Before the run
If you are buying gear, remember they are not for use for the next day. Use previously worn (tried and tested) clothes and gear.
Avoid drinking alcohol the night before the run. You can do without a hangover while running.
Do not do any lower limb strength training or running the day before the marathon. Just light stretching and a gentle massage will do. You don’t want to be running to the starting line.
Rest early as you will need enough sleep to wake up early. A total of eight hours of sleep is required before the run. You should have some relaxing ritual — a warm shower, followed by some gentle stretching or some deep breathing exercises.
Fix the bib to your shirt the previous night. That’s the one thing you need at the starting line. Don’t show up without it!
Don’t use cotton innerwear or outerwear.
An early dinner is a must and your food should be rich in carbs, low in fat and easily digestible. Also, the food should be something that you usually eat during practise runs.
For women who are menstruating during the run, tampons are a better option. Cotton underwear and a sanitary pad could bruise you and cause blisters.
Wake up three hours prior to the event and eat a small breakfast. Also, make sure to use the toilet. Ensure that you’ve got all your gear ready and take care of last-minute issues.
Have a carb rich, but gut-soothing breakfast, like a banana or a smoothie. Avoid fatty or fibre-rich food. Do not overeat or drink. Have coffee or tea, if you’re used to it.
Drink water 45 minutes before the event, and do not drink too much of it before you start (plenty of water will be available at the aid stations).
Apply vaseline (or wear a band aid) to chaff prone areas. Chafing is a common problem for runners. Reach the venue on time.
Get to the run at least one hour before the start, so you’ll have enough time to pick up your number, use the portable potty, and warm up before the run.
A slow jog or a walk followed by gentle stretching is a must.
Run light without a camel pack, etc., As it can slow you down.
Besides using the toilet before you begin your run, there will be toilets after every five km or so. Stop and use them if you need to, because, trying to control your bladder will only play on your mind and stop you from enjoying your run.
After finishing the run, walk a little more beyond the end point, do a gentle stretch routine.
Lying down with your feet up or icing (using ice after the run) will help you recover faster.
A gentle massage also helps in fast recovery. Just like you warm up before the run, it is important to help your muscles recover from the stress.
Don’t forget to help yourself to the white powdery substance that is provided during the runs. It is not sugar or anything harmful, it is just good old salt that your body needs during long runs.
Sip water and energy drinks at all the aid stations. There are water stations every two km or so, that also provide banana and glucose biscuits.
Simple stretching exercises:
Front leg swing
Stand with one hand holding on to a wall and swing the leg (that is outside) forward, while keeping your knee straight. Then swing the leg backwards. Do this with both your legs. Swing each leg 10 times.
Lie on your back. Raise your right knee and hold it with your left hand. Inhale. Exhale and drag your knee across your body, keeping your back down. Repeat with other leg.
Sit on the ground and extend your right leg in front of you. Touch your right knee with the heel of your left leg. Bend forward and hold your toes with both hands.