The Day before the Marathon

Let me say, even I will wake up nervous these mornings. I know its not til tomorrow, but I think most of us have been dreaming about the marathon this weekend. It is 100% normal to feel a bit anxious today. Its also a day where you probably don’t have a lot planned, so you have far too much time to think about yourself. The best tip for today is to use this time wisely and not panic.


5 things I would do today to keep me calm


1. Review my Training

I look over my training log and revisit each week in marathon training. I remind myself of the miles I have done and the challenges I have overcome. I will tell myself that I have done all this training, it will stand to me tomorrow.

2. Write down my goal/strategy for tomorrow

I will write down a list of goals for the marathon day. These goals are very individual can be anything from an expected time (or time range) down to a goal of checking in with my running technique at each mile marker. It can be a goal to smile when I feel tired , or to walk only at water stops. Everyone’s list of goals are different. After the goals, I then write down my strategy of how I will reach these goals : What pace will I start at, when will I eat/drink, what will I do when I want to stop, etc etc….


3. Revisit my Marathon Checklist

In Yesterday’s post I described my marathon checklist – everything I set out the day before the marathon. Today I will revisit that checklist, set everything out, charge up the watch, and make sure everything on the list is where it should be.

4. Visualise Marathon Day

All visualising involves is talking yourself through the marathon day in your head. Close your eyes and picture yourself waking up (what time is the alarm going off at), then your breakfast, getting dressed, meeting others at the start, the starting gun.  Imagine yourself running through various stages, who you will see along the route,  the finish line, where you go afterwards, etc etc. Knowing what to expect tomorrow and visualising the day in your head can work wonders for so many of us.


5. Go to bed Early

You know you should do this, but I know many of you will be trying to find a pair of socks, or looking for safety pins at 11pm tonight. Do all that this morning so you can relax this afternoon and go to be early knowing everything is done. Set two alarms (just in case!) and sweet dreams…   If you don’t sleep well tonight, dont worry, It wont impact your marathon performance at all. You will be fine once you get to the start line.

And Finally…..

In the lead up to this Marathon, I asked my previous Marathon Students what advice they would give to our current Students for Race Day. I’m going to share with you one of the responses, and please use this one as an example of how pre races nerves can make you do funny things on the day before the marathon…..

“My Top Tip would be not to panic and just remember you have the training done and to Treat the marathon as another long run! Easier said than done I know, but I really panicked the day before and all logic and reason went out the window!! I went out and bought beetroot juice on the Sunday afternoon cos I read somewhere that this was good for energy levels etc ( I’m sure the article meant over time and not a few hours before a race!!) and then sat down that evening and proceeded to drink the whole bottle. Then was worried that maybe it wasn’t as good a hydrant as water and was terrified of ending up with bandy legs like the people in that marathon video you showed us in Workshop 1 so then sat down with pints of water!!! The net effect being that i had to get up several times during the night and the next morning before the race to go to the toilet!! And it completely interrupted my sleep!!! Also had to make a few loo stops along the marathon route!! This never happened in any of my training runs. During the 16 weeks of training, I never once felt dehydrated and had followed your tip of drinking enough water during the week leading into the longs run to hydrate. Also I never drank any additional water the evening before or the morning of a long run. So completely changed my routine as a result of my panic!! ” 

So you can see how easy it is to get carried away on your preparations today. You will probably get lots of texts and well wishes today, as ‘real’ people just work out today that there is a marathon on. When they ask you how do you feel – tell them you feel great, and you are ready – you might just start to believe it yourself !

This time tomorrow, you will all be running.

Best of luck to you all.

Montreal Marathon

Mary Jennings is founder and running coach at ForgetTheGym which provides coaching and support to runners and joggers from beginners right up to marathoners. She is a certified Chirunning coach based in Dublin, Ireland.

This marathon week follow her daily tips :

Mon : 10 things to do on Marathon Week

Tues : Tips for First Timers

Wed : Advice for your Supporters

Thurs : Your Marathon Checklist

Fri : The Marathon Expo

Sat : The day before the marathon

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