In 2 days, 15,000 people will run through the streets of Vancouver on the BMO Vancouver Marathon’s newest half marathon and marathon courses.  It’s exciting times for Vancouver, with its first sell-out in many, many years.  All my running friends are buzzing about the new courses so it’s sure not to disappoint.  I, myself, am running the marathon course – starting at Queen Elizabeth Park, passing Pacific Spirit Park up Camosun hill, through UBC, along Spanish Banks and Jericho Beach, over the Burrard Bridge and around the Stanley Park seawall to finally finish at the Vancouver Convention Centre.  I do have to say that Vancouver did it right, capturing the essence of the many beautiful spaces of our city.

I’ve been an avid runner for over 10 years, with well over 100 races under my belt, and preparing for a marathon is different than any other race I’ve done (including 2 ultramarathons).  Here are some of my tips and how I prepare for the big day:

  • Tapering makes most people a bit nervous as you usually find yourself with way more time on your hands.  No more long weekend runs so what do you do with yourself?  Don’t let those negative doubtful thoughts enter your mind and draw on how much you’ve accomplished.  Your body is ready.  Believe in your training and believe in yourself.
  • Rest lots!  I’m not saying sit on the couch and eat bon bons all day but sleep early and eat well.  Do a few runs during the week to maintain muscle memory, but nothing too long.  This is crucial to having a successful race day.
  • You’ve probably heard the term “Carbo loading”.  Most races have a pasta dinner the night before, however, what’s even more important are your meals the week leading up to race day.  I have my big carb dinner two days before and then have a good, hearty lunch the day before.  Then, for my final meal, I eat a simple, mid-size dinner.  This allows my body to digest everything by morning, setting me up for a great day of running ahead of me.
  • The main thing I’ve heard over the years is “Don’t do anything new on race day.”  Your long training runs are your testing grounds for everything – clothing, nutrition, pace, etc.  Once you’ve figured out what works, don’t change it.  Why change it if it ain’t broke?
  • The absolute most important tip I have is HAVE FUN.  The marathon is a bit of a beast and anything can happen during those 42.2 kms.  Have a little fun out there, chat with your fellow runners, and enjoy yourself – you’ll find you may come away with an even better experience and a few extra friends.

Those are all my tips for preparing for the ultimate race day.  Have a fabulous run, everyone, and may the wind always be at your back and lift your spirits to the finish line!