Nothing New on Race Day!
CONGRATULATIONS, runners--we are in the final stages of training for the 2023 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Depending on your training schedule, most of us probably have just one more long, long run left; and after the last long, long run we begin our ‘taper’ for race day.
These last several weeks are the time to practice for race day. Practice what clothes to wear; practice what we eat during the week and on the morning of a long run; practice our fuel (gels, blocks, ‘sport beans’) and hydration during our long runs; and practice sleep patterns and time to awaken before our long runs.
‘Nothing new on race day!’ is sage advice for any marathoner, but particularly a first-time marathoner. If you have not tried something (shoes, clothing, fluids or food) in training, do not try it on race day. Regardless of how many miles we have logged or how many races we’ve run, our minds and bodies will handle a lot of stress over the last few days leading up to the race. Now is the time to reduce race day stress by determining what works best for YOU.
Paradigm shifts have occurred – the marathon goal (distance and finish times) are now tangible due to the effort we’ve put into training. Patterns have developed over the last 3 months. Many changes have occurred in our diets, fluid intake and clothing.
We may be thinking – “What else needs to change between now and race day?” and how to adjust our training. Reflect back on your training log--what has worked well in training and what has not worked so well… types of shoes, shorts, tops, food, fluids, rest (or lack thereof), support of family and friends. Focus on those things that have worked well and make sure you include them in your training routine for success.
Wearing shoes and clothing we have worn in training will help avoid or reduce the risk of blisters and chafing on marathon day. It may be tempting to buy new clothes or shoes at the Health and Fitness EXPO on marathon weekend, but without practice we do not know where those shoes or clothes might rub. Save the EXPO purchases for after the race.
Knowing which foods to eat and how early to eat before our long run reduces risk of intestinal problems. Knowing which gels, blocks, fluids or snacks work well (or not so well) during long runs helps avoid detours on the marathon course looking for ‘port-o-lets.’ Practice eating foods you know will sit well in your stomach for a few days before these last few long runs and for race day. Practice using products on training runs (gels, snacks, fluids) to determine what will be best on race day. Leave the exotic foods for your celebration after Marathon Day.
Learn how our bodies prepare for and adjust to long runs. Notice sleep patterns. How many hours of sleep do you need for a good run? Practice going to bed and arising at designated and consistent times - developing a pattern for race week and weekend. A note on sleeping – the critical night of sleep is the night before the night before the run (Thursday for a Saturday long run, Friday night for a Sunday run or race).
Learning what works and doesn’t work these last few weeks will set us up for a satisfying and successful experience on Marathon Day.
“Good form will carry you through”®“Good form will carry you through”®