Pre-Marathon Rituals and Reminders

Tom Peterson

The three or four hours you spend out on the marathon course is nothing compared to the hours, days, weeks and months you've spent preparing for the big event. Don't ruin the moment by forgetting the little things in the days and hours leading up to the race.

Your running outfit should be loose and comfortable and worn several times in runs of two hours plus to see how it handles friction and perspiration.

Buy bottled water or make sure you're downing at least 64 ounces of water a day in the five leading up to Sunday.

Friday night is your most important night of sleep.

Saturday is "be nice to yourself day". Lay low, stay relaxed, no socializing. Get that massage you need or take a nice bath. Clip the toenails. Stick with foods you know. Eat often, but light. Pin the number on the front of the singlet in the light of day. Do you have four safety pins? What are you bringing with you tomorrow morning? Is your alarm clock set? Is your ride to the start guaranteed? Have you stocked the fridge with post-marathon goodies? Have you calculated your splits? Charted the points on the course where you are going to make a move? Have you a Plan B or C if the race doesn't unfold as you would like? Are you confident of your preparation and training? Will this be a PR marathon or a survival marathon? Is the expected weather for race morning the kind you thrive in?

Sunday morning you'll be waking up early, between 2 and 2:30. You have to have a quart of water in your system before 3 am, 2:30 would be better. You need those 2 hours to clear it out of your system. If you drink later than 3 am you'll be looking for a porta-john in that first 10 km.

4:45 am? Time for four things. Last pit-stop until 26.2 miles. Drink one cup of water 10-12 ounces (it'll be absorbed for perspiration and not have time to go into your intestines). Vaseline the parts of the body that have given you friction problems in other long races like the 30/30 or Val Nolasco. Vaseline on your skin 30 min to an hour before your race will wind up being absorbed and give you petroleum breath. It soaks into your body and everything will taste oily. Put it on late and it will stay where it'll do the most good. Last of the four things is double-knot the shoelaces.

Are you ready? You bet! To help you with your pre-race prediction consider these two formulas. Take your 10 km time and multiply it by 5 then subtract 10 minutes. A 45 minute 10 km would be a 3:35 marathon. A 50 minute 10 km would be a 4:00 marathon. One more? Your half marathon time doubled, plus 20 minutes.