By now, you're within a week of the marathon, so discussion of
tapering is academic. Your runs this week should be down to the 4-6
mile range. I can only recommend that you *fully* rest your legs for
two days before the marathon. No running at all Friday or Saturday.
General advice for marathon day:
- eat plenty of carbs the night before, but don't over do it. a couple
of plates of spaghetti with sauce should do you fine.
- get as much sleep as possible. you'll be excited and nervous, but
try to sleep anyway.
- hydrate in the morning. you should have had several long runs this
summer. do what you did on those mornings. don't try anything new.
treat this like another one of your long runs.
- wear your usual running outfit. no new clothes or shoes that aren't
broken in. hopefully, it will be quite cool in the morning. wear
layers of clothes over your running outfit to keep warm. some ppl wear
a large plastic garbage bag during the pre-marathon warmup time to
retail body heat. within a few miles of the marathon, you should be
prepared to toss the top layers of clothes away. so don't wear any top
layers that you really care about.
- when you get to the start area, check your gear and get in line for
the port-a-potties. if you started hydrating when you got up, you'll
need the facilities by the time you arrive. maybe a couple of times.
be prepared to stand in line.
- I havent run the NYC marathon, but in Chicago there were pacing
teams sponsored by New Balance. The pacers will keep you on track to
meet your goal. Just stick with them.
- Since this is your first marathon, your goal should be to finish.
Don't be too concerned with your time. I was going for 4:20 (10
min/mile) and ended up with 5:07 (almost 12 min/mile). Didn't matter
one bit. Getting to the finish line makes you a winner, no matter what
your time. In fact, just going through the training all summer and
getting to the *start line* make you a winner!
- As for walking breaks, my strategy was to run the entire marathon
but walk through all the water stations. That worked out fine for me.
In general, take a break whenever you need it. Unless you're chasing
Paul Tergat, no one will notice if you run all 26 miles straight or if
you take 25 walking breaks between 26 1-mile runs.
- You may want to plan on taking your walking breaks on the steepest
uphill and downhill sections. I'm not familiar enough with the NYC
course to tell you where those are, but I would think the bridges have
- In the unlikely event that you're in pain, overheated, lightheaded,
etc, don't hesitate to ask for medical help from marathon support.
Better to have to take a ride to the finish line than to experience a
serious injury and end your running career.
- Above all, have a great time and enjoy the experience! I take along
a camera (disposable so if it falls or I decide to toss it, there's no
great loss), take pictures and ask spectators to take pics of me along
the way at the mile markers and timers.
Hope this helps. Best of luck! You're already a real winner.