Set Daily Targets for Hydration
Being hydrated is a critical component of being ready to race. Many of us, when we stop exercising, also stop the daily rituals of nutrition and hydration that we have built up over the last few weeks and months. In addition to daily fluid intake, it's important to make sure that you replenish any fluids lost during your final taper runs.
Please note—I am not talking about over-hydrating or putting yourself in a bad place, so if you are worried about how much you are drinking be sure to check in with a professional.
Determine Your 'One Thing' For the End of the Race
At some point, the marathon will move beyond the physical capacity of your body or training. You will enter a really tough, hard-to-define area where your ability to continue moving is what separates you from the competition, what allows you to achieve the goals you set before you started.
While the miles pass incrementally, fatigue sets in exponentially. Mile 13.1 is not, I repeat not, the "real" halfway point of the race. Almost everyone feels great at this point. Mile 18 is where things start to get serious, and every mile after that point is twice as hard as the one before: Mile 19 is twice as hard as Mile 18. Mile 20 is twice as hard as Mile 19, but also four times harder than Mile 18. You get the idea!
Since we don't enter this space in our training, it pays to have a clear "One Thing" or reason to keep you moving when your body starts to push back. Maybe you want to finish before a certain time or pace group. Maybe you are planning on a great post race party. Maybe you are running in the memory of a loved one or to support a charitable organization. Whatever the reason is that you have, know that reason and have it ready to go at a moment's notice!
Resolve to Capture Everything
On some level, I think this last one is the most important. Your marathon, as hard as it may be, is a unique moment in your life. It's as much celebration as it is work, and it's easy to miss out on capturing what the event means because you are freaking out about the temperature, race day parking and where to meet your family for high-fives.
Bring a camera and take lots of pictures. Make notes. Capture what your mind and body are doing in these final days. All of this information not only makes a great story, but it will be instrumental in helping you to improve your race experience the next time you race. (Yes, you will most likely do another one, believe it or not!)marathon race.