Wednesday, 30 October 2013

How to prepare for a marathon: The week before

The week leading up to a marathon is a mixed bag of emotions. It's the week for you to get all your affairs in order. Oh, by this I don't actually mean go out and get an up-to-date will (hopefully you won't be needing to do that, that is), but I mean make sure you are fully prepared - mentally, physically, and any other way you can be.

That's right folks, preparation!
Here are few pieces of advice to help you get through that week and to prepare for the all-consuming marathon:

1. Get your gear sorted:
Know what you are going to be wearing, make sure it's clean, ironed, pressed, groomed, whatever it is you need to do for your gear, DO IT!

If I am travelling for a race I always take two of everything, just in case. Two sports bras, two pairs of socks, two tops, two bottoms - usually one for cooler weather and one for warmer weather. If it is going to be warm I'll wear shorts, if it is cooler I'll wear tights. Boom!

2. Have all your fuel sorted: 
The old 'never try anything new on race day' is molto importante when it comes to fuel. You want to know that what you are taking/using won't upset your tummy or make you feel terrible. And make sure you know how you are going to carry your fuel or where people will be along the course to dish out the gels/gummy bears/bananas or whatever it is you use.

3. Know exactly what time you need to be at the start line (the absolute latest you would want to be arriving), and therefore what time you will be needing to get up and leave the house/accommodation. Plan in things like needing to use the loo before you begin, warm ups, getting in the right pace group/corral. The last thing you want is to be missing the starting gun!

4. Know what you will eat the morning of the run and have it all readily accessible.

My race on Sunday starts at 6.10am so I'll practically be getting up in the freakin middle of the night! This means I will lay out all my breakfast things the night before and any drinks I will want to be having. Make sure you hydrate well the night before and morning before the race, particularly if it is going to be hot weather.

5. Carbo loading in the week leading up to the event:
This is many an athlete's favourite part of the training, the eating! It is definitely one of the perks of being a runner for me! But don't go crazy. Carbo loading does not mean you need to eat 5 bowls of pasta, 3 whole garlic breads, 10 donuts and 5 litres of powerade a day. NO! You do not want to get to the start line feeling heavy and sluggish!
It just means that you need to make sure you are getting in a good amount of carbs in your bigger meals (breaky, lunch and dinner) to stock up on your glycogen stores - about 25% more carbs than usual (my awesome friend told me that one today). Save the binge feed for after the marathon when you well and truly deserve to eat whatever the heck you like!

6. Be on your mental game. Prepare mentally:
The last 2-4 months (or however long you trained for) was the physical prep, now this week is for the mental prep. You have done all the hard work, put in the hours, the sweat, the tears, and maybe even some blood, and a few injuries to boot. So now is the time to get your head in the game. If you are anything like me, in the week(s) leading up to the marathon your head is a minefield. All the doubt starts creeping in and you are planning for a worst-case-scenario. DON'T DO THIS!

You know you can do it, you know you have trained well. I am all about the self-talk. I know it sounds lame and nerdy but it seriously helps! I will quote scriptures to myself, remind myself I am awesome have trained the best I could and that I am strong, fit and a good runner. I am a firm believer in this quote, as I have posted many times before:

Thought I'd throw this one in there too, for good measure
 And last but not least, here are two reminders for you (and me):

My all time favourite!

My marathon goal right thur!
 Anyone else racing this weekend?

Any good tips for the week before a big race? 

Favourite quote, verse or mantra that you repeat over and over? 

Go here to check out an article I wrote called '10 reasons why people run marathons' for a bit of humour.


  1. I'm so excited for you!!! (and jealous!) You're gunna be Awesome and Rock this Marathon!!! I don't have any inspirational quotes (unless you count Dory "just keep swimming") but Run like you stole something usually gives me a chuckle when i'm a bit stuck!! Good Luck!!!

  2. No racing for me until maybe Thanksgiving ! Hope you have a great race and enjoy!

  3. Stopping over from Sherry's blog, I wish I were racing but I have had a bum foot :(
    Good luck with the half marathon. My favorite mantra to counter act negative thoughts is "you are stronger than that" I also love "this is what you were made for" kind of corny but works for me :)


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