Elite athlete and personal trainer Kerry sutton shares her training plan
It might feel like a big leap of faith putting yourself forward for a run in an unknown country which is so very different from our own, but I urge you to embrace the opportunity. With Street Child, you will have a great team around you, and after all, who knows where this decision might lead you…
Below you will find a generic marathon plan which will take you from start to finish. I appreciate that everyone is individual, starting from different fitness levels and with different life stresses. So if you’d like further advice visit www.kerrysutton.co.uk and contact me from there.
Makeni lies at a latitude of approx 8 degrees 50 minutes north, not far above the equator and therefore not subject to highly changeable seasons. However the average high temperature in May will be in the early 30s celcius and could be more than this. In addition to the heat it will also very humid; up to 90%. The body cannot sweat efficiently in hot damp air and therefore runners will have to pay a lot of attention to fluid intake and running gear.
Shirt - Short sleeved synthetic flat seamed running top. All modern running tops are designed to be lightweight and to avoid chafing. Cotton is not recommended as it quickly gets wet with sweat and humidity making it heavy, uncomfortable and likely to chafe.
A lightweight running hat - This should have a rear nylon cloth attachment to protect the neck and help against the possibility of sunstroke. When running with your body bent slightly forwards, your neck and back of the head always suffer most from the Sun. This isn't always that noticeable at the time particularly if you are not used to such problems in a temperate climate.
Shorts - normal lightweight running shorts.
Socks - proper running socks - double skin to avoid blisters. You might want to use talc inside to help minimise blisters.
Shoes - normal running shoes. The terrain should generally not be rough enough to require off road shoes but these would be OK too. If your shoes are normally very snug, consider shoes half a size bigger, as there is a possibility of feet swelling either during the race or the days before if walking distances in the heat.
Hydration pack - we strongly suggest you carry your own water supply. There will be plentiful water supplies around the course, but we advise you take a camelback in order to have a regulated intake of water to keep you hydrated regularly and as 'required'. Water stops will have mineral water bottles and possibly electrolyte sachets of powder or ready mixed sports drinks. Mixing this in the camelback every few drink stops could work well. Alternatively, or in addition you could take a water bottle every few stops and sip on the go.
Food - don't over-eat before or during the marathon. We encourage you to take some electrolyte gels or energy bars, jelly babies or other easily digestible food on the go. You will need to bring these to Sierra Leone with you as this type of products are not available in Makeni. Whatever you do, only have small amounts and chew slowly. Essentially do nothing very different to normal. This is basically just a run; you want to drink more than normal and have access to energy foods given the conditions; that's all.