6 Things I Always Do Before a Marathon

Even after 11 half marathons and 2 full marathons, I still get nervous before a big race.  I start getting "phantom pain" usually in places I've had pain/an injury before.  I freak out that the weather is too hot, or too cold, or might rain.  I try to calculate how many miles I've put on my race day shoes, and if that number means that they are sufficiently broken in.  Pretty much any thing you can think about, I freak out about.  With that, I've learned there are things that I can definitely control.   So I put together the 6 things I do in the week leading up to a marathon that help me calm my nerves, and believe in the training that got me to race day.

1.  Sleep, sleep, wake up early, sleep.  
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Sleep, or lack there of, really affects me.  Ask anyone who has run a Ragnar Relay with me.  I do not function well without sleep.  And you probably don't either.  I mean really, you're putting your body through 26.2 miles of physical activity, the least you could do is get the proper amount of sleep.  I sleep as much as possible in the week leading up to race day.  I also wake up early, everyday, the entire week before my race to train my body to function that early in the day.  Additionally, since I'm known to wake up throughout the night before race day, I take a melatonin pill in the early evening to ensure I get some good, uninterrupted sleep.  I've taken melatonin before, and it doesn't make me groggy the next day.  So be sure to try it way before race day before you do this.

2. Restorative Yoga, Foam Rolling, Ice Baths
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You've likely been putting your body through a lot of stress the past few months training.  The week before a race is your rest week, and as much as you respect your training days you must also respect your rest days.  You need healthy, well rested legs for race day.  Restorative yoga, foam rolling, and ice baths are all scientifically proven ways to help get your hips loose, your legs more flexible, and your muscles recovered so they are 100 by race day.

3.  Put a Playlist Together

I have an extremely cheesy Spotify playlist I call Who Run the World?  Girls.  It consists of songs that talk about girl power and big butts and mixes the beat from EDM to an occasional country song here and there.  I like to mix my playlist up because it helps me to slow down/speed up throughout  26.2 miles.  My boyfriend, on the other hand, plays the same song over and over for the entire race.  Do what works for you.  Building a playlist ensures that you have fun on race day!  After all, isn't fun why we all started this in the first place?  (Tip:  Download your playlist, before race day.  I find that my playlist will cut out during a race if I don't.)

4.  Carbload, but don't over do it! And hydrate!
I have been guilty of eating a whole pound of shrimp with a whole pound of rice a couple of hours leading up to a race, telling myself "I need the carbs".  The truth is, you don't eat a Thanksgiving dinner then run a marathon the next day.  You have already been doing the long runs, did you eat a Thanksgiving-like dinner during your training?  Probably not.  Brown rice, whole grain pasta, quinoa, and fresh fruits are all great ways to carbload, just don't over do it!  Also make sure you are hydrating up to a week before your race.  I read this article recently, 6 Unusual Signs of Dehydration, that included ways on how to check if you're dehydrated.  Sounds weird, but monitor your pee, a hydrated person has clear pee with a tinge of yellow.

5. Outfit prep

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Outfit prepping helps you picking out exactly what you are going to wear on race day.  I pack everything that's going into my fanny pack, make sure my headphones and phone are charged, put my pins on my bib, and make sure my outfit is appropriate for the weather predictions for race day.  Plus, it makes for a great photo on Instagram!

6.  Relax
I binge watch on Netflix, cut my toenails, put on a face masque -- anything I haven't had time for on the weekends since I always had a long run scheduled for Saturday morning for the past 3893949834 (or so it feels like) Saturdays.  You trained for this!  You earned this rest day, now all that's left is to trust in your training and relax.

Good luck to all of you running LA Marathon!  Hope to see you all out there!