The last 24 hours before the ½ marathon or 10 mile can be incredibly nerve racking, especially if this is your first big race.
It is important to stay relaxed, graze on carbohydrates and have a number of smaller meals. Even if you are travelling, or going to expo to collect your race number, have snacks in your bag, a water bottle, and perhaps energy drink to be sipping on. You need to be responsible for yourself, and also prepared.
Try to stay off your feet as much as possible if you can.
We recommend 15 to 20 minute easy jog, a few strides, and perhaps a stretch.
In terms of eating, it is not about huge volumes of pasta, this will make you feel bloated and be no good. It is about grazing on carbohydrates during the day, smaller meals that aren’t going to affect you stomach adversely.
Check your kit, make sure number is pinned on, check your travel plans.
Do not get obsessed with the weather forecast, you can’t control this part of the race, have a look at it and prepare your kit accordingly and then forget about it.
You may not sleep very well the night before your race –this is natural. If you managed to have a nap in the afternoon, and a few early nights in the few days leading up to the race, you will be absolutely fine. You will fall asleep, so just relax, trust in your preparations and training and look forward to the big day…
Race day is a cocktail of nerves and excitement and there’s so much to think about, but it’s important that you’re prepared and know exactly what you’re doing, both in your preparations to get you to the start of the race and also your plan for the race itself.
Eat your normal breakfast that you’ve practiced before in your training and during the last few weeks.
Keith – couple of bowls of cornflakes, toast with a bit of jam and coffee
Ben – bowl of oatmeal (with water, not milk), some fruit and toast
Richard – Porridge, bagel with jam or peanut butter, sport's drink and a banana
Debbie – two slices of toast and a banana and a glass of OJ
It can be difficult to eat on the morning of the marathon so you need foods that aren’t going to make you feel nauseous but you do need to eat. Then continue to hydrate with a mixture of water and sports drinks.
Give yourself plenty of time to get to the race start, dress in your race kit, but have your old gear over the top which you can wear to your pen that will keep you dry and warm if the weather is bad! Don’t waste energy trying to keep warm and be prepared for a fairly long wait.
For the half marathon 10mile, you only need to do a minimal warm-up, after all, you’ve got at least 10miles of running in which to warm up! There may possibly be groups of people doing all sorts of very weird and wonderful warm-ups. Ignore them! Stick to your regular routine, lightly loosen off the legs, make sure you get into your pen on time, stay warm, dry, relaxed and positive. There will be so much going on; TV cameras, helicopters and thousands of people lining the streets… it will all be very exciting indeed.
The half marathon and the 10mile is about being patient. It’s YOU Vs the Distance, no one else. You need to execute your race plan and run at your pace. Don’t worry about the man in rhino costume coming steaming passed you. Don’t try and race him! Focus on YOU and stay in control.
There will be certain points along the course where the crowd will be fantastic. Feed off that noise, but don’t get too excited and run a minute a mile faster than your planned race pace!
Physically things will start to happen and you’ll naturally start to feel a bit tired. Mentally you’ll be asked a few questions and you need to answer those questions positively and also have some energy to deal with what is going on.
Think to yourself….
Do you want this?
Can you do this?
You need to believe you can do it and remind yourself of that many times over these last few miles.
Think about your running form, refocus, answer the questions that you have in your head.
Why are you doing this? Think of a few reasons why you are completing this mammoth challenge that you can have with you when the going gets tough. Don’t let your mind wander, now is the time to stay totally focused, committed and positive.
Finish it off with a big smile on your face and congratulate yourself on finishing one of the BIGGEST challenges a runner can ever face.
Race Day Checklist
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but should give you a pretty good idea of what you need.
Directions to start
Glide Stick/anti chafing lotion
Water Bottle with energy drink
Singlet/t-shirt (short/long sleeve depending on weather)
Garmin or other Sports Watch
Old clothes to wear to start and possibly toss before the race
Bin Bag to wear if it is raining
Plastic Bag for dirty clothes
A downloadable version of this is available