Sam’s Marathon Tips

Race Day Gear

Start practicing now! During your long runs it makes sense to wear what you will do on race day, right down to the underwear and socks.

You need to know now if the clothes you will wear will wick away the sweat, if they will chafe in any areas, if you feel comfortable and cool/warm enough.

I have had to make adjustments, my club vest chafes under my arms, so I apply bodyglide before I go out. I’m glad I know this in advance, otherwise race day would be uncomfortable and possibly painful.I like to wear clothing that has multipurpose. My favourite pair of running tights are a pair from Ron Hill because they have 4 x gel loops, a zipper pocket and 4 leg pockets, so room for my phone, keys, tissues and the kitchen sink.

Race Day Shoes

Once you have been fitted for the right shoes (Run North West offer this complimentary service), make sure you track your mileage. You might find with all those miles in training that you wear out your marathon shoes before the big day itself. You might need to consider wearing an alternate pair for your training/shorter runs (non-long runs), or having 2 pairs of the same shoe on the go so you can alternate and let the shoe rest and recover. On race day you want to make sure there is enough life in those runners to get you though the 26.2 miles as comfortably as possible.

Manufacturers recommend that you can get 300-500 miles from a pair of shoes, this also differs depending on the individual – how you run, how you wear the shoes out and how they have been looked after. The team at RNW have lots of experience and can consult you on the wearing out of your shoes and when might be a good time to look at a new pair.

Once your marathon is over, those shoes will most likely need retiring. You don’t want to get any post-race niggles by wearing worn out shoes.


You probably have a plan for race day nutrition, which gels you will take, what you will have for breakfast the morning of the race. Have you thought about the day before race day, how you will eat, what you will you eat, at what times?

The day before a long run I try and eat the same thing each time, it has become a routine and I know what works well for my body the day before so I don’t have any issues during the run, the most important meal being the dinner the evening before the long run. It needs to be enough to give me fuel and energy, at the same time be easy on the stomach for the following day.

As an example, I will either have:
Salmon fillet (oven cooked) with lots of green vegetables and baby potatoes OR Pizza and salad.

If the marathon is away from home, I research in advance where I can eat the night before. I try and find a Pizza Express because I know that works for me and it’s one of the meals I practice with.Make sure you are taking enough nutrition on board to fuel your body for the activities/work that you are putting it through. I’m probably in need of my own advice here… I have only just come to grips with the feeling of “it’s ok to eat more”.

Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

It’s really easy to look at what someone else is doing, how many times they have reached 20+ miles in training or that they are miles ahead of you. STOP. Focus on you! You are following your plan, a plan that is set for you, for what you will do and what you will achieve.

Everyone’s plan is different, as runners we are all individuals and have different needs and abilities. If you are worried or unsure, speak to your coach or the experts.

We will have all ran 26.2 miles on race day, each one of us will have got their in our own way.

Race Day

Try and enjoy your experience, remember why you are there and how you got there.Prepare and plan for race day
  • Where is Race HQ/start pen. Where can you park, which route to take – road closures might be in place that will effect your route or travel time. What train do you need to get, how often do they run, if the train is full when is the next train and will it get you there in time.
  • What will you wear before the race to stay warm/cool, is there a bag drop – what time does it close. You could be without your items for up to 1-2 hours before your start time, you might not want to hand your warm layers over so early and get cold.
Post-race can sometimes be very busy, you might not be able to find your loved ones, even at the meeting points as they can be busy. Have a plan of where you will meet at the end, then how you get back to the station/carpark. When you have finish you just want to keep walking to get back to your car/train to get home but you don’t know where you are, it is probably the most frustrating part of the day, especially because you know if you stop and standstill it hurts and you have to try and move again (ouch!).