* Training. It’s a bit late now to talk of preparation, but if you are not fit enough think carefully about how to approach the run on the day. Even seasoned athletes build up over a long time, not doing too much or going too quickly early on, but using a programme to arrive at the marathon prepared and confident. Most reduce their activity immediately before, the work should be done by then. When you do train, don’t forget the vital warming up and cooling down periods. And stretching. As your muscles tone up they shorten slightly, and need to be stretched to help prevent cramp when running.
* Don’t get too carried away. You know the time you can achieve, stick to that and don’t be drawn along by the crowd. It’s OK to walk at times, and a good idea to mentally divide the distance into sections and treat each as a separate target. And was the gorilla suit really such a good idea?
* Good hydration is vital. There are plenty of water stations on the way, use them. Have breakfast an hour or more before you start and top up your carbohydrates as you go. The ‘wall’ can come suddenly and unexpectedly, and is often related to low energy and fluid levels. You will burn roughly 4,000 calories in a marathon, this needs to be replenished during and immediately after the race. Loading with carbohydrates in the two or three days before the race is important, as is the use of running gels on the day.
* Good footwear is essential. Not brand new of course, but sufficiently padded to help assist some of the impact of 26 miles of roads. If you do buy shoes specifically for the event remember to wear them in slowly well in advance. The stresses through the lower limbs are proportional to your body weight, but multiplied significantly by the impact of running. Being overweight obviously increases the stress on your hips, knees and ankle joints and the cushioning in your shoes is an important protection.
* Manage those niggling injuries. Even with the best preparation injuries can persist, or old ones reactivated. A massage can do wonders for aching muscles. If pains persist you should consider specialist treatments such as AposTherapy, proven to help problems of knees and other lower limb joints, and even arrest the progression of arthritis. It does this by analysing your gait and uses chartered physiotherapists to asses you and fit your with a bespoke biomechanic footworn device which you wear for just 30minute to an hour a day to help alleviate the pain and improve your mobility long-term. And of course you should consult your doctor if you are not improving.