Last minute tips for the oxygen-inducing London marathon
The 2012 Virgin London Marathon is set to take place this Sunday (April 22nd) in what is sure to be an oxygen-inducing run regardless of whether you are a new comer or veteran.
That is why sports scientist Ross Edgley gave Men’s Health magazine some last minute tips for the 26.2-mile run of a lifetime.
In terms of dietary needs, it was suggested runners should fuel up on carbs to boost their speed by around ten per cent, as proven by researchers at Loughborough University.
As such, it is advised that pace-busting athletes down 60 per cent of their daily calorie intake from carbohydrates, with complex carbs often the preferred option for their slow-release of energy.
Among the top recommended carbs outlined by Men’s Health was wholemeal bread, bananas, sweet potatoes, chocolate milk and quinoa, which all work to prepare the body for the extreme endurance challenge.
When it comes to vital vitamins needed for race day, there can be no underestimating the power of vegetables, irrespective of whether you are a green vegetable lover or loather.
Mr Edgley wrote: “Shovelling down as much broccoli and spinach as humanly possible is always a good idea, whether you’re a seasoned marathon man or you rarely leave the sofa.”
A recent study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise revealed that green algae spirulina can improve a runner’s resistance to exhaustion by up to 25 per cent.
As such, Dr Edgely advised London marathon participants to add five grams of the powerful algae to their water bottle on the big day.
The power of iron is not to be overlooked either as it is the protein that carries oxygen and carbon dioxide through the blood.
A study from the University of Missouri found that fuelling up on iron supplements can significantly increase men’s endurance, with some of the best natural sources for iron found in liver, beef, lentils and spinach.
Perhaps surprisingly, delicious and sweet dried apricots are also a good source of iron so there’s no need to feel guilty about downing a few rounds of the dried fruit ahead of the race.
Of course, a common problem for runners is the build of lactic acid, which can send them into searing pain at any time of the day through cramping muscles that feel ready to burst.
However, researchers at Florida Atlantic University found that increasing your intake of beta alanine for four weeks before a marathon can boost endurance while depleting lactic acid build up.
While it might be short notice to begin trying this theory out for Sunday’s marathon, it is worth keeping in mind for the next 26.2-mile challenge you feel inspired to chase after crossing the finish line.
Other tips bound to improve your chances of completing the race relatively unscathed include choosing the right clothing for the weather on the day of the race.
When it comes to clothing, experts suggest you stick to your normal habits and ensure that you are well used to your trainers, which means no flashy new runners in the last remaining weeks before the race.
All that’s left to do is cross the start line and ease into that triumphant pace for a pleasurable marathon experience.
Posted by James Worrall
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