There’s more to marathon preparation than simply clocking up the kilometres in training and with one week to go before the 2011 Witness Martizburg Marathon its time to get more specific with your logistic preparation.

There will be a record field of runners, family and supporters at this years race and with so many coming from outside the country province and district, this has to impact on the available accommodation.

If you want to save some early morning travelling and hassles with the cars then do yourself a favour and book a room in the city of choice for Saturday if not for the weekend. Who needs stresses the night before or the morning of a marathon?  The most obvious choice is to book the Imperial Hotel, which puts you in the same venue as the Pasta Party and only 400 metres from the start.

When booking let them know you are in for the marathon and request a room away from the streets, not above the bar or other function room.

I once had the ‘honour’ of inadvertently being invited to a Wedding in Amman Jordan the night before the Dead Sea 50km ultramarathon.  Kidnapped four floors below the reception it was only at 02:30 in the morning that the amplified Arabic drums halted a mere 90 minutes before time to get up for the race!

Also confirm what arrangements your hotel will make for breakfast. Not every guest will be attending the marathon, but many hosts will be happy to provide you with something to fill the stomach before you head off into the dark.

Also think about other ways you can improve your sleep the night before: Pack your own pillow as we all have our own unique smell and like a particular pillow height. Using our own pillow aids our rest and the addition of a blindfold and even earplugs from your last long haul flight may well just block out the light and noise enough to take you past the pre-race apprehension.

Another option is to take your own breakfast and to ensure you have the facilities in the room to cater for your needs:  eggs can be boiled in kettles and plates and cutlery borrowed the night before from the dinner service.

Of course not everyone will stay so close to the start. If you are coming from Durban then expect a bit of a traffic jam closer to the venue. I would allow around 90 minutes for the journey and do some pre-planning on the parking and route into Pietermaritzburg.

In addition to this planning start working on your race plan and in particular what do you require in terms of energy along the way.

There will be numerous refreshment stations and this year thanks to Honeydew the water and resources will be well cooled in refrigerated vehicles , but perhaps you need gu’s or other energy along the route. Now is the time to ensure you have sufficient or by the additional ones.

Use the web site ( to get your realistic target time, look at the route, and print out your personalized pacing plan. Study and visualize this over the week and get into the idea of how you will handle any hiccups along the route.

Then also commence your kit preparation by putting everything that you will need on a bed ready for packing. Club kit, license number (the old KZN 2010 is still valid until 28 February after the Witness Maritzburg Race) and then additional items to cater for when it is exceptionally warm or sunny and what if its raining?

Bottles for the start, along the route and perhaps even a favourite recovery drink, then don’t forget a change of clothes for after the race, and money to take the family for breakfast.

The point is that the more you do in preparation this weekend the less cluttered your mind becomes as you get closer to the race day. The last thing you need in the final days is to be rushing around trying to remember all the things you told yourself you have to remember!!!

Planning and preparation are keys to a successful race. This early focus on the event helps you to visualize your actions on the day and then the race becomes de’ja vu..  and you soon realize that all that’s left is to Just Do It !

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