Tomorrow’s the big day and you couldn’t be more pumped, but what should you do?
After all those training days, it’s normal to wonder what to do the day before a marathon. To start, you might want to consider what you should eat and drink.
Other than that, you’ll want to plan ahead to avoid any last-minute jitters. Exercise-wise, you might want to take it slow the day before to save up all your energy.
Stick around if you want to know more about what you should do the day before a marathon.
How to Plan And What To Do The Day Before a Marathon
The last day before a marathon is all about logistical prep and proper nutrition. After all, it’s not like you can gain some endurance muscles in a day.
With that in mind, here’s what to do the day before a marathon.
1. Know What to Eat
What you consume in the 24 hours before your marathon will matter the most. What does your body need the most for the long run? The answer is carbs.
Most runners like to carb-load before any run. Research has suggested that eating the right carbs can enhance performance levels.
How? Carbs are known to increase muscle glycogen levels. These levels are responsible for the energy storage in the muscles.
If we’re talking numbers, then a good carb-loading session can boost your endurance by about 2-3%.
What are the right carbs in this case?
Well, take a look at our list below of all the energy-inducing meals you might want to consider before your run:
- Low-fiber cereal
- Low-fat yogurt
- Starchy Vegetables
While carb-loading can be necessary to do before a marathon, you also don’t want to overload your body. Other studies have mentioned that too many carbs can make you feel sluggish and bloated on a marathon day.
If you want to monitor your carb intake, try to keep it at 4 grams per pound of body weight. If you weigh 160 pounds, then 640 grams of carbs should be sufficient.
When it comes to the foods you want to avoid, then you might want to steer clear of high-fat, protein, and fiber food content. The latter might make you too gassy, while the rest won’t give you the much-needed energy you’ll burn.
Your main focus should be carbs. Plus, you wouldn’t want to try out new and unfamiliar foods on the day before a marathon.
When you eat also matters. If the marathon begins at 8 am or 9 am, then have an early 7 pm dinner. This should give you enough time to properly digest.
2. Know What to Drink
Think of all the sweat that you’ll be dripping the next day. All that water loss will need to be compensated with proper hydration.
For women, we recommend drinking at least 9 glasses of water per day, while men should opt for around 13 glasses of water.
A couple of drinks you want to avoid are alcohol and caffeine. Drinking alcohol can easily hinder your performance on race day.
Alcohol won’t raise your VO2max levels or maximum oxygen capacity. Instead, it’ll interfere with your body temperature regulation, especially if it’s cold.
Additionally, your motor skills could be negatively impacted by large quantities of alcohol during the marathon.
Meanwhile, caffeinated drinks will just keep you on edge. You won’t be able to have a sound sleep. Plus, both alcohol and caffeine are likely culprits to feeling dehydrated before a marathon.
If you want to drink something other than water, then you could consider carb-filled smoothies made of bananas, oats, etc.
You can optionally consider electrolyte-infused drinks or fruit juices as well. Bottom line is to drink plenty of water and don’t bother with caffeinated and alcoholic drinks.
3. Don’t Strain Yourself
On the day before the marathon, you might be tempted to get in some extra endurance training. While that might help you practice, it won’t be much help.
You’ll benefit more from a rest day than a full-blown workout, where you risk becoming too sore the next day.
If you’ve trained well, then you won’t need to exert too much work on your muscles. Instead, you might want to even take a spa day and get a relaxing massage.
Getting a massage will provide exceptional recovery from all the strains of training you’ve done earlier. It naturally aids in flowing out all the muscle toxins in your body.
A professional massage will release any tensions brought on by clumped scar tissues. You’ll also feel your muscles stretch out.
Another useful benefit to massaging is increased blood flow to help in dispersing the needed nutrients all over your body.
That being said, we recommend getting the massage as early as possible to give your muscles enough time to rest.
If you really want to get in a workout, then you can opt for a slow 20-minute run just to mentally prepare you for what’s to come. You can also do some light stretches. All in all, you want to lay off any strength training.
4. Prepare a List
Whether it’s a low-key local event or an internationally popular marathon, you still want to stay planned for everything. What better way to stay organized and on top of things than with a list?
This list can include all the items you need to take with you as well as things you need to do such as fueling your car.
Either way, here’s a list of some of the tools and gear you might want to keep on hand before race day.
- Race tickets
- A set of extra clothes including socks
- Anti-chafing creams and powders
- Electrolyte-filled drinks
- Race bib
- Small towel
- Safety pins
- Topical medication
With your tools ready, you’ll be able to avoid any last-minute panic over lost items. Everything will go much smoother.
