The Ultimate Marathon Race Plan

Proper Race Execution: Everyone has their own approach to the big day, and Marathon Nation is no different. We have written at length about how to properly pace a marathon, as this is a huge step that many runners overlook. To be 100 percent clear, picking a goal pace out of the air and writing the splits down on a band around your wrist is not strategy! Instead, we advocate conservative early pacing for the first six miles, followed by a steady block of running at or just faster than your goal marathon pace. This gets you to about mile 20, and what happens then is up to your mind, body, and soul.

Final Preparation: With the training done and race execution being finalized, the last piece of your marathon puzzle then is preparation. There's nothing worse than having your race fall apart for a simple mistake — say dropped nutrition — because in the split-second you had to make that decision, you weren't ready with the answer (Note: always stop to pick it up).

Your goal here is to create a state of "relaxed preparedness" — one where you are as confident about your race as you are excited about your race. Here is a short list of things you should consider as you head into the final 48 hours before your race. For a complete list, download our FREE Marathon Race Planner PDF.

One Day Before

With less than 24 hours to go until race day, there is minimal training to do, if at all.

  • Wake Up Time:  _______    (Sleep as late as you possibly can).
  • Early Morning 30-minute run?   Yes / No  (Find safe location)
  • Check In / Registration Tasks?  Yes / No  (Get done early)
  • Dinner Reservations?   Yes / No  (Better to have a space at an early time if required.)
  • Race Gear Laid Out?    Yes / No  (Want this done pre-sleep so you can wake & go.)
  • Schedule Wake Up Call?  Yes / No

Race Morning

Your goals are to get fueled up, get dressed up, and get all systems to go. Please carefully consider your breakfast plan as well as any other early morning relevant information.

  • Breakfast Plan: _________________________
  • Extra Gear:  Yes / No  (To stay warm or dry pre race.)
  • Timing Chip: Yes / No

The Actual Race

When the gun goes off, it's time to get down to business. Everyone starts moving like cattle, watches beep, and the run-around-other-people dance begins.

  • Pacing Plan: _________________________
  • Nutrition Plan:  _________________________
  • Hydration Plan: _________________________

Best of luck with your racing! 

Looking for more in-depth running information on marathon running? Please visit the Marathon Nation website to download a FREE copy of our 29 Tips to Transform Your Running eBook.

Marathon Nation is a brand new online community of marathon runners. Coach and founder Patrick McCrann is building a unique Team using training plans, forums, podcasts and videos to create an incredibly effective and affordable team coaching solution. Find more quality articles and video analysis resources online at Marathon Nation:

Download your FREE PDF guide that will walk you through most of the final, most critical parts of the pre-marathon experience. You can register to download it from Marathon Nation for free here.

  • 2
  • of
  • 2

Discuss This Article