Training for a marathon requires both physical and mental preparation. We recommend doing some research prior to the race and solidifying your day-of plans. Think of ways you can make your life easier on race day, and do those tasks ahead of time. Use the list below and knock out these to-dos one by one and prepare to run your best marathon yet.
Prepare for success
- Familiarize yourself with the course, noting where the uphills and downhills are so you can prepare for them (if it’s a virtual race, plan your route). If it’s a particularly hilly course, or somewhere where the terrain or climate are unfamiliar to you, consider tailoring your training. You can implement workouts that’ll give you a taste of what you might expect, like hill repeats, this hill pyramid workout, and oh, more hill repeats!
- Learn where water stations and restrooms are. You never know when you’re going to need them!
- Double-check that the clothes you want to wear for the race are clean and set aside (and train with them a few times to be sure they don’t cause any chafing).
- This is also a great time to take a photo of your race day layout for social media (don’t forget to tag us when you post @Runkeeper)!
- If you’ve been given a bib, attach it to your shirt.
- Keep checking the weather for any changes in the days leading up to the race, and make any necessary adjustments to your outfit (layers are always a good idea). This is a great time to take a photo of your race day outfit for social media—and tag us @Runkeeper!
- Fill your car with gas if you’re planning to drive to the race start, allow time for parking (or getting lost if the area is new to you), or arrange for someone to drop you off.
- If you run with sound, download your running playlist, podcast, or audiobook to your phone. You might have trouble getting cell service when you’re standing in a flock of people, so don’t rely on data!
- Charge any electronics! (i.e. headphones, phone, watch, etc.)
- Complete any tasks that will save you time and undue stress on race day.
Race-day tips to run your best marathon
Once you arrive at your race location (seriously, get there early!), your goals should be to warm up, use the bathroom, and do what you need to be calm and relaxed. You’ve put in the work to get yourself to this point, and that is something to show yourself gratitude for. Now it’s time to run and have fun.
Warm up properly
Go for a short jog, run a few striders (short sprints to wake up your body), and do some dynamic stretches like high knees, lunges, leg swings, or squats. You want to get your blood pumping and muscles warm. You can stretch anything that feels tight, too, like your calves, quads, and hamstrings. Here’s a warm-up to try before race day. You can also check out Guided Warmups in the ASICS Runkeeper app.
Address your pre-race jitters
Feeling anxious? This is normal, trust us! Remind yourself of the work you put in throughout your training, and think back to all the times that your training went well and you were proud of yourself. Take deep breaths. As Dr. Justin Ross, ASICS Runkeeper coach and clinical psychologist puts it: Trust is the greatest antidote to anxiety that we have, in both sport and life. Trust yourself because you trained, because you’re an athlete and because you’ve overcome challenges in running and in your life.
Here are some running mantras to take with you during your training and on race day.
Don’t go out too strong
Proper pacing is key to running your best marathon. We get it; it’s easy to get caught up in all the excitement and emotion at the start of a race. Starting out too fast can derail your goals and set you up for a particularly tough race! Adrenaline can be powerful (especially if you’re chasing a new PR), but keeping yourself in control and trusting your training will make a world of difference. It might be difficult, and you may face some challenging moments along the way but remember that this is your moment, and every step of the way you’re working towards that goal.
Run your race
You’ve (hopefully) used one of the premium plans in the ASICS Runkeeper app to prepare you for this moment. As you make your way across the start line and through the 26.2 miles, remember to run your race. You’ve worked hard and it’s time to shine. Stick to your plan, take deep breaths, and run your race! After that, it’s time to celebrate.
Enjoy this article? Here are a couple more to help you through your marathon training.
Six Marathon Training Tips
The Secret Key to Marathon Success