When you’ve committed to run a marathon, some say the hardest part is the training.
But the closer race day gets, many people find themselves facing pre-race jitters, too.
That’s where preparation comes in.
We’ve already shared some great safety tips to run your best race. Whether it’s your first or your fifth marathon, here are some additional tips to help you get race ready.
- The Night Before - Go to bed early, let the hydration begin and have a proper meal. There’s a bit of an art to carb-loading to make sure you’re fueling your body without overloading.
- Check out the race website and your race package for information about where to park, details of your route and other important information.
- To Run or Not to Run? - Rather than putting in one more run, many athletes preparing for races of all distances give themselves a break the day before. However, some prefer to put in a short run to loosen up, boost their confidence or mentally prepare for the big day. Find what works for you.
- Fuel up - Breakfast is important. But it’s key that you go with what you know. Race day isn't the time to try new foods or anything fancy. Experts suggest opting for easy-to-digest options like oatmeal, toast or cereal — meals which served you well during your training.When it comes to sticking to the tried-and-true, that includes sneakers and running gear, too. Nothing new on race day.
- Get There Early - Save your fashionably late arrival for another day. Give yourself extra time on race day and arrive early. Being rushed can be stressful at the best of times.
- Be Prepared for the Unexpected - Because you’ll want to travel light, it’s a good idea, (especially if the forecast calls for rain,) to bring a makeshift poncho made from a trash bag. This way, you can stay dry while waiting to get started without having to bring along a jacket. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen and pack toilet paper or tissues, so you’re prepared if you find yourself on a marathon route without any.
- You Do You - Remember, this is your race. It’s not time to push yourself to keep up with anyone else. Ease into the pace that got you through all your training.
- Experts suggest running the first 10 per cent of the race slower than you normally would so you can, ideally, finish strong. Going out too fast puts you at risk of burning out early, according to experts who recommend you save that extra energy for the final stretch to the finish line.
- Many runners arm themselves with mantras to help them put one foot in front of the other, especially when it becomes more challenging to do.
- Beyond the Finish Line - Although you may not want to drag out the pounding of the pavement, you may want to extend the good vibes from your marathon experience. Whatever your personal goal or the time on the clock when it’s all said and done, running a marathon is reason enough to celebrate. Celebrate your big day on social media and don’t be surprised if you inspire someone to literally follow in your footsteps.
5 Tips for Recovering from Your Marathon
- Don’t be so quick to shut the machine down. Keep moving, walking around for at least 15 minutes
- Top up the fluids with water or a sports drink
- Take it easy but don’t be a slug. Gently move your muscles for the rest of the day and elevate your legs to cut down on stiffness
- A lukewarm or cool bath with Epsom salts will relieve muscle pain and soreness
- Eating high-quality protein can rebuild muscle and carbs can help replenish your energy
If you’re participating in the 22nd annual GMS Queen City Marathon, we’ll see you there!