The Night Before A Marathon
Start preparing for the marathon at least 48 hours before you will be running, to ensure you are in peak performance.
Start Carb Loading: normally it is best to start increasing the carbs into your meals a week prior to the race. Include whole grains such as whole wheat bread and pasta, starchy vegetables like potatoes and wild rice are also a great way to easily add a source of carbohydrates to each meal.
Do a Short, Easy Workout: the day before a marathon, try staying off your feet, but do a short, light workout such as a jog.
Prepare Your Gear For the Morning: the morning of the marathon, you may be quite nervous, so prepare your bag, outfit (including your shoes) and breakfast the night before.
Ensure you pack:
- A drink bottle & a light snack
- Your bib & any other marathon check-in paper work
- Make-up wipes and deodorant for a quick freshen up
Get a Good Night’s Sleep: the week leading up to the marathon, ensure you are getting a solid 7-8 hours sleep. If you are feeling nervous or excited and unable to sleep the night before, try a little lavender essence on your pillow and listening to soothing music in a dark room.
The Morning of the Marathon
The day of the marathon is always exciting and you may have a few pre-race jitters. Make sure you relax and enjoy the day.
Eat Breakfast: make sure you leave 3 hours between your breakfast and running. Eating a healthy, balanced breakfast such as oats with banana and a coffee will prepare you for your run.
What to wear: choose clothes, shoes and socks you have worn before to know they are well worn-in and will not cause any chafing or blisters.
Make sure you wear:
- Breathable fabric with either sweat-wick capabilities, anti-chafe or flat seams
- Comfortable, running specific shoes & blister friendly socks
- Compression wear is optional, to help reduce muscle fatigue & to aid in recovery
- For women, a good-quality supportive bra is a must
- Make sure you apply sunscreen and wear a hat if the marathon is in the sun
Just Before the Marathon: give yourself plenty of time to get to the marathon, check-in and perform a warm-up, such as a short walk, followed by a jog. Just before the race, fill up your drink bottle and head to the starting line.
During the Marathon
Depending on the length of the marathon, you could be treading road for several hours, so making sure you are keeping your own pace, rather than trying to keep up with other people. Staying hydrated and keeping your energy levels up will help make sure you cross the finish line.
Pace Yourself: when the marathon gun goes off, you may be tempted to sprint and keep up with the crowd. Start off slow and stay relaxed. Depending on your marathon length, you can alternate between sprinting, running, jogging and walking, depending on how comfortable you are.
Stay Hydrated: most marathons have drinking stations providing water and sports drinks. Make sure you take at least a few sips of sports drink at every stop to boost your energy levels.
Eat Snacks: snacking on things such as bananas, homemade protein bars and pretzels will keep your energy levels replenished.
What to Do After the Marathon
Straight After You Finish: right after you finish the marathon, take a drink of water and change into warm, dry clothes to keep your body temperature from dropping to quickly.
The Rest of the Day: you may be tempted to head straight out and celebrate, but try to go home, have a shower and refuel with a light meal full of fruit and vegetables.
The Days Following The Marathon: don’t be surprised if you are quite sore, even if you are a runner. According to studies it will take about 2 weeks for your muscles to recover after a marathon. Avoid high-intensity or long workouts, and going to a post-race remedial massage may speed up your recovery and ease any delayed onset muscle fatigue and soreness.