Training

Martin Yelling's guide to race week

This is it! It’s race week! You’ve made it. Phew! Now it’s time to deliver. It’s your time to shine; to step up to your challenge; to deliver on the promises you’ve made to others and yourself. Nothing like a little bit of pressure then!

Race week is a classic time to brick it! Seriously, despite all the miles you’ve run and how much you tell yourself you can do it, it’s really normal to have doubts that creep in and cramp your 26.2-mile style.  

You are so close now. The focus for this week is to stay calm and get to the Start Line illness and injury-free, rested, de-stressed and ready to go the distance.  

Check out this day-by-day checklist for race week and get set for success…

Monday

  • Write a kit inventory and tick off everything you need to take with you.
  • If you need to buy anything (gels/socks/hat) then do it now (not trainers – you should already have these and you should have done some training in them).
  • Read your Race Day ‘final instructions’ in your Marathon News magazine (or click here to download the online pdf). Know in advance where you need to be and when. 
  • Do a very short, very easy paced run or rest – remember race week is not the time for last minute miles. Your training is done. If you did nothing at all this week you’d be just fine.

Tuesday

  • Write a schedule of where you need to be and when you need to be there, from leaving home to standing on the Start Line. 
  • If you’re travelling from home to London, call your hotel and confirm your reservation. This reduces last-minute panic. 
  • Do a short session. For example, 4 x 3 minutes at marathon pace. Feel light, controlled, strong and ready.
  • Running for charity? Give your fundraising a last minute pre-race push. Tell people what you’re about to take on!  

Wednesday

  • Write down your personal race strategy. Make notes of your personal key point time splits (For example, Mile One, Mile Three, Mile Six, halfway, Mile 20). This will help you to stay patient and on track and it means it’s easy to write on your hand come Race Day!
  • Build your confidence. Write down your three best training memories from your build up. You know, that time when you ran further than ever before, when your run just clicked, when you ran faster than you expected or when you really felt like this marathon thing is possible. 
  • Flick through previous race photos or results from events you’ve enjoyed and your training diary. Feel good about what you’ve achieved so far.
  • Do a very short (20 to 30 minutes), very easy run or rest.

Thursday

  • Pack all your kit, using your inventory from Monday. Best to be prepared!
  • If you’re not sure whether to take something then take it – better to have it and not want to use it. Filter this down for stuff you’ll actually take with you on Race Day for your baggage drop.
  • Do a short, easy run. Just run, don’t think, just run, don’t stress.
  • Spend 10 minutes making some time for yourself. Relax, breath, be calm. You’ve got this.

Friday

  • Complete all your pre-race ‘to do’ lists such as collecting your runner number (if you have to travel on the Saturday, don’t panic), double checking everything. 
  • Go to the Runner Expo to collect your number (ok, so you might do this any time from Wednesday to Saturday – check out the Expo opening times here) and enjoy the atmosphere and all the stuff that’s going on. But take heed – it’s so amazing you’ll want to spend all day checking everything out.  Remember time on your feet can tire you out and you’ve got a marathon at the weekend!
  • Eat well – be fuelled and hydrated. There’s no need to over eat though. 
  • Rest or go for a very short, very easy run.

Saturday

  • Lay out your kit and pin your running number on your top. Smile to yourself. You’re going to do it.
  • Eat and drink well but don’t over-do it. Avoid the pasta mountain or trying new things. 
  • Have dinner early (carbs at lunchtime) and don’t get caught up in group decisions about when to eat or where.
  • Relax, focus and remind yourself of the wonderful journey you’ve been on and the amazing one you’re about to take.

Sunday! Race Day!

Race morning is here! I’ve covered more about Race Day in my latest blog! You’ve got enough to think about for now...