Preparing for race day

Preparing for your marathon....

Your marathon morning routine should be something that you should begin to practice by using these next long training runs.  For most marathons you will be waking up before dawn and won't be stepping into your corrals until hours later. Nutrition is so important to get you through your marathon without "hitting the wall" or also known as "bonking".  

I experienced a huge "lessons learned" last year at the NYC marathon.  I woke up before dawn, ate my bagel with peanut butter and banana and then caught the bus to Staten Island at 6 am.  The bus ride itself is about hour and then when we arrived we ended up  sitting on the bus for another hour.  When we finally got to the Athletes village we missed the bagels, bananas & bars that they have for the runners.  I didn't pack my usual snacks expecting to get a bagel there.  BIG MISTAKE! By the time we got to the corral Kim and I were hungry.  We split a GU like two homeless people.  We paid for this around mile 21.   We still ate GU as we were running but starting off on an empty tank was NOT good.  The feeling of depleted nutrition was horrible.  It made those miles through Central Park pretty unpleasant when they should have be exhilarating.  It took a long time  after the race to recover too.  Here are 3 good suggestions that you should start NOW - to get your body and mind prepared for race day.

1.   Time Your fueling:  Eat when you first wake up. (2-3 hours prerace)  Marathon day I am not counting calories - I am preparing my body to run the  marathon and finish strong.  I need every calorie.  I eat a bagel w/peanut butter. and banana.  Then I bring either a peanut butter and jelly, or cliff bar when i get to my corral. Typically 100 calories of easy digestible carbs - something your used to and something that you've used during your training.  If your wait is  even longer - then eat a snack when you wake, then a meal 2-3 hours prerace and then another snack at the corral.  

2.  Dress right for the Start!  There is nothing worse than freezing before a race.  You're not only burning more calories it's also mentally challenging.  I'm nervous enough without shaking from being cold.  I always bring my throw away clothes. If your running a race in another state and don't want to pack a lot of extra stuff then visit a local Good Will and get a nice blanket or bathrobe.  People wear the silliest throw away clothing!  They may look silly but there not the one standing there shaking from being cold.  I even bring hand warmers on race day.  Last year at the start of NYC I got rid of my throw away but not my hand warmers.  I recall 2 young girls freezing to death hugging each other.  I gave then one hand warmer to share.  You would have thought I gave them a million dollars - they were so appreciative!

3.  Pack smart for Post race! When I'm checking a bag I pack a dry shirt and sandals.  I also have post race food.  Some people don't like to check a bag and just want to go home a lay down.  Walking after the marathon is the best thing for you.  NYC marathon has about 1/2 mile to get out of the park.  If you check a bag expect to walk about a mile to get your bag.  Hartford is great because you finish and walk to get your medal and post race food.  Bushnell Park has tents set up all over so expect to walk from one end of the park to the other to get your checked bag and of course post race beer at the beer garden.  You'll be walking to your car too!

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