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6 keys to succeed in your first 20 km

Do you want to run your first half marathon? The challenge is big ! To help you meet it, the #TEAMSTIMIUM experts provide you with 6 key points:

  • Avoid dehydration at all costs
  • Learn how to eat during exercise
  • Learn to manage your race well
  • Listen to your body
  • Anticipate and test your equipment (not just shoes)
  • Take advantage of the recovery window

Key #1: Avoid dehydration at all costs

More than a key, this is a real imperative for the runner , since the lack of hydration is one of the main causes of cramps and tendinitis, due to poorly irrigated tissues. When running, you lose between 0.5 and 2.5 liters of water per hour depending on your pace and the outside temperature. And it is estimated that a water loss equivalent to 4% of body weight results in a 20% decrease in neuromuscular efficiency. Not surprising when we know that the body is made up of 60% water and that this percentage rises to 75% when we talk about muscles.

Also note that hydration occurs in the following areas:

  • Thermoregulation of the body heated by exercise.
    To generate the energy necessary for intense muscular activity, our body produces a series of chemical reactions, which cause an increase in the temperature of our cells. Just as a computer needs a fan to prevent overheating, our body must also dissipate this heat. This is where sweating comes into play. And who says sweating says water loss. QED 😊!
  • Cellular exchanges.
    The water contained in our body allows vitamins, minerals, and other energy molecules to be transported through our cells.
  • Elimination of waste via urine.
    To facilitate this aspect, do not hesitate to supplement your classic hydration with a supply of electrolytes and vitamins, which contribute to normal acid-base metabolism, or citrulline, which is an intermediate of urea (metabolic cycle for the purification of toxic waste). These are some of the advantages of our products Stimium ® Rgn3 Clean Reload and Stimium ® Mc3

Photo Stimium® Rgn3-Reload + link to the product

Reduces fatigue / Maintains water-electrolyte and acid-base balance / Antioxidant action

Photo Stimium® Mc3 + link to the product

Reduces muscle fatigue and relieves cramps

Let us also point out that water is an excellent way to supplement your mineral intake by using appropriate drinks. Depending on the brand, these contain more or less of the following elements:

  • Calcium (bone strength),
  • Magnesium (anti-cramps, anti-fatigue),
  • Sodium (hydro-mineral balance during long-term exercise and heavy sweating)

It is considered imperative to drink when the effort lasts more than an hour . Think about it during your long workouts!

During a half-marathon, refreshment stations are provided for this purpose but it is wise to bring a water bottle so as not to be dependent on these stations and, above all, to avoid rushing there and ingesting too large quantities. of liquid which may overload the stomach.

Prefer regular absorption of small quantities, focusing on the ratio 15/15: 15ml of water every 15 minutes.

You can also enrich your water supply with squeezed citrus juice and a little salt and sugar.

Whatever happens, don't wait until you're thirsty to provide your body with the water it needs for its proper functioning!

Photo Stimium® Rgn3 Clean-Up + link to the product

Reduces fatigue / Maintains water-electrolyte and acid-base balance / Antioxidant action

Photo Stimium® Rgn3-Reload + link to the product

Reduces fatigue / Maintains water-electrolyte and acid-base balance / Antioxidant action

Key #2: Learn how to fuel yourself during exercise

In our file “how to best prepare for your marathon”, Yohan Durand explains to us that, in moving from medium to long distances, he had to learn to eat during the effort : “It may seem simple but it was really a new element for me. Eating and drinking while running, especially when the effort is intense, is not as easy as that. I tried a lot of foods before finding the ones that worked best for me. »

It is therefore important to integrate this aspect into your preparation. Take advantage of your long outings to test different products. Take notes on how you feel, the ease of ingestion and digestion, the weight and bulk of each food tested. Be careful: it would be stupid, on race day, to waste all your efforts because of bad fuel!

See supply management as a real strategy . Fill your pockets and equip your belt according to your duration objective and the stands planned by the race organization. To do this, here are several rules to follow:

  • Test your products.
    This is Yohan Durand's #1 tip: “Never show up on the big day with foods that you don't know or that are out of your ordinary. Habit is your best ally! »
  • Pack foods that are easy to digest.
    During exercise, the body has difficulty absorbing ingredients that are too heavy. Avoid foods that are too fatty, hard and take a long time to digest.
  • Travel simple and light.
    Don't burden yourself with foods that are difficult to unpack or ingest. Also avoid products that are too heavy and only take the bare minimum: you must carry each extra gram for 20 km!

