Tips for taking on the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon
By Bri Wilson
More than 11,000 people will lace up to run the 32nd annual GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon (formerly the Royal Victoria Marathon) on Sunday (Oct. 9).
The race route starts in Victoria's Inner Harbour and follows scenic city streets through Oak Bay to the Uplands and back, with stunning ocean views to enjoy along the way.
Whether you're a Victoria resident or visitor, running your first 8K road race or a seasoned marathon runner hoping to set a new personal best, here are some tips to help you shine this weekend.
Before the Race
If you're from out of town, arrive a day or two early so you can familiarize yourself with the course. You can take a bus tour of the marathon and half marathon course routes for $10, available for purchase with your registration or at the Information Kiosk at the Victoria Marathon Race Expo. The bus tours depart from the Victoria Conference Centre, 720 Douglas Street.
Another great reason to arrive early is to take in the sights, sounds and tastes of beautiful downtown Victoria BEFORE you run, while your legs and feet are still in good working condition!
If you are lucky enough to live here, run or ride your bike along a portion of the route or drive the route in your car so you know what to expect (watch for that hill around Clover Point!).
Prep your mind and body
Take time to relax before the race. Even seasoned runners get the pre-race jitters and second-guess their training! Go for a walk, attend a yoga class or do some stretches on your own.
Another great option is to get a massage before the race. A therapeutic massage can help warm up the muscles by improving circulation, preventing muscle soreness and injury.
If it's your mind that needs to relax, consider a spa massage, reflexology treatment or a facial to put yourself in a calm state of mind.
As some of you may already know, carbohydrates are an important part of a runner's diet, especially before a race. While it's best to stick to what you know before a race (i.e. don't try any new, exotic foods), give one of Victoria's amazing restaurants a try for an excellent pre-race dinner instead of hitting the grocery store.
- Have family or friends drop you off close to the starting line at Menzies and Kingston streets. If you're visiting, choose one of the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon partner hotels, which are all within walking distance of the starting line. If you have to drive, please be aware of the road closures on Sunday morning. Parking is free on Sunday.
- Get there early enough (about an hour before your race start time) to make a trip to the porta-potties before the race starts. With more than 11,000 runners, these line-ups will be long!
- Bring an old hoodie or sweater you wouldn't mind tossing as the race starts. Victoria can be chilly in the morning in October, so bring an extra layer to wear so you aren't freezing as you wait for the race to start. The extra layer you toss on the roadside when you start to warm up during the race will be donated to charity.
- Make sure you attach your race bib where it can be seen, rather than the layer of clothing you plan to remove!
- Make a check list the day before (or when you're packing your bag before you leave for Victoria) so you're not caught without your socks or your favourite gels. then go over it on race morning.
Some necessities you'll want to remember:
Gels, Powerbars, etc.
hydration belt with water/Gatorade
hat, sunglasses, hair band, arm warmers, etc.
Garmin or watch
After the Race
Refuel - If you're not heading to an early Thanksgiving dinner with your family and friends on Sunday after the race, have a hearty brunch or lunch downtown. Eat something shortly after you finish from the food table at the race, then make sure you have something more substantial at least an hour after your race to replenish your calories (especially if you've just run 42.2 km!).
Recover - Consider getting a therapeutic massage after your race to help relax tight muscles, relieve cramping and reduce recovery time. You can get a massage at the race expo or at Parkside Victoria Resort & Spa.
For more race day information, check out the marathon's official website.
- photo courtesy of GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon