October 05, 2011

A simple marathon checklist

As I am getting ready to run my second marathon in as many weeks, No. 15 in total, I am especially looking forward to it as my sister will be joining me on the start line in her debut at the distance. Tim is also racing, starting his 10th marathon. For both Tim and I it's the second time in Victoria, after we first raced there in 2008.

As I am writing a short checklist for my sister, I thought I'd share it here:

1. Bring a happy disposition. When you're determined to have a great race, you will!

2. Don't try anything new on race day. No new foods, drinks, clothes, socks, shoes. Stay with what you have tried and tested in training.That includes your pre-race breakfast.

3. Start easy, especially if you're a novice. Don't worry about others racing ahead in the first kilometre(s), it happens in every marathon as the temptation to 'get ahead' is strong.  

4. Have a sip of water at every aid station.

5. Take your gels, as you did in training.

6. Smile and enjoy the ride. You're running a marathon, how awesome!

Also bring:-):

1. Running bra/tank top (women of course)
2. Running shirt / singlet (optional for women)
3. Running shorts
4. Running socks
5. Running shoes
6. Race nutrition (gels, bars including pre-race breakfast)
7. Race number plus timing chip
8. Watch (plus heart rate monitor if you use one)
9. Throwaway T-shirt/sweater to stay warm while you wait at the race start
10. Visor/hat (leave them at home if race day turns out to be a windy one)
12. Sunglasses
13. Thin gloves (in case race morning is chilly)
14. iPod (I never use it in races, though I made an exception in a 100km road race last year)
15. race belt, if you use one
16. vaseline & heat rub

For after the race take:

Shirt, sweater, comfy pants, socks (compression?), shoes / slippers (keep in mind your feet will be swollen and tender after the race), small towel.

My own checklist is as follows:

Pre-race breakfast
1. two Powerbar energy bars
2. coffee (I bring the brand I love and a coffeepress to make it)

Race nutrition
3. 8 gels Powerbar, though I only had 5 at the Bellingham Bay Marathon (plus zip-lock bag to carry the 3 gels that don't fit in my pockets)

Race clothing
4. race tank top (with two back pockets)
5. shorts (with back pocket)
6. compression socks (vaseline on my feet & heat rub on my calves)
7. running shoes
8. sunglasses
9. thin gloves (wear if morning is chilly, I hate cold hands)
10. throwaway shirt to stay warm before the race

For after the race, I'll bring an extra pair of compression socks and comfortable clothing that will keep me warm. After the Bellingham Bay Marathon, I didn't get a chance to shower (though I changed into dry and clean clothes of course) until we arrived at our holiday cottage in the early evening and, as a result, I had worn my race compression socks for the entire day. 

I believe they were one of the key reasons my legs felt awesome the next day, as usually my calves are so tight that descending stairs is next to impossible.

Other odds and ends: 
If you're travelling, like we are this weekend, plan your pre-race dinner. I never eat out, neither lunch nor dinner the day before an important race, as I want to know exactly what went in the food. (See rule No. 2, never try anything new on/before race day).

We have opted to stay in a swanky place that has a kitchen so we'll make a simply pasta bolognaise, and will bring the ingredients so we don't have to shop and can eat what's tried and tested. Another good pre-race meal option are potatoes and a simple protein. 

Plan to stay hydrated as much as possible on the day before the race, especially if you're travelling. I'll bring enough Accelerade for the trip from Squamish to Victoria, picking up my sister in Vancouver along the way. I'll also take some sandwiches of white bread and peanut butter to avoid being hungy.

Stay off your feet as much as possible. We'll relax on the ferry. While we'll have a look at the expo of course, as we pick up our race packages on Saturday afternoon, we'll resist the temptation of turning it into a major shopping expedition or sightseeing tour. This makes much more sense after the race is done. 

While I don't expect our place to be noisy, I will bring ear plugs, just in case. 


Unknown said...

Thank you !! you coached me to my first 10K, 15K, half marathon and now my very first marathon !! I am so excited and thankful xxx

Margreet Dietz said...

You're going to have an awesome day!