5 Tips for Marathon Race Week

Eugene half and full marathoners, race week is here! We know you’re excited (and maybe a bit nervous). But don’t fret, you’ve got the miles under your belt and are ready for the challenge. We thought it would be fun to share a few tips you can follow this week from experienced local marathoner, Brett Ely. Wishing you all the best out there!

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Brett Ely is a scientist and an athlete, currently working on her doctorate in Human Physiology at the University of Oregon (http://hcvlab.uoregon.edu/) while competing at the marathon distance for Team Run Eugene (www.teamruneugene.org ). She has published more than 25 papers in the fields of nutrition, performance, and thermal physiology and has given numerous talks on nutrition for runners. Brett has qualified for four U.S. Olympic Trials marathons and holds a marathon personal best of 2:38:53.

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Brett’s Top 5 Tips for Marathon Race Week

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5. Practice grabbing and drinking from paper cups. The water or sports drink in those cups handed out at water stops is only valuable if you can get it in your mouth. When you combine a herd of focused but uncoordinated distance runners with carefully balanced paper cups filled with liquid and assign them the task of grabbing a cup and drinking, it doesn’t always go well. There is an art to doing this well. Check out the video below to learn the trick!

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[vc_separator type=’transparent’ width=” position=’center’ color=” border_style=” thickness=” up=’10’ down=’10’] That Guy4. Don’t take anyone else’s advice or try anything new. This includes me. If I tell you in the very next sentence that drinking beetroot juice and wearing compression socks will GUARANTEE you a shiny new PR, don’t listen to me! You don’t know how your body is going to respond to new things on race day, and you don’t want to end up being That Guy. Don’t gamblego with what you know.

[vc_separator type=’transparent’ width=” position=’center’ color=” border_style=” thickness=” up=’10’ down=’10’] 3. Plan your pre-race meals. If you’re traveling to a marathon, scope out restaurants in advance, make reservations, and consider bringing your trusted race-morning breakfast with you. If you are running a local marathon, know what you plan on making for dinner and breakfast, and the times you plan on eating those meals. The ideal dinner the night before should be high in carbohydrates, contain a moderate amount of protein, and contain low amounts of fat, fiber, and spice. Most importantly, it should be something you ate before long runs that went well. Same goes for breakfast: simple carbohydrates that you know you digest easily and don’t have any gastrointestinal distress with (again, don’t be That Guy).

[vc_separator type=’transparent’ width=” position=’center’ color=” border_style=” thickness=” up=’10’ down=’10’] 2. Rest your legs and your mind. You are likely running less (tapering) in the last few weeks leading up to the race, and this can make you feel antsy. Antsy people do things like clean their entire house or play on a trampoline for two hours with their nephew the day before the race. Make sure you are resting and staying off your feet as much as possible. Gather up all that restless energy and store it away for the last 10k of the marathon. Same goes for mental energy. Don’t spend the entire week thinking about every possible scenario that could happen during the marathon. Devote a small amount of time during the final week to make sure you feel mentally prepared, and then let those thoughts go.

[vc_separator type=’transparent’ width=” position=’center’ color=” border_style=” thickness=” up=’10’ down=’10’] 1. Trust your preparation and don’t overanalyze the way you feel during race week. You will likely have terrible runs and aches and pains that come out of nowhere in the days leading up to your marathon. You will naturally convince yourself that you have lost three months of fitness in three easy days of running, and that you have come down with a debilitating injury or illness from which you will never recover. I have had nine stress fractures in my running career, and without fail, EVERY one of them starts aching in the final week leading up to a marathon. I am certain during that week that they are all broken and there is no way I can possibly run the race I have spent the previous 12-16 weeks preparing for. And then the gun goes off on race morning and I am totally fine. We are all fine. There is too much time and too much headspace to fill during a taper week. Fill it with positive distractions and calming thoughts. Over-analyzing how you are feeling leading up to the race will drain the precious mental energy you need to get through 26.2 miles.

 

Good luck and have fun out there, marathoners!

 

Want to reach out to Brett? Follow her on twitter!

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