You have run the miles, you have planned the travel, you’re preparing for the race, it’s time to maximize your approach. Going into a major race, there are countless things on your mind. Let us help you with this checklist to ensure you get to the start line with the right mindset. Go through this checklist to help you control everything possible in the week leading up to your marathon!
Race Week Checklist
This checklist is designed for you to print off before every race. Go through and check the boxes when done. This will ensure you have controlled everything possible leading up to your race. From here, you can relax and enjoy race day!
The goal with tapering is to show up to your race fresh. If you’re training with a COROS watch, be sure to track your fatigue numbers in the COROS Training Hub. You want to continue light training, but lower your fatigue score going into race day! Don’t go out and try to prove how strong you are during race week, save that for the actual race. Your training was solid, now focus on your taper and rest!
With race week nutrition, we want to focus on loading up on glycogen (energy used during endurance exercise). We do this by eating more carbohydrates than normal. In doing so, you can store more energy in your muscles leading into an event. The ideal scenario is to carbo-load 2-3 days prior to your race and then continue to rest and show up to race day full of energy!
Leading into your race, we want to ensure proper sleep and recovery. When you sleep, you allow your body to recover and adapt to the training. When you miss sleep, you build fatigue and reduce your energy levels. Naturally, the night before the race is always difficult to sleep due to nerves. Don’t worry, this is normal! Focus on quality sleep during race-week so you can feel fresh and energized going into race night. Don’t worry about that one nights sleep, focus on the entire week instead!
Race Course Analysis
Going into your marathon, you should know the key features of the course. By doing so, you go into the race with an understanding of difficult sections, and easier sections. This can help with your pacing strategy, and mental focus overall. The idea here is that you want to go in with as much knowledge as possible. You don’t want to finish the race thinking “Next time I would run easier because of the hills at mile 20”. You should know the course prior to running so you can maximize your abilities.
Knowing the weather can help set your expectations and approach to the race. Did you know that 55 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal running weather? Anything below or above that will slow you down depending on how far away from that temperature you get. Be sure to identify the temperature, humidity, and wind patterns going into your race. If the weather is supposed to be 70 degrees, 60% humidity, and 20mph winds, perhaps you go out 10 sec/mile slower than your race predictor and you try to find features of the course that can block the wind (buildings, trees, etc). If its 53 degrees, low humidity, and light winds, go out at race predictor pace and push your limits. Weather is outside of your control, but you should build your pacing strategy around it.
Now that you know the course and weather, dial in your pacing. Are you going for your race predictor pace right from the start, or are you saving some energy for the later hills? Will it be windy? If so, are there any places with a prolonged tailwind section? Know the features of the course, the weather, and then begin to dial in your racing strategy.
Race Morning Logistics
When you go to the Expo and sign in, spend time getting to know race morning logistics. Do you have to take a shuttle? Are there different staging corrals? What time do you need to be there? Be sure to understand the logistics and then create your own timeline. By doing so, you are in control of the morning and have a plan for everything. The last thing you want to do is just wing it. This will create unnecessary stress and reduce your enjoyment of the overall experience.
Every athlete will have different equipment and needs for what they enjoy. The important thing is you sit down a few days before your race and list all of the items you want during your race. Create your own checklist and be sure to pack these things for your event. When loading them into your bag, mark them off. Packing for an event can be stressful, create a checklist to help keep you in control.
Now that you have your equipment at the race venue, it’s time to ensure it’s ready. Charge your watch, lay out your clothes, get your race number ready, clean your sunglasses, etc. Get everything prepared so on race morning, your equipment is ready to go. Again, stay in control by having everything you need already prepared.
There are plenty of things to prepare when running a marathon. You have the 12-28 weeks of training that went into this, the travel logistics, the equipment, the strategizing, etc. This checklist is designed to help you keep track of all of these items, and keep you in control. The overall message here is control what you can. Once you have controlled these items, everything else is outside of your control. You can’t dictate the weather, but you can plan for it. You can’t know how your body will respond on race day, but you can plan for it (sleep, taper, nutrition). You have done everything possible to plan appropriately, now relax and enjoy the experience!