Race day can be incredibly exciting and nerve-wracking in equal measure. Here are our top five tips, to make sure your race day is enjoyable, memorable and safe.
Don't try anything new. Stick to what you know works for you and your body. Don't try new food, clothes, shoes etc. If you have purchased a brand new pair of running leggings especially for marathon day make sure you have done a couple of test runs in them. You don't want any surprise chaffing come race day. Also if you are used to eating a bagel with peanut butter prior to your long training runs, do the same on race. You don't want to eat something your body doesn't agree with so again stick to what you know. The same applies for fluids, if you have never tried a sports drink, skip these on the race course.
Make sure the last meal before your race is around 3 hours before the start time in order to make sure your body has adequate reservations of glycogen. This meal be one which will easily digest. Again, if you are in doubt stick to what you know!
Go to the toilet before your race. We are all in need of a nervous wee before the race. Take as many trips to the toilet as you want, even if it is purely for psychological reasons. Trust us, no one will judge you. There is nothing worse than lining up at the start with a niggling feeling that you need a wee and having to stop at the first set of toilets and queue.
Think about which race pen you want to start in. When you signed up for your marathon you will have indicated what time you where aiming to finish your marathon in (this may have changed!). This will link to the start pen which you have been assigned. If you think you will finish in around 4:15-4:30 hours this is the pen in which you should start. Don't go in a quicker pen as you are likely to get swept into a pace that is too fast for you and end up using all your energy. It is also not fair to the fast runners who will have to navigate around you.
Remember it's a marathon, not a sprint. Start slow. Conserving your energy is key when running a marathon. Don't set off sprinting at the sound of the gun, though this is unlikely when you are surrounded by thousands of runners. Be patient, don't try to speed up and pass other runners. Save all that energy for later. You will need it in the last 10km!