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MELBOURNE MARATHON 2015: THE GAME PLAN (PART 1)

October 9, 2015

As of now we are just 9 days away from the start of the 38th Melbourne Marathon, the 3rd in which I’ve been on the start line. Many around the traps have recorded and shared with the world the tales from the training courses (roads, trails or treadmill), others including the many first timers in what is always a lengthy entrants list (the largest over the distance in Australia, even if the top end isn’t as strong as Gold Coast and Sydney) are asking questions over what should they do/wear/consume on race day. In the interests of the many who I’m sure are dying to know what I’ll be doing as a semi-experienced starter, this is a plan of attack that I’ll be trying to stick to for the event and during the run itself.

 

PRE-RACE DAY

THURSDAY-FRIDAY

Thursday morning for me will see my last training run before the event, which I’m anticipating to be a sharp 8km or 45 minute trot. Certainly at this stage running longer distances can prove to be more of a detriment, after all at this stage getting fitter for Sunday is probably not going to happen barring last minute rehab for those absolutely determined to start no matter the physical cost. A full day of work is scheduled, although I’m hoping co-workers will actually not have to rely on me to do more than required (wishful thinking I know). Then after work is completed after 10:30PM, it’s straight home to try to unwind a little prior to packing the gear for the weekend.

When I pack gear I’ll usually begin with the Sunday race gear to make sure that I’ve packed it before worrying about casual wear. Therefore the shorts, Skins and running top will all go in first, although the specific clothing won’t be determined until sometime next week. The running shoes, which I NEVER wear in the week leading up to marathons generally get packed last on top of the casual clothing. Fortunately I’ve been able to run a number of times with my new weapons which I received upon returning from Sydney last month so there shouldn’t be an issue with blistering or discomfort. With Melbourne’s climate being renowned as unpredictable (30 degrees one day, 17 the next is the norm rather than the exception) there will certainly be warm clothing included, and many will find time in the pre race baggage drop off (meaning that a clothing bag will be packed as well).

Given my flight is early in the morning to Brisbane (NOTE TO VIRGIN AUSTRALIA, LIFT YOUR GAME WITH THE WEBSITE COMPATIBILITY. YOU’LL LOSE CUSTOMERS IF THE SITE KEEPS CRASHING ON FIREFOX) it’s unlikely that I’ll be sleeping too much before boarding the plane. Don’t be too concerned though folks, I’m used to sleeping on planes anyway which is why I always select a window seat prior to even checking in. Relying on the check in for a window seat can come back to bite you, even if you are a frequent flyer. I’ll probably walk some of the way before reaching a taxi rank to save some money, plus to relieve a little nervous tension as I don’t really like waiting for rides to materialise. Given that I’ve made separate bookings for the first leg to Brisbane and the second leg to Melbourne (used my points to get to Brisbane), I’ll need to check in for the Brisbane-Melbourne flight when in Brisbane, although with a few hours up my sleeve time won’t be an issue. A little food from the Virgin Lounge in Brisbane and maybe a pre-race video rant may follow, so stay tuned!

Given that we are in Daylight Savings mode in the southern states (long may it not be introduced into Queensland, if anything we should try to encourage the southern states to stay at standard time throughout) I’m not anticipating getting to my accommodation for the weekend prior to 4PM. Last year I had some mates who had a spare room for the weekend to camp at, whilst in 2013 I had my own room and not much else. This time I’ve booked an inner city room/apartment for 3 nights knowing that there’s at least provisions to cook food rather than rely on take out. Friday Night will probably be spent watching the tube, either the Foxtel in the room or YouTube if I get really bored, plus doing some form for the weekend’s Caulfeld Cup meeting which I won’t think of attending.

SATURDAY (DAY BEFORE THE MARATHON)

I’ll need to wake up reasonably early about 8AM in order to make sure everything is done. The first step will be to find a supermarket that stocks Orange Lucozade so I can utilise the personal drinks stations on the course. Unlike in Sydney or Gold Coast, these drink stations are free for all to use as opposed to being a benefit for the elite athletes. At about 9AM I’ll head to the MCG to collect the bib. Normally I would try to enter well in advance of an event if postage of the bib is available, but given my usage of the personal drink stations to me there’s no point in getting the bib mailed out if I am going to be at the collection point prior to the event anyway.

After putting on a bet or two at about 10:30 and getting a quick bite to eat (usually Subway, but just a single meatball footlong with plenty of onions), I’ll tend to try to find a shop to buy something. Usually it’s something like fresh socks, zinc cream, a new visor or even sunglasses. At about 2PM I’ll return to the accommodation to chill for the afternoon, before a brief outing for the final pre-event meal. If there’s a pizza shop nearby I’ll probably dine on that, if not I’ll hit the supermarket for the biggest Lasagne I can find. The better performances I’ve had have come following a pre race pizza or lasagne, I’ll tend not to eat anything else until race start apart from the odd snake, chocolate bar or jelly lolly. But I’ll be mindful of keeping up the fluids, non alcoholic of course! I’ll try to get a little shut eye anywhere from 9:30-10:30 having set about 7 alarms at 15 minute intervals. Whilst I’m used to getting up early on a Sunday for work, I’ll still make sure I’ve got alarms starting at 3AM in case I sleep in.

 

IN PART 2: The Race DAY setup and Race plan

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