Air New Zealand Queenstown Marathon training with Matilda Rice

9 October 2018
Air New Zealand Queenstown Marathon training with Matilda Rice

Get marathon race ready with Matilda Rice

How to take on your first marathon with confidence

For ASICS Ambassador, Matilda Rice, the past year has been full of major achievements. She’s written her own book, started a food business, and to top it all off, completed the ASB Auckland Marathon and three weeks later, the NZ Sotheby's RE Half Marathon in Queenstown.

Despite her impressive back-to-back marathon achievements, the self-confessed “lazy girl” didn’t always dream of crossing the finish line. “I never had any desire whatsoever to do a marathon,” she admits.

But always one for a challenge, she figured “why not?” and signed up for both the ASB Auckland Marathon and the half marathon last year. “I figured if I’m going to do one in my life, I may as well do it when I’m in my twenties!”

The 2018 Air New Zealand Queenstown International Marathon is set to kick off in just a few weeks. To help out those taking on their first big race, we sat down with Matilda to hear about her own running journey and to find out about her go-to marathon training tips.

Matilda's top 3 marathon training tips

For Matilda, the road to the finish line wasn’t just focused on running. From training, to nutrition, to recovery, there’s a great deal that comes into marathon training – whether it’s a half for a full one.

So what are Matilda’s top 3 training tips for those embarking on their first big running event?

1. “Get a proper marathon training plan.” Matilda recommends getting your marathon training plan from a professional or someone who knows what they’re doing. “Don’t wing it!” she advises. “Make sure you schedule your training plans. Don’t procrastinate, just get them done!”

2. “Don’t forget to get LOTS of sleep when training.” This means going to bed early and prioritising your sleep, she says. “You need all the energy you can get when training for a marathon, and the body does a lot of its recovery when we're asleep.”

3. “Roll out your lower body on a foam roller.” This is essential, she tells us. “Before and after every run, roll out your whole leg (both sides, front and back). This is a great way to prevent muscle soreness and avoid injury.”

Embracing the highs and pushing through the lows

Now with a full marathon and a few half marathons under her belt, Matilda has learnt a lot from her running experience.

Her first marathon was a considerable challenge, she admits, and she experienced many unexpected setbacks along the way. What lessons has she learnt from her marathon experience?

The hardest challenge, she recalls, was running out of steam halfway through the race. “I felt fantastic for the first 21 kms, so I went faster than my usual pace. That meant I ran out of gas far earlier than the finish line. That was when my mental strength had to kick in!”

Adding to that, an unfortunate snack choice led to a particularly sticky situation. “I took bliss balls on my run, as I wanted to get natural energy. But that wasn’t a great idea. They kind of melted together and were sticky and disgusting – the last thing I felt like when I was running!”

For Matilda, the mental test was as great as the physical one. “My feet were in so much pain, and mentally I had hardly anything left.”

“The last 10kms was the hardest thing I have ever experienced, and a real struggle mentally.”

So how did she push herself across the finish line? Battling pain and exhaustion, she turned to her last bit of willpower and just focused on putting one foot in front of the other. “It just goes to show the power that the mind has over the body,” she says.

When the race was finally over, Matilda found herself overcome with a feeling of relief. “Crossing the finish line at the end was incredible,” she recalls. “It was this mixture of intense happiness and intense relief.”

“Knowing I didn’t give up and achieved something I never thought I could was the best feeling in the world.”

Matilda's go-to advice for race-day runners

The Air NZ Queenstown International Marathon is only a few weeks away and thousands of nervous runners are getting ready to take on their first major running event. So what words of wisdom does Matilda have for runners on race-day?

• “Don’t do anything new on the day. Stick to the food and drink you’ve been training with.”

• “Pace yourself! Even if you feel amazing in the first half, stick to your training pace.”

• “Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Your first marathon should only be about completing it. It’s hard to know what to expect so don’t make any time goal too strict.”

Her final piece of advice, and perhaps the most important, is to simply enjoy yourself, take in the atmosphere and feel proud of your achievement – whether that’s a full marathon, a half or a 10km.

“There's not many times in life when you break down the barriers of what you think your body is capable of,” she says. “so make the most of that feeling!”

As a proud sponsor of the Air New Zealand Queenstown International Marathon, ASICS is passionate about supporting every athlete as they embark on their running journey. Shop their range of women's running shoes, men's running shoes and new season Liberty apparel collection.

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