The week leading up to your first marathon can be an exciting and nerve-wracking time. The last few weeks of taper had you feeling super lazy. You’ve had maranoia, and you’ve been convinced you’re coming down with a cold for the last week.
The mix of excitement, anticipation, and nervousness can be overwhelming. These feelings are completely normal. It’s important to remember why you wanted to do the marathon in the first place and try to focus on the feeling and sense of accomplishment you’ll get when you cross that finish line.
With the right mindset and prep, you’ll be able to overcome any nerves and run your first marathon! The hard work and training is done. It’s now time for that victory lap!
Here are my race week tips:
- Collect your race number: If you haven’t already received your race number in the post, then it’s important to make sure you know where to go and what time to pick it up. The race organiser will usually provide you with the location and collection times. I’d recommend getting this done as early as you can so you can relax.
- Weather watch: Check the forecast and make sure you’re prepared for the weather conditions. Plan an outfit for alternate temperatures in case the weather turns out to be worse (or better, let’s be hopeful) than expected.
- Prepare your race-day outfit: Lay out all your gear and ensure everything is clean and ready. Check you’ve got enough gels to get you through those 26.2 miles. If you are doing baggage drop – pop something warm and some flip-flops in your bag for after. Don’t forget safety pins for your race number!
- Plan your pre-race meal: Stick to foods that you know your body can handle and won’t cause any digestive issues come morning. Eating a carbohydrate-rich meal for dinner will ensure that your body has enough energy to get through the race.
- Get a good night’s sleep: Amid excitement and nerves, this can be easier said than done. Prioritise early nights two or three nights before the race, so you are well rested for the weekend. Try some relaxation techniques like deep breathing or yoga before bed to help you relax.
- Personal care: Trim / file those toenails a few days before race day – making sure not to go too short. Shave a couple of days before.
- Hydrate: Stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday to prepare for the race.
- Plan your transportation: Make sure you know how you’ll be getting to the race start line and what time you need to be there. Make sure you know where you are parking or any public transport times. Have a backup plan just in case. (I speak from experience – a last-minute train strike caused me to get a 1 am bus!) Arrive at least 30 minutes before the start of the race.
- Charge your tech: Ensure your GPS watch is fully charged. Same with your headphones, if you run with them. That’s one less thing to stress about on marathon morning.
- Rest: The day before a marathon is not the time to cram in any last-minute training. Save that energy so you’re fresh and ready to go on race day. Use this time to relax, and mentally prepare yourself for the race.
Remember that the day before the marathon is all about preparation and rest. Do this right and you’ll wake up on race day feeling well-prepared. There’s just one more thing to say – and that is good luck!