Whether you are a novice or experienced marathoner, there is a very simple rule when it comes to what to do and what not to do before the big day and it goes like this: “Everything that worked well for you in training, DO, everything else, DON’T DO”.
That said, pre-race adrenalin and the hype at the registration expo have a way of playing with the mind of the most sensible and experienced of runners. So, to help you not forget the basics, here is a little dos and donts checklist to keep you focused:
- Maintain your normal diet in the week leading up to the race. If carboloading, eat slightly bigger portions and snack in between meals sticking to foods that you are used to. Eat big 2 days before the event and then eat normally the day before. This will prevent that heavy full feeling and unnecessary toilet stops.
- The night before the race: Pack out all your gear, pin your number to your vest and most importantly, tie your timing chip to your running shoe.
- Go to registration early in the week when the queues are short. Then it is feet up!
- Plan to go to bed early two nights night before the event.
- Eat a light low fiber breakfast that you have tested in training and take a bottle of energy drink and a snack with you to the start line.
- Take into consideration that there will be heavy traffic heading towards the start so give yourself enough time to get there.
- Familiarize yourself with where the parking areas are and the route you would need to walk to the start line.
- Check the weather forecast and plan ahead for any predicted adverse conditions such as rain, strong winds and extreme cold or heat.
- Rehearse your refueling and re-hydrating strategy (which you have hopefully practiced in training!) in your mind. Include problem solving what to do if things go wrong or there are unexpected conditions e.g. a heatwave. You don’t want to be figuring out what to do on the run!
- If you are meeting friends or family after the race, plan an easy to find meeting point. You are not going to want to be walking around looking for people after the race. Especially if doing the ultra!
- Try anything new!
- Try squeeze in extra training. It is time to take it easy! It is always good to have a complete rest two days out and to do a light run the day before to prevent feeling sluggish.
- Try any new energy bars, gels or drinks you have not tested in training. No matter how good the claims the on the label sound!
- Leave buying your race nutrition to the last minute.
- Run in brand new shoes.
- Eat spicy or gassy foods the night.
- Drink abnormally large amounts of water the day before. This will lower your electrolyte balance and have you running to the bathroom all night.
- Spend hours on your feet at the race expo.
- Listen too much to other runners. Stick to your own plan.
- FORGET YOUR TIMING CHIP!
Have an amazing race!