If you're planning on running a marathon, you're busy focusing on training. We'd like to take something off your plate so you can keep up the good work. Don't worry about the details before the race - our panel of ambassadors and other seasoned runners have you covered. Here's the plan.
two weeks out
Begin the hydrating marathon. Be very intentional. Nearly everyone we asked suggested drinking at least three litres of water a day from this point on.
Commit to your outfit. By now you should know exactly how you feel in what you're running in. (You've been training in it, right?) The sooner you choose your gear for the race, the better. This includes your shoes and socks.
Keep it consistent. Now is not the time to try new workouts, new diets, new sleeping patterns - whatever. Stick with what your body is used to.
Taper down your runs. According to our resident running expert Mike, there are really no benefits to be made within two weeks of the race and your body needs to heal after months of intense training. "I cut my running back at least two weeks before the race," he says. "I like a sharp drop about a week before, but I do enough to stay sharp with short speed and tempo drills." Everyone's different. Don't avoid running - just take it easy. Thirty to 45-minute runs are a good idea.
Make your playlist. Your pace can ultimately be decided by your music. Alumni ambassador Rob recommends starting with mellow paced songs to calm your nerves and saving the intense up-tempo songs for the final stretch. We've got a few suggestions.
Learn the course. Know where the hills are so you can mentally prepare. The more familiar you are with the terrain, the better.
one week out
Spend time with Mr. Sandman. Rob recommends aiming for at least seven hours a night.
Think about adding salt. Everyone's diet is different but if you typically keep your sodium intake to a minimum, consider stepping it up a bit. You'll be sweating it all out soon and your body needs the electrolytes.
Set time goals. Jenn likes to break the race into 10K intervals. She sets different goals for each. "I know I'll need more time if there are large hills, so I set goals to make up the time in other parts of the race." She writes them on her arm on race day. Other people laminate cards or make wristbands.
Keep moving. Listen to your body and the keep up the light running and yoga.
Picture your success. Rebecca is always visualizing her runs. "I can feel myself doing the race: the starting line, the gun - everything. I tell myself I'm strong and fast and I picture seeing my personal best on my watch."
Plan a celebration. You'll deserve something fabulous when the race is behind you. Call the people you love. Make reservations. Pick an outfit.
Keep drinking water. We can't say it enough.
Keep sleeping. It's especially important to get a good rest two nights before the race. Douse your pillow in lavender essential oils if that's what it takes.
Start packing your bags. It's really happening!
the day before
Keep calm. It's all very exciting (almost nerve-racking, in fact) so do everything you can to stay collected. If you catch yourself losing it, just take a few deep breaths. You're almost there!
Stay hydrated. If you've been doing your job, your body has been perfectly hydrated for a weeks. Bravo. (Remember your electrolytes too. How you choose to get them is up to you.)
Do nothing. Today is the day to get your sloth on, according to our panel. Stay in your sweats and don't exert yourself. (If you have serious butterflies, Rob suggests doing a quick jog and a thorough stretch. Just take it easy.)
Prep your outfit. Lay out your gear, pin your bib on your race belt and try it on to see how it feels.
Charge your batteries. You want your tunes and heart rate monitor to keep up with you for the whole race.
Connect with your cheering squad. You won't have your phone with you so make sure to decide on a meeting spot in advance. Carla suggests you find out where they're planning to cheer you on so you know when to wipe your brow and smile for the camera.
Get some sleep. OK, so most of the people we spoke with said it's nearly impossible to sleep well the night before. Do the best you can. Try not to think about the race too much. (You've been visualizing your amazing race. You'll do great. Just breathe.)
Eat well. Our jury is out on the whole carb loading thing. Your body needs carbohydrates but not five servings of pasta. Don't do anything too out of the ordinary and don't eat anything too high in fibre. You've been warned.
Give yourself time. Three hours should be plenty of time to fully wake up, get ready and mentally prepare.
Run a bath. Mike has a hot one as soon as he wakes up to warm up his muscles. (It's also a good anxiety reliever.)
Fuel thyself. Katie reminds everyone to eat a balanced meal of proteins, fats and carbs two hours before the race. Remember, eat things you're familiar with - nothing out of the ordinary. (Again, watch the fibre intake.)
Don't overdress. Disposable layers are great to keep warm before you hit the pavement but as for your race outfit, don't overdo it. You'll be warm within the first five minutes. Being too hot can have an adverse effect on your heart rate, fatigue, and ultimately, your results.
Get warm. Think of a car starting up in the cold. It doesn't happen. Please don't cut your warm-up short. The rule of thumb? The shorter the race, the longer the warm-up. Runner's World has a great article on the subject.
Avoid the starting line frenzy. Mike says save the hooting and hollering for the end - you need that energy. We agree.
Have fun! Your hard work is about to pay off. Remember to enjoy yourself in the midst of it all.
Celebrate your achievement. Aren't you glad you made those reservations? You're welcome.
- Still looking for a race? Here are some of our favourite marathons.
- Packing soon? We thought of everything you need for your race.
- Got tight hamstrings? You're not alone. Our yogi expert has some advice.
- Looking for nutrition tips? You asked. Our ambassador Ainslie answered.
- Need some inspiration? Read about Jen's experience at the NYC Marathon.
There you have it. Do you have anything to add? Share your advice, bookmark this page and check back as your race approaches. We'll see you soon!