So it’s the day before the big race and the nerves are starting to set in. Months and months of training and it all comes down to this.
With so much to think about, it is easy to lose focus on the stuff that really matters.
The following tips have been collated to keep you calm, injury free and prepare you in the best way possible for your marathon. We hope you find them useful and help you to achieve your goal. Good luck.
Eat plenty of carbs.
As all experienced runners will tell you, carb-loading is essential in fuelling your body prior to a marathon.
Eating large amounts of complex carbohydrates will give you slow releasing energy, ready for the extraordinary challenge you’re about to undertake. Examples of good complex carbs are brown rice, wholemeal pasta, potatoes and wholemeal bread.
There isn’t a set amount you need to eat, but it is recommend around 65-70% of your total calorie intake should be made up of carbs. This means don’t overdo it! The last thing you need is feeling sick and bloated as you line up on the start line.
Keep drinking water.
This probably goes without saying, but you’d be surprised how many people neglect their water intake. With your mind elsewhere, it’s easy to forget the basics.
It is advised you consume between two to three litres of water every day. It is the main transportation mechanism in the body, carrying vital nutrients and waste products. By being hydrated, you will more likely be able to perform at your optimum level for longer.
It’s also a good idea to have one sports drink prior to the race. This fuels your body with electrolytes responsible for carrying the electrical charges which stimulate your muscles and nerves.
3) SHORT SHARP RUN
Go for a short run the day before the race if you need it.
Pre-race anxiety is very common amongst runners and a steady 20-minute run is a good way to keep loose. Somewhere between one to three miles should do the trick.
Don’t worry if you decide not to run! A rest day won’t affect your fitness the day before a marathon. If you feel you perform better fully rested, just take it nice and easy. As long as you don’t do a significant workout that leaves you sore and tired the next day, you will be fine.
4) REVIEW THE COURSE
Chances are, you will have received a map of the course in your race pack. Even if you have already taken a look, just scan it again. Try to gauge where the steep hills are and when the water stops are etc. By planning out your race, you reduce the chance of getting any nasty surprises!
5) CARE FOR YOUR FEET
Trim your toenails and check your running socks.
Check your nails and clip those which are too long. Long toenails are likely to hit the front of your shoes, which can lead to black and bloody toenails.
Also, make sure you have the correct socks! Too many times we hear horror stories of people who run marathons in generic sports socks and pay the price afterwards. Our SockMine marathon socks are designed to care for your feet, keeping them cool and blister free as you’re racking up the miles. It is crazy how something so simple as a quality pair of socks can make such a big difference to your performance.
6) PACK YOUR KIT BAG
Don’t leave anything to chance! There is nothing worse than panicking on the morning of the race because you’ve misplaced your race vest. Worse still, arriving at the race to find you’ve forgot your trainers.
Why take the risk? Make a list the day before with all your race essentials. Then pack your bag with everything on the list and then check it and check it again! Knowing your bag is ready and waiting for you in the morning is a real weight off your shoulders.
7) SET YOUR ALARM!
Leave yourself plenty of time of time to wake up, relax and focus your mind on the task in hand. Don’t be tempted by the snooze button and overlay. The earlier you wake up (after at least eight hours’ sleep of course), the sharper and more alert you will be prior to the race. You don’t want to be racing feeling tired and sluggish, it simply won’t go very well.
8) PLAN BREAKFAST
Know what you’ll be having for breakfast on the morning of the marathon. It would be foolish to assume you’ll have certain foods available for you when arrive at the venue. Ensure you know exactly what’s going into your body, no unusual foods. It is always best to play it safe.
Eat a light, carb-dominated meal to prepare you for the race. Good choices include wholemeal toast with peanut butter, or a medium sized bowl of porridge. Consume this at least two to three hours before the race to allow it digest properly.
9) STAY RELAXED
Finally, one of the most important tips is to stay relaxed! Stress can do weird things to a runner’s mind and can impact on how you perform, especially when trying to avoid that dreaded wall! To help combat pre-race anxiety, try some visualisation techniques. Imagine yourself on the course. Think positively and how you will succeed in your goals. A positive frame of mind can do wonders for your performance.