It’s Race Day!!! The big day is finally here! Here are just a few last tips for race day and the week after.
Getting dressed: Dress for the high, layer for the low. Check the weather, and get dressed for the forecasted high for the day. Add layers on top of that for the low, which is about what the temperature will be when you are walking to the start line. I, and many other runners, wear toss-able layers for the starting line. I typically wear an old long sleeve t-shirt that I won’t miss and a pair of $2 clearance rack sweatpants from Walmart. I toss the pants minutes before the gun is fired and then five minutes into the race, once I’ve warmed up, I toss the shirt. Most marathons collect clothes that have been tossed during the start and donate them to a worthy charity. So look at it as a good excuse to get rid of your husband’s college sweatpants with holes in the knees and a mysterious stain on the rear end. If you don’t have room in your suitcase for an extra outfit, just pack a large garbage bag. Make a hole for your head, and wear that while waiting for the race to begin. There is a bag check at the starting line, but you will need to have your bag there at least 10 minutes prior to the start, which is a long time to stand around in shorts and a t-shirt when it’s 45 degrees out. If you want a pair of sweats to put on after you’ve finished, this is a good reason to use the bag check, otherwise, I avoid that area completely.
Run the shortest race you can: I’m sure you think I’m crazy, but many of you will actually run more than 26.2 miles during this marathon. According to USA Track & Field, a course is measured by the “shortest possible route that a runner can take. That is, the route is measured along the line of sight a runner has, cutting all tangents and crossing corner to corner.” That means, hug the curves, be close to the corners when you turn. This will be hard to do at the beginning of the race with the large crowds, but once it thins out, try to stay as close to the turns as possible. I did the Marine Corp Marathon a few years ago with a GPS on, and I actually ran 26.8 miles that day, not 26.2. Lesson learned!
After the race: Many people will go for a one or two mile run the day after a marathon. Personally, I figure I ran my booty off, it deserves a day of rest. You’ll definitely want to go for a short run on Tuesday. Just two miles will help burn off some of the lactic acid causing your sore muscles. Rest a couple more days, then you can go for a four or five mile run. Your body won’t be completely recovered for a few weeks, but you can begin running regularly (but fewer miles) after the first week.
Taking the stairs: You will find that walking down stairs will be hard for a few days after your marathon. You’ll look like an idiot, but walk down them backwards. After the Marine Corps Marathon in 2008, my friends and I put our cameras in our purses and walked the streets of DC as tourists. We went to visit Abe at the Lincoln Memorial, which is encased by at least 10,000 steps on all sides, at least that’s how many my sore butt counted! We looked pretty ridiculous slowly walking up them with our sore legs. Walking back down, backwards, all three of us holding the rails for dear life, I’m pretty sure people thought we escaped the loony bin. At least our legs were happy, and we didn’t fall on our faces (or our butts)!!!
Congratulations for getting to this point! All your hard work and training will pay off on Sunday!
See you all this weekend!
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