How Do You Run A Marathon On Race Day!

tips for marathon race day

15 Tips For Marathon Race Day!

Whether it’s your first time or not, running a marathon may get you nervous, and our tips for marathon race day will help you to avoid several mistakes on race day.

The lack of planning is something that you most likely notice the moment you stand at the start line. But don’t worry! You won’t have to get there unprepared and find yourself in trouble, as we bring you 15 tips for marathon race day that will make you run smoother than ever!

tips for marathon race day
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Never skip your taper!

The first step in preparing for the day of your marathon is not wasting all the effort you’ve put into training.

And getting enough rest is precisely the secret to arriving in optimal conditions to the day of your race. Of course, the precise balance between inactivity and muscle activation is essential to reach this point of maximum preparation. That’s where the taper comes in.

In case you haven’t heard about it, the taper is the resting stage that every professional athlete takes between their last intense session and their race-day.

Why is taper important? 

Because none of the training you do during the last week will have positive results for your race – your body needs to recover before to assimilate the gains.

What do marathon runners eat the night before a race?

When it comes to nutrition, the best tips for your marathon race day is to have a light breakfast 3-4 hours before running the marathon, and a snack 1 hour before. However, the night before, and even 3 days before, you should increase the carb levels and decrease the fat in your balanced meals. This way you make sure your glucose levels are right on point for getting enough energy reserves.

Drink at least 200ml 15 min before the race. And also, start rehydrating with isotonic drinks from 25-30 minutes onwards, to avoid dehydration due to lack of carbohydrates. You can also use water and some snacks, such as nuts, to restore your blood glucose levels

It’s all about that pace!

You’ve probably heard this before, but a marathon is about your ability to endure over time, and the only way to achieve this is by keeping a steady pace that you can maintain. Avoid getting carried away and wasting all your energy in the first half.

marathon race day plan
Photo by RUN 4 FFWPU from Pexels

Keep in mind that the last 10 kilometres will feel as long and tiring as the rest of the race. In this sense, be happy if you still feel fresh halfway through the race, but don’t sing victory songs! And above all, don’t speed up until you reach that last ten! If you still think you can accelerate when you touch the 32 km, then go for it!

Never forget to plan ahead!

Researching and running the route a few times before race day will help you know what to expect. Get to the start line with a clear idea of what you’re up against, and you’ll be able to plan your strategy more effectively.

Have millimetric control of everything you have to do that day, and remember to give yourself space at the starting point a while before starting. 

This way, you can prepare yourself better mentally, concentrate, and get used to the environment. On the other hand, to achieve this, it is necessary that you also plan the time you will arrive at the race. You must prevent any inconvenience that could delay you, such as traffic!

Check on your breathing!

Breathing is essential on running long distances, and a tips for marathon race day is to meditate and monitor your breathing pace from the early morning. You should make sure that you get to the start line in a resting state. And you should also check that your breath comes naturally during the race.

Of course, you should train this during your preparation periods. But, as breathing may be affected by many issues, we recommend you consciously check on it before and during the marathon.

It’s all in your head!

Yes, we know that the physical conditions required to run a marathon are immense for many. But even with that knowledge, we dare to say that marathons are all about your mentality. Winning the battle against desperation is a crucial factor in conquering the finish line in a marathon. 

Because let’s be honest, no one would run a marathon thinking about finishing, if they haven’t invested considerably in their physical condition before. So, while training your body is crucial, mental strength will be what makes the difference in the last few kilometres.

How to warm up and remain warm before the race?

Warming up and stretching before a marathon is not negotiable. However, you don’t need to perform long warming up session for a marathon. Make sure to take 15 minutes for a short jog and some stretching, and you’re ready to go!

On the other hand, if the race is too early in the morning, the cold temperatures may hinder your warm-up. Get extra layers of clothes that you won’t miss so you can keep the heat in the beginning and then remove when the sun shines bright!

Get the right gear, pack, and re-check!

Forget about showing off your new running shoes and racing suit if you want to finish a marathon. This can cause blisters or chafing that will hamper your performance, taking away valuable seconds.

Try out your clothes in several training sessions before the race and make sure you pack everything two days before. This way, you’ll be sure to check several times and notice anything you might miss. For example, be careful not to forget your socks!

Another vital tips for the marathon race day is to prepare for the weather. Take some warp clothes just in case you need it, but also may be discarded if the temperature elevates.

Sleeping: what should I do the night before?

tips for marathon race day
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

We already stated that you should rest before a marathon. But, as we are talking about tips for marathon race-day, it also seems worth mentioning you should sleep well the night before.

The goal is to get your eight hours of sleep, or at least 7-9. This way, you avoid the side effects of sleeping too little, but also those of sleeping too much. 

In any case, sleeping poorly the night before a marathon will affect your performance, so you better get just enough sleep!

Other 6 tips for marathon race day!

  • Protect your sensitive parts by adding tape (nipples and toes) or Vaseline (crotch and armpits). 
  • Visit the toilet as often as necessary to avoid “having to go” in the middle of the race.
  • Avoid getting stressed during the morning. Get someone to cook for you or meal-prep the night before. Also, make sure someone can drive you to the start line, etc.
  • Divide your race into milestones. This way, your brain will feel a sense of reward each time you hit one milestone and will help you keep going!
  • If possible, get family and friends scattered all over the route, so you get moral support from time to time.
  • Leave the first water tables for the masses, run a few meters longer, and find shorter lines for water. This could be the secret for saving precious minutes.

Relax And Enjoy!

Finally, the last tips for your marathon race day we can give is for you to relax and enjoy the activity. 

You run because you love it and, if you need to, you can get philosophical about it, as there are plenty of spiritual reasons for running. You can even do it for charity! 

But in the end, the running is for you. So, avoid stressing about it, and embrace your marathon with the most relaxed mindset! “See you at the finish line!”

About Sham 50 Articles
Sham is a passionate distance runner who prepares marathon runners from beginners to advanced sub 3 hour marathon. He writes running training guides and product reviews of running gear.

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