Race Day Tips
Race day arrives. You've done the training. You've followed your taper. You're ready to roll! There are still things you can do for an optimum performance.
- Calming traditions. You might be a wee bit excited or nervous, especially if this is your first marathon. Take a deep breath and try to relax. You might consider a warm bath or shower or whatever you normally do that you know causes you to realax. Listen to music? Meditate? Do whatever works for you.
- Prerace clothes. It's important to keep your muscles warm before your race -- right up to the start. If you have support at the start, you can hand your warmups off to them. If you don't have support, consider picking up some inexpensive sweats at a thrift store so tossing them at the start won't cause an economic hardship.
- Sunscreen. Definitely wear sunscreeen.This can make a big difference even though it may seem small and unimportant.
- Prerace warm-up. Unless you are a very experienced runner or marathoner consider using your first miles of the race as your warm-up.
- Aid Stations. Take water and Gatorade (or whatever they are serving and you've trained with) at all stations for the first twenty miles at least. It's debatable whether you will be running long enough for any energy intake to be effective after twenty two miles so that decision is up to you.
- Race Strategy.
- Run your own race. Know what your goal is, what you've trained for, and stick to that plan. Park your ego -- or let it be informed that running your own race is your best means of success.
- Let other runners run their race as well. You cannot control the pace of other runners, how they've trained, what they ate, how they slept, etc. You can control your own race and that is what you should hold your interest and focus.
- Start at your expected average pace, not any faster. By far the biggest mistake of first time marathoners is starting too fast. Your body is primed to run. Tame the beast that lies within! You will need its strength in the later miles. This is critical.
- Run the tangents if possible. Certified marathon courses are measured in straight lines from corner to corner. If at all possible run the course as it has been measured. Otherwise, you are running a longer course. If conditions are crowded this may not be possible. However, crowds usually thin out as the miles increase and you may be able to run tangents when this happens. Please be careful not to cut in front of another runner in your quest to run the shortest legal distance.
- Post-race. See the Post-Race page for instructions.