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October 13, 2015

In Part one of the game plan for my 2015 Melbourne Marathon experience (found HERE) I detailed a rough guideline of the intentions for the Friday and Saturday before the big day. This post is all about the plan for race day Sunday, the 18th of October 2015. Naturally like many plans they are subject to changes which may happen due to circumstances beyond my control. Hopefully I won’t be talking about that this time next week! Anyway, let’s try to look forward to what will happen on Sunday….



I have already set several alarms to wake me up with heaps of time on race morning. The earliest will be set at 3AM, with the last alarm set for about 4:40AM, although if I’m not awake by 4:40AM on race morning then there may be a problem (it means I’ll be needlessly rushing). Assuming I get up at close to 3:30AM I’ll more than likely chill for about half an hour probably watching Rage (a TV show which shows music videos on Australia’s ABC overnight on the weekend). I’ll probably won’t be out of bed at this stage, trying to stay off the feet as long as possible.

At about 4:15AM I’ll have a quick shower, and get changed into the layers of clothing for the trip to the MCG. The race gear will go on first, with the singlet and pinned race number going on after the nipples are bandaged. I have had troubles with rashes and bleeding in that area in the past (particularly in Canberra) and find the jumbo band aids are the best remedy. I’ll be wearing the skins on the thighs like I did in Perth as well, with the running gear over the top. A pair of trackpants will go on the legs and either a jumper or track top will go over a shirt which will cover the singlet. The excess clothing will go into bag drop, although I’m sure others will discard the excess clothing over the fences at the start line to donate for charity and the homeless.

I’ll most likely make a stop at a 7-Eleven on the way (no I’m not going to enhance the wages of the workers, sorry I couldn’t resist!) at about 4:45AM. I’ll purchase 2 bottles of Gatorade, one for consumption before the race and another after. I may also get a pack of jelly lollies or snakes, and a protein energy milk drink. The lollies are the only food I feel I can consume before a big event, although many will go for the lighter breakfast and some may not choose to eat anything. Personally, I never seem to perform well at anything I do if I eat close to an event with a preference to maintain fluid levels. Certainly I won’t be trying hot coffee in a hurry like many others try, I’d much prefer not to start a run looking for something to cool my tongue down! Perhaps that’s why this year’s City2Surf didn’t exactly finish according to script.

If all things are equal, I hope to arrive at the bowels of the MCG at the baggage drop at about 5:30AM. At this point I’ll have my iPod on (a selection of tunes I listen to pre-race can be found HERE), probably finding a spot on the concrete to sit and stretch the legs until just after 6:00AM. About that time, following a few static sitting leg stretches for the groins, calves etc, I’ll shed the excess clothing into the bag, find a worthy volunteer to trust handing my gear over to (they’re all fantastic volunteers, just had to find another word), then step outside onto the concourse outside the MCG to commence a dynamic warm up. Plenty of run throughs to stretch the legs and get the body flowing. With 40 minutes to go I’ll take a final toilet break, although I may even swap this around with the dynamic warm up if I think the lines will be excessive. The last thing I’ll do before exiting the loo is to apply the zinc cream on the nose. It’s likely I’ll be one of the few with Zinc on so at least if you’re watching on Sunday morning or looking out for the TV highlights package often shown in November/December, I’ll be reasonably easy to pick out.

The start line area is outside the Melbourne Park tennis precinct, so with about 30 minutes prior to the 7:00AM race start remaining I’ll make my way over the footbridge linking “The G” with the tennis centre. It’s likely I’ll have enough room for some lunges or leg raises to keep the legs reasonably loose. After gulping down the last of the pre-race Gatorade, I’ll make my way into the start house with about 15 minutes to go before the gun. 5 minutes later the earphones get disconnected from the iPod, and they’re tucked into my skins. In the past I’ve tucked them into the armband with the iPod but I ran with them stored in this manner in Perth with a little success so I’ll do the same again here (if I’m wearing the long sleeved skins top as I’ll be doing for Point to Pinnacle in Hobart I tuck them into the sleeve rather than the shorts). Then before I know it, the gun will go off, and the fun really begins!



I have 3 race plans for this marathon which I may or may not need to activate depending on weather (at this point it’s going to be ideal conditions), physical condition or positioning within the pack.

PLAN A: Run according to time

This plan is what I intend to use from the gun, and is broken down into 4 intermediate splits and a final goal time.

10km 0:54:00
20km 1:48:00
21km (1/2) 1:53:40
30km 2:42:00
40km 3:40:00
FINISH 3:52:00


As you can tell the plan is to stick to a schedule of 5:40km splits through the first 30km, then it will probably drop off to a slower time for the final stages to the MCG finish. Naturally if I maintain the pace throughout the 42km journey then the finish time is anticipated to be just under 3:48 which to me would be enormous not just in achievement but in course and distance PB terms (currently 3:58 from last year)

PLAN B: Stick with the pace group of 4:00

Given that they’ll be running close to a pace of 57 minutes for each 10km I may spend time with this group, particularly at the start. This was a plan I used in Canberra this year, and if it wasn’t for an unscheduled pit stop it would have been successful. Many will adopt this strategy, knowing that this is the best way home to get a decent time and they’ll get to share their journey with many like minded people. However if I drop behind the last pace group at 4:30 pace, then I know I’ll be having a really bad day.

PLAN C: Go bananas early and hope for the best

Sometimes runners get too carried away and go hell for leather not knowing the full toll until it’s too late. If I adopt this strategy then obviously the next place I’ll be headed is to the brain surgeon’s. If I try this plan then there’s every chance I’ll be ushered onto the slow runners course for those finishing outside the cut off to run the full length of the beach/esplanade/Beaconsfield Parade section of the course.


Having trained not to take fluids on too early, and figuring that there will be the charge of the light brigade for the drinks at the first few stations, I’m not likely to have any fluids until the station at 8.5km, which is a water only stop near the old Lake Oval at Albert Park. With personal drinks coming at 23.5 and 36.1km markers, I may only take a splash of water at a couple of stations between those points. My last drinks will likely come at the 39.1km station which is the second last before the finish. With a new electrolyte product being used on the day, I may likely only use that at a late race station or if I get desperate before. I don’t take any gels or food with me on course so I don’t anticipate needing any food during the run.


So there you have it, an almost detailed description of the plans before and during this year’s Melbourne Marathon. I can’t say what I’ll be doing after the event, although fluids, a massage and a big feed and probably a kip for a few hours after are all on the agenda. Let’s hope all this planning leads to success on Sunday!

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