Marathon Race Day Tips

How to Perform Your Best in Your Marathon

Marathon running takes physical and mental strength, as well as smart racing strategies. Get advice to make sure you don't make marathon running mistakes on race day.

marathon runners
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If you've already run one marathon, you may be thinking that you want to improve your time for your next marathon. One important step is choosing the right marathon, since some courses are flatter and faster than others. If you're hoping to run a faster marathon, try some of these tips.


Michael Blann/Allsport Concepts

Running a marathon tests your mental strength as much as it does your physical fitness. Each segment of the marathon has it own mental challenges. Here are some tips on how to win the battles throughout the phases of the marathon.


Runners at New York City Marathon water stop
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

There are pros and cons to both carrying your own fluids and relying on the race's organized water stops, and each runner has his own preferences and habits. Some runners don't like to feel weighed down with a water bottle while others like to have control over when they can drink. Here's advice to help you decide whether you want to carry your own water or not.


NYC Marathon crowd
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As marathon running becomes more popular, runners are finding that marathons, especially big city marathons, are much more crowded. Try these tips to help ease your frustration and improve your race performance during a crowded marathon.


Race Volunteer at Water Stop
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Navigating the water stops properly can save you a lot of time during a marathon. For example, the water tables on the right side of the road will be more crowded (since most people are right-handed), so you'll avoid crowds and save some time if you head to the volunteers on the left side. Here are tips on how to run through water stops, grab a cup, and drink your water.


Runner in race

You're going to experience some discomfort at some point during the race. Whether you realize it or not, doing your