How to Prepare the Week before a Marathon

October 5, 2014

Check out the following tips from Nathan Freeburg at

The final week before a marathon can be exciting! Months of training have prepared you for your marathon (or half marathon). You’ve done the long runs, completed the workouts and are almost through the taper.

If this is your first marathon, you’re probably feelingexcited, nervous, and a little apprehensive. If you’ve done these before, you’re probably feeling excited, nervous, and a little apprehensive. The marathon does that to you – beginners and seasoned pros alike.

In my final week of preparation for my fourth marathon, I surveyed my running buddies to gain valuable insights from dozens of collective marathons. Here are some tips for your final race week preparations.


One of the best things you can do now is chill. Assuming you’ve worked hard and followed a good plan, this week is about rest and short easy runs to stay loose.

Get Extra Sleep

Obviously runners attempting a marathon need more sleep. I have found (anecdotally) two – three nights before might be the most important. Stockpile sleep! If you can’t sleep the night before because of nerves, don’t worry.

Eat Smart

You’re probably used to eating whatever you want. Lay off that second dinner or late night snack this week. No need to gorge yourself. Also, avoid high fiber foods or anything fried. Only predictable foods!

Carry a Water Bottle

Sip on water during the day, and monitor your pee to stay hydrated. Seriously. Urine too yellow? Drink more. Crystal clear? Back off. You’re looking for a lemonade shade.

Get off your Feet

Now isn’t the time to tackle that home project. Go about your normal routine, but get off your feet whenever possible. Run as per your taper, stay still and relax.

Study the Course

If you live locally, you’ve hopefully been able to run at least part of the race course. If not, try to study the map provided by the race organization. Better yet, run it, bike it or drive portions of it. This is helpful so you’ll know where the hills are, where the aide stations are, and porta potties.

Finalize your Race Strategy

Do you plan to hold one pace or run the second half faster? Negative splits? Planning to get paced by a Pacer? Regardless, rehearse it in your mind, monitor how you’re feeling on race day and adjust accordingly.

Have a Race Logistics Plan

Plan the following now.

*Pre and post race transportation. It’s hectic at the start. How will you get to and from?

*Sweats check and post race bag. Consider what you’ll want immediately before and after your race?

*Help friends and family pick spots to cheer. Let them know where you’ll likely need a friendly face and help them navigate the course.

Try Nothing New

Race week isn’t the time to try new shoes, new hydration strategy or new racing shirt you purchased at the expo. If it hasn’t been tested through the rigors of your training (from gear to food), don’t change.

Reflect on Your Hard Work

A successful training cycle might be more difficult than the actual race. It goes quick (as grueling as it is). Different moments from your training will become part of your total marathon memory.

Whatever your goals, whatever the outcome, you’ve worked hard to get here. Do your best, don’t quit and take pride knowing you’ve done something difficult.

October 5, 2014

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