We polled some of our veteran marathoners on our team to crowd source a list of tips for you this fall marathon season!
- Reframe Race-Day Nerves: “Recent research shows that “forcing” yourself to calm down can be disadvantageous: When you try to suppress nerves, you are telling yourself that something is wrong. It takes emotional energy to fight the anxiety—energy that could be better spent on racing. Instead, know that the sensations you feel prior to your marathon are neutral: If you view them in a positive light, they are more likely to have a positive effect on performance.” – Adapted from Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success, by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness (Rodale).
- Practice “Calm Conversations” – “When doubts occupy your headspace, practice calm conversations. As your effort and pain levels increase, don’t try to distract yourself or fight it. Instead, practice accepting it: Remind yourself that the pain is a sign that you’re doing the work that will make you faster. After hard workouts, take a few deep breaths and use them as a cue to transition from the “stress” of a workout to a more restful state.” – Adapted from Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success, by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness (Rodale).
- Be Patient & Don’t get Greedy – Have a race-day pace plan and stick to it. If you’re feeling really good early in the race that’s awesome, save that extra energy for after the 20 mile mark and let it rip!
- Find out what hydration and nutrition brands are being served on course and practice with them ahead of time. If your stomach can handle them on a training run, then you should be fine on race day. If you have any issues, it’s better to know ahead of time and be prepared to carry your nutrition and hydration needs on you on race day! (Never try new nutrition on race day.)
- Try and take great race day photos and not grimace at the camera.
- Put on sunscreen and body glide for the race.
- Thank the volunteers for supporting you. 🙂
- Two days before the big day is crucial! Eat a healthy meal, hydrate well and get lots of sleep. The night before, you inevitably will not get the best rest due to nerves, so stock up with the good habits two days before so your body is rested, nourished, hydrated and ready to go!
- Drink 24 oz. of water before the race so you don’t have to stop at the first couple of water aids. That way, you can avoid running into other people at the aid stations.
- Eat oatmeal two hours before the race, it helps if you tend to have a queasy stomach on race day.
- Don’t stop at the first table, keep going until the third or fourth aid station to avoid congestion. Pinch the sides of the water cup and take baby sips to avoid spilling water everywhere.
- You can get an old pair of tube socks and cut the foot part off to use them as arm warmers for the first couple of miles of the race.
- If you’re doing a big race like New York, bring a little bit of toilet paper with you because the porta potties are usually out.
- At the start of a marathon that takes place in a colder month, take throw away sweats to wear at the start to stay warm (you can even cut a slit up each leg so you don’t have to take your shoes off at the start of the race to get the sweatpants off). Several races anticipate this and gather the discarded clothing and donate it to a shelter. If it’s also going to be chilly or wet at the start, put a big trash bag over your body to stay dry and warm. Just cut a slit in the top for your head! You won’t be the only one wearing a trash bag! And if you are—who cares? You are dry and warm.