New York Marathon founder Fred Lebow said, “Few things in life match the thrill of a marathon.” If you’re planning to run next week’s New York Marathon, you’ve no doubt been following a long-term training regimen to build your physical endurance, focus, and pacing. But what should you do in those pivotal hours right before the race to support your goals and well-being? Here are some common misconceptions about how to handle the days leading up to that early morning start across the Verrazano-Narrows and what you can do instead.
- “Load up on pasta and carbs the night before.” Reality: While carbs are essential, carb-loading the night before isn't effective. Instead, maintain your regular diet to avoid digestive issues. Consume complex carbs like brown rice and whole grains throughout the week leading up to the event.
- “Change your diet on race day.” Reality: Stick to familiar foods. Trying new gels, bars, or energy drinks on race day can cause some unpleasant digestive surprises.
- “Keep training hard right up to race day.” Reality: Tapering (reducing training intensity) allows your muscles to recover and store energy. Follow your training plan's tapering guidelines.
- “Nervous – who me?” Reality: Even experienced runners get the jitters. Visualize success, practice positive self-talk, and make a playlist of some tunes that inspire you to manage race-day anxiety.
- “Get new running shoes.” Reality: This is not the time to break in new shoes. Stick to the gear you've used during training to avoid blisters or discomfort on race day.
- “Wear new running attire.” Reality: Again, stick to what you've trained in. Ensure your clothing is comfortable and suited for the expected weather conditions. And unless it’s very cold out, runners tend to shed layers as they go, so you may end up leaving behind a costly piece of gear somewhere on the route.
Overall, you should trust your training plan, prioritize rest and recovery, and stick to familiar routines. Avoid any drastic changes to your diet, gear, or training routine, and focus on staying relaxed, confident, and enjoying yourself.
With the right approach, you'll be well prepared for the 26.2-mile trek. We will be out there cheering for you. See you at the finish line!