Running a marathon is such an amazing challenge! It is not just running those 26.2 miles. It is a 24/7 commitment to a part of your life that will be forever changed as a person and a runner. After weeks upon weeks of training & the sacrifices you have made day in and day out to get prepared to race it, you are finally coming into the week before your race. You think back months ago when you decided to make the commitment. Race day is quickly approaching and the race day nerves are starting to kick in. You may be thinking to yourself, “wow I am actually going to be running a marathon this weekend. This is actually happening.”
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Written by Coach Meghan Roth
Here are our 5 tips to make this marathon experience great!
1. TAPER: Sleep, Nutrition & Training
Tapered training is so important. The week before your marathon your training should be 50-60% of your 100% peak week of training! At the beginning of the week, we will typically do a shorten interval run to work in a little speed without fatiguing my body to keep my legs fresh. The rest of the week consists of easy short recovery runs to make sure I am more than rested & ready to run on race day.
Nutrition is key! The week of the race, keep your diet clean and healthy! Don’t try anything new or overindulge in junk. Coach Meghan Roth 2:47 marathoner reports cutting out all junk foods, “I make sure I am eating real whole foods that are nutrient dense to and feeding my body really good nutrition. The few days leading Into my race is my carb loading!! I love the few days before my race filling my nutrition with quinoa, white rice/sushi, cliff bars, sweet potatoes, pastas, etc. I reduce fiber from my nutrition along with healthy fats to make sure a bulk of my calories are coming from mostly carbs & some protein without over indulging in calories!”
SLEEP is so important for this taper, especially the few days leading into the race.
Typically it is hard to get really good sleep the night before the race, so two nights before the race will be your most important night of sleep to make sure you are well rested for the race!
2. Spoil Yourself Race Week.
You made sacrifices to get to this start line over the past 6+ months, and now it is time to be completely selfish. Give yourself a whole week of trying to focus completely on myself and what I need before race day!! This doesn’t have to be big things, just the small details and making sure I have everything ready to go before the race. My favorite foods during the week and before the race, planning my schedule completely around rest & recovery, race day outfit and supplements, painting my nails, really whatever makes you feel good!!
Just make sure you are taking extra care of myself that week, and make sure I give yourself everything you need to feel really good on race day!!
3. Race Weekend Expo.
Get lost in the excitement of the race! When you walk into the building, there is so much positive energy and excitement from others around the race weekend! It is a time to get yourself involved and have fun checking out the different vendors, motivational speakers and/or chatting with people around you! Every time I walk into the race expo, things become very real for me. It is typically the first time I really realized race day is almost here and I get overwhelmed with emotion. I start to wear my heart on a sleeve. Feel the energy, the emotion & use this to fuel you up. When times start to give tough during the race, this is the part that is so important to get you across
the finish line.
4. All About Pacing.
You have heard it time and time again, but honestly when it comes to a
marathon pacing is so important. It is a marathon not a sprint 🙂
Of course many of you pace yourself with a watch, so starting conservative & slower than your goal race pace will be important! You would rather finish fast and strong than crash at the end! Going out too fast can be absolutely terrible and can put a lot of extra time onto your race after working so hard through training and for the first 20 miles.
2:47 Marathoner Coach Meghan, “There have been races where I went out too fast & my legs have been so shot by mile 20, I don’t even know how I got to the end without crawling. I have also had races where they were paced extremely well and I felt great from almost the entire race.“
The great thing with a marathon is that there are typically thousands of others running it with you! Marathons are so much better ran in a group- use these people to build you up. I highly recommend chatting with runners nearby and meeting a new friend! Runners are so friendly but sometimes too nervous to start a conversation.
As much as a marathon is your own personal goal, effort, and pace, it is not as fun if you run it alone! Try to find others you can run and pace with if possible.
5. BE PRESENT!
It is so important that you have a great experience and truly just love
every moment of the days leading up to the race, racing the race and celebrating when you finish! My #1 advice I will give you that has helped me so much with running my best marathons and loving every minute of the actual race is.. take one mile at a time! Sometimes with the marathon we can get overwhelmed in the starting 1/2 half of the race knowing that we will have however many miles to run! Focus on the mile you are on, stay in tune with your body and your pace and just enjoy it!!
There is no rush to get to the finish and you will have a much better experience if you stay focused on the race, not the finish!! Running a marathon is so mental and you have to stay connected mentally & physically no matter what part of the race you are on!!
Trust your training and your pacing plan and completely consume yourself into the race that you have worked so hard for!!
Know that your race time will be there if it is meant to happen that day and no matter what happens, that you were able to enjoy every minute of it! Running a marathon is one of the first best possible decisions you have made! Now it is time to crush your marathon goal that you had set for yourself months ago.
Whether you are running your first marathon, racing for your BQ or next PR, racing to complete a new bucket list race, or whatever your marathon goal is, I hope you find these marathon tips helpful! I know how much these 5 tips have helped me become the runner and marathoner I am today, but it has helped me race some of my best running career races to this point! Running is so much more than running. Running a marathon is so much more than just another race. A marathon is a running experience we will never forget along our running journey. For your next marathon I am wishing
you to have the best possible race experience possible! I hope you enjoyed reading this article!
Happy Marathoning! Happy Running!