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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've posted this on Fetch and on the runnersworld forum in the past but thought (since it is the marathon season) that maybe I should post it on here too.

I went to a talk by Sonia O S one night in 2004... she was very entertaining with stories like:

- how she started running
- her secret "naughty" thoughts when she came fourth in the 1992 Olympics
- taking the drug testers to the bookshop in Kingston
- the most brutally competitive race ever - school sport's day mum's race - and it sounded like she lost it!
- why she only ever ate Sushi once.
- her first marathon - happened by accident - she found out 7 days before the run that she was going to be in Dublin the day of the race, thought "why not?", called up her coach who said "well if you're going to race it then you should probably do a long run tomorrow", then didn't actually ask the organisers until the night before... so a total of 7 days of training (including taper) - and there was a problem with her flight to Dublin from Cork (I think) so her meal the night before the race was whatever she could get in the airport cafe with an Aer Lingus voucher....
- It sounds like Sonia "hit the wall" in Dublin The last 6.2 miles were hard and the last 3 were "the hardest ever".
- On drinking alcohol - how she had her final glass of wine for the year last Friday - and then (after pressure from friends) had her other final last glass of wine for the year last Saturday

On to her hints:
1. Eating - food is so important - practice your race build up for you long runs this week!

2. It's not just carbohydrates that matter - actually complex carbohydrates are better for slow release of energy. So things like brown rice and porridge are better than white rice and normal pasta.

3. She loves her coffee (she mentioned Starbucks) but green tea is her drink in training.

4. She's heard a coffee just before the race can help boost performance - but to maximise its effect, cut out the coffee during the build up.

5. If you're running an hour or less in training then you don't really need to carry your water bottle.

6. If you're drinking sports drinks then you should try to dilute them to half strength - they are generally too sugary - you definitely should practice drinking them before the race...

7. If it's a cold day then drinking liquid straight down can cause stomach cramps - try warming it up in your mouth before you swallow...

8. Wearing gloves can really help (even if it looks odd with a t-shirt or vest on) - you can always throw the gloves away if you get too hot. If gloves are too expensive to throw away then try wearing old socks instead - they make excellent mittens!

9. Take an old t-shirt or top to wear at the start - one you can simply throw away when you need to.

10. In colder weather she's found a Nike fleece sweatband really helps keep her head warm.

11. She does some cross-training - especially when she's injured or pregnant - mainly some sessions on cross-trainer (or her ski machine), some weights and some swimming. She said her gymn routine changes all the time.

12. She does most of her training on soft ground - so the grass of Richmond Park, Bushy Park and Home Park are some of her training grounds - in Richmond Park she uses the old trails nearer the walls. There are lots of advantages to this - and she learnt the hard way getting stress fractures when she was younger.

13. When training for the 2002 NY marathon one of her mistakes was not doing any training on roads - and the NY concrete surface came as a painful shock on the day...

14. Her current pre-run stretching routine involves a jog first (no point in stretching cold muscles), then she does "active isolated stretching" - which involves repeating lots of short stretches - so 8 sets of 6-10 second stretches.

15. For stretching and for gym exercise it's important to get someone who knows what they're doing to watch you sometimes to make sure you are doing the exercise correctly - especially the slower exercises.

16. An ice bath after every run is very important! If she does 2 runs in a day then she does 2 ice baths in a day. She was very clear that she was doing ice baths long before Paula was! Some tips on the ice bath:
- You have to spend at least 10 minutes in the bath.
- The water has to be colder than tap water.
- Txt'ing is a great way to take your mind off the cold water.

17. For tapering, start 3 weeks before the marathon, keep your same training pattern (don't try extra speedwork) and just reduce the mileage by 10% and then 25% [sorry - didn't get the numbers down right her, did I?]. You can also eat a little less as you're running less...

18. Don't wear new shoes or socks in the race! Generally, Sonia wears shoes out about every 400 miles - and she normally has 2 pairs of shoes on the go at any one time - always different types as this helps strengthen her joints and prevents overuse injuries.

19. The day before the race, she tends to eat more at lunch than at dinner - but (obviously) you'll have practised this before the day!

20. When the going gets tough in the marathon, she tries to break the remaining race into shorter pieces and relates these distances back to her normal shorter runs - so with 6 miles to go she'll think about it in terms of just being 2 of one her Bushy Park runs.

21. Sleeping the night before isn't alwasy easy... A good book can help - but reading something like RW magazine is a very bad idea! Some people go to a movie and find that helps...

22. After the race, beer shandy is supposed to be a really good drink to help you recover.

23. Massage and stretching really help recovery too (and help in normal training). Swimming also helps and she's heard Yoga is excellent too.

24. When something feels sore, she stops training - she's learnt about training on injuries the hard way...

25. At the first sign of sickness, she starts consuming lemons! Lots of lemons - 6 in an afternoon?! Ginger root is also really good for avoiding sickness apparently...

26. Smile for the cameras! Remember that the photos will arrive through the post even if you don't smile!

Please don't take everything here too biblical. Remember that this is only one person's set of tips (and that I may have misheard some things)! She is a superstar but she has "only" done 2 marathons Also there are always different ways of doing things - Sonia's training regime is very very different to that from Joyce Smith's from the previous talk I went to.

419 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Greg said:
" taking the drug testers to the bookshop in Kingston"

eh? over my head, this one. Can you elaborate?
Afraid it's not that interesting... The story went something like...
- As an Olympic athlete she was frequently targetted for anti-doping tests
- This one time they turned up on a Saturday morning as she was leaving the house with her kids - off to some kids reading event
- She was in a hurry to get to the shops so they agreed to follow her into Kingston
- And so she ended up providing her pee sample in the loos in Borders bookshop.

I told you it wasn't that interesting...

Uh oh - has this forum now descended into pee and poo talk too?
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