Photo Stimium® Boost + link to the product

Source of energy for the muscle / Improves alertness and reduces fatigue / Contributes to normal energy metabolism / Powerful antioxidant

Photo Stimium® Pro-Nrj + link to the product

Improves performance and alertness / Reduces muscular and mental fatigue.

Finally, it is impossible to talk about refueling without (re)emphasizing the primordial importance of hydration . Think like this:

  • Energy drinks.
    They allow you to better manage your glycogen reservoir (sugar reserve contained in the liver and in the muscles) and, thus, limit the sensations of muscle fatigue.
  • On sodium intake.
    Make sure your favorite energy drink provides you with this essential mineral, which will help you maintain fluid volume in your body.
  • Don't drink too much, too quickly.
    As a reminder, it is recommended to drink small quantities, at regular intervals (15/15 rule: 15ml every 15 minutes). This also applies to refreshment stations, where it can be tempting to gulp down a cup placed on the table in one gulp.

Photo Stimium® Boost Powder + link to the product

Source of energy for the muscle / Improves alertness and reduces fatigue / Contributes to normal energy metabolism / Powerful antioxidant

If you use a belt, also remember to test it "in running condition" - therefore full, during your training. It is also recommended to wear it with the weight forward: when the weight is concentrated at the back, it tends to rotate and thus hinder movements during the race.

Key #3: Learn to manage your race well

A half marathon is also being prepared in your head! And in particular by establishing and visualizing your racing strategy in advance . In running, we generally cite two major strategic trends: the negative split and the equal split.

The negative split

It's about running the second half of the race faster than the first .

Easier said than done... Because, in general, it is at the start of the race that we feel the freshest. There is then a great temptation to push the pace a little. Temptation often reinforced when you are caught in the movement of the crowd at the start. You have to stay focused on your own race, ignoring the hundreds of other pairs of legs racing around you.

Photo Stimium® Pro-Nrj + link to the product

Improves performance and alertness / Reduces muscular and mental fatigue.

The main difficulty of the negative split is therefore to start at the right pace , a little slower than the objective. Enough to save just enough energy to pass the halfway point with good reserves and be able to restart the machine. Suffice it to say that this strategy requires excellent knowledge of your physique : you must be able to manage your running pace per kilometer to within a few seconds.

The negative split is an excellent mental aid during the race . Being able to accelerate even after 15 kilometers provides a positive feeling which is very useful when making the final efforts. It also generally allows a lot of people to come up during the second half of the race. A virtuous circle that helps achieve good performance.



The equal split

The objective here is to maintain a regular pace throughout the race .

Most long-distance running world records have been broken using the equal split strategy. It is also the “simplest” strategy to apply since it allows the runner to run at the pace to which he has become accustomed during his preparation.

Manage the particularities of the route

“Visualizing” the race course is an integral part of your strategy. It helps avoid any unpleasant surprises. Observe the starting area. You must avoid crowd movements, find your right stride, analyze your first sensations. A good knowledge of the places will allow you to better concentrate on the essentials.

Analyze the relief. If possible, locate the predicted coastlines. You will thus anticipate the moments when you will have to manage your breathing and give up a few seconds per kilometer without fear of moving away from your goal.

Key #4: Listen to your body

Mobile applications, connected watches and bracelets, heart rate monitors, training programs: today's runner is better equipped than ever to monitor the quality and intensity of their efforts. But the best barometer of your health remains your body .

Because preparing for a half marathon is not a “walk in the park”! During your workout, your body may express its “dissatisfaction” to you. Above all, listen to him!

Many factors, independent of the diligence with which you prepare, can hamper this precision machine that is your body:

  • The stress
  • A passing virus
  • Weather conditions
  • Less restful sleep than usual

Accept the idea that there are “days with” and “days without.”

Just because you slow down during a workout doesn't mean you're going to waste the days or weeks of effort that preceded it. To force is to run the risk of excess fatigue , injury, or quite simply to remove that dose of pleasure that is so essential in the quest for the final objective.

