Marathon Tips for Race Day

Marathon Tips for Race Day

By Mackenzie Lobby,

You put in months of training, ate the right foods, and chose sleep over social engagements. This is what marathon training looks and feels like. But what about race day? Here's a bit of last-minute advice to consider before you toe the line.

Develop a race day action plan. By taking the time to prepare before the race you'll boost confidence, eliminate anxiety, and ensure optimal performance. After all, you already put in all the hard work. Don't let it go to waste with poor race day planning. Check out these tips on how to prepare the night before and the morning of the race for a successful marathon.

Plan of Action: Marathon Eve

  • Eat a good meal. Make sure this is a meal you've tried out before long runs so you know your system will react favorably. This is your last chance to get in a full meal before the start gun fires.
  • Hydrate. By hydrating the night before, you prime your system for the following day. That storage will serve you well on race morning.
  • Lay out your race clothes. Attach the timing chip to your shoe; pin the race number on your jersey; and lay out every piece of item you plan to wear or take with you on race day. The last thing you want to do on race morning is go hunting for a missing sock or wayward shoe, or even worse, discover you lost your race number.
  • Arrange transportation. Plan how you're going to get to the start line. And consider making a test run to determine how long it will take to drive, park, and get to the starting line.
  • Go to bed early. Allow for eight hours of sleep each night in the two days preceding the event. It's possible that you'll be too excited to sleep the night before the race. So, it's important to stock up on proper sleep in the days leading up to the race.
  • Visualize. After lights are out, spend a few minutes thinking about your race. See yourself at the starting line, hitting the halfway point, and crossing the finish line. Imagine how you will feel at the most difficult points in the race and how you'll subsequently respond with a positive mindset and encouraging thoughts. By planning for these occurrences, you'll be better equipped to tackle them mid-race.

Plan of Action: Race Morning

  • Get up early. The last thing you want is to oversleep and have your heart racing before you even get out the door. Set multiple alarms and set them early to ensure a calm pre-race routine.
  • Eat breakfast. In the same way that you practiced your dinner on marathon eve, you should practice your race morning breakfast. Stick with what works for you and don't change your routine the morning of the race.
  • Turn on the tunes. Whether it's in your car on the way to the race or on an iPod as you wait around for the start, music can put you in the right frame of mind to get pumped to go out and achieve your marathon goals.
  • Visualize again. Remind yourself of the runner you want to be and the goals you want to accomplish. Close your eyes and see yourself crossing the finish line.
  • Warm up. Don't forget to loosen up your legs. While you don't need to logs many miles, you should jog around and stretch to wake up your body and keep your muscles from getting cold.

What to Pack in Your Race Bag

  • Shoes and socks
  • Race number and timing chip
  • Anti-chaffing product
  • Nutrition
  • Water bottle
  • Sunglasses or visor
  • Watch
  • Extra clothing for warmth before the race