Back when I did my first marathon (The Country Music Marathon in Nashville, TN in April 2001) I was taught a few things by our Team in Training coaches that are to this day a big part of my pre-race prep.
- Get Organized. Lay everything that you will be wearing on the floor or in this case, a chair (we call it making a flat runner). Pin your number on your shirt, lay get your fuel, water bottle, layers for the wait, snacks for the bus, breakfast, etc. This eliminates any last-minute (and panicky) searches at 5:00am on race day.
- Get off your feet. Go to the expo, get your stuff, walk around a bit then get back to the hotel or find a place to sit and, well, sit. You’ve done the work, now you have to prepare for the race.
- Eat early. For example, we are having dinner at 5:30pm tonight. Give yourself plenty of time to digest so when you wake up at the crack of early, you’re not bloaty and still full.
- Run the course in your head and break it up. I call it chunking and I’ve been a 6 mile chunker. As in, get through the first 6 miles, then the next, etc. Soon you have 4 chunks done and a bit to go. Sometimes that last 6 mile chunk is too big to digest, so to speak so you break it down to 3 miles, etc. Some people focus on transitions. For the NYC marathon get over the first bridge, get through Brooklyn, etc.
- ABG. Always be grateful. Be grateful for this amazing opportunity. Be grateful for your legs carrying you these miles. Be grateful for the kids who hand you water in Dixie cups and be grateful for your friends and family who have been liking your IG posts for the past 16 weeks.
I’ll check in after the race.
Now go run!