Are you planning to have a go at the Sydney Marathon? This may be the first time that you've ever attempted something as big as this, but you have been in full training for many months already. While you may feel as if you are well prepared, you must nevertheless be very careful to prepare precisely in the days leading up to the big event. From a physiological point of view, here are some things you need to do (and not do) so that you have the best chance of matching your target time.
Balance the Training and Relaxation
Some people seem to think that they need to keep up with an intense training regime all the way up to the week before the marathon. It's as if they will somehow lose all the hard work that they have put in, if they don't "keep going." However, if you have prepared well over the last six months, you can (and definitely should) take a rest in the run-up week, so that you are fully able to deal with the task ahead. That's not to say that you shouldn't do some training, just taper it off and get some relaxation.
Establish Your Routine
Make sure that you stick to your balanced diet and enjoy the correct amount of sleep. Don't try to do anything new the week before, as this will throw you off your rhythm and don't schedule any big social events either, or any unusually late nights. A normal routine will be your friend right now, as you prepare psychologically as well as physiologically.
Know the Course
Have you had a look at the course yet? You may be familiar with it in general terms, but it'll probably help you to figure out where the pressure points are likely to be, while making a note of where the water stops and toilets are located.
Use Tried and Tested Clothing
Some people celebrate the occasion by buying a completely new set of kit just for the big day. This can be a disaster waiting to happen, as you should always feel very comfortable and be familiar with what you are wearing. Everything needs to be "run in" and treated like an old friend.
Start the Race Day Right
Finally, do your best to conserve as much energy as you can before the flag drops. You may find it difficult to sleep the night before due to the excitement, but don't fall into the trap of getting up early and heading off to the marshalling area. You will just end up using a lot of nervous energy by walking around at the pre-start aimlessly.
Reward Yourself Before & After the Race
Enjoy this amazing experience and schedule a trip to your physio afterwards for a complete debrief. A physiotherapy clinic will have professionals to ensure you're physically ready for the race, and you can recover as quickly as possible after the race is over.