Ah, the marathon. The longest of the standard distances that has also experienced a surge in popularity over the last decade. Training for 26.2 miles is a significant commitment, but that also means you’ll get a huge feeling accomplishment once you cross that finish line. The key to a successful marathon is showing up to that starting line feeling as prepared as you can. Here are a few tips on how to do just that.
Practice before race day. When you’re training for a marathon, you’re going to do a couple long runs in your training. Set out your race day outfit and gear the night before a long run and go through your race day routine. Even doing it just once before the big day will help you feel more prepared.
Eat something that morning. The marathon is a long race, so you’ll want to fuel your body. Most marathons start pretty early, but if you can get up 2-3 hours before the race starts and eat a bowl of oatmeal or a bagel and yogurt, you’ll have some energy to start the race. A cup of coffee or tea will give you a little caffeine boost, too.
Bring warm clothes to throw away. It’s probably going to be cold the morning of the marathon, so many people wear an old sweatshirt (or buy a cheap one) and toss it after starting the race. Many race companies will collect the clothes and donate them to Goodwill or a local homeless shelter.
Bring warm clothes for after the race. If you are running a spring, fall, or winter marathon, it could be cold when you finish. Whether you stick some stuff in a drop bag or have a friend/family member meet you at the finish line, you might want a shirt or jacket and pants to put on post-race.
Stick to your plan. Make sure you get in the correct corral for your goal time. Most major marathons also have pace groups, so look for a person holding a sign with your estimated finishing time and try to stay near that person throughout the race.
Cooldown. Chances are, the last thing you’ll want to do after a marathon is keep going, but if you do, you’ll feel much better the next day. If you can walk around for 20 more minutes and do some static stretches, it will pay off. If post-race massages are offered, they can really help flush out your muscles and keep things in good shape. It’s worth the money!