Stimium® Vital LLR + link to the product

Contributes to maintaining better physiological and mental vitality / Helps with the proper functioning of nervous, muscular, immune and vision systems

Consider a full medical checkup

If you want to avoid any unpleasant surprises, it is best to plan, before your preparation, a complete medical assessment (in addition to the traditional examination to obtain the necessary medical certificate).

In addition to ruling out any contraindication to undertaking a race as long as a half-marathon (cardiac abnormality), it also allows you to guide your diet by identifying deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals: vitamin C, magnesium, zinc...

You could even discover unsuspected origins of certain recurring pains that disrupt your training. For example, an abnormal acidity level which would make you prone to tendinitis. Or an inflammation causing certain muscular ailments that you would have attributed to temporary physical overload.

In short, a real technical check which allows you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your body!

Key #5: Anticipate and test your equipment (not just your shoes)

Above all, don't start on D-Day with a brand new pair of running shoes! As understandable as the pleasure of showing off this magnificent gift that you have given yourself with a view to this objective is, it would involve running enormous risks of discomfort, blisters, and even joint and muscle trauma.

Just as it is essential to prepare the body for this particular effort that the marathon represents, it is essential to anticipate and test the equipment you will use during the race. And that's ALL gear, not just your shoes, even though that's the essential part of your gear. Shorts, leggings, socks, top layers... It would be a shame to be disturbed by too much friction on a joint or an allergic reaction to a component of an underlay...

Also take advantage of your numerous outings to test various combinations depending on the weather conditions : this will allow you to know exactly what you need to be comfortable on the day of departure.

Also test your supplies!

Who says racing equipment also means supplies – we’ll come back to that.

As Marie-Caroline Savelieff, marathon runner and sports dietitian, explains: Food management during a competition is one of the keys to success, just like training or recovery. Calorie intake, fast or complex sugars, or even vitamin supplements play an important role in endurance races.

To do this, you need to have a “racing strategy”. Everything must be defined in advance : taking gels at such kilometers, hydration with water or exercise drink. It is essential to eat and drink before you need it. By the time you get the craving, it’s already too late…”

For this, training must serve as a test . Once your strategy has been defined and the products chosen, consume them in conditions close to those that will await you on the day of the competition. This can start with the “ sports cake ” which is consumed within two hours before a competition and which must be tested and approved during the famous long outings. The same goes for gels, gums, energy bars or exercise drinks. Tolerance must have been validated during your specific preparation .

It is not uncommon to see runners choose “new products” recommended by a friend the day before and suffer heartburn or intestinal problems during the competition which can lead to a forced stop at the toilet.

Also favor products that are light and easy to ingest , even – and especially – when your breath is a little short.

Key #6: Take advantage of the recovery window

Whether after training or at the end of your half marathon, you have a period of time during which it is essential to optimize your recovery .

Between 30 and 120 minutes after exercise , the athlete needs to take stock again,” explains Marie-Caroline Savelieff. “During this period, it has an optimal metabolic window to supply the cells with the glycogen and proteins consumed during exercise. The body then effectively captures the nutrients it needs .

Photo Stimium® [C] Whey + link to the product

Sculpt your body / Regenerate your muscles / Lose fat mass

Photo Stimium® Mc3 + link to the product

Reduces muscle fatigue and relieves cramps

Photo Stimium® BCAA Instant + link to the product

Helps with muscle development / prevents muscle catabolism / helps with recovery

So plan a carbohydrate-protein recovery ration which may include:

  • Nut
  • Almonds
  • Fruits
  • Yogurt
  • Ham
  • Cheese
  • Bread

Of course, it is also essential to rehydrate yourself . Preferably opt for water rich in bicarbonates (Saint-Yorre for example).

Photo Stimium® Rgn3 Clean-Up + link to the product

Reduces fatigue / Maintains water-electrolyte and acid-base balance / Antioxidant action

Photo Stimium® Rgn3-Reload + link to the product

Reduces fatigue / Maintains water-electrolyte and acid-base balance / Antioxidant action

Finally, do not neglect the mineral and energy intake that certain nutritional supplements can provide you.

  • Magnesium , for example, helps reduce your overall fatigue.
  • Vitamins B1, B2 and B6 participate in normal energy metabolism.
  • Vitamins C and B2 help protect cells against oxidative stress.

In addition to these six keys, don't forget (during your training and racing) to always focus on the most important aspect: pleasure! And if you gain enough from running that first 20 km, consider the next step: a first marathon.