RUN A DRESS REHEARSAL
Four or five days before the marathon, do a two- or three-mile marathon-pace run in your marathon outfit and shoes. Picture yourself on the course running strong and relaxed. Besides boosting your confidence, this run will provide one last little bit of conditioning and will help you lock in to race pace on marathon day.
RUN LIKE A CLOCK
If possible, run at the same time of day as the start of your marathon. This way, your body’s rhythms–including the all-important bathroom routine–will be in sync with marathon needs come race day. The more times you can do this, the better, but shoot for at least the last three days before the race.
SET TWO GOALS
“Review your training and set one goal for a good race day, and another as a backup plan in case it’s hot or windy or you’re just not feeling great,” Rodgers recommends. “So many things can go wrong in a marathon that you need that secondary goal to stay motivated if things aren’t perfect, which they seldom are.”
Your primary goal is the one you’ve been working toward during your buildup, whether it’s a personal best, qualifying for Boston, or breaking five hours. Your secondary goal should keep you motivated at the 22-mile mark on a bad day: finishing in the top 50 percent, slowing only 10 minutes over the second half, or just reaching the darn finish line.
On several nights before going to bed, or first thing in the morning, visualize yourself crossing the finish line as the clock shows a new personal best. Before the 2004 Olympic Marathon Trials, where Wells placed seventh, she replayed positive mental images before falling asleep at night. “I knew the course we would be running, and I’d see myself out on it running well,” she says. “There’s a hill in the 25th mile, and I’d say to myself, ’Okay, get up that hill, and then run strong to the finish.’”
Reduce the outside stresses in your life as much as possible the last week. “This is not a good time to get married or divorced,” Rodgers jokes.
Try to have work projects under control, politely decline invitations to late nights out, and so on. Most of all, stay off your feet–save museum tours and shopping sprees for after the marathon, and don’t spend four hours the day before the marathon checking out the latest energy gel flavors at the race expo. “Before the Trials,” says Wells, “I went to my brother’s house and just basically hung out.”
CARBO LOAD, DON’T FAT LOAD
“During the last three days, concentrate on eating carbohydrate-rich foods, such as pasta, potatoes, bread, fruit and fruit juice, and sports drinks,” says Suzanne Girard Eberle. It’s the carbs, after all, not fat or protein, that will fuel you on race day. Girard Eberle says what’s important is increasing the percentage of your calories that come from carbs, not simply eating more of everything. (Bummer, we know.) “Since you’ll be tapering and expending fewer calories,” she says, “you don’t have to consume a great deal more food than usual. Rather, make sure your food choices are carbohydrate-rich—for example, spaghetti with red sauce, instead of Alfredo sauce, or a bagel versus a croissant.”
GO WITH WHAT YOU KNOW
Even if three-time Olympian Deena Kastor appears on your front porch dispensing advice, don’t try anything radical this week. Stick to your plan and what you’ve practiced during your buildup. For example, if you haven’t done regular speedwork, now isn’t the time to start just because someone told you it will keep your legs “fresh” while you’re tapering. At this point, also ignore any “can’t-miss” diet tricks from friends. “So much of those last few days is mental,” says Wells. “Feel comfortable with what you’re doing rather than trying something new and worrying how it will affect you.”
Two to three hours before the start, “eat a carbohydrate-rich breakfast, even if that means getting up at an ungodly hour and going back to bed,” says Girard Eberle. The reason: As you slept, your brain was active and using the glycogen (stored carbohydrate) from your liver. Breakfast restocks those stores, so you’ll be less likely to run out of fuel. Aim for a few hundred calories, such as a bagel and banana or toast and a sports bar. “At the minimum,” says Girard Eberle, “consume a sports recovery drink”.
But just a little. Even the best marathoners in the world do only a little jogging beforehand, because they want to preserve their glycogen stores and keep their core body temperature down. If you’re a faster runner with a goal pace significantly quicker than your training pace, do no more than 10 minutes of light jogging, finishing 15 minutes before the start. Precede and follow your jog with stretching. If you’ll be running the marathon at about your training pace, skip the jog. Walk around a bit in the half hour before the start, and stretch.
Tips For a Great Marathon Performance Part 3 to follow…!
Article Credit – Scott Douglas (https://www.runnersworld.com/training/a20808326/26-tips-for-running-your-best-26-2)