Sinead Diver shares the issues she’s focusing on for her up-coming International race at The IAAF World Championship in Beijing.
The time to plan my first International race has finally arrived – I couldn’t be more excited! I’ve raced a lot domestically over the last few years and so I have my pre and post-race routine down to a tee. I know exactly how to prepare for the week leading in to a race and the night before. I know what to eat for breakfast and what to pack for snacks and drinks. And I’ve got used to my own bed, pillow and duvet. So what happens when I’m overseas in a country I’ve never been to before? I’ve got no experience of the climate, culture and food. Clearly, there are a lot more factors to consider and several issues to prepare for.
Issue 1: Climate
Probably my biggest concern is the weather. August in Beijing is going to be hot, humid and smoggy – not exactly ideal conditions for a marathon. What makes it even more unnerving is that all of my training will be done during the cold Melbourne winter. With this in mind, I need to make sure that I’m as fully prepared for a hot race as I possibly can be. This means incorporating heat training into my plan and devising an effective hydration strategy.
Issue 2: Hydration
Hydration is a biggie. If I get this wrong things could go South very quickly. It’s so important to be well hydrated for any marathon, but in hot conditions it’s essential. To prepare for this, I firstly need to measure my sweat rate and identify how much fluid and electrolytes I am likely to need during the race. Then I need to devise a plan to meet these requirements. My knowledge on this is limited so I will be enlisting the help of my doctor to develop a good strategy.
Issue 3: Food
Experimenting with food a few days before a marathon is never a good idea, so I will be keeping it as simple as possible and sticking to very basic food. Post-race, I’ll look forward to being a bit more adventurous and will experience some of the authentic local food.
Issue 4: Being separated from family
I’ll be away from my family for at least two weeks. The longest I’ve ever spent away from my sons is three nights, so this is going to be tough. There’s not a whole lot I can about it, so I’m just going to have to suck it up, line up a few people to help out my husband while I’m away, and look forward to the excitement of seeing my family post-race.
Issue 5: Racing against the best women in the world
My feelings on this vary day to day. On one hand it’s a massive honour to toe the start line with the best of the best. But on the other, it’s a little daunting. Ultimately there’s no point in worrying about the opposition. All I can do is ensure that I prepare as best I can and give it everything I’ve got on the day. I’m very fortunate to be in this position and I’m going to try and enjoy every last second of it.
Sinead Diver is competing in the Marathon event at The 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China. The race will take place on Sunday 30 August, 07:30 am local time.