Preparing for Race Day

The days leading up to race day are key to a successful marathon. And after weeks of intensive training and hard work, you want to give your body time to rest up, recuperate, and prepare.

Here are seven race day tips to round off the last week of your training journey.

1. Enjoy the Taper

All running coaches will say this. With a week to go, shorten your runs and allow your body to rebuild and refresh itself for race day. Take a well-deserved break and focus on preparing mentally for the race. You’ve earned it!

2. Increase Your Carb Intake

In the three days leading up to race day, your training should be reduced, and you should start increasing your carb intake. Runners should increase their carbohydrate intake to 70-80% of their total calorie intake.


Load up on complex carbs, such as whole grain breads and pasta.


Switch over to simple carbs, such as white bread and pasta.


Continue with simple carbs. Have your last major meal 12-15 hours prior to the race.

3. Stay hydrated.

Make sure you are drinking lots of water and staying hydrated with four to eight glasses of water a day. All races will have water stations on course, and you should try to find out what kind of sports drink will be provided on race day beforehand and try it out during training. If the provided drink does not work, plan out a way to access your preferred fluids during the race. 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’s.

You want to be well-rested for race day, so aim to get eight hours of sleep the night before. Unless your race has an early start, try to avoid going to bed too early. This can cause you to wake up too early and be unable to fall back asleep. However, 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.

Related article: 6 things you should know before running your first race

5. Don’t overdress.

Check the weather the night before the race and prepare your gear accordingly. Try to dress as if it’s 15 degrees warmer than it really is because your body will warm up while you’re running. Bring something old to stay warm at the start line that you can discard before the race (all the clothes that get left behind are donated to charity!). Alternatively, you can check in your gear and pick it up when you finish.

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 could be five minutes of brisk walking followed by two to three minutes of easy jogging.

7. Pace Yourself

You’ve worked hard to get to this day, so it’s natural to be a little nervous – or maybe you’re super excited. Most importantly, stick to your pace. Remember that you will be surrounded by tons of runners at the start line, all running at their own pace. Stay at your own pace, or even consider starting off a little slower to conserve your energy. Run with a watch, or follow a Running Room pace bunny at the BMO Vancouver Marathon.

Now that you’re all ready to go, we can’t wait to see you next May!