With marathon season just around the corner and marathon training in full stride, many-a runner are deeply entrenched in their individual marathon training programs and, with the countdowns starting up until the big day has finally arrived, each runner is quickly finding that they can focus on nothing but the upcoming 26.2 mile run that awaits them. They have worked hard, will continue to work hard and hope beyond hope that, on that big day, all their discipline and perseverance has paid off.
As I have said before in certain past posts, each runner usually tends to choose a marathon training program that they feel is best suited for them. And, while there most certainly is not one perfect marathon training program that is known as the right one to us and while many runners will train differently as their respective big days approach, there is wide agreement as to what NOT to do in the days leading up to a marathon.
Starting out, you should not register at the latest date possible for a marathon without having any idea what will be required of you. Similarly, you should not wait until the few weeks before the marathon to make air and hotel reservations if travel will be required. With one week to go before the big day, it's probably not the best idea to register for a race that you consider a "tune-up" race. Arriving in the city of your race, "Get to race headquarters...fifteen minutes before the end of packet pick-up at 8:00 pm, and try to find parking. Run frantically to the hotel and up three flights of stairs and pick up your packet in the waning moments of the two-day runners' expo." On the night before the marathon, don't convince yourself that gorging on hot dogs constitutes carbo-loading and, despite the early hour which you will need to wake up at, don't convince yourself that no sleep is better than 2 hours of sleep. On the day of the race, don't get to the starting area as late as possible figuring that the comfort of your bed is preferable to waiting in the cold for a few hours with other grumpy runners. And finally, don't "run the same as you always do, red-line the old tachometer, [figuring] after all, you want to place in your age group, don't you?".
No matter how hard you train for a marathon and no matter how dedicated to finishing you truly are, a marathon is never an easy venture. It is a test of will, endurance and mental toughness. While training will certainly help and adrenaline will push you even further, at some point, you will need to dig deep and push yourself. With so many things working against you, I would encourage you, dear readers, to take Run The Planet's list to hear and to not be your biggest hurdle!