Five last-minute marathon tips from our expert

Saravanan "Sharu" Hariram

August 4, 2023

Pre-marathon tips to prepare for the big dayWith marathon season upon us, training for the big day has been a marathon in itself, and now it’s time to put all that hard work to test. Here are five tips that are guaranteed to make your run a successful one:

Load up on carbs Three days before the race, start loading up on carbs and calorie-rich food like sweet potato, potato and oats.  While a person’s ideal carb consumption per meal should be 50-70%, at this time it should be increased to 80-85% in every meal. The carbs will fuel your body, giving you that extra energy boost for the big day. In addition, eat lots of water-rich fruits  like melon, pineapple, custard apple, grapes and avocado.  Marathons are draining, these fruits will help you maintain glucose levels as well as hydrate you.

Don’t buy new shoes It’s a common novice practice. Enthusiastic participants go out and buy new shoes to wear on marathon day. Don’t do that. You need to break your shoes in and do at least one month of practice before the marathon. New shoes immediately reduce distance and pace, and you’re likely to have balancing issues as the body isn’t used to the footwear.

Dress for the weather If it’s humid, wear dry-fit innerwear that deflects sweat and prevents chaffing. If it’s cold, wear thick socks and protect your fingers; if your extremities are protected, you’ll maintain a steady body temperature.

Ensure you get a rest day One day before the marathon, don’t run, take complete rest. It will leave you with a lot of stored energy that will help you perform well. Those who train professionally would already know this – even during the lead-up, they run one day, and take complete rest on the next – but there are many last minute participants who decide last minute to run, and practice a day earlier. As a result, they strain their muscles and lower extremity joints. Rest, along with 8-10 hours of sleep the night before will help keep your energy levels high on the big day.

Never skip the warm-up Getting in those 10-15 minutes of exercises before the run are very important. Do leg raises, knee raises (moving your leg too-and-fro or sideways like a pendulum), bend side-to-side, rotate your hips and ankles. A brisk walk to spot jog of about 10-15 yards from say, the race parking area to starting point will help prepare your body.

In addition to these tips, I would recommend using a stop watch of your own during the race to keep track of the distance covered and speed maintained. That way, you can compare and improve your speed for the next race. The other point I’d like to stress on is don’t start fast, or you’ll lose energy at some point. Begin slow, and pick up speed once you are half distance. You’re guaranteed to finish faster.

I guess you’re all set. Now it’s time to go!

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Top 10 energy-boosting foods for marathon runners

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About the Author

Saravanan “Sharu” Hariram is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer with a passion for bodybuilding. Combining his love for fitness with his career, Sharu did his certification in Sports Nutrition, and Rehabilitation and Healing Nutrition. Currently a Master Trainer with HealthifyMe, he specializes in Weight Management, Marathon Training, and Physical Rehabilitation. In his 20+ years of experience, Sharu has always maintained that one’s mind must have control over their body in order to lead a healthy life. At HealthifyMe, he continues to follow his passion while helping those around him realise their fitness goals.

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