With months of marathon training behind you and just a few more long run and ice bath cycles ahead, you’re on track to squash 26.2 miles come race day.
In the final month of marathon training, don’t let obstacles that commonly sidetrack you from reaching your race-day dreams—whether you’re aiming to break four hours or cross the finish line, period.
“You’ve been working for months to get to this point. So trust that your training has you prepared.”
To amp you up for the starting line and overcome the OMG-so-annoying issues that can sneak up on you as race day gets closer, we asked Erin Bailey—director of fitness programming and community for ASICS Digital, head trainer at ASICS Studio, and Boston Marathon finisher—for advice to (literally) go the distance.
Her biggest words of wisdom? “Trust your training,” says Bailey. “You’ve been working for months to get to this point. So trust that your training has you prepared. Keep following your plan, rest, eat good foods, and enjoy the process.” In other words, you totally got this.
Scroll down for how to avoid three all-too-common mistakes runners make before race day—and an inspirational downloadable map of the course.
1. Overtraining and not tapering correctly
Ironically, the most difficult part for marathoners is not running all those miles, but tapering down the mileage at the tail end of training after getting into that long-distance groove.
After that one last push—“You’ll run your longest run to date either two or three weeks out from your race, probably logging anywhere from 20 to 22 miles,” Bailey says. It’s time for recovery.
“You’re in incredible shape and your body is going to hold on to that strength and endurance.”
That means cutting back your mileage in the last two weeks. “You’re in incredible shape and your body is going to hold on to that strength and endurance,” she says. “The important thing is to give your body a chance to rest, fully recover, and walk into the marathon feeling fresh.”
On the night before, nerves and excitement will likely keep you from quality zzz’s—which is where your weeks’-long sleep deposit will pay off. “Adrenaline will pull you through,” Bailey says. “And if you have consistently good sleep several days before that, your body will feel rested and ready.”
2. Making (bad) last-minute changes
Approaching game day, you may think a brand-new pair of high-performance sneaks will give you an extra edge—but you could find out at mile two that the lace-ups rub your heels the totally wrong way (ouch). To prevent this and other worst-case scenarios, stick with what you know works.
“You’ve been training for months and finding things that do and don’t work for you,” says Bailey. “You know by now what breakfast feels good in your stomach and what feels like a rock just sitting there.”
Pro tip: That last long run is good practice to see if your routines have been serving you. Replicate conditions for the upcoming race including your outfit (down to your kicks and socks), wakeup time, and breakfast—and then after that, prepare to chill out until race day.
3. Not calming pre-marathon nerves
Feeling nervous right before you tackle 26.2 miles on foot is completely understandable. The mistake is letting anxious thoughts get in the way instead of staying in the moment.
“That final month we often want to hurry up and get to the race—pause, soak it all up, and enjoy,” Bailey says. “Races are fun—from the support of friends, family and strangers, to the expos filled with brands and new products, to the energy a marathon brings into the city. Enjoy it.”
Stay present and remind yourself of how far you’ve come since your first training run. When anxiety sets in, think about the mileage that has led you to this point—and trust it.
“Don’t get so stressed about the day and your time to not look up and see all of the community spirit and support around you,” Bailey says. And when all else fails, picture the ribbon, BFF cheer squad, and extra-cheese pizza waiting for you at the finish line.
Bonus: And for even more race-day motivation, download the map below for inspirational mantras that will power you every step of the way.
In partnership with ASICS
Graphic: Well+Good Creative
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