"No new is good new". Race time is the time for tried methods, foods, shoes, and equipment. Never try anything for the first time in a race.
Set your alarm to wake up early so you have plenty of time before the race. You need to be awake and alert. It is also important to get your body functioning and have a bowel movement to get rid of last night's final carbohydrates. Sometimes drinking 1-2 cups of water or coffee will assist in this process.
Eating on race day was covered in the carbohydrate loading section. If the race is in the late morning or early afternoon, consider a light carbohydrate breakfast of toast with little or no butter.
Your final plans for clothes and shoes will actually depend on the weather. Remember that you will probably be running faster than in training runs; dress accordingly. Too many or too few clothes may be detrimental to performance. The ideal condition is to feel slightly chilly when lined up for the start. Wearing layers that can be removed may be appropriate.
Your race number must always be worn on the front. You may want to fold it or cut it to fit on your shorts so you can take off shirt layers if necessary. If there is a removable tag, be sure it is free.
The choice between training and racing shoes for the marathon is certainly up to the individual. If you're experienced and race often, you may feel racing shoes give you an added edge. If you're not used to racing flats, their lack of cushioning and/or support over 26 miles may not compensate for the few ounces of reduced weight. To prevent the infamous "black toe" and other foot problems, shoes should have at least a thumb's width of length beyond your longest toe when standing.
Preventing chafing over the marathon distance is important. Vaseline or other athletic skin lubricant can be put wherever 2 body surfaces will rub together or where the edge or seam on clothing will rub on the skin. Paper tape over nipples is a good idea especially for men or when running in the rain. Women should wear the same type of bra worn in training. Powder in the shoes or vaseline on the feet can reduce blisters and hot spots. Remember to experiment with any of these ideas on training runs well before the race.
Pick up gear assembled from the checklist and leave for the race giving yourself enough time to park, check on details, warm up and get ready to run.
After arriving, note:
Warming up before the event has both psychological and physiological benefits. Physiologically. the increased blood flow and muscle core temperature can be beneficial as can the facilitation and recruitment of the motor units. Warm up may help you to prevent injury during the run by having your body prepared and ready to go. Psychologically, it may help you to become clearly focused on the event and on your body. It may burn off a little of the pre-race "hype" and allow you to run the first mile at or near the desired split time. Often being in the crowd and being primed and ready to go can make you go crazy the first mile and run 30 seconds to a minute per mile faster than you wanted. This burns off glycogen which will be needed later. Be warned that warming up might also make it easy to run the first mile too fast because you are loose. Establishing a routine of pre-race activities which become "automatic" can also help calm you.
Use a walk to slow jog to warm up the muscles and the core temperature slowly without causing fatigue or reducing energy stores. Start jogging about 20 minutes before the race starts. Slowly run for 5 to 10 minutes, then carefully do some easy stretching. Do not stretch before the race unless you have warmed up the muscles because a muscle pull or strain at this time would be catastrophic. After stretching, you may want to do a little bit of striding at race pace before getting into the start staging area. Warm up in your warm up clothing and slowly peel down as you get warmer. Warming up should also give you an idea of the amount of clothing necessary for the run. If the temperature is moderate to cool, you should feel chilly while standing in the staging area. If you are comfortable, you either are wearing too many clothes or will need to deal with hot weather running. Relax the last 5 minutes in your starting location.
Run The Planet thanks Patti & Warren Finke and Team Oregon for the permission to reprint the complete online version of the first edition of the book Marathoning Start to Finish (Hypertext Version 1.02) by Patti & Warren Finke. © 1986, 1996 wY'east Consulting, All Rights reserved.