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6 Marathon Hacks To Help Ensure Race-Day Edge

runners under tower bridge london

Running Sunday’s London Marathon in 6 days’ time? Looking to reduce fatigue without having to try?  Wanting to increase running performance by at least 5% or more and reduce tissue damage?

With ‘tapering week’ upon us, runner and clinical pharmacist, Mike Wakeman from shares with us 6 hacks on how you can achieve all of this and ensure you put your best foot forward on October 2.

#1. Enhanced endurance and muscle function: Scientists recently declared that anyone serious about training and competition must include New Zealand blackcurrant extract5 – CurraNZ – in their supplement strategy, because of its incredible array of performance benefits.

Here’s why runners like me and so many others swear by CurraNZ.

The Magic Of Anthocyanins: The broad-spectrum benefits of blackcurrants in CurraNZ are due to their anthocyanin profile and density. These naturally-occurring plant phytochemicals are a flavonoid found in this berryfruit – and particularly abundant in New Zealand varieties.

They act as antioxidants, vasodilators and anti-inflammatories, helping to control oxidative stress and inflammation, manage blood sugar and insulin responses, increase fat burning and enhance cardiovascular function and immune defences.

Study proof: With 30+ clinical studies to date, data shows how CurraNZreduces fatigue and allows runners to run further without trying harder.

This is thanks to the berry’s widening blood vessels which allow an increase in blood flow by 45% and reduces the time it takes for muscle tissue to reoxygenate.

In one performance study, subjects improved their total running distance from 8.3% to a dramatic 37.8%, with 56% showing improvements of at least 8%.

Blood supply is vital to muscle function and performance, so CurraNZ is an effective, natural dietary hack to achieve big gains in cardiac output, vascular function, and endurance when stamina is at a premium.

Start loading on CurraNZ at least four days before the race day (seven days is ideal), using two capsules daily. On the big day, take two-three capsules before the start time.

#2. Blackcurrants lower reliance glycogen for fuelling: It’s what every runner dreads – hitting the wall at around the 18 or 20-mile mark when cramping and fatigue stop you from reaching the finish line.

Hitting the wall is when you’ve depleted the carbohydrate stored in muscles and liver for energy. Ensuring you have enough fuel to see out the last few miles is crucial to hitting the finish line.

CurraNZ is able to significantly increase the body’s reliance on fat as fuel and spare carbohydrate use by about 12% in these scenarios. Higher fat burning is associated with enhanced performance and is usually achieved from months of training adaptations. However, seven days’ loading on CurraNZ can dramatically increase your reliance on fat by up to 30%18,19,20,36, saving precious carbohydrates for the final stages of the race.

#3. Busting muscle soreness: As experienced marathoners will testify, pounding the pavement for 26.2 miles will generate a lot of post-race soreness and tissue damage. CurraNZ not only increases endurance, but helps the body recover three times faster, thanks to its blood flow, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Studies have shown CurraNZ can reduce tissue damage by 84%11 after a damaging exercise protocol, making it a great defensive strategy to aid recovery. Take two-three capsules of CurraNZ after you’ve finished the race, and again daily until the muscle soreness and fatigue have subsided.

#4. Keep your legs ticking over: Tapering is one of the most important parts of any marathon preparation, allowing for muscles to repair after months of sustained training.

It also allows muscles to restore depleted carbohydrate levels in muscle and allow the immune system and muscle strength to improve. Reducing your mileage the week before allows time for your legs to completely recover after high mileage in the lead-up.

Keep runs short – no longer than four miles – with a bit of intensity one day with a two-miler at marathon pace, with one-mile jogs either side.

Throw in some quick 100m-strides after these easy runs. It helps your body remembers what to do but isn’t tired from the volume.

Two days before the race, have a total break from running. If you feel you need to burn off some energy before the race, have a two-mile jog the day before the race.

#5. Get a massage to arrive in top shape: Have a light massage three days or more out from the race. This will help flush out toxins, increase blood flow and prime your muscles following months of continuous training.

Avoid deep-tissue massages, which can create disruptions or bruising to the muscle tissue – the aim is to ensure your muscles are fully recovered from your long runs and get your legs fresh and race-ready. Thursday before the race on Sunday is the ideal time for a pre-race massage. 

#6. Marathon dietary needs: Adhering to your normal diet in the week leading up to the race is essential and that means focusing on a good amount of carbs and protein, maintaining salt intake, but ease off any alcohol intake and keep hydrated.

Make sure you include 75gm-100gms daily of good quality protein in the final week. This will enable important repair and recovery processes to take place after months of training.

On the Marathon day, eat a good breakfast three-four hours before start time, but find the balance between fuelling and not eating too much. It’s important your body has fully digested and the energy is available for when you start the race.

Porridge and honey before the race start is a great way to fuel for the marathon. And popular pre-race snacks are a banana, or banana on toast or honey on toast.