Preparing for Race Day

7 race day tips for a successful marathon


Preparing for race day is the key to a successful marathon. In the days leading up to the big day, you want to give your body time to rest up, recuperate and prepare itself. Here are seven tips to round off the last week of your training journey.

1. Enjoy the taper.

  • Shorten your runs and allow your body to rebuild and refresh itself for race day
  • Focus on preparing mentally for the race

2. 3-Day carb-load.

  • In the three days coming up to race day, runners should increase their carbohydrate intake to 70-80 of their total calorie intake
  • Day one: Load up on complex carbs, such as whole grain breads and pasta.
  • Day two: Switch over to simple carbs, such as white bread and regular pasta.
  • Day three: Continue with simple carbs. Have your last major meal 12-15 hours prior to the race.

3. Stay hydrated.

  • Make sure you are staying hydrated
  • Ensure you are drinking four to eight glasses of water a day
  • Find out what kind of sports drink will be provided on race day, and try it out during your training
  • Plan out a way to access your preferred fluids during the race if the provided drink does not work – this could mean wearing a hydration belt or having friends and family hand you drinks along the course

4. Aim for 8 hours of Zzz.

  • Aim for eight hours of sleep prior to race day
  • Unless your race has an early start, try to avoid going to bed too early – this may cause you to wake up too early and be unable to fall back asleep
  • While runners should aim for a full eight hours, research shows not getting the full amount should not have any adverse effects on race day

5. Don’t overdress.

  • Check the weather the night before the race
  • Try to dress as if it’s 15 degrees warmer than it really is – your body will warm up while you’re running
  • Bring something to stay warm at the start line before the race

6. Find a dynamic warm-up routine.

  • You’ll want to conserve your energy for the race, so your warm-up needs to be minimal
  • Warm up with dynamic movements instead of traditional “stretch-n-hold” stretches
  • A suggested warm-up includes five minutes of brisk walking followed by two to three minutes of easy jogging

7. Pace yourself.

  • Remember that you will be surrounded by tons of runners at the start line, all running at their own pace
  • Rather than following the speedsters in the pack, stay at your own race pace – or even a little slower at the beginning to conserve your energy

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