The National Marathon and Half-Marathon are this weekend. I will not be racing (well duh, go here if you don’t know why), but I know a lot of people who will be toeing the line come early o’clock Saturday morning.
Most people are running the Half, which is probably a good call. Sister2 ran the full marathon last year and I ran the last 9 miles with her. Let me tell you, after the Half-Marathoners finish and the Marathoners keep running, things get real. Basically Anacostia is 1) not very nice, 2) lonely, and 3) surprisingly (and upsettingly) hilly!
Anywho, I digress. Though I’ve never run a half-marathon (or a full one), I do know a thing or two about racing. If you’re racing this Saturday (at National or elsewhere), you are now three short days from your big day.
For the sake of future race-weeks, I have written a 5-day countdown to use as a guide (so if you race on Saturday, this starts on the Monday beforehand).
Countdown to Race Day
Run/workout as you usually would. Start thinking about the race. Research the course, look at the elevation charts, think about how you’re going to run your race. (See National's Course Map and Elevation Chart.)
If speed-work is a part of your training program, do a final light workout. Remember, you will not build fitness in this last week. This week is to rest and maintain the work you’ve already done. So don’t worry about getting in a lot of reps or running PR paces – run about half the repeats you normally would.
Go for a normal run. If you’re tired don’t push it. Do not drink alcohol and minimize caffeine from now until race-day.
This is the most important day. Your muscles get tired/sore 2 days after activity, so take this day off. Stretch lightly. Make sure you get a lot of sleep.
The Day Before Your Race:
Eat normally and eat dinner early-ish. Go for a 2-3 mile shake-out run and finish it with a couple race-pace strides. Stretch thoroughly but not enough to make yourself sore. Check the weather forecast and pack everything you need for the race. Go to bed early, but if you’re anything like me you’ll be nervous and unable to sleep well. Don’t worry – if you rested well the night before you’ll be fine!
Get up early. Eat normally. Good luck!