The week before a marathon is when tensions run high and you begin to ask yourself doubting questions like “have I trained enough?”. Instead of deciding whether to run longer or shorter routes, you start focusing on other points like recovery time or a packing list for the competition. To make sure you don’t forget anything before the big day, we’ve put together the most important things to remember:

Tapering

Tapering is the recovery phase before a competition. It begins a few days before the marathon and serves to ensure you save all your energy for the bid day. Instead of running, you should put your feet up and rest. It is only then that your body will be able to recover properly so your legs work to their full potential during the marathon. The tapering phase should start gradually even two to three weeks before the marathon. You should reduce your running times and ensure you have a healthy, balance diet. In the last week before the competition you should eat lots of healthy carbohydrates and fats (Omega 3 fatty acids) – this will refill your stores of glycogen. Apart from that, you should drink of lots of water. An important aspect in the last few days before the marathon is foot care. Make sure your toenails are short enough not to come into contact with your running shoes.

Packing list

The day before the marathon, at the very latest, you should think about what to wear for the competition. If you’re unsure, we recommend packing several outfits so you can decide spontaneously on the day of the competition, basing your choice on the weather conditions. Shoes are the most important garment for a marathon; you need to have broken them in over several long runs. Apart from your competition outfit, it’s a good idea to pack some warm clothes to put on over your outfit, or to change into completely. Attach the time chip to your shoes on the day before, and gather any documentation you may need to participate. To finish, pack some drinks, snacks and gels in your bag.

Marathon 1

On the day of the marathon

Most competitions start between 9 and 10 in the morning. Take the Munich Marathon on 9th October for example, which starts at 10 am. Get up at least three hours before the competition so you have time to wake up properly and get into the swing of thigs. At least two hours before the run you should have a wholesome breakfast. This is especially important for those running the 42,195 k route, as skipping breakfast puts you at risk of having low blood sugar. During the run itself you should eat snacks and use gels as you need them. Go early to the start line and get into the correct starting block. Make sure you don’t run too fast for the first kilometre – from personal experience I can tell you that you will not be able to keep up this fast pace and you’ll get tired quicker.

After the marathon

Congratulations! You’ve managed to cover a really long distance. When you get to the finish line, happy hormones will hit you before the pain in your legs does. After the run you can eat or drink something if you feel you need to. Try to stretch your muscles a bit and when you get home you definitely deserve a hot bath. This will relax your legs and you could avoid walking like the runners in the video the day after.

Picture: NikeRunning/Instagram