So this week, I am going to be tracking my food consumption pretty closely because last week I went crazy and since the marathon is SATURDAY - I really want to make sure I am eating healthy and carb loading, but not overeating or changing anything up too much! (I also want to be able to look back in the future to see what I did for this race!)
Go With What You Know. It's so easy to get caught up in the excitement and begin to make drastic changes in your diet, training and equipment. The number one rule in marathoning is DON'T TRY ANYTHING NEW on race day. This should be extended for the entire week of the marathon. Every long run has been a dress rehearsal for the big day and by now, you should know what to eat, how much to drink and what you're going to wear. The time to make changes and adjustments is during the season. For example you'll want to avoid drinking tons more water in the hopes of being well hydrated, eating a ton more veggies than normal and trying new equipment. When you get tempted to make a change, remember Golden Rule One and stick to what your body knows. It's what got you here and what will get you through race day.
Have A Mental Plan. Training is 90% physical and 10% mental. Race day is the exact opposite. Your body is trained, rested and ready to go. Your mind is in charge on race day. Keep your mind actively engaged in the race and think your way through the course. Review the marathon course map and break it up into smaller, more digestible pieces. It's easier to stay focused and engaged for shorter periods of time than for several hours. Understand marathoning is like life and you're going to go through peaks and valleys. Bring power words and positive mantra to carry you through the valleys. Words like "strong and steady" are useful in keeping your mind focused and out of the bite me zone (pit of negativity).
Pace Yourself. The number one thing you can control on race day is your pace. It is very easy to get caught up in all the excitement, especially in a large race like the Chicago Marathon with 45,000 runners, music, fans and more! Marathoning is all about energy management. If you blow through a lot of energy early in the race by running too fast, it will make for a fabulous first 10-K and a really tough and not-so-pretty rest of the race. Not to mention your finish line photo will be dreadful:) Conserve your energy by running at either an even effort throughout the race or run a negative split (my favorite) by taking the first half slightly slower than the second. There is nothing more fun and motivating than to have the strength, focus and energy to pass people in the last six miles of the race. But in order to do this, you need to be disciplined early and hold back the reigns.