You have pushed yourself hard in your training sessions, you have broken your time targets, you have crossed your distance barriers and now it’s finally time to reap the benefits of all your efforts.
Your wait is finally over and soon you’ll be at the end of the finish line just exactly how you imagined!
This is where your nerves might kick, so for starters, just breathe in…….and breathe out!
Now here are some tips which you can follow the night before to ensure everything will be good, because as always, we’ve got your back!
Until now you have trained diligently by sticking to a plan for your marathon. It is just as important to have a plan for the marathon day to prepare and ensure that everything is in place.
Organizing all the important items that you might require prior to the marathon day eliminates certain external tensions which might cause a hindrance to your race. Sort out all the essentials and pack them in either a duffel bag or a sports kit or whatever you prefer to carry. Re-check if your chip/bib and your complete running outfit is kept out the night before (inners, shoes, socks, headbands, etc.).
Charge your phone/earphones for your music and keep your marathon playlist ready for the race. Don’t forget to pack a recovery kit with sunscreen, flip-flops, an extra pair of clothes, socks, relief spray, bandages, etc.
*Make a list or do a mental ‘check’ in your head if that helps!
The next important thing you should do is figure out when you’ll wake up and how much time it would take you to finish your morning routine (shower, breakfast, etc.) so you do not have any last minute stress of being late! Aim to eat a good breakfast that includes a good portion of carbs to keep you fueled up and ensure that it is at least 2 hours before the race so you do not end up running on a heavy stomach. Additionally, carry some energy bars to munch on the way if you do feel a bit hungry.
Next, sort out your transportation and aim to reach at least an hour before the race to collect your kits, warmup, find the location, etc. This also helps as a buffer in case of any unexpected situations arise. Keep in mind that you are going for a marathon, so make sure you do not walk too much or get tired reaching the venue!
It can’t be stressed enough as to how important it is that you have to be hydrated the night before the race so you don’t feel tired or lethargic the next day. The key is to break down your fluid intake and consume lots of it, be it water or electrolytes or something as natural as lemon juice to keep you charged and hydrated. Avoid alcohol the day before the race as it could lead to a little dehydration and you wouldn’t want that!
Throughout the day, eat in intervals and try to get in a combined amount of about 600 grams (approx. 2500-2600) calories of carbohydrates. It is advisable to get the majority of your calories in the form of carbs and this applies especially for your evening and night time meals! Some things you can opt for are sweet potatoes, pastas, baked potatoes, brown rice, sandwiches, bagels with peanut butter, quinoa, whole grains, oatmeal, etc.
Avoid eating food which contains too much cream or any heavy sauces as it could leave you feeling bloated or lethargic. The main reason that it is advisable to load up your body with carbs is because your body will convert them into glycogen which will act as fuel to give you energy for the duration of your race.
Also, keep in mind that it is always best to stick with familiar foods because the last thing you want to do is introduce something new that may have an unwanted effect on your stomach.
Isn’t it often said, ‘Old is Gold’? That is exactly what you need to remember on the day before the marathon. As easy as it is to be tempted to try a new energy bar or a new super food or a ‘life changing’ stretching routine, etc. it is best to stay far from such ideas! Stick to what you have been doing until now while preparing for the marathon, be it taking a cold/hot shower in the morning, listening to particular music tracks or whatever which has transitioned your to avoid any unpleasant surprises of upset stomachs or a muscle pull the next morning. This gives you a sense of comfort and familiarity, which subconsciously calms you down.
As important as your physical training routine is, your mental strength is just as important. You must aim to keep a calm and collected head before the night of the race. Have a strategy for finishing the race by breaking down the distance into smaller chunks. Understand that you have worked extremely hard for this day, therefore, acknowledge it and part yourself in the back for it for reaching so far. Keep telling your mind and train it in such a way to not give up or stop until they have crossed the finish line unless under extreme circumstances.
Fancy an episode of Friends or a good comedy movie? Go right ahead and watch any feel-good which uplifts your mood and releases those stress hormones. Your mind should be free of stress and this also helps you to get a good night’s sleep right before the event.
SLEEP! It is extremely important for your performance for the next day. Switch off all your phones/ devices before you sleep so you can get a good nights sleep. Do light breathing exercises, calm yourself down and go to bed at your regular time and re-check your alarm just in case!
Remember this! Your training is complete. Visualize yourself finishing the marathon and reaching the end line within the time you practiced so hard for.
Know that this isn’t a ‘One plan fits all’ kind of routine so stick with what you already know and you will be good to go! You are already this close, stay positive and have a happy marathon!