1. Practice during your long run, simulate the race as much as possible.
2. Wear the outfit you plan on racing in so you can see if it causes chafing.
3. Don't wear the race shirt you get at the Expo, unless you know the fit and know it won't bother you.
4. Try out your new shoes and socks before the race, believe it or not, socks can make a HUGE difference!
5. Wear a hat, scarf, visor? Give them a try! You need to know if it fits too loose or tight. Don't buy anything new at the Expo and expect it perform the way you want it to.
6. Use a fuel belt or hydration pack? Use it on your long run and make sure you like it. A marathon is not the place to try a new one, especially a fuel belt. It could rub and cause chafing or worse, blisters on your back.
7. If running a marathon or anything longer than an hour, you must fuel every 45 minutes! I prefer Huma Chia Energy Gels. You need to know which ones work for you, and which ones cause tummy trouble. Don't forget to practice running and eating, since you will not want to stop during your race. Chase your Huma Chia Energy Gels with water too!
8. Don't forget your keys! If you have to drive yourself to the race, are you going to run with your keys? Better practice running with them if you are.
9. Sunscreen, Chapstick, etc. Try out new products before the race to make sure you aren't sensitive to them.
10. Make sure your Garmin is charged the night before a race!
11. Fuel with extra carbs 48 hours before the race. It isn't necessary to carb load the night before. In fact, you don't want to run a race with a belly full of pasta. Practice eating different meals before your long run and see which ones sit right with you. Don't go out for a special dinner and try something new the night before.
12. Hydrate well the entire week before the race, but especially the 24 hours before. Make sure you get all your water in!
13. Get at least 8 hours of sleep each night for the week before the marathon. You want to make sure you are giving your body time to rest and recover from your hard training. Plus, your immune system is low due to all the endurance training, so sleep helps you fight off those pending colds too. Don't worry about the night before the race, you will be lucky to get any sleep at all due to excitement!
14. Remember, take time to enjoy the race. Believe it or not, it will be over before you know it and nothing but a memory! Let the experience really sink in, and realize what you are accomplishing. Smile and wave at the camera. Give the thumbs up to those cheering you on. High five fellow runners and encourage each other!
15. Pack your favorite post race meal, and eat it as soon as you can. It is important to get carbs and protein in your body within 1 hour of completing your race. You need to replace the carbs you just depleted, and the protein will help heal those overused muscles. Fuel and you will recover faster! I like to drink coconut water to help recover faster, it is high in potassium and has natural electrolytes. Also, cherry juice it great to aide in recovery. Lots of water too!
16. Congratulation on finishing your race and accomplishing your goal. Finish lines are goals with a deadline!