There’s no such thing, but you’ve spent the last few months training hard and preparing your body as best you can for the marathon and now you need to make sure that all your hard work is rewarded by putting some effort into final preparation for race
1. Tapering. As race day gets close you need to start thinking about tapering. This can sometimes be the hardest part of marathon training as you instinctively think you’ll lose fitness if you don’t train, but your muscles need the chance to fully repair and replenish glycogen stores.
2. Goal-setting. Knowing what you want to do before race day will make it easier. Your goal should be relative to how you’ve trained; resist the temptation to run faster than planned.
3. Race Route. Familiarise yourself with the route if you have time. This can be done by driving it or simply by checking the map and elevation profile.
4. Race Ready. Prepare everything well in advance.
5. Tried and Tested. Race day is not the day to try out the new running shoes you bought at the expo!
6. GPS. If using a GPS or similar, make sure the battery is fully charged before race day.
7. Confidence. Expect to feel nervous, but take confidence from all your weeks and months of training.
8. Support. 26.2 miles is a long way, but you can make it seem shorter by arranging to have friends and family out on the
route. Tell them where you expect to be, based on your predicted pacing.
9. Expo. The Marathon Expo can be an exciting place, but it’s best to get your business sorted as quickly as possible and don’t be tempted to do too many laps of the expo arena.
10. The Night Before. Prepare everything for race day in advance and double-check everything. Knowing you have
all that you might need sorted in advance will make sleeping easier.
11. Sleep. The most important night’s sleep is the night before the night before. Don’t worry about not sleeping too well on the night before the race.
12. Race Day. Plan your morning the day before and know your routine. I sometimes prepare a checklist to avoid missing anything important .
13. Breakfast. Stick with something tried and tested and don’t consume more than usual. Do make sure to allow adequate time for digestion.
14. Travel. Allow sufficient time to arrive at the race start and allow for parking and unexpected delays. Check the race website for planned diversions due to the race taking place.
15. Satellites. If you’re using a GPS, try locking on to the satellites before assembling around the start area, as tall buildings in the city centre can delay getting a signal.
16. Warm-Up. It’s worth doing even a short warm-up, as this is how you’ll know if your shoe laces are too tight, or your
shorts are on backwards.
17. Race Start. Arrive in good time to avoid any last-minute panic and with sufficient time to allow for a warmup
and finding your friends or pacing group.
18. Don’t Panic. When the race starts, don’t get caught up in the rush and don’t worry if you happen to be a few seconds off your target when you reach the first mile marker, as it’s easier to claw back a few seconds than it is to pay back the oxygen debt from going off too fast.
19. Limits. Know your limits and don’t be tempted to try to run faster than you’ve trained for. Once you have tapered and rested, you will feel fitter and stronger than you have felt during some of your training runs.
20. Pacing. It’s not the distance that will get you… it’s the pace. Run at the pace you’ve trained for.
21. Pacers. Run with one of the dedicated pacing groups if there’s one matching your goal time, but don’t be tempted to run with a faster group if your time slot isn’t covered.
22. Negative Splits. An even pace is best, but if you decide to run outside a pacing group, or can’t find one to match your goal time, then you can consider running a negative split. This means running the second half of the marathon faster than
the first half.
23. Water Stations. Know the position of the water stations and use as required, but be careful when passing through as this can be a dangerous part of the course with runners cutting across you and discarded bottles strewn about
24. Hills. If running with a pacing group, you can expect an even pace throughout and this might make the hills feel quite
tough, but rest assured that where there’s an up there’s a down. If you fall back on the hills you can use the downhill to rejoin the
25. The Wall. Don’t assume you’ll hit the wall, but don’t be surprised or shocked if you do. Your training should have pushed the wall far enough away to make it avoidable.
26. Post-race. Plan your recovery before you start. With that advice in mind, I pack a recovery drink in my kit bag.
Arrange a meet-up point for family and friends.