Congratulations, after months of sacrifice, long runs and plenty of self doubt you have made it to the big day. In many ways the hard part is done. Getting through marathon training without injury is not easy. I’ve trained for eight marathons, got injured en route to three and have actually gone on to run six marathons and multiple half marathons between 2010-2012. Like you I’m simply an amateur, but here’s what I’ve learned about the day before and the day of the actual race…
1. Do relax the day before. If you really need to, run a very slow mile or two.
2. Don’t make the mistake of taking on too much water and too many carbs. Simply replace normal dietary needs with higher carb foods. You don’t need to binge on twice as much food as normal!
3. Remember water intake dilutes other things in your body such as salt – you are better supping on isotonic sports drinks for your fluid requirements.
4. Prep your gear early (dont forget the Vaseline ) and really do try to get to bed early even if you can’t sleep.
1. Relax. You’ve a long run ahead, not a sprint. You have plenty of time to find your rhythm.
2. During the race run your own race, don’t get sucked in by others around you. Find a comfortable pace for you and don’t alter it.
3. No doubt you have a target. Don’t let it be your master on race day. It should have been your master during the months of training but now it is all about how your body feels on race day. Run on feel. Feel that you’re working but comfortably working. If you feel discomfort in miles 1-10 then peel it back a bit.
4. Break the race down and don’t neglect nutrition in the early stages just because you feel ok. I tend to think in groups of four miles. I try not to review how I’m performing until after each four miles. This works for me as I take on 500ml of isotonic fluid every 8miles.
5. Don’t let a “bad” mile affect you. You’ll have good miles and bad miles. Accept that now and it’ll maintain your mental stability. This is VERY important. This is another reason to break the run into segments.
6. Enjoy it. You’re doing something great and whether you hit your target time or not you should be immensely proud.