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Marathon Prep: What They Forgot to Tell You

It’s finally here! You’re registered, you’ve downloaded the app, your shoes are unlaced and by the door, and your nutrition is dialed in for race day. You’ve memorized every hill on the course, eaten plenty of carbs, and have been hydrating on a schedule since Labor Day. You’re ready – you think.

But what happens when something gets uncomfortable on the course? What pre-marathon preparations could you have possibly forgotten? Which pre-marathon tips weren’t you told? Read on to hear the valuable tips and tricks that are often overlooked but can mean a marathon horror story for the books.  

No funky foods

Just don’t do it. An upset stomach mid-marathon will have you hobbling to the nearest port-a-john and will drastically increase your average mile time. Don’t eat anything new, heavily spiced, or saturated the day before your run.

Trim your toenails.

Having your overgrown claws rubbing against each other or the front of your shoe can mean severe discomfort and bloody aftermath. We see toenails that have blackened, fallen off, and worst of all changed gait patterns ie how you walk and run. Don’t let this mistake lead to injuries up the kinetic chain. Nothing like a funky toenail cause headaches a month later. Don’t believe it? We’ve seen it!

Know your socks.

Every runner knows that there’s nothing worse than a sock that keeps slipping down into your shoe. Every step. For 26.2 miles. Ugh. Wear a pair of socks that you know will do the job.

Don’t do anything new on race day you haven’t tried in training.

No new outfits.

Hold back! Now is not the time to wear a running outfit for the first time. From riding to chafing, to stickiness and snagging, you risk finding out an article of clothing just isn’t right at the worst time. Even better, lay out your race gear night before, so you are not fiddling with pinning on your race bib or missing a hair tie.

Keep it tight.

As far as hair ties and bands, again, know your stuff. Slipping headband? Loose ponytail? Who wants to be readjusting their hair wardrobe every half mile?

Prep your feet.

Working or going to an event the day before the marathon? Ditch the flats or the heels and opt for supportive, comfy shoes. Better yet, get your lacrosse ball and foam roller out and ready to pamper your feet after race day. Rolling the bottoms of your feet does wonders to stretch and relax your feet’s tiny muscles especially after the big day.

Ease your anxiety.

Getting pre-race jitters? Having second thoughts about whole thing? Despite advice telling marathoners to rest up the day before the race, lacing up your sneakers and going for a slow, short jog can ease your tension and mentally prepare you for what’s ahead. Just be sure to keep it light; don’t exert yourself! Visualize the course and imagine that feeling when you cross the finish line.


Are you a master yogi or just not that into meditation? Either way, try a short meditation exercise before bed and set your intentions, give yourself some positive talk, and breathe. This will help prep your mind and ease you into a solid night’s rest – you’re going to need it!


Bring your own breakfast. Don’t rely on freebies and food stands to fuel you the day of the run. Plan your breakfast to eat in advance or bring with you, and save the feasting for after the finish line.

Take care of business.

We are talking about number 2. Hit the bathroom right before the race to avoid midrace…un-pleasantries. There will be more than 1,500 toilets in the start villages and the start corrals. Along the course, toilets are located every mile after the third mile. Think it’s just nerves? Go anyway. You never know.

Plan ahead.

Have employees or clients that need your attention? Put everything on hold the day of the event. Let your work peeps know in advance that you’ll be unavailable and unable to attend to their requests until your next scheduled work day to avoid sudden requests that get you out of the zone. Kids? Let your loved one or sitter know beforehand that you’ll need their support. Better yet, encourage your tribe to be at certain points on the course to cheer you on when the going gets tough. There’s nothing better than rounding a corner on mile 20 to see your smiling friends or family causing a scene just for you. Ideally, if you decide to take your phone with you on the course, put it on airplane mode or disable notifications and calls.

Don’t stress the start.

The day before the marathon, know how you are getting to the starting line. Set multiple alarms, just in case. Remember, clocks will be set back one hour for daylight savings the night before! Plan for traffic, road closures, and delays in public transportation. If you are traveling into town for the race, don’t make any long commutes the day of.

Although preparing for a marathon can be stressful, enjoy this time to challenge yourself mentally and physically and push your limits. When the gun goes off, be fully present and focused on you  and YOUR race. Let anything else going on in your life take a back seat. This is all you – your strength, your determination, and your grit are ready to shine on the course. You’re in for the long haul. Good luck, runner!

We are here to help with the aftermath of what race day does to your body. Call us for Normatec Recovery the 2 days after the race and some soft tissue love with Active Release Technique 4 days after the race for optimal recovery. With any and all questions, hit us up at

Best in Health,

Dr Emily Kiberd