Whether you have run several marathons in the past or none, there is always nervousness, anticipation and fear of screwing up prior to the race. Everything from the weather to the food you eat makes you nervous. You aren’t sure about what you should be doing, eating or wearing. What the heck is up with that?!
The good news is that this nervousness isn’t there because your brain wants you to lose; it’s there because it wants you to do your best! So if you’re stuck at home thinking what you should be doing before your marathon race, try following these tips:
Avoid doing anything new
This applies to everything before the race. Don’t prepare for a race you’ve never run. In fact, pretend that the actual race is just another one of your marathon training days.
Don’t buy new shoes or clothes right before the race – use the same ones you used while training. Definitely do not eat anything unusual! Stick to foods that work best for you during your runs because some foods may cause tummy troubles during the race.
So, if your friend tells you to try something you’ve never had before because it may boost your performance, tell them: “thanks but no thanks”.
Focus on what your eat
Everything you eat counts. During the days before your race, everything you eat, drink and inhale is important. So make sure you get enough carbohydrates. If you’re allergic to gluten, steer clear of white flour and rice. Avoid going beyond your nutritional restrictions and try to stick to healthier choices as much as possible.
Many folks turn towards a bowl of pasta for their carb-load, but it may be healthier to choose quinoa (maybe try out these sweet potato quinoa cakes – yum!) instead because it is loaded with proteins as well.
Make sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day within comfortable limits. Going overboard with water may be harmful if you’re not used to it. If you feel full after drinking some water, don’t have more.
It is critical that you don’t try to squeeze in a training or workout day right before your race, especially if you’re travelling to your marathon because it can really drain you. If you have some spare time or if you’re not travelling, consider cross training for 30 minutes. Any low-impact workout such as swimming or even a short walk will work just fine.
Sleep is important but if you can’t sleep properly the night before (which is completely normal) don’t worry too much about it. One night of insufficient sleep is not going to affect your performance.
Just make sure you are well-rested two nights prior because you are most probably not going to sleep on the night before the race anyway. The adrenaline rush and excitement will give you enough energy to run at your fullest capacity.
Plan to get up early before the race
Make sure you set your alarm clock before the race and double check it. There should be enough time for you to get ready, have a proper breakfast and make it before time for the race. It may help to request a wake-up call if you’re staying in a hotel.
Travelling can cause stress so there is no point in making it worse. Make sure you give yourself enough time to take care of all necessary steps before the big race so you don’t end up panicking in the last moment.
Meditation can really help to calm your pre-run anxiety it also helps you sleep better: win-win!
Make sure you have all the essentials
On the night before the race, lay out all gear and clothing on your bed. You should have the following:
- Race bib and safety pins
- Running outfit, shoes, socks and hat
- Race timing chip
- Any product to prevent chaffing, such as Vaseline (petroleum jelly)
- Your racing fuels (the same ones you have been training with)
Review the course map
Along with your race packet, you’ll receive a course map as well. If you didn’t receive a course map, you can just check the race website. Even if you’ve already gone through the course map, it’s worth the time to go through it once more so you will have an idea of what to expect. Make sure you look out for those hills and water stops!