17 In Fitness/ Running

Marathon Prep – It Takes a Village

Today’s post is going to be sort of a mental to-do list for this weekend! I can’t believe it’s already here…I signed up in June, put in hundreds of miles, and two pairs of shoes, and now it’s go-time! Preparing for a marathon not only takes the 16-18 week training schedule, but also mental prep, improving your overall running, and perfecting your race-day habits and attire! I finally started this blog in May, after I realized how much I had fallen in love with running after I PR’d at the Little Rock Half Marathon in March, then a month later I signed up for a marathon, thinking in the back of my head that I may or may not even actually go thru with it because 26.2 is unattainable. In the past 6 months since signing up, I’ve accomplished so much, reached times I thought were impossible, and even the past year I’ve run more than I ever thought I would! Since March, I have…

-ran 7 5Ks

-PR’d my 5K time

-1 10K

-2 official half marathons, PR’ing both times

-4 more unofficial half marathon’s during marathon training

-unofficially PR’d my half marathon time AGAIN

-ran a 20 miler, the farthest I have ever ran in my life!

I think marathon training takes MORE than just the set training schedule, it also takes the months beforehand to get ready for marathon training, and preparing your body to push itself! This was just the first year where I’ve felt like I was running seriously, and I can’t wait to see what 2014 holds!! There’s ALWAYS room for improvement, and I’m anxious to push myself harder, run faster, and hit my next goal of a 1:50 half marathon! Picking out when that half marathon will be is the tough part…the next few months are BUSY! But, I’ve got my eye on the Mississippi River Half Marathon, Feb 8!

marathon training

Getting ready for a nice event takes a long time, but getting ready for a big race, takes a village! Here is my to-do list, in no particular order, for making sure I am fully prepared for Saturday’s marathon! (Lord willing, if you happen to google weather conditions for Little Rock and Memphis, you’ll catch why I’m stressing)

how to prepare and pack for a marathon

1. Go to the store a few days prior and pick up plenty of Shot Bloks and PowerBar Energy Blasts, buy a few extra just in case. Also buy a couple Gatorades to drink the night before and after the race. Lay out your water bottle as well.

2. Go ahead and buy breakfast for race day as well…Clif Bar, toast w/ peanut butter, and a banana. (Or whatever your traditional pre-race meal is!)

3. Make a pile of the running accessories you will need for the race, i.e. headphones, phone armband, headband, ear warmer, fuel carrier, Garmin.

4. Make sure you know where your charger/cord is for your Garmin so you aren’t rushing around the night before trying to charge it. Also, you might double check you know where your phone charger is too, if that’s how you will be listening to music during your race, you don’t want to forget to pack that!

5. Decide how you will carry your fuel. I’m trying to decide between my SPI Belt or my Banjees wrist band.

6. Wash outfits, and lay out options, go ahead and pick out your first pick outfit, and maybe a second pick in case the weather changes last minute. Remember, LAYERS and dress as if it’s 20* warmer. You might throw in an emergency rain jacket too, just in case!

7. Make sure the socks you want to wear are clean, and BOTH are there. I’m often scrambling to locate both feet the morning of!

8. Decide if you will need “throwaway” layers for the start of the race, and decide what those layers will be.

9. Locate Ibuprofen, Imodium, and anything else you use on race day.

10. Go ahead and put your safety pins ON your bib! (if you already have your packet)

11. Make sure you have your timing chip SECURELY attached to your shoe. Or at least put it in your pile. (if you already have your packet)

12. Go drink a glass of water. You want to hydrate not just the night before, but the days leading up to the race.

13. Pick out some clothes to take to put on after the race. Your body will cool down as soon as you stop running, and you will get cold, fast!

14. Look at the map of the course, and plan out where your support system will be. Or, make sure whoever is meeting you at the finish line knows where the finish line is, and how to get to it. Also, check out the parking situation if possible.

15. If you wear contacts, lay out an extra pair. Put these in your gear check bag or have your bag man, aka husband, support team, fans, put them in one of their bags. God forbid you pull up to the race and your contact falls out!

16. Be mentally prepared to run without music. Devices fail, and you don’t want to be devastated when your iPhone freezes up and won’t play Spotify.

17. Decide what you will eat for dinner the night before, and two nights before the race. Your biggest carb load meal should be two nights before. Also, this is the night you need to sleep the best!

18. Buy hand warmers to go in your gloves if you think you’ll need them. If you’re anything like me, a little hint of warmth goes a long way!

19. Figure out the race’s runner tracking system, if they have one. That way, the people who came with you will have a better idea of when to expect you to cross that finish line!

20. Foam roll! Enough said.

21. Make sure you know where and when the expo is. Most major races won’t allow someone else to pick up your packet. Plus, the expo is a great way to get pumped up for the race and really get excited! There are always lots of great vendors!

22. Be sure and thank everyone who’s been supporting you throughout your training. They probably don’t realize how much it’s really appreciated.

23. Write your favorite quote or mantra on your hand. This is a great way to motivate yourself when you’re in those lonely miles!

24. Pack extra hair ties. Of course the morning of, the last one you brought will snap right as you’re tying your ponytail. Be prepared!

25. Sunscreen. Your face will be what’s exposed the most, and people don’t realize that they can get sunburned any time of year.