With your items list ready, you might also want to create a to-do list before the marathon. It can include tasks such as:
- Book your transportation route (bus, driver, etc.)
- Fuel your car
- Pack extra food in your bag
- Register your name for the marathon
- Confirm after-race celebration plans with friends
- Cut your toenails to avoid any foot pain
- Familiarize yourself with the marathon route online
- Charge any electronics you’ll bring with you
Once your list is ready, you’ll be able to keep your running thoughts organized and have peace of mind.
5. Prepare Your Marathon Clothes and Tools
You might get so excited that you go ahead and purchase a new set of workout clothes. We say, resist that shopping temptation.
Chances are, new workout clothes are going to need breaking in and you wouldn’t want that to be during the marathon.
You can go for a comfortable set you already own and love. Most importantly, you want to have a couple of options depending on weather changes.
Preparing your outfit will give you one less task to worry about before heading out to the marathon.
Don’t just prepare your clothes, get your smartwatch, earphones, and accessories all out.
You can also snap a pic for the gram of all your clothes laid out to get in some motivating “good luck” comments.
6. Prepare an Alarm and Sleep Early
The night before the marathon is one of the most crucial times when it comes to preparation. Getting a good night’s sleep can drastically affect your mood the next day.
Even though it’s critical, it might be hard to get a wink of sleep because of all the excitement of the marathon.
Nevertheless, if the marathon commute is far, then you’ll want to try your best to rest.
You wouldn’t want to sleep late and end up waking up off mood and all groggy. A previous healthy sleep routine will make this step much easier.
If you’ve already gotten adequate rest the past week, then you won’t have too much to worry about. Otherwise, a few calm breathing exercises and meditation can ease you to sleep.
In case you’re not a fan of meditation, then you can read a book and stay off your electronics before bed.
If you’re looking at a screen too much, it can inhibit your body’s melatonin production and put you off sleep. This hormone is mostly responsible for your sleep quality.
Don’t forget to skip this step; make an alarm. By that, we mean to make as many alarms as needed at five-minute intervals apart.
7. Motivate Yourself
You can’t go to a marathon without pumping yourself with some motivation. This can vary for each person.
Some may enjoy watching a motivational movie like “Chariots of Fire” or “Race.” You can watch it at dinner to keep your spirits high for the marathon.
Others might prefer listening to some workout music to get them through the race. Songs like “Girl on Fire” and “Eye of the Tiger” are bound to push you to stride those last miles.
Apart from media motivation, you might also want to resort to giving yourself some mantras. You can keep telling yourself “You got this” or “Keep running strong.”
Benefits of Marathon Running
Mentally preparing for a marathon is critical. There are several moments during the race where you might feel like giving up.
The best way to mentally motivate your mind is to remind yourself of why you’re here in the first place.
There are several benefits to joining a marathon. Let’s explore them below.
1. Increased Endurance
Physically, running is as full-body working out as it gets. There are loads of benefits to reap from running such as increased endurance and stamina levels.
Most athletes need to have a consistent running routine to maintain their high fitness capacity.
You can also think of it this way; at least you won’t get winded every time you go up a flight of stairs.
2. Fostering New Perspective
In the middle of the marathon run, you’ll likely find a lot of inspirational signs for you to keep going. One of them is probably,
“The person who starts the race is not the same person who finishes the race.”
This fresh perspective will allow you to persist through the toughest times in sport and real life.
3. Supporting a Good Cause
Most marathons usually have a cause behind them. It could be for a charity organization or building awareness on a socially relevant cause such as breast cancer.
These causes bring a more meaningful element to your running. It also gives you that extra boost of motivation to keep you on your track.
4. Lots of Travel
Who says running can’t be fun? Marathons are dispersed all over the world. They can give you a valid reason to get on the next flight to a new city you haven’t explored.
Visiting new places is always a great way to escape the constraints of work and responsibility. You can travel guilt-free knowing that you’re benefiting your mind, body, and soul.
The only thing you want to think about on the day before a marathon is proper preparation. You have to be prepared for the worst scenarios.
By packing extra clothes, medication, and food, you’ll ensure a safe run. Other than that, you want to prepare your body, both physically and mentally.
By eating and drinking clean plus finding the right kind of motivation, you’ll be marathon-ready for the next day.
Now that you know what to do the day before a marathon, we hope you have a stress-free run!