The following tips are recommended for the first time runners joining a marathon race. These tips are recommended to be done or followed at least one week and immediately before D-Day of the Marathon.
1. Eat carbohydrates during the last three or four days before the Marathon.
2. Get your race packet early and prepare your running attire.
3. Select your running attire you are going to use for the marathon. Use the running shoes you’ve been using to prepare for this marathon. Wear light shorts and singlet. Your running socks should be comfortable to your feet and it should not cause blisters.
4. Apply foot powder on your feet to prevent blisters. Apply “baby oil” or virgin coconut oil (VCO) on your crotch and inner thighs; on your upper forearms (below your armpits); and on your nipples to prevent rubbing and chafing with your shorts and singlets.
5. Apply sunscreen lotion to parts of the body exposed to the sun except for the face. Sunscreen lotion mixed with your sweat will create a problem if it goes to your eyes.
6. Use a runner’s cap and sunglass to protect the face and eyes from sunlight.
7. Don’t get excited. Stay calm and relaxed. Think of the race as one of your weekend races or long slow distance runs.
8. Two days, or on the day before the marathon, take a short and easy jog.
9. Don’t forget your last body massage before D-Day. Experience wise, I prefer to have my massage two days before the race.
10. Full 8-hour sleep is a must on the 2 nights before D-Day. Just to be in the safe side, no sex on these days.
11. Wake up at least 2-3 hours before the race. You should be able to take a shower, take your “crap” for the last time, and take a light meal before leaving the house.
12. Try to conduct a “reconnaissance” or see the actual route and ride through it. Locate uphill terrain along the route and visualize your “strategy”. I don’t expect that kilometer markings will be available along the route, you should be able to estimate the distance from a certain point through your vehicle’s pedometer.
13. Wear your hydration/water belt, if you have any. In my experience running full marathons in the Philippines, nobody have ever perfected the location and needs of every water station.
14. Prepare to bring with you sports “gel” and sports “energy drinks”. If not, request your friends or members of your family to act as your “support team” and position themselves along the route to provide you with water, sports “gel/energy drinks”, food, and the much-needed “cheers and words of encouragements”.
15. Drink water or any fluids 10-15 minutes before the start of the race.
16. Stretch, warm-up, walk and jog at least 30 minutes before the start of the race near the starting line.
17. Be sure that your running equipment (digital watch/Garmin/Polar/Sunto/Ipod) are fully operational and with battery charged.
18. Come up with your strategy or plan in finishing the marathon race. Listen to your body and from your training workouts, you could determine your goal/objective in finishing the race. Since it is your first time, be contented of finishing the race without any serious injuries and this will serve as your experience to excel some more in your next marathon. Your time of finishing the race is only secondary to your primary aim of finishing the race.
19. Always think positive. If there is still enough time before the race, talk to other runners and be friendly to them. Remember, your opponent is yourself and the route, not the other runners.
20. Remove your fears. Think that you are not the last runner to reach the finish line.
21. Pray and give thanks to the Lord that you had undergone a hard training without any injuries or accidents and for you to be able to join and experience your first Marathon Race of your life.