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Running your first marathon, or your 100th, it is always important to have a clear plan for the days leading up to, and the day of the race. We have included some top tips of ours and put them together for you

Ensure you have a checklist, and that it is ticked off before and again on the morning of the marathon

It is always important, particularly if this is your first time, to have a checklist to ensure you don’t forget anything. Some key things to remember include:

  1. Shoes and socks
  2. Singlet and/or sports bra
  3. Shorts
  4. Water and/or sports drink
  5. Race number
  6. Timing chip
  7. Pins or race-number belt
  8. Energy gels
  9. Watch
  10. Sunglasses
  11. Hat/ponytail holder/elastic
  12. Lip balm and/or sunscreen
  13. Pre- and post-race clothes
  14. Towel
  15. Toilet paper or tissues
  16. Anti-chafing lubricant (Body Glide or petroleum jelly)

In addition to this list, make sure you:

  • Have planned your route to the start, and leave ample time to get there in time for the start of the race.
  • DO NOTHING NEW ON RACE DAY! So, no new shoes, new hydration or pre-run nutrition etc. The last thing you need is for something untested to ruin your race after all the work you have already put in.

Hydration for the marathon

  • You should make a conscious effort to stay well hydrated at least 48 hours before the start of your marathon. The urine chart below can be used as a guide to help you understand your hydration levels.
  • It is advised that roughly two hours before the race, you drink two 8 ounce glasses of water or sports drink so that there is enough time for the fluid to be absorbed into your system
  • During the race, it is recommended that you drink 5 to 12 ounces of fluids every 15-20 minutes, however this can be difficult to do and if you don’t sweat as much these amounts could lead to over hydration. Therefore, it is recommended that you learn how much your body needs to stay well hydrated during your training period. You can also check your weight before and after a long run to make sure that you haven't lost more than 2 percent of your body weight, and check your urine concentration

Urine hydration chart:

Marathon preparation and warm up - top tips

Food the morning of the marathon

  • If you are up and ready to eat 4+ hours before the race eat a high carbohydrate solid. If it's anywhere up to an hour before the race, use a high carbohydrate liquid. If you have found that you can’t run soon after eating, make sure you plan time for this!

Warm up

Your warm up should be done as close to the start of the marathon as possible, ideally 10-20 minutes before. The warm-up that we would suggest is below. As discussed before, you SHOULD NOT do anything for the first time on race day, so if you wish to use it, please make sure this is part of your training before race day

Dynamic stretches:

Lunge matrix:

  1. Front lunge
  2. Front lunge with a twist
  3. Side lunge
  4. Back and to the side lunge
  5. Backward lunge

10 reps per lunge on each side

Leg swings (forward-back and side-to-side)

10 reps each side

Dynamic calf stretch

10 reps each side

+/- Light jog

  • High performance runners: In addition to the dynamic stretches, more serious runners might want to do a light jog up and down the road for a maximum of 10 minutes. This will start to prepare your body's cardiovascular and respiratory systems for the run whilst minimising the energy you use before running
  • Everyone else: We advise that for less serious/ experienced runners, you do not need to do a light jog before as you can use the first couple of miles as a warm up during the marathon. This will also stop you from starting too fast, a common mistake.

Staying warm

As it is very likely you’ll be standing for a period of time before the race, it is important that you conserve energy by staying warm. As discussed in the checklist above, make sure that you have prepared for the weather and have some extra clothes that you don’t mind chucking to keep you warm whilst you wait.

So, there you have it, those are our top tips for any marathon runner, particularly those for who’s it is there first time. We hope you have a great time doing your marathon and wish you the best of luck with your race

Key take aways

  • Control the controllables (checklist, hydration, food, warm up, staying warm)
  • Don’t do anything new on race day

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