THE BLOG
10/09/2014 12:41 pm ET Updated Dec 09, 2014

50 Essential Last-Minute Marathon Tips

Juanmonino via Getty Images

Congratulations on making it to the starting line after months of marathon training. Here are some practical tips to help you stay safe and run your very best race. Good luck and godspeed!

  1. Plan your transportation to the starting area.
  2. Plan your transportation from the finish area.
  3. Pick a post-race meeting place for friends and family and write it the back of your bib.
  4. Run for a charity cause when possible.
  5. Drink coffee or tea, but no more than 2 cups before racing.
  6. Clip your toenails.
  7. Eat lots of carbs all week, switch to white pasta and breads two days before your race.
  8. No spicy food the day before.
  9. Make lunch your biggest meal the day before the race or eat dinner early.
  10. Pick out everything you'll wear, try it on, and set it out the night before.
  11. Pack a throwaway bag with snacks, fluids, and Vaseline to take to start.
  12. Don't wear new shoes.
  13. Wear the same type of gear you trained in. Be predictable.
  14. Write your full name and emergency contact details on back of your bib.
  15. Pin your number to your shirt the night before.
  16. Go to bed early but read or watch TV if you can't sleep due to anxiety.
  17. Set more than one alarm clock and have a buddy call you just in case.
  18. Eat something like oatmeal and bananas in the morning, avoid fats.
  19. No massage the week before your race, no cross-training, be conservative.
  20. Sleep well the week before; night before isn't as crucial.
  21. Don't walk around sightseeing; save your legs for the marathon.
  22. Double knot your laces, but leave just a little room for your feet to swell.
  23. If it's cold bring gloves and hat from dollar store and throw away once you're warmed up.
  24. Bring toilet paper to the start.
  25. Bring a trash bag to the start to sit on.
  26. Bring a bottle of water or sports drink to sip, not guzzle, before the race starts.
  27. Use an extra pinch of salt on your food the week before.
  28. Wear warm clothes while waiting to start and leave them in charity bins.
  29. Being nervous is part of it; trust in your training and your taper.
  30. Visualize reaching your goal and crossing the finish with your arms raised in celebration.
  31. Drink a little bit at each water stop or at least rinse your mouth out.
  32. Only drink water with your energy gels.
  33. Avoid puddles, potholes, and curbs.
  34. Start at a slower pace than you hope to finish (negative splits).
  35. Aim to run an even goal race pace if possible.
  36. Temperature, wind, and hills will make things harder and slower; adjust your expectations accordingly.
  37. Try to run the tangents when you go around corners, the distance adds up.
  38. Fatigue will visit you, be ready to kick its ass when it does.
  39. During the last 6 miles, everybody hurts. This is what you signed up for.
  40. Stand up straight, you'll breathe easier.
  41. Look where you're going and you'll get there faster; keep your head high.
  42. Listen to the crowd cheer and feed of their positive energy.
  43. Write your name on your shirt so people can cheer for YOU.
  44. Wear Band-Aids or something extra over your nipples to avoid chafing in wet conditions.
  45. Wear sunglasses to avoid squinting and stay relaxed.
  46. Put plenty of Vaseline on any hot spots before you start.
  47. Tape over existing blisters with Band-Aids and duct tape.
  48. Fuel the way you did during your long run training.
  49. Smile at the photographers; a picture is forever.
  50. High five the kids along the race course and enjoy the experience.

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