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10 Key Marathon “Do’s” and “Don’ts”

It’s fall season!

For runners, fall means a lot of marathons are on the horizon! It’s exciting and a little bit stressful when you know your next marathon is coming soon. If you feel what I am talking about, you would love to remind yourself the ‘dos’ and ‘donts’ of running a marathon.

1. Use the vibе

Most of the runners get pretty excited when they line up on the starting line. It’s full of people; emotions are all over, the music boosts your mood, and you’re under the influence of this incredible energy. Adrenaline can get you a long way, so try to soak up this experience and let it help you fly during those long miles.

2. Prepare your race plan in advance

You want to know what your mission is on race days. It’s critical for success. So sit down and think about how you should run your race and always have a few scenarios if something goes wrong. Having a race plan will allow you to react quickly to any changes or obstacles of the day.

3. Run at least the first half of the race at goal pace or slightly slower

It’s so easy to get way too enthusiastic when you have so many people around you trying to push you to run faster. However, make sure you stick to the pace you have in mind, the speed you have trained for, and move to run faster only if the first half of the race felt smooth and relatively easy.

4. Hydrate in advance

Don’t think you can fully hydrate yourself the night before the race after you have just drunk a ton of water unless you want to spend the night in the restroom instead of your bed. Hydration is a daily job, and if you’re going to run well, you have to be a bit more dedicated to this job.

5. Grab your carbs

Not only before the race day but also during your race. Gels, isotonic drinks, or something else you prefer – it’s what your body will need during the marathon to maintain your glycogen levels, so you have enough energy to sustain your fast pace. However, always practice your race-day nutrition during your long runs or workouts to ensure you won’t upset your stomach.

6. Stay strong and positive

Marathon is a long way to go. It’s normal to have some rough patches early or late in the race. Staying mentally strong will help you get through them. It’s essential to be positive and believe that whatever you feel right now will pass, and you have the power to overcome it. Find the mantra that keeps you going. Find your STRONG.

7. Don't overthink it

When the marathon is getting closer, we tend to over-analyze the build-up that leads to it. As a result, every ‘bad’ workout starts to shine bright in our minds, and often we question if what we have done was (fast) enough. But remember that no plan can go perfectly. There is always something that will be missing to make it perfect. Running fast is not about having the ideal running plan completed before the race but having a good day, where you run smart and put your heart into it.

8. Stay away from long and intensive workouts at race week

Race week is about tapering. You need to take it easy and sharpen up your legs. Don’t try to do something very long or with very high intensity. During race week, you want to run shorter runs/ workouts, and even if you do some fast repeats, they should still feel good. The idea is to get your legs moving without actually ‘killing’ them.

You want to be as fresh as possible for the marathon, so save your energy for race day.

9. Don't try anything new the day(s) leading up to the marathon

Once, I had the ‘smart’ idea to go to pilates two days before a big workout. I thought that even if I got sore, it would be something that should pass pretty quickly. I was so wrong. I was sore for about half a week that I barely ran. And yes, I regularly do weights training, but anything new can affect your body completely different than expected. Gladly, I didn’t have to run a marathon the same week.

10. Don't forget to check the details

What will be the course, what weather to expect, when is the start, and more, are questions you want to check. The course profile will help you with your race plan and how to execute it at your best. Weather is also a crucial factor for your marathon speed or how to adjust it. So anything related to the race day is information you want to know.

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