Marathon Training Week 15: Pre-race & Race Day Prep

by Karl Gruber

Anyone who has gone through marathon training finds that excitement builds as race day nears. One or two weeks before a race they are saying to themselves “oh man, I wish the race was tomorrow! Let’s go! I’m ready now!” This is an excellent indication that you are physically ready to run 26.2 miles.

One of the best ways to be prepared for race day is to make a pre-race checklist. That way there will be no disastrous surprises to short-circuit your run.

Pre-Marathon Checklist

  • Favorite running gear
  • Sunglasses
  • Gloves
  • Shoes
  • Lubricant to prevent chafing
  • Sun block
  • Correct number of energy gels or chews
  • Plenty of port-o-potty time before the race
  • Alarm clock set early enough
  • Bib # (enough safety pins or race number belt?)
  • Favorite pre-race carbo-loaded meal

Also, I highly recommend that you lay out all of your race day clothing and gear the night before. That way you can see that everything you need for the race is right there in front of you and there is no last minute stress as you head to the starting line. When it comes to your carbo-loading meal the evening before your marathon, try to eat early enough so that your body has time to properly digest the food.

Race Day Checklist

  • Transportation to the starting line: allowing for parking, metro-transfers and traffic
  • Be properly hydrated
  • Bib # pinned on front of your shirt (do not pin it to a shirt you are going to remove during the race!)
  • Try not be under or over-dressed (for cold weather racers, remember the old race day adage, “if you go to the starting line and you’re comfortable temperature-wise, you’re probably over-dressed!”)
  • Are you in the correct starting corral for your projected pace and finish time?
  • Arrange a location to reconnect with family and friends after the race

If overlooked, any of these items can wreak havoc with the quality and performance of your race. so be diligent in following up on your race checklists.

Finally, one of the biggest mistakes, even veteran marathoners make, is doing something new on race that turns into an epic fail. Stick with what is tried and true so that there are no negative experiences. One of the prime mistakes in this category is trying a new drink or energy food only to have your body revolt in a not-so-fun way. Proper preparation is the key to success.

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