26. Important- some form of ID. Usually this information can be found on your bib, but if you have a way to carry your driver’s license, or if you have a Road ID, that’s even better! My husband recently surprised me with the cutest pink one, and I can’t wait to wear it! I blurred out his phone number, for obvious reasons 🙂

road id running band

27. Be sure and take a comfortable pair of shoes for after the race. There’s no telling how far you’ll have to walk, and if your feet are happy, you will be happy!

28. Bobby pins. ESPECIALLY if headbands don’t stay on your head very well! Bobby pins are a great way to ensure a tight grip!

29. If you’re staying at a hotel, it might be a good idea to pack a few freezer size plastic baggies in case you need to ice after the race. The hotel might just have those flimsy trash bags.

30. Sunglasses. Even if you don’t run in them, you might want them for when you’re walking around after the race, or if you do some sight seeing afterwards!

31. Body Glide. You will be thankful.

32. Camera. HELLO!!

What would you add to the list? I might mention it on my next blog post!

If you have a spare second, please please send good vibes to Little Rock and Memphis, and pray that this ice storm ends up not being as bad as they are predicting!

Love you guys!!

Be sure and become a follower of Sweet Miles on Pinterest, if you haven’t yet! Lots of goodies and great ideas for Christmas!


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  • Reply
    Kristin @ A Mom on the Run
    December 4, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    I am so excited for you!!! You’re going to KILL it!! I can’t wait to hear all about it — GOOD LUCK!!
    Kristin @ A Mom on the Run recently posted…Product Review & Giveaway: Smoothie KingMy Profile

  • Reply
    December 4, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    You’re going to be AMAZING!

  • Reply
    Anna @ Running On Plenty
    December 4, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    Girlie you are SO ready!!! I’ll be praying all week for the weather for you! I know you are going to rock it…especially with that cutesie Road ID someone surprised you with!!! 🙂 Kick butt.
    Anna @ Running On Plenty recently posted…Holiday Gift Guide: The BFFsMy Profile

  • Reply
    Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama
    December 4, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    #31. Body Glide. YES, you will be thankful! Make sure to grease yourself up in every potential problem spot and even the spots you don’t usually worry about.

  • Reply
    Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama
    December 4, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    P.S. SO excited for you! You will ROCK it! Can’t wait to read your recap.

  • Reply
    Katie @ Daily Cup of Kate
    December 4, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Wow, great list! Good luck to you, you are going to do amazing!!
    Katie @ Daily Cup of Kate recently posted…Cinnamon Eggnog PancakesMy Profile

  • Reply
    December 4, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    I am sending allllll the positive vibes that there are! No matter the weather you will have a great time!
    Kayla recently posted…Less Than One Month Left in the YearMy Profile

  • Reply
    December 4, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    It’s fun to read about someone else that is in the same shoe’s as me, with the full exception that you seem to be way more organized than myself! My FIRST marathon is this Sunday too! Thanks for the tips and reminders, they were all great to read! The mantra on my wrist is one that I will use for sure, I debated doing it for my 22 miler, but decided against it. But the race day will be a different story, I’m still debating on what to write exactly…

    Good luck girlfriend! Can’t wait to read the re-cap of your experience. After Sunday, we will be “Marathoners” 🙂
    Ganeeban recently posted…Gobble, Gobble.My Profile

  • Reply
    Jana @ Happy Wife Healthy Life
    December 4, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Ahh I am so so excited for you Sarah! You are going to do amazing! I am sending great weather and running vibes your way as we speak! xo

  • Reply
    Courtney @RunningforCupcakes
    December 4, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Good luck!! I’m so excited for you and I can’t wait to hear all about it afterwards! I’ve been going back and forth on whether I want to run a full marathon after I finished my half marathons, I can’t fathom running that far!

  • Reply
    Kristin @ W [H] A T C H
    December 4, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    Best wishes for a wonderful race! There is nothing like the feeling of crossing the finish line of your first marathon. It’s going to be great.
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  • Reply
    Ashley @ Snow Cream and Syrup
    December 4, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    I SO AGREE with the “a marathon is hundreds of miles” statement! The work is 99% done in the training. Race day is the icing on the cake 🙂

    Great list, very thorough! I would also add re: GPS watches – if you are traveling any distance to the race, turn on the GPS the night before to let it find the satellites. It will take a while since you have moved. Then, charge it overnight. This way you aren’t scrambling for a signal and/or draining your precious battery on race day – I know my watch only lasts four hours, and finding signal really burns through the batt pretty fast.

    Good luck and HAVE FUN!!!

  • Reply
    December 5, 2013 at 5:11 am

    perfect list!!
    I will be praying for favorable weather for your race on Saturday!! Enjoy your race– a marathon is an amazing experience! It may seem like it takes forever, but it will be over before you know it!!

  • Reply
    December 5, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Good luck!!! I’m sure you will do great! 🙂
    Ashley recently posted…Is Roku for You?My Profile

  • Reply
    Patty (reach-yourpeak.com)
    December 5, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Great tips!!
    Good luck…you will crush it!!
    Patty (reach-yourpeak.com) recently posted…My Holiday Wish List!My Profile

  • Reply
    Jessica @ Run Jess Run
    December 6, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    What a great list- I love your details. Your hard work will pay off.

  • Reply
    December 7, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    Great tips! I’ve had device failure during a race. It’s good to mentally prepare for the possibility. I learned from experience to always bring safety pins for my bib, too. Those Banjees wrist bands look handy!

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