You’ve done the training. You’ve made it this far. Now it’s race day. Now it’s time for the fun!
But before the excitement and fun of the actual marathon, I have one last post with some tips for race day.
The Twin Cities Marathon is this Sunday (as well as the Portland Marathon and the Chicago Marathon, I have friends running in both of those. These tips apply to you guys too!)
1. Sleep. I have read that the sleep you get TWO nights before the marathon is even more important than the sleep the night before. I think both are important, but the night before the race you will be nervous. You probably won’t sleep all that great the night before, so make sure you sleep well two nights before. I know that before the Big Cottonwood marathon, I seriously woke up every hour and looked at the clock. I was so worried that I would miss my alarm. Speaking of alarms, set more than one, just in case!
2. Hydrate. Obviously. Gatorade, Nuun, water, pick your poison- well, not poison, try to make it something that is actually hydrating!
3. Fuel. There are a lot of studies out there about carbo loading. I generally do eat more carbs in the days leading up to the race, but I keep it pretty simple. Don’t eat anything you’re not used to. Don’t eat really heavy. Only you really know what that means for you, but hopefully you’ve had some practice with your long runs during training to determine what works for you.
For ideas, I wrote this post about the 5 best places to carbo-load in the Twin Cities. I also enjoy this recipe. My sister is running TCM and we are planning to eat at Italian Eatery by Lake Nokomis, as I want to drive a bit of the course to show her ahead of time.
Make sure you have your race morning fuel ready as well. For me, that is a plain bagel with peanut butter & extra salt, coffee, and Gatorade/water. Look at the course to determine when you will be fueling. I take one GU every 45 minutes, alternating between water and Gatorade at every support stop. I recommend having a fueling plan ahead of time.
I wrote this post a while ago about navigating support stops; take a look as it might be helpful.
4. Gear: Lay out your race day gear. I have some of these magnetic bib clips from various races that work really well. Then you don’t have to poke pins through your favorite race singlet. I also put my name on my shirt with this plastic tape. I prep my pre-race warm clothes too. You don’t want to be scrambling around on race morning trying to find your sweats!
I always lay out my entire race outfit the night before and take the requisite “Flat Jessie” picture to share on social media. This also helps your family and friends know what you’ll be wearing so they can spot you during the race!
5. Mentally prepare. Take some time to reflect on your training. Focus on the training you DID do, not the training you didn’t do. Read through your running journal and focus on the strong workouts.
I know I keep sharing these mantras, but I really do believe in the power of positive thinking. Pick one that resonates with you and write it on your arm. Visualize yourself crossing the finish line. Visualize SUCCESS.
Sleep, Hydrate, Fuel, Gear, and Mental preparation. Keep these things in mind and you will have a successful race on Sunday!
Don’t forget to plan your post-race celebration! My running club always meets at Urban Eatery after the race because that’s where our running club is located (in the Calhoun Beach Club). Depending on how my sister is feeling, we will probably stop by there around 4 (it’s open to the public if you want to stop by and say hello!)
I also created a hodgepodge list of some other places that we might go after having a toast with my run club – Tilia, Red Cow, French Meadow, Pizzeria Lola, Hi Lo Diner, Revival, Tiny Diner…Matt’s Bar for a Jucy Lucy, maybe?
I hope these tips were helpful in some way.
Good luck runners!