Yesterday, I posted about my PR and success at the NYC Marathon. Today, I wanted to share some of my race logistics and tips!
Running a marathon definitely takes a lot of strategy and preparation – and this is in addition to the 4 months of training leading up to it.
In my opinion, big city races are really hard to prepare and plan for. You have to travel, and you want to see the sights while you are there. You also want to enjoy a vacation and live it up. However too much of any of these things and you will ruin your race.
We arrived to NYC on Friday afternoon. Immediately when we got there, I wanted to eat something semi healthy and go to the expo. I thought it would be smart to get all of my wandering around the expo out of the way on Friday.
We ended up walking to the expo, which I was NOT happy with. But traffic sucked and it was our only option. I knew I needed to save the legs, but sitting in a cab for an hour and going into debt didn’t really seem like a better option.
After coming back to the hotel, I rested my legs for a while and chugged some more water. That night, we took another walk that was way too long, but I made sure to go to bed early.
I have read many times that two nights before your race is the most important night to sleep, so I was sure to get in a solid 10 hour rest that night. Sleep is so important to a successful race!!!
Saturday morning I had pancakes for breakfast, a little coffee, a ton of water and a gatorade. We had a late breakfast on Saturday, so I had a light lunch which consisted of a bag of pretzels and another gatorade. Doesn’t sound like much, but when I added the calories I figured 500 was pretty solid. Saturday dinner was full of carbs. I had bread and ravioli. It was the perfect meal. I also continued to chug water.
My biggest obstacle to overcome on Saturday was all the walking. I kept thinking to myself, “you are walking too much!” I took cabs whenever I could and sat down at every opportunity. Normally before a race I will run a couple miles the day before, but on Saturday I decided not to run at all. I was very concerned with overdoing it and tiring my legs. I figured all the walking I had done was plenty and would count as my shake out..
Saturday night was daylight savings, which was amazing!! I was able to
sleep lay in bed an extra hour and recharge my body as much as possible.
Sunday Pre Race:
When I woke up Sunday, I felt crazy rested and more than ready to run.
After putting on my race outfit, applying all of the Body Glide in NYC, and making sure everything was secure, I started putting on my layers.
I decided not to check a bag, so everything I was wearing would not be coming home. My layers consisted of a jacket, a long sleeve t shirt, a short sleeve t shirt, another jacket and fleece pants. It was insane how many layers I was wearing – but let me tell you – I was warm! I also had on tube socks as arm warmers (a tip my friend Stacy taught me), a fleece headband and cheap cotton gloves.
On the way to the start, I had my first meal. This meal consisted of a banana, a nutri grain bar, and a cup of gatorade. I also sipped on water the whole way to Staten Island.
When we arrived to Staten Island, I went to my corral and sat down. I was insistent on not using extra energy standing. As I sat there, I drank some more water, and ate another nutri grain bars (nutri grain bars have become my go-to pre running meal).
I was able to use the port-a-potty twice in the corral, but it wasn’t enough. Next time I won’t drink so much before the race, because I ended up having to pee for 26 miles!! (btw I am annoyed yet again with how easy it is for men to pee ANYWHERE!)
When we walked to the starting line, I found another place to sit down. I sat in a ball for at least 20 minutes. This would ensure I didn’t waste energy standing or waste energy shivering like most of the people out there.
Sunday – Race Time:
To stay warm during the start of the race, I wore an old jacket for the first two miles. This jacket was awesome for the wind on the bridge. I ditched it around mile 2 when I started getting hot. I wore my arm sleeves for about 14 miles. The gloves stayed on until mile 21, and the headband was there until mile 22.
I took GU at mile 6, 13, 18 and 23. Sometimes it is hard to force the GU, but if you don’t take it you will pay for it. Usually my tactic is to take it every 45 minutes.
I had water and gatorade at every stop, except the last one (I feared if I stopped I wouldn’t be able to move again). I usually walk to through the stops so I don’t choke. This time I was able to make it through quite a few of them without stopping because I mastered the drinking and running thing!
As I said in my recap, I took my inhaler 3 times during the race. I also took it twice before – once when I got to the start village, and once right before the gun went off. On a day when my asthma is normal, I would only take the inhaler at the start and then again around mile 20.
Two days before the race:
- Sleep as much as possible
- Rest your legs
- Drink lots of water
One day before the race:
- Eat carbs (I always avoid heavy carbs and veggies)
- Drink lots of water
- Drink a couple gatorades
- Minimize the walking
- Start sipping water/gatorade immediately
- Eat carbs with sugars (if I eat anything with protein I feel weighed down)
- Sit down as much as possible
- Stay warm
- Pee as much as possible!!!!
- Sit down at the start if you’ll be there awhile
- Stay warm
- Eat gels (or your energy of choice) consistently – this piece is really different for everyone. It is important to train with what you will use on race day so you know if your body reacts well.
- Force water/gatorade at every stop if you can
Now you know ALL my race secrets, tips and tricks! While all of these things don’t work for everyone, I do believe they are all important things to think about and consider.
Do you have any race tips? Are there things that you have to do before each marathon?