Just over 26 miles (42 km). That’s a lot of distance to cover! However, after signing up and getting that confirmation that you are all entered, the training weeks soon whittle away until race day is upon you. So, you have your running shoes? Check. A training regime? Check. Start time? Check. Now, all that’s left is to make sure you’re ready to rock n’ roll in the last few days before heading out. Here’s how!
Keep your routine
It is essential when leading up to race day that you keep your normal routine. If you usually have a set bedtime, then trying to change that in the last few days is not the way to go. Your body responds better to the same routine, so implementing change may cause problems later down the line. This also goes for any meals you normally eat. If your body is used to a big bowl of steamed chicken and rice, then stick with it! Don’t bow down to pressure from others, or try a new recipe you’ve read is great for marathon; there’s plenty of time to try those things out after the race is over. Finally, make sure you keep your usual training gear. There is no point in breaking in a new pair of trainers in the last few days before a race as you could end up with some nasty blisters. Stick to what you know, and it will all seem a lot less daunting.
In the last few days before the marathon, try to make sure you continue to push yourself. While you shouldn’t be making up for any workouts you could have missed, making sure that you keep going for the extra mile, or amping up the speed just a little is a great way to get into the right headspace for the race. However, don’t use this as a time to try and build fitness as this should already have been done in the weeks leading up to this moment. Instead, take these days to help maintain your fitness levels and hype yourself up for what is about to come.
It is vital that the day before you head out to the race that you lace up your trainers and go for one last run. A brisk jog of no more than 20 minutes the day before will help to prevent the feeling of ‘heavy legs’ on race day. It should also make sure that you are feeling on top of your game, rather than being left stale from a day away from the tarmac. Don’t push yourself too hard, you don’t want to sustain an injury, so find the right balance.
Catch some Zs
One of the most important parts of the training regime is to ensure you are getting enough sleep. This will help to rebuild your muscles from all the training you have been doing over the last few weeks, as well as ensuring you have plenty of energy left for when the marathon day comes around. Being well rested will also help you to mentally prepare for what you are about to put your body through. Running a marathon is a huge ask from our bodies, so making sure you are in the right frame of mind to tackle the enormous task at hand is key.
Whether this is your first or your hundredth time at running a marathon, even giving it a go is a huge milestone for anyone – let alone crossing the finish line. With all the training behind you, once race day comes around it will become clear what all the vigorous regimes, late nights, and early starts have been in aid of. Good luck, and remember to have fun!