Over the next two weeks, we will be sending you information about what to eat and drink, and how much running to be doing between now and the big day, but there is more you need to think about so you will arrive ready to do your best.
1) Decide what you’ll wear when you are running: Twenty-six miles is a long way, and as you probably discovered on your longer runs, those minor annoyances can become bigger problems. For example, choose your most comfortable socks so you can avoid blisters. If some shorts chafe, don’t wear them. Guys, if you need bandaids, make sure to pack them. And, don’t wear running shoes you just bought, unless it is the same model you’ve been wearing. It’s also good to have a plan if the forecast calls for rain.
2) Decide what you’ll carry during the race and how you’ll carry it: Race day is not the time to try out that new belt you bought at the expo to carry your keys, GU, money, credit card, ID, cell phone, water bottles, or whatever else you’d like to have with you. Remember, while there will be water and sports drinks every mile, and some other snacks at various points, this may not be what you want to eat and drink, when you want to eat or drink it. Think about what you’ll want with you and how you’ll carry it, then go out and run a few miles carrying it all to be sure there are no surprises.
3) Have a plan for getting your recovery drink at the end of the race: Will a family member or friend meet you at the finish line and give it to you? Will you buy something at the expo or in a nearby store, and if that’s the plan, will you have money? Last year, I incorrectly assumed that they’d be handing out protein drinks as I crossed the finish line, like they did the previous year, but if they were, I never found them. I waited at the finish line for a few hours for people to finish and didn’t get any protein into me until almost 4 hours later. On Wednesday that week, I went to the gym and it was a struggle just to step up onto the treadmill. I had to use my arms to pull myself up, and it was pretty embarrassing. Talk about a lesson learned the hard way. I can assure you that I have a much better plan for getting that post-race recovery drink into me a whole lot sooner.
4) Avoid scheduling any late night activities a few days before the run: To those of you staying at the hotel Downtown, we will need to be out the door and on the bus well before 6am. If you’re not normally an early riser, you may want to consider going to sleep early for the last few nights before the marathon so you can get up earlier. Then, by Marathon morning, it will be easier to wake up feeling full of energy and ready to go.
5) Non-residents, figure out your transportation and parking. How will you get to Downtown and how will you get home? Will you take the shuttle back to Downtown and return home from there, or will you leave from Santa Monica? Overnight parking Downtown isn’t cheap, and overnight parking in Santa Monica anywhere near the finish line is not easy to find, if it is exists at all. Consider making arrangements with friends or family to drop you off and/or pick you up, or check into the public transportation. Also, if you will leave from Santa Monica, and you stayed at the hotel, you may wish to bring your belongings to the pre-race Gear Check to pick them up at the end. If you are doing the half-marathon, be asware that there are no mid-race shuttles, so have a plan if you won’t be taking advantage of BTS transportation.
6) Get your throwaway warm clothes: Read my post from last week.
7) Plan a good lunch for Saturday and eat it: Don’t arrive at the Expo on Saturday afternoon thinking you’ll enjoy all the free samples they’ll be handing out. Do you really want to find out on Sunday morning that something didn’t agree with you? Have a good high carb lunch with foods you know your body likes.