Your Marathon Pre-Race Checklist and Tips

So your marathon is coming up and you need a checklist, right? If you're like many newbie racers, you might be a bit nervous about the big day, and searching for a little help.

No need to worry, because we've got you covered. Check out these marathon preparation tips and you'll definitely be ready to perform your best on the big day.

With all of the new sights, race day can be an overwhelming experience for some first-time runners. Feelings of excitement and nervousness are pulsing through your body. You may have butterflies in your stomach, but remember, you’ve prepared for this day.

All your hard work and training is going to pay off. Keep a copy of this marathon checklist on your fridge, or taped next to your toothbrush – anywhere you’re going to remember before you walk out your front door!

1. Proper Race-Day Clothing

Before you go to bed on the night before the race, start by laying out the exact clothes you trained in (they brought you this far, right?). Many experienced runners will often discard an article of clothing at the start of the race, so if you choose this route, ensure it is something you don’t mind leaving behind.

Marathon Shoes Off

  • Race Shoes (the same ones you have been training in)
  • Socks
  • Running shorts or tights, weather dependent
  • Lightweight, breathable shirt

2. Race Specific Items

Each marathon differs in climate, location, start time, and popularity. Be sure you grab these items before leaving for the starting line. Many of these items are found in your starter bag.

Marathon Race Bib

  • Race Bib
  • Individual number
  • Chip for tracking pace
  • Location of the starting line
  • Your race wave
  • Map of the course

3. Recommended Extras

Consider the following items to make your marathon as comfortable as possible.

Racers Starting Line

  • Watch/ GPS to track your race splits
  • Moleskin for blisters
  • Vaseline or BodyGlide to protect against chaffing
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat with breathable mesh
  • Wind breaker if weather looks cold and rainy

4. Nutrition

From nutrition bars to energy drinks, you will have many choices for your pre-race snacks. Although you may be tempted to experiment with the latest and greatest new energy gel, resist the newest product and go with the nutrition that your body and stomach knows best.

Save the sugary goodies for post-race recovery. I always go with a banana and a muffin – enough to provide constant energy, but not too much to cause a pit stop on mile number 3.

5. Hydration

Hydrating for a marathon is a very important part of any routine, ensuring that your body has the prerequisite liquids prior to your race, as well as during your marathon. As a general rule, I drink an 8 oz cup of water every two miles. Drink stations will differ for each race, but are normally no further than two miles apart.

Sometimes the different drink stations can become overly crowded, and sometimes a bit chaotic as everyone fights for a refreshing cup. Please stay patient if this happens, and either patiently wait for a cup, or move onto the next station.

I've seen many racers slip and injure themselves on the damp pavement, amidst all the chaos. Take a couple extra seconds to stay safe, and then continue enjoying your run.

Pre-Marathon Hydration

Here is a tip that I picked up from a seasoned distance running friend... bring a disposable water bottle to the starting line to hydrate as you patiently wait for your the start, and then discard it before the staring gun. This will allow you to avoid the rush at the first station (which always seems to be the busiest!) and continue to the second hydration stand.

Now Do You Feel Ready?!

Print a copy or two of this marathon checklist to keep handy. Review it the night before the race and you’ll be more prepared than the majority of runners.

Remember, you’ve already trained and put in the hard work by following your training regimen. Now that you have completed your marathon preparation, set your alarm clock, and enjoy the run!

Did we forget something on our "Prepare For Marathon" list? If so, please let us know!