I’ve never been a runner. Then last year, I decided to run a full marathon. With the help of a handful of books, some Googling, and an experienced friend, I did it. Now, I am not an expert on this subject (I still wouldn’t call myself a “runner”) but here are some things I learned along the way.
The day is here. You are ready to run those 26.2 miles.
You’re probably nervous and excited. But as long as you did your training (or at least, most of it) you will be fine.
If you are traveling, you should ensure that you arrive to your destination with plenty of time to rest before the race. Have fun and explore wherever you end up, but make sure that you don’t exhaust yourself. Get to bed at a good hour and don’t stress too much if you are restless and can’t sleep—it’s totally normal and you will survive.
Make sure to stick to your normal diet and eat a healthy but satisfying meal the night before the race. In the morning, eat a little breakfast of a banana and plain piece of toast, oatmeal, or something else light (it is also helpful to practice your race day breakfast on your long training runs).
Drink lots of water the day before the race. The next day, your cells will be hydrated but you won’t have to pee a bunch. Make sure you still drink a little water before your race and definitely throughout the course.
If they provide the service, get to your starting line with enough time to check your bag for the finish line. If they don’t, give the bag to a friend or loved one that can meet you at the finish. This bag should have a change of clothes (remember something warm if the climate gets chilly), your phone, wallet, and anything else you may need to get home after the race.
Most races get pretty crowded and hectic. Make sure you have a meeting place at the finish as well as a way to get home if your race doesn’t make a loop. I was so thankful to have my boy friend there to cheer me on and meet me at the finish. He was a champ and totally took care of getting me home so I didn’t even have to think about it.
First thing I did once I got back to my hotel was to dunk my legs in an ice bath. It was probably worse than any part of the race, but it was worth it as my pain and soreness the next few days was minimal compared to what it could’ve been.
Just remember: You’ve done the training. You’ve worked hard. You got this.
See previous posts: choosing a race, choosing a training plan, wearing the right clothes & shoes, tech apps to help track your progress, mental preparation, personal scheduling, getting rest, and diet & nutrition.
Photo Credit: Here.