Race Day Tips

Friday night, 36 hours out from Manchester marathon and I am sitting back and sipping some water mixed with electrolyte living the dream! But also considering my race plan. So how does race day prep look?

Nutrition and Hydration 

Don’t do anything different. You will see me start every single heading with this :). But it is important. Having been the guy on my first marathon who had not trained with gels but was tired during the race so thought he would try one, only to have stomach cramps for the rest of it….I do not recommend it!

So if you haven’t trained with it, then don’t have it.

Wednesday to Friday leading up to the race – an increase in carbs. For me 2 pasta meals and a rice meal.

Saturday – normal meal, relatively light, as I don’t want to be waking up full and blotted in the morning. Sipping water all day.

Pre load electrolytes in evening.

Sunday Race Day – breakfast at 7am, 4 pieces of toast with jam, 2 coffees.

Energy gel around 8-8:30am. Sipping water throughout.

During the race:

General rule of thumb is sip water every 3 miles / 5 km. Most races will have water stations at these locations or near enough. And an energy gel every 10km or 1 hour, which ever comes first.

I normally carry 4 + and extra one in case it is needed. I will also have an energy bar towards the end as my stomach does not always tolerate that amount of gels.


Don’t do anything different. Run in what you have trained in. Make sure you have trialled everything from top to socks to shoes, Ideally you will have been running in your trainers for approximately 4 weeks (even the exact same shoes will have a slightly different loading pattern secondary to wear).

Pack the vaseline!


Don’t do anything different. From your race strategy!

You will have a target time, which will equate to a target pace – stick to it. You will lose much more time at the back end of the race than going slower at the start. It is a long old race, you have plenty of time to make up the seconds. What you want is to arrive around 20 miles / 32 km feeling good and ready to kick on, to achieve one of runnings holy grails of a negative split. For example if you want to run a sub 4, sit behind the sub 4 group, keep them in site and then kick on at 30-32km.

So key points

My race plan for Sunday – Aiming for 3:09, which will require a 4:30 m/km pace. There is no sub 3:10 pacer so I will be running my first few kilometres with the 3:15 pacer to settle into the race and ensure I don’t go off too quick, and then I will settle into my pace after that.


For some of you this will be your first and only marathon. Take it all in, and enjoy the day, the crowd and the feeling when you cross the line no matter how that happens or what time that is in. Running a marathon is a tremendous achievement and just to be crossing that start line is exceptional on its on so well done! The training is done, the taper is done, now trust the process. Happy running!!