The Virgin Money London Marathon takes place this Sunday, with thousands of runners hitting the roads in a bid to take on the ultimate running challenge, achieve their personal goals and raise millions for great charities across the UK.
With 26.2 miles to complete, it’s only natural that the nerves associated with running a marathon may leave you struggling to relax. However, there are a variety of tactics that experienced runners build into their routine to make sure they wake up on the day refreshed and ready to go!
The team at www.sleepypeople.com have put together top tips to help you get settled and have a great sleep ahead of the big race.…
Eat correctly the night before
Firstly, don’t have a huge meal the night before a race or go to bed on a full stomach. Many runners will carb-load beforehand, but if you are following this approach, it’s better to have your main meal at least a couple of hours before retiring. Don’t have a larger than usual dinner and avoid choices such as curry which may come back to haunt you on the day. Foods such as turkey and bananas contain calming micronutrients such as tryptophan and serotonin which can also act as powerful relaxants.
Fix the temperature in your room
Ideally, you want your bedroom to be cool to facilitate good quality, restful sleep. To enjoy deeper and more recuperative stages of the sleep cycle, you want your core body temperature to lower before bed and a stuffy or hot room prevents this from happening.
Aim for between 22-22 Celsius, and also choose bedding that allows you to stay cool. Look for natural fibres such as duck or goose down, or lighter tog duvets now that we are in spring. Several light layers are better than one heavy layer.
A warm bath before bed is a great way to help you to relax before bed as your body cools down afterwards, it will help you to achieve that all-important lower core temperature for deep sleep. Try drinking a Horlicks or similarly milky drink. However, avoid too many drinks before bed to ensure that you don’t end up needing to dash to the bathroom several times throughout the night.
Also avoid using digital devices such as mobile phones, tablets or laptops before bed. Keep the lights dimmed low and try reading, spending time with family & friends or engaging in a gentle and relaxing hobby that you enjoy. Preparing your things for the race will also help you to feel organised and remove stress for the following morning.
Packing your Marathon essentials
Run through a checklist to make sure you have everything and lay your items out so that you can pack systematically. Remember small items such as pins for your bib, spare socks, a windbreaker, snacks, drinks, maps and so forth. Another tip is to double check the weather for the race day when packing your essentials so you can prepare the necessary clothing items depending on the conditions. This preparation will allow you to have a lie-in the next day and will help to prevent your brain from going into overdrive during the night.
Get an early night
Aim for a good, solid eight hours of sleep. Add some lavender essential oil to your bath or add a few drops onto your pillow, this essential oil is a well-known relaxant. Avoid coffee in the hours leading up to bedtime, as well as other stimulants such as chocolate which also contain caffeine, albeit in lower quantities. Some gentle stretches, yoga, or meditation can also be very calming, as can listening to relaxing music or having a massage while you gently drift off. Think sleepy thoughts!