The day before the marathon
Your main goal the day before the marathon is to rest as much as you can. On marathon day, you need to expend about twice your normal daily energy output, which means you want your fuel stores fully stocked.
Many of the big city marathons have “expos” for a few days before the marathon, to which you have to go to pick up your running number and t‑shirt. These are generally a great way to get in the mood, and if you like shopping for running gear, good places to browse for bargains in the stalls.
If your marathon is not in your home town, you should try to arrive at least two days before the race, so that you can relax during the day, and don’t spend it travelling, or having to hurry round the marathon expo.
You should not run the day before the marathon. You can, if you wish, do some gentle strides to maintain flexibility and keep your legs mobile, but be careful not to overdo it.
During the day before the marathon, you should be drinking plenty of water (keep a water bottle in your hand all day) and avoiding diuretics such as tea, coffee and alcohol. One good idea is to drink diluted carbohydrate drinks, so that you are also carbo-loading as you drink. Eat plenty of carbohydrates, and avoid foods that may upset your stomach.
One way to get a lot of support in a marathon is to have your name stencilled onto your t-shirt. You can get this done in shops that sell football shirts, which have equipment to print the players’ names on sports shirts. You’ll be amazed at how much of a lift it gives you when the crowd calls out your name during the race.
The night before the marathon, lay out all your kit for the next day. Pin your number on your t-shirt, and ensure that you have everything you need ready to take with you. (Use the packing checklist in Chapter 11.) In many big city marathons, you are required to use the kit bag provided to you at the expo – so don’t try to use your own bag if this is the case.