Below is a checklist and tips to help you prepare for the big day, followed by a course map and elevation chart. You’ve worked hard all season, and now it’s time to get out there and achieve your goal. These tips will help you do your best and finish strong.
- Go with the flow for the first mile. No need to waste energy running around people at the start. The crowd will thin.
- Take it easy for the next few miles as well as your body warms up.
- Save your energy for the last few miles when you’ll really need it.
- Stay on the same side of the street as the next turn and cut the corners if possible. Given how long a marathon is, running down the middle of the street and going to the side multiple times for drinks can add ¼ mile or more.
- If you are running for a specific time, check the Clif bar booth at the Expo. They typically have bracelets that show where you should be for each mile, for a specific finishing time
Enjoy the Crowd Support
- Read the signs people will be holding up along the course. They will inspire and entertain you.
- Consider taking your earbuds out, or at least one, so you can hear the cheering and music along the route
- Put your hand up for a high five as you pass people lining the street. Many will high-five you back.
- Feel the energy of the other runners and all those people lining the street and supporting you.
- Strike up a conversation with participants around you and cheer each other on.
Wear/Bring Appropriate Clothing
- Only wear clothing you have been using during training. Marathon Day is not the time to find out that your new socks/short chafe, or that your new shoes give you blisters.
- Purchase warm “throw-away” clothing to wear before the race starts, that you can toss aside once you get moving
- Put a sweatshirt in your Gear Check bag in case the fog rolls in and it’s chilly in the Finish Zone; if rain is in the forecast, include a full set of dry clothes to change into
Consider Gear Check (marathoners and half-marathoners doing first half only)
- You will receive a clear plastic bag at the Expo. You can check this at Dodger Stadium and pick it up in the Finish Zone.
- Recommended contents include recovery food and extra clothing which may be needed in the event of cold or wet weather
- Half Marathoners use the white van; full marathoners use the brown vans
Optimize your Nutrition / Hydration
- Eat lots of “good carbs” throughout the day, such as rice, potatoes, fruit, pasta, whole grain bread
- Drink several glasses of water throughout the day
- Avoid the temptation to try too many new snacks at the Expo (Marathon morning is not the time to find out something you ate the day before didn’t agree with you.)
- Eat a “good carbs” breakfast such as oatmeal, yogurt, whole grain bread/bagels/muffins, fresh fruit
- Drink at least one glass of water
During the Marathon
- Be sure to consume electrolytes, water, and GU throughout the course.
- Have a GU every 3-4 miles after the first hour
- Drink 3-6 ounces of water or Gatorade about every 20 minutes (more Gatorade than water); both will be available at each mile of the course
At the Finish Line
- Eat protein as soon as you can after you finish. Pack a protein bar or drink in the bag you send ahead to Gear Check
- Replenish your fluids, electrolytes, and carbs as well. There will be plenty of appropriate snacks in the Finish Zone
Tips for the Heat
- Run on the shady side of the street as often as possible
- Increase your fluid and electrolyte intake
- Slow down
- If you are wearing/carrying any electronics, protect your gear as you approach people who are trying to be helpful by spraying you with water, or avoid them entirely
Tips for Rain
- Wear Gore-Tex or a similarly breathable waterproof material, if you have it; if not, try a well-ventilated (slit the sides open) garbage bag
- Wear your team shirt underneath the GoreTex or trash bag because it won’t hold a lot of moisture
- Wear a hat
- Avoid cotton (it soaks up the water, gets heavy, and makes you colder)
- Avoid puddles in an attempt to keep your feet dry as long as possible
- Pack a set of dry clothes in your Gear Check bag so you can get warm soon after entering the Finish Zone and stop moving
- Take it easy for at least a week. Avoid running, but do go for some walks. Start doing easy paced runs during the following week. If you ran hard, half marathoners will need about 2 weeks to recover; marathoners will need 3-4 weeks.
- Start thinking about your next goal. Now you know that with hard work and self-discipline, you can do whatever you set your mind to