So you’ve done the hard work, now it’s time to enjoy! Race Day is about remembering all the training you have done, ensuring you have done the preparation to give you a smooth start to the day and getting your head in the game.
Here are some of my top tips to get you through the day, huge thanks to my parents for passing on some of their knowledge from the 20+ marathons they have done between them and of course running pals too!
Get those legs up: Rest up the day before, if you are in a new city, you don’t want to be doing much walking/exploring. Pop those feet up on the sofa whilst preparing your playlist and visualising a good race the next day
Prepare your kit: The afternoon or night before, lay it all out. You’ll have done your ‘rehearsal run’ so you’ll know what you need, make sure everything is charged (watch, headphones, phone)
Finalise your playlist: Asking some of your closest friends to share a song for you is a great way to empower you throughout the race, keep you smiling when you reminisce of them or songs to remind you of a brilliant time (A couple of mine are from the Coyote Ugly soundtrack - you know who you are!)
Plan your route to the start: There’s nothing worse than a feeling of panic that you might miss the start or not have enough time to drop your bag. I had an experience in Amsterdam where I’d planned to walk but then my leg had been playing up the night before so thought, I’ll get a taxi to save it… all the roads were closed anywhere near to the start and it was not the start I’d hoped for to say the least!
Plan your support crew spots: Tell them where you would like them to be, agree the spots and let them know which side you’ll be running on. Don’t be disheartened if they aren’t there - know they are thinking of you. Remember it will be much easier for you to spot them so ask them to wear a hat/flag to help you out
Ready Steady Go (Slow)
Plan A: Focus on what your goal is (finishing with a smile / nailing a PB / running without walking) whatever it is, know that is your plan A however have your Plan B to hand. You don’t know what could happen on race day, you could get an injury, have to help another runner in need or bad weather. Know what your Plan B is and support yourself if you have to make a swap from A to B
Fuelling: You’ll have practised taking on fuel in your training runs. Don’t deviate and try something new on the day. My preferences are GU and Sports Beans, I’ll have a couple of sports beans on the start line then take my first GU 1 hour in, followed by every 45 mins after and sports beans as a top up if necessary. Drink little and often at the water stations going round, especially if a hot day
It’s all in the mind
Break it up: Break your race into chunks e.g. 5,5,5,5,3 and 3 or 10,10 and 6. Congratulate yourself at each mark
Play games: Test some of these out on your runs, what can distract you or keep you focused? Dedicating a mile to inspirational people you know and replaying fun stories or quotes from them in your head. There are 26 letters in the alphabet and 26 miles to go, each mile could be dedicated to letter. Places or people that you know and love. If you are in London especially, enjoy the sights and the outfits
When the going gets tough
Let’s face it, you are running 26.2 miles, there will probably be a time you have to dig deep, real deep. Here are a couple of strategies to keep you going:
One foot in front of the other: It sounds simple, but just keep going, one foot in front of the other, that is all you need to do
Cherish that moment, that will be months of hard work, mental strength and huge congratulations you’ll be a marathon finisher!
Remember to stretch, get a free sports massage and then enjoy the celebrations.
Good Luck. Let us know how you get on and of course if you have any tips to share please do. (8 weeks until Mont-Saint-Michel!)