What do you do the week before a marathon?
Aside from going back and forward from nervous to excited on an hourly basis, here are some useful tips to see you through the coming days.
You can take the foot off the gas but keep running on the days you already run. While there’s nothing more you can do that will make much of a difference to your speed, this is a good opportunity to keep the legs ticking over, familiarise yourself not only with your target pace but get to know how it feels and find a rhythm that will be easy for you to settle into on race day. On the days you’re not running, go for a walk and generally keep moving.
Take advantage of the your spare time by taking it easy, get some good quality sleep so that your body feels energised on race day.
Do Some Daily Mobility Work
Many people do stretching and foam rolling but I am not convinced either makes any physical difference. Instead, I coach my runners to do the exercises in this video:
and this one:
These exercises will improve the mobility across all the joints meaning that your muscles will feel nice and loose going into the marathon. I recommend doing these 2-3 times daily for best results.
Think of standing on the start line with no tight calfs or hamstrings or glutes that need activated!
Planning For Race Day
If you haven’t already done this, make sure you are stocked up with everything you’re going to need on race day such as gels, vaseline to prevent chafing, plasters to cover your nipples, suntan lotion in case it’s going to be warm. I once chose not to wear any suntan lotion at the Edinburgh Marathon in 2010 as it was overcast before the race. As soon as the race started, the sun came out and I got sunburnt that day!
In addition to kit, it’s also wise to start planning your journey on race day so you know which trains you need to get on for London or where to park etc if, like me, you’re doing Stirling.
If you’re reading this, preparing for your first marathon and beginning to get really nervous, it’s ok, experienced marathon runners get that too! Another useful tip is to start thinking about the kind of race you want to have, how you want to feel at the finish and the story you want to be able to tell everyone the day after. The marathon is as much a mental battle as a physical one and so having an idea of the experience you want is good.
Me? I will be doing all of this as well. I’m lucky in that I get a few hours break in the afternoons so I like to have a nap and take it easy before I go back to work for the evenings. I will be doing lots of mobility work as this has largely helped me and my coaching clients avoid injury throughout training and will be key for me on the day. I will do short runs on Tuesday and Thursday and run easy at parkrun on Saturday so that my legs are primed for Sunday.
Let me know your thoughts on how you plan to spend the week before your marathon and if you have any questions, either comment below or contact me here.
Happy running :-)
Coming up on Saturday….The Day Before The Marathon