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10 NOs before race

Months of meticulous preparation for a race can all be a wash if you make a few pre-race blunders the day before the event. Below is a list of the top 10 things you want to avoid doing in the final 24 hours leading up to your marathon.

  • Do not get in an extra strenuous run thinking it will give you an incremental lift in performance. Really, this applies to the final 2-4 weeks leading up to a marathon. You need to allow your body adequate recovery time after you have a strenuous workout. If you run hard today you won’t actually realize the benefits of it in terms of improved fitness until several days or even a few weeks later. The day before your race you should go for a light 15-20 minute jog to stay loose. Otherwise, stay home and relax.
  • Do not stuff yourself full of low quality calories. By low quality I mean processed sugar and a high concentration of fat. A huge part of race preparation is nutrition. You want your muscles packed full of high quality energy in the form of complex carbohydrate (ie glycogen). Glycogen stores are typically what you burn first, and once depleted your body will resort to burning fat to generate energy for activity. Eat lots of fruits, grains, veggies etc and avoid Big Mac’s.
  • Don’t forget to hydrate. Adequate fluid intake is more important that the few intake leading up to a race. You’ll bonk out on a long ran faster without fluid than you will without food. Keep a steady flow of water coming in the day before the race and check to see if your urine is a yellowish color. The more yellow it is the more dehydrated you are.
  • Remember to pack all of your race day gear the night before or a few days prior. It’s every runner’s nightmare to wake up on race day without an essential item like your running shoes or socks. Do not head to the store to get gear you haven’t raced with before or to restock on supplies you’ll need. Be prepared gear-wise days in advance.
  • On the heels of #4, most runners decide to lace up a brand new pair of shoes the day before the race. This is the last thing you want to do. Brand new shoes haven’t been broken in yet and can actually cause injury if you run too long/far in brand new shoes. You need to break them in for a while before you decide to race in a set of shoes. A new pair of shoes can also cause blisters or other unforeseen discomforts, especially if it’s a brand you’ve never worn before.
  • If you are at a destination marathon, DO NOT GO SIGHT SEEING!
  • Do not cut off the blisters or calloused skin you’ve been building during your training. The skin underneath will be raw and not ready for the beating it’s about to take. Leave the dead skin on as it acts as a layer of protection and will stave off a lot of unnecessary discomfort.
  • This may also seem obvious but it’s worth saying anyway. Do not stay up too late and miss out on sleep. Having an adequate night of sleep is one of the best things you can do in the waning hours leading up to a race.
  • Don’t mentally psych yourself out. Chances are you’ve done all of the things you should have done to prepare for the race. Don’t let last minute jitters get to your head and lead you into a race thinking negative thoughts. Remain calm and convinced that you’re ready to go!
  • Last but not least, don’t forget to set your alarm so that you can get up on time. Allow yourself 3-4 hours of time the morning of the race so if your race begins at 8am I would be up and at it by at least 5am. This gives you enough time to get a decent meal in, additional hydration, collect your gear and travel to the race. You’ll want to be at the race early enough to handle parking (if needed) and to get a warm up in.

    There you have it. Those are the top 10 things to avoid doing (or ensure you do) the day before a race. Follow those closely and you’ll be 100% ready to go when the starting gun fires.