I ran the Chicago Marathon in 2010 with Team World Vision so I got lots of tips on how to prepare for the race. However, I made a big mistake by introducing something "new" during the race. I started drinking Gatorade since it was a hot day, when I normally just drank water. It was way more sugar than my body was used to - I should have stuck to my routine. I may not run a marathon again, but seeing Chicago in a new way and hearing so many people cheering for you was awesome.
I reached out to some friends who have also run the Chicago marathon before and here are some great tips!
- Use a checklist to make sure you have all of your stuff before you leave. Get plenty of rest the days leading up to the race (you probably won't get much rest the night of). Get there early. Don't eat anything new or different the day or two prior to the race.
- Eat by about 5pm on Saturday so you can go to bed early and wake up at 4am Sunday to eat your first pre-race meal to start replenishing those glycogen stores! And look forward to the post-race: 16oz Goose Island!
- Nothing new! Nothing, don't eat or try anything you haven't before. Sleep. Sleep every second you can. Lots of water and Gatorade throughout the week. I loaded up on vegetables, not just bread and pasta. But don't do that if it's new for you. Sleep Friday night is more important than Saturday. Saturday you'll probably have pre-race jitters
- Don't worry too much about pace - you're guaranteed a PR! - and go out to have fun your first time around! Walk the aid stations and high five the high school students there - instant energy boost! Smile when you can - and have a mantra/prayer/song to repeat to yourself for a rough patch.
- Space out your friends and supporters along the race course. Everyone wants to be near the start and finish but you really need them at 18 and 23! Use the crowd to energize you-thank volunteers, high five little kids
- Remember to enjoy every minute. Yes, even though the pain! You only have a first marathon once and it is a great accomplishment! Remember your goal is to finish so stick with the pace you've been training at and don't get caught up in starting line excitement. Good luck!!!