This week, stay hydrated, be cautious about what you eat (think healthy), and stay healthy with lots of hand washing and avoiding sick people. Later in the week, lay out every item you need for race morning (shoes, shorts, socks, gels, hydration pack, etc. etc). Pin your bib to the front of your shirt after visiting the Expo.
The half and full marathon start at 7am. Arrive at least one hour prior to the race.
Wake up early enough to take care of everything you must do (eat and drink, visit the bathroom, dress, etc.).
Make a plan to meet your family members and friends at a designated time and place after the race.
Depart for the race site with plenty of time to spare, arrive early enough to park, use the porta-potty, and take care of any last minute details.
Stay off your feet as much as possible prior to the race.
During the Marathon
Don’t start too fast. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and leave the chute at a pace faster than what you’re accustomed to.
Do not pass up any aid stations on the marathon race course. While it’s acceptable to drink just water in the early miles, runners MUST consume sports beverages no later than 60 minutes of running (and earlier if possible). At the aid stations, positioned about every 2 miles, water and GU Brew is offered. If you’re not sure what’s in the cup (water or sports drink), politely ask. If necessary, walk through the aid stations to be sure that you are able to consume the entire contents of the cup. If you choose to stop and drink, please stay out of path of approaching runners. The aid stations will have salt caps as well. Ask for one if you need it (you can take one about every hour). Some runners will throw their cups on the ground at the aid station. This is acceptable. It’s NOT acceptable to throw the cup on the ground past the aid station! This goes for gel wrappers and other trash as well. The volunteers appreciate a smile and a simple thank you from runners; we can’t do this without their time and energy.
Take time to enjoy the spectators, participants, and the scenery of the course.
Stop negative thoughts dead in their tracks. Repeat your mantra over and over.
Think about how proud family members and friends will be of you and your accomplishment.
Immediately Following the Race
Visit the VIP Tent to get something to eat and drink. If you plan to celebrate with a little alcohol, wait until you’ve had a nutritious meal. Stretch and keep moving to minimize muscle soreness. Resist the urge to lay down or take a LONG nap. Soaking your legs in cold water aids recovery. Take time to celebrate your huge accomplishment!
Take it all in! You’ve accomplished something very few people in the general population have ever done! Your final race time is less important than the medal you’ll adorn yourself with upon crossing the finish line, not to mention the lifetime of memories. I once heard this…”The real troopers are those who are out on the course far longer than the front runners, they are on their feet longer and may even have more determination to keep moving forward!”
Enjoy the race! You’ve worked hard and whether know it or not, you’ve inspired others along the way.
The finish line isn’t the end. This journey has no end! I’ve enjoyed being a part of this with you.