Marathon 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.Here are some examples of what the Full Potential team eat (remember, what works for once person may not work for you!)
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. You want to have foods that release their energy slowly during the day.
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 marathon, you only need to do a minimal warm-up, after all, you’ve got 26.2 miles 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 marathon 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! The aim is to get to mile 18 having run at your pace, at an even pace and having managed energy and taken on board hydration at the right times. It’s after mile 18 when the marathon race really starts!
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 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.
Once you get to mile 24, there are no doubts that you’ll finish!
Coming up those last, beautiful 385 yards, 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