AW promotion: Here are some kit essentials for everyone courtesy of Neuff Athletic Equipment

Marathon runners have had a long wait for their racing fix since COVID began. With most of the European marathons either cancelled or delayed for the past two years, this weekend sees the return of the Berlin Marathon and Great Manchester Run, with the Virgin Money London Marathon squeezing into a packed October calendar.

Are you ready?

You’ve been waiting for months and training for miles … but are you ready?

Marathon race day essentials

At its most basic, all you need is a pair of trainers, shorts, run top and maybe a water bottle. It really can be that simple. But if you want to feel your best, and perform at your best, there are some really simple things you can do to make race-day even better. Whether you’re aiming for a medal spot, a run-club record, PB or simply to get round in one piece, here are some simple items that can make a huge difference.

Running shoes for marathon

Shoes are a very personal choice. It’s not just about style, fit or comfort. We all have our preferences for running feel, but also need to consider things like pronation (side to side rotation of the foot), heel to toe drop and other aspects of our running style, as well as the type of surface underfoot.

On Running has developed a wide range of shoes based on their patented CloudTec® technology. With a relatively flat heel-to-toe drop and cloud soles offering soft landings and explosive take-offs, you will notice the difference that Running On Clouds makes.

For the fastest urban marathons the CloudBoom Echo offers a flexible, breathable upper on an explosive Carbon Speedboard, cushioned with a double layer of Helion Superfoam CloudTec®.

For trail racing go for the CloudUltra, featuring MissionGripTM to power you up challenging terrain and a Flip Release Tool for fit adjustment on-the-go.

For a well cushioned shoe with a wider fit for longer runs, the CloudFlyer is a great choice.

For a more neutral running style on the roads go for CloudFlow, with its 6mm toe drop.

If your running club would like to try on shoes, drop Neuff a line on [email protected] and we can bring a selection of shoes and sizes direct to you to run in before you decide!

Compression gear for fresh legs

Compression is well documented to support and contain muscles during long runs, reducing fatigue, lessening impact injuries and improving blood flow to keep your legs fresher whatever the distance. 2XU are the top name in compression, offering competition-beating technology for racing and recovery.

For maximum support, we run in a combination of compression leggings with calf guards, or you can wear them separately too.

Long distance race nutrition

Maurten

Official partner to the Berlin Marathon and trusted by athletes such as Abdi Abdirahman, Eliud Kipchoge, Mary Keitany and Mo Farah, you can’t get better than Maurten. With a choice of Hydrogels or Drink Mix, Maurten’s unique formulation is palatable, easy on the stomach and delivers a smooth carbohydrate energy source of up to 80g. The unique Hydrogel formulation reduces gastric distress and improves gastric functioning by getting rid of the sloshing sugar mix of other carb-based products.

SFuels

Athletes such as ultra-runner Zach Bitter, the 100-mile world record-holder, prefer a low-carb, high-fat nutrition approach. SFuels is the market leader in LCHF nutrition, offering a range of training, racing and recovery products to support your marathon effort. Just be sure to train on LCHF so your body gets used to optimising your fat burning – if you try it on race day without preparation you won’t have your best race! The Chocolate Revival Drink is particularly delicious for a post-race boost!

SaltStick

If you are a heavy sweater, or lose a lot of sodium in your sweat, it is worth considering electrolytes, especially if race day falls on an autumn heatwave! SaltStick do a great range, from caplets to Fast Chews, which are great tasting, melt-in-the-mouth chews that don’t taste overly salty. Our favourite is the peach flavour!

HOTSHOT Sport Shot

Cramp can be the enemy of the very best athletes. Muscle cramps and soreness don’t start in your muscles; they start in your nerves. These problems happen when your motor neurons, the nerve cell that signals to the muscle, get hyper-excited and blast your muscles with repetitive and uncontrollable signals.

HOTSHOT’s proprietary formulation of all-natural ingredients goes straight to the nerve. By stimulating sensory nerves located in your mouth, oesophagus and stomach, HOTSHOT works to prevent motor neurons from misfiring. So, by downing a HOTSHOT, this fiery little bottle might save your race.

Race Belt

Most race organisers provide safety pins for race numbers, but some athletes feel more comfortable with a race belt. Not only does this avoid dragging on your run top, but it also gives you space to stash those all-important gels and bars for your race nutrition. Keep it simple!

Recovery

Plan what you will do for recovery both immediately after the event, and the next day. Feed your body well with high protein and good quality carbs. Recovery wear like 2XU’s Compression Recovery Socks and compression leggings can boost blood flow and speed up recovery, while providing much needed support to your tired muscles. A fresh pair of comfy shoes in your post-race bag will make all the difference too!

Celebrate!

It’s always worth doing a post-race review a couple of days later. Think about which parts of your plan worked, which didn’t, what went well and what you would do differently next time. There are always things to learn, whether you stormed a PB or DNF-ed.

Donate your old kit

And when you have finished … send us your pre-loved shoes and kit for redistribution through Soles4Souls. Neuff is Soles4Souls UK Partner, collecting gently used shoes and kit for resale to athletes around the world who don’t otherwise have access to good quality kit for training.