Marathon Training: 6 Things You Should Do During the Final Week Before Your Race

Elite runners share advice about what to do the week before your marathon

You’ve put in all the hard work for your marathon and the big week is finally here! So, how do you prepare during the week leading up to your big race?

During this final week, you’ll probably have some extra time on your hands thanks to the taper in your training plan, and it can be tricky to know how to balance rest and recovery without going stir crazy. Many runners find that it’s challenging to kick up their feet and just rest, but letting your body and mind relax is necessary if you want to feel great on race day.

Basically, the final week before your marathon is as crucial as all the hard work you put in over the previous weeks. The following six tips will show you how to make the most of all your hard work and prepare as best you can over those final days leading up to your marathon.

1. Call your friends and family.
Lauren Kleppin is an ASICS Mammoth Track Club member who ran 2:28 and was the first American finisher at the ASICS LA Marathon this past fall. She says that you should use your free time during marathon week to connect with your friends and family.

“Leading up to race week, your closest friends and family are most likely the ones that have put up with you through the long haul of training. They are the ones that support you and may not quite understand you, but love you either way,” she said. “Now that you are tapering this week, and have a little more energy and time, utilize it and give them a call.”

Your friends and family have supported you during your training and you are going to need their support on race day. Now that you have some free time on your hands, give them a call and catch up. It’s a great way to be reminded that you have a strong support team.

2. Reminisce.
While cooling down with my teammate, Deena Kastor, an American record-holder in many distances, including the Half Marathon and Marathon, I asked her what she does to prepare during marathon week. She mentioned going through her training log with a pink highlighter and reminding herself of all the hard workouts and hard work she put in over the last few months of training. Remember, when you taper that you might not feel like a million bucks, but your body is storing all that energy for race day!

3. Get ‘good lucks’ in early.
Kleppin also mentioned that it’s a good idea to remind your loved ones that you have an early wake up call for the marathon. “I also suggest getting all the ‘good luck’ wishes out of the way early in the week and to advise them not to text or call on race night,” she said. “Sleeping before the big day is hard enough and a blinking phone full of shout-outs doesn’t help when you are waking up before the sun for a 26.2 mile run.” Don’t worry, your family will understand,  because they want you to get rest and run fast!

4. Find something to look forward to.
Kleppin also shared some unique input on what to do when you arrive at your marathon destination, particularly the day before when you have some time to kill. “Once you arrive to your race location, and pick up your bib and race packet, I suggest doing one thing if you do anything with that course map—check out the finish,” she said. “It is hard to tour the whole 26.2 miles, especially in large cities, but I believe there is something to be said about knowing where you are going, and having a reason to be happy once you get there.”

5. Increase electrolytes.
Boulder Track Club member and 2:32.49 marathoner Wendy Thomas says she increases her fluid intake during the week leading up to her marathon races. “I try to drink extra sports drinks and plenty of water to make sure I am not going into the race down on electrolytes or dehydrated,” she said.

6. Have confidence.
Don’t second guess yourself or question your training. You’ve worked hard and you are ready to run a great marathon. When you taper, sometimes you don’t feel great during your workouts and it can cause you to question if you are ready. But don’t let those feelings get into your head; your body is just storing up energy for you to run fast on race day! 

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