With the city’s stunning beautiful natural surroundings, along with a more mild year-round climate, San Diego is a long-distance race destination for marathon enthusiasts and novices alike. But preparing for a marathon or other distance race day involves more than just running the distance. With marathon season fast approaching for San Diegans, our AquaVie team has put together a seven step guide to get you triumphantly over the finish line. 

Step One: The Night Before

Consider your carbs. Eating right the night before will directly affect how you feel in the morning. Eating a carbohydrate-rich dinner will help with energy production, so you’ll wake feeling fuller and more energetic. Be careful to strike a healthy balance! While carbs are your friend, try not eat anything too heavy, which could leave you feeling sluggish. 

Maintain hydration. It’s never too early to practice good hydration. But leading up to race day, it’s especially important to drink plenty of water. You should also avoid excessive alcohol or caffeine in the days before a race, as these both contribute to dehydration.

Step Two: Breakfast of Champions

A Familiar Fuel-up. While it’s crucial to fuel your body the morning of your race, it’s especially crucial to fuel your body in a familiar way. Be sure to eat the same energy-providing food you’ve been eating during training. Above all, do not run on an empty stomach.

Step Three: Pre-Race Warm-up

Activation Station. Never start a race with cold muscles! Getting warmed up is essential to starting a race on the right foot. Dynamic stretches will activate your muscles and increase blood flow. Also, if you have time, consider going for a short pre-race jog. This will further warm up your running muscles and get you into the right mindset for the race.

Step Four: Pause for a Gear Check

Check, Check, 1, 2. You may not think you need this step, but a simple gear check could end up saving your race day. Double-check your gear. Ensure you have your running shoes, socks, comfortable clothing, race bib, and any other necessary equipment ready to go. Prepare for the elements. Apply Body Glide or Vaseline to areas prone to chafing, and don’t forget to put on sunscreen!

Step Five: Mid-Race Hydration and Nutrition 

Keep It Up. Don’t let the aid stations pass you by. Staying hydrated is important to keep your body going throughout the race. Consuming energy gels, chews, or other forms of fuel also helps. Create a pre-planned strategy, based on your training, but adding fuel typically every 45 minutes to an hour makes all the difference.

Step Six: Pacing and Mental Focus

Be Pace-ient. On race day, meeting your goal often feels more dire than ever. Pushing yourself too hard, too fast could ultimately hurt your body and your overall performance. This is why pacing yourself is key. 

Be Your Own Hype-man. Keep yourself in the zone and motivated with positive self-talk, and be sure to appreciate how far your training takes you as you go! 

Step Seven: Rest & Recovery:

Breathe in, Breathe out. As you reach the end of the race, slow down your pace to cool down gradually. If you push yourself towards the end, consider a leisurely jog or walk after you cross the finish line. It’s important to immediately rehydrate, but be careful not to cramp up your body by taking in too much water too quickly. You may not feel like eating a big meal, but be sure to at least refuel with a small snack. 

Finally, be sure to get in a good post-race stretch. Utilizing a foam roller and applying heat or ice to any sore areas will also speed up your overall recovery. 

Need some extra pre-race guidance? Looking to jump into fitness training but don’t know where to start? Our AquaVie team is here to help you set and make all your fitness goals. Call us at 619-557-3663 or stop by the lobby desk today to get started with personal training sessions!