So ready or not the big day is almost here.
The day you have been thinking about (or trying not to think about depending on how well your training has gone) for the last few months since you decided that pushing yourself to run the ultimate challenging distance of 26.2 miles was indeed a great idea.
But now that the day is nearly upon you what do you do now?
The last few weeks you have got used to the heavy mileage, eating carbs , early morning training runs, eating carbs, becoming incredibly familiar with your gym, eating carbs, cancelling social events and eating yet more carbs.
But in the final few days what should you be doing now?
Well the heavy mileage needs to stop for one thing, you want to be as fresh as possible when waiting on that start line with 26.2 miles of running ahead of you. Hopefully you will have tapered down in the last week or two and done your last long run 7 days plus before the event. There is so much advice on how to taper and how much you should/shouldn’t run in the week before a marathon. My general rule that I have stuck to is to do maybe 20-30% of my usual mileage and keep within75% of my maximum exertion so I have plenty in the tank for race day.
The good news is the eating carbs bit can continue and in fact eating more carbs might be the way forward. This is what marathon runners often talk about as the fun part of training, the part where they get to eat lots after perhaps months of watching their calorie intake. It all needs to be good and clean eating though, whole grains, plenty of fruit and veg, essential fatty oils and good protein sources. Not quite time to indulge just yet; the fatty fry ups and big chocolate cakes are all part of the reward post marathon.
The early morning wake up calls for training might want to be scaled back as well and socialising might still need to take a back seat as rest and relaxation is very much top of the agenda in the marathon build up. If possible nothing too tiring or strenuous and some extra sleep should be your aim in the days before a marathon so your body is fully rested and ready for the exertions ahead.
The only other real advice is to drink plenty and make sure you feel really hydrated not only prior to the race but in the few days before hand. The last essential bit of advice is:
Relax and enjoy yourself!
This is where you figure out if you are a runner or not. Do you find the 26.2 miles a form of gruesome torture or an enjoyable challenge…