Auckland & NY Marathon food, fuel & relaxing tips – from Dr Libby, a multi-marathoner & moi

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It’s four days until the Auckland and New York Marathons and I wish everyone luck!

You’ve done all the hard training and so it’s time to relax, revive, rest, sleep well and build that energy so you can unleash it on race day! Above is a pic of me with my little fella Finn relaxing & doing some playful yoga. Finn giggled his pants off… a great way to unwind, smile and chill out!

Below are some tips from holistic health expert Dr Libby Weaver, + a runner who has done 250-plus marathons. Then there are some tips from moi – a yoga teacher and rookie marathon runner – a real runner, that is i.e. not real fast, but just really pleased with getting my butt over that finish line! I ran the Auckland Marathon last year and I’m about to take on this distance in NY (leading a blind runner through the awesome charity Achilles).

* Dr Libby says do something restorative so your stress hormones come down like Tai Chi, yoga or Pilates. If you’re relaxed, then you can put all your energy into the race. Eat whole foods and fruits and some great foods for fuelling your body leading up to a big event like avocado, coconut, organic butter, nut seeds, to name some.

* My coaches at the GetRunning club have taught me that food-wise, it’s wise to not try anything new just before the race or even mid-race. If you are interested in what other runners eat then here’s a great example. Bill Richardson, from the South Island, has done over 250-marathons and what he eats for breakfast is this awesome raw fuel (roughly 3-hours before a marathon): 1 Cup rolled Oats, with some soaked Chia Seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, a banana, walnuts, sesame seeds, cashews & brazil nuts, with natural full fat yoghurt. He recommends “have no processed sugar within an hour of your marathon!”

* I eat porridge before a race too, but a cooked version with oats, cinnamon, soaked chia seeds (this is a superfood with Omega 3 & 6 & iron and I can recommend the LifeFoods brand), and then I put almond milk and lashings of maple syrup (or muscovado sugar) on top. If I’ve got blueberries and banana then I add them into the mix too. Yum! Meanwhile during a marathon I’m loving natural sugars these days like dates and then using other fuels in the later stages of a race. Dr Libby helped her partner through a marathon once and he used maple syrup in water to fuel his run!

* If you haven’t tried meditation, then give it a whirl. It can relax your nerves and balance you. I’ve learned some beautiful meditations from yogi Erin O’Hara at Takapuna’s Golden Yogi studio and Dyana Wells, a teacher at the Kawai Purapura retreat centre on Auckland’s North Shore. I’ve also soaked up some good ones through books and on-line and adapted and come up with a blend of my own to use with my own yoga students. A sweet and soulful Savasana (rest period) is truly golden. Meditation can help you conserve your mental energy and this is absolutely required for running!

* Meanwhile, stay hydrated through the run, don’t take on fuel too late and after the race remember to refuel with protein and carbohydrates. The carbs refuel your muscles with glycogen, while the protein repairs muscles. An ice-bath is great too for those sore muscles – and I know a Royal NZ Ballet ballerina and a former rugby league great who vow this is the ultimate for your body! Of course, I also recommend some well-deserved bubbles. Celebrate your achievement with mates and wear your medal with pride. Smashing this goal is worth smiling about… x x

Follow Rachel on twitter too @RachelGrunwell

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