement a ten-day taper just because some elite runner are doing that. Work with what you’ve planned or what is comfortable for you.”

But it is not only new training methods that you should avoid, according to Wong. In fact, your race gear should also be tried and tested. He added, “You should also not go into the race wearing new shoes or attire, hoping to run faster in them. Stick to your usual racers and wear something comfortable for the race.”

This is because wearing new running attire or shoes are likely to lead to problems such as foot corns or blisters, or even chaffing on new areas of the body.

The night before the race

And on the night before the race, Wong advised that the last thing you should do is to try out new types of cuisines or drinks – this is a sure recipe for stomach problems during the race. Instead you should have your normal dinner – with food that you are familiar with – and ensure that your body is well-hydrated too.

Do not try out new foods the night before your race. Photo by www.kic.org.uk

Do not try out new foods the night before your race.
Photo by www.kic.org.uk

Also you should ensure that all your race-day gear is neatly set aside for easy access too, on the morning of the race. This will reduce your chances of forgetting to bring something important.

Most importantly, you do not want to oversleep and miss the race. So Wong advised you to set your alarm – to give yourself sufficient time to not only wake up in good time, but also to have a decent breakfast and do the necessary pre-routine activities that you normally do prior to a workout.

On the morning of the race

Once you wake up, Wong said that you should immediately have a glass of water, followed by a sufficient breakfast. “But do not overeat or try sports drinks or gels that you have never had before,” he quickly said. This is because doing so, may lead to stomach problems during the race.

Have a sufficient breakfast - but do not overeat on the morning of your race. Photo by trainandchew.wordpress.com

Have a sufficient breakfast – but do not overeat on the morning of your race.
Photo by trainandchew.wordpress.com

Wong added, “You should also not leave the transport and logistics plan to the last minute on the race morning. Plan how to arrive at the start-line early, instead of scrambling for a cab with the aim of making it just in time for flag-off.”

At the race site

Once at the race site, Wong said that you should use some time to relax and enjoy a short warm-up. This will kick-start your muscles into motion so that you will be ready to run the race.

During the race itself

And during the race, Wong advised that it is very important to run with your mind in the first three-quarters of the race and then with your heart in the final quarter. He added, “Stick to your target pace but never get over-zealous and run faster than you should, especially in the first three-quarters of the race.”

Stick to your planned strategy during the race and don't let others influence you. Photo by www.runningforfitness.org6

Stick to your planned strategy during the race and don’t let others influence you.
Photo by www.runningforfitness.org6

Wong added, “Also, do not panic or get anxious, and you should never blindly follow other people’s pace. You should set a target plan pace and stick to it. Also do not be overly concerned about the target plans or pace of other runners.”

He pointed out that being caught in the pre-race hype and adrenaline can throw the pacing plans of even the most experienced runners, completely out of the window. So you should ensure that you do not fall into this trap.

Added Wong, “Throughout the race, stay relaxed, hydrated and confident at all times. These are definitely the things that you can control.”

Immediately after the race is over

Upon completion of the race – in order to help your body recover from the run, you should get some food and fluids into your system as fast as you can. Said the runner, “Quickly hydrate with isotonic drinks and water. Also grab some bananas or snack bars to get some food into your stomach.” Do note that this is very important – even though you may be feeling exhausted and the only thing that you may want to do is to sleep.

Bananas are a great source of post-race fuel. Photo by hdwallpapers.cat

Bananas are a great source of post-race fuel.
Photo by hdwallpapers.cat

Added Wong, “The recovery process begins when you start fuelling yourself once the race ends. Don’t wait for more than an hour to refuel your body.”

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