Race Day Tips For a Successful Marathon
So here are our best marathon race tips for a successful run – let’s dig into it.
As a new runner, it takes time to get the “right formula” and find that sweet spot where you can give your best without putting too much pressure on your body and mind. As much as running a marathon is being able to endure the whole thing, it’s also about being prepared.
Preparation is half the job, maybe even more. So before you lace up and join a marathon, there are certain things you need to get taken care of, which is why we’ve decided to share some general marathon tips that will work for you regardless of your size, body type, or mentality.
Prepare in case you “hit the wall”
“Hitting the wall” or “bonking” are the terms used for the worst thing that can happen to you while running a marathon. It’s a feeling of being broken, losing your energy, and feeling like your legs are glued to the ground.
To avoid this, you will have to prepare in advance. But as far as race day goes, you can do a few things to mitigate the effects of this phenomenon. First of all, keep a steady pace that’s not overwhelming for you; this is how you remain consistent and run longer distances without completely burning out and stopping.
For one of our most important marathon race tips we recommend to make sure to distract yourself, think about something positive, look at the landscape, or something not related to the race itself. Have some positive self-talk before the race, and make sure to get enough carbs while running.
Load up on carbs before the race
You shouldn’t be eating heavy food 2-4 hours before the race. However, you should fuel up on carbs — it’s one of the most important marathon tips. Your meal should be mostly carbs, a bit of protein, some fat, and some fiber. Think of things like peanut butter, bananas, energy bars, fruit smoothies, oatmeals, nuts, and some other fresh fruit.
The goal is to get your system filled with carbs so that you have enough fuel for the marathon and do not have to start refueling at the beginning of the race. Ideally, you shouldn’t even drink any water half an hour before the race starts.
Keep a cool head and start slow
A lot of beginners get excited after the gun fires. Their adrenaline is pumping, and their heart is racing. All of this can affect their composure and make them approach the marathon emotionally. You shouldn’t be trying to make the best time during the first mile.
You might feel great at some point and push the pace for too long, ending up hitting the wall. One of the pro marathon tips you can often hear is racing for the last 10 km, not the first 20. It’s all about executing the results that you’ve accomplished in training. Of course, if you’re feeling strong near the end of the race, you can give it all you got.
Create a nutrition plan
Even though this one isn’t exactly a race day tip, it’s directly related to it. You simply MUST create a well-balanced diet if you plan on running marathons. Your nutrition should include healthy fats, protein, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
The body needs the energy to withstand this difficult endeavor, and this means you need a lot of macronutrients, including carbs, fats, and proteins. However, you should know that carbs should be around ⅔ of your energy. The rest should be fats and proteins.
Stick to your training plan
This is crucial. As we mentioned earlier, beginners running marathons will often do things that they haven’t tried in training and break their rhythm.
If you want to be a successful runner, you need to have discipline and stick to your training plan.
Your training will probably come down to a realistic goal. Once you’ve set that goal, look for ways to deliver on it. But at the same time, you should have a secondary goal. Sometimes things simply don’t go well, and you might not be able to achieve your primary goal.
In that case, you should be trying to reach your secondary goal. Have a plan and stick to it, and this approach should be used for every tiniest detail, including the bottle you use for fueling, shoes you’re running in, daily routine, and so on.
Sleeping well for one night isn’t going to cut it if you’ve not been paying attention to this for weeks. On average, you should be sleeping around 7 to 8 hours each day while in training. But before the race, you can even sleep an hour or two longer.
But these are general rules. If you feel that you need more sleep, make sure that you get it. On the other hand, if you wake up earlier on your own, you don’t have to force yourself to sleep more. It’s about listening to your body and tending to its needs.
Make water stops
Hydration is extremely important for any runner. For marathons, you need to hydrate during the race as well and not just before and after. In general, simple plain water is always a good option for marathon runners, and you need to find the right fuel source (or gel) for your needs.
Also, consider adding electrolytes into your water and possibly even some carbs. Hydrating is an essential part of running a marathon, and it needs practicing as well. Find the right place to carry your bottle so that it doesn’t bother you, practice refueling while running, and consider even stopping until you’ve perfected the technique.
Eat well a day before
Lots of runners will avoid eating the day before the race or eat very little because they feel they got all the energy and nutrients they need and don’t want the food “weighing them down.” This is an entirely wrong approach.
In fact, you should eat even more than you usually do so that you have extra energy in reserve for the marathon. Of course, it takes time to get used to running with more fuel in the tank, but it pays off. It will reduce the chances of hitting the wall, cramping, or having to hydrate more often than normal.
Don’t eat before bed
Even though you should eat the day before, you shouldn’t be eating before you get to bed. There are a couple of reasons for this. First of all, eating food before going to bed might make it difficult to sleep and get the rest you need for the race.
On the other hand, you might wake up bloated in the morning or feel dehydrated if you intake a lot of sodium. That’s why you should avoid eating 3-4 hours before going to bed. That’s how you wake up fresh, ready to grab something to eat, and head out to your race.
The next tip in our most important marathon race tips is:
Drink often but little
As far as fueling and hydration go during the race, it’s different for every runner. In general, you should be drinking often, in small doses, so that you don’t put a lot of strain on your stomach and feel the fluids jumping around in your belly while running.
Drinking a lot of water can make it more difficult to run, and you might even feel nauseated because of it. In general, you should be taking a sip or two every 15 minutes, but only after you start feeling thirsty, not before that.
Putting lube on yourself can save you a lot of pain and discomfort during the marathon. When we run, there’s a lot of friction going on, which is not a problem when running short distances. However, when running the half or full marathon, this can be a huge pain.
Not only this, but you also waste precious energy. Put lube on your feet, underarms, nipples, and private parts to ensure you have a smooth run (pun intended). Don’t be scared of overdoing it; it’s better than not putting enough.
Run in the same shoes you train in
It’s also a part of your training to get in the groove and fine-tune all the details that might be bothering you. This includes finding the right running shoes. You need to feel comfortable, find shoes that absorb pressure, and avoid getting blisters while running.
First of all, getting used to running shoes is very important. You can’t have that on your mind while running; it should feel natural. On the other hand, getting new running shoes means you’re walking into unknown territory, and you don’t know how comfortable they actually are until you’ve run a 10k in them.
We hope you find these marathon race tips useful. Take the time to pay attention to all of these things and take the advice with a grain of salt. Yes, there are general rules, but every runner is different.
After you have enough experience, you can adjust your nutrition, hydration, preparation, and pre-race rituals according to your needs. But until that moment, using these tips will help you a lot. Good luck!
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