Some of our most experienced team captains give their advice on how to prepare for, survive and get the most out of the ultimate footballing experience.
Ganesh Jillah – Captain Smack My Pitch Up, 10 Football Marathons
Mark Lomas – Captain Bayer Adrink, 10 Football Marathons
Tom Colborne – Captain Hardly Athletic, 26 Football Marathons
DON’T GO OUT THE NIGHT BEFORE.
“Pipe down granddad,” I hear many of you lamenting, but honestly getting battered on Friday night will not help you at all. It isn’t like playing a Sunday League game on a hangover, it’s an endurance event; would you ever sink 10 pints the night before doing a Triathlon?! Have a big bowl of pasta the night before and a quiet night in.
Have an Early Night – Seriously – be in bed by 10 – Watch an positive movie to get you in the mood (not that kind of mood) – Rocky usually helps!
No Alcohol – Honestly, your body will thank you around 10am
Big pasta meal at dinner time!
Pack your bag the night before, have your journey planned then eat (pasta) and drink (water) as much as you can. Every minute of sleep will be hugely appreciated so turn in early and have a large bowl of porridge in the morning.
Apply Vaseline to any bits of you that you’re particularly fond of – chafing is a number one concern. Inner thighs, soles of feet and nether regions are high risk. Wear your most comfortable pants.
What To Bring
Sun cream. If it’s a hot one, don’t think one layer of the white stuff is going to keep you protected all day. It may mix with sweat and really bloody sting your eyes, but keep topping up. You’ll be sore enough without adding sunburn to a list of ills. Dioralyte (plus loads of water) is also a must to help stave off dehydration, cramp and sun stroke.
Make Sure the following are in your kit bag:
- Deep Heat/ Cold Freeze*
Bring a big cool bag with lots of ICE, which should contain:
- Jelly Babies/Jaffa cakes
- Lots of fruit (Bananas a must – the more ripe the better), Pears, Apples, Oranges. For the more adventurous out there, try fresh pineapple with a little salt rubbed on the outside
- Pasta and lots of it!
- Secret Weapon, Coconut Water, you’ll thank me for this at 8pm
My advice is to bring and eat as much proper food as possible. I tend to feel sick when I run out of calories which means I end up in an endless spiral of eating Haribo, getting a temporary sugar high, crashing and then repeating. If you make yourself eat actual food (by which I mean sandwiches, flapjacks, cereal bars, bananas) rather than just relying on Lucozade and jelly babies you will play and feel much better for longer.
1) For the love of god, pace yourself! Yes it feels good to get a run of wins together and get some goals under your belt but it will be to your detriment when fatigue and injuries set in.
2) Until the knockout stages, if you are ever 2-0 down or 2-0 up, STOP running. There have been some memorable comebacks in Football Marathon history but considering the relatively short length of matches, and sheer volume, it is not worth the extra energy to chase games, or turn the screw and score extra goals.
3) Give your keeper a run outfield. Everyone else hates going in goal, but it’s a good way to rest up and share the burden.
- Good 15mins worth of stretching – 20 mins if you’re 35 and over.
- Don’t go all out before midday – It’s a marathon, not a sprint (Literally)
- Play a 1-4-1 formation – This will conserve more energy than you can imagine – might be boring but when you’re in the semis – you’ll thank me
- LET THE BALL DO THE WORK
- Bring some supporters along – this really does make a difference
- Just enjoy the day for what it is – A kick-around with your mates, whilst doing a little bit of good in this big bad world
Don’t have your substitutes stood in the sun doing keepy-ups at the side of the pitch. Being a sub is one of the very few chances to hydrate, eat and rest. If you can, find some shade near the pitch and sit/lie down with some key supplies. I’d even recommend leaving one or both of your subs at base camp to get some rest if your starting 6 are in reasonably good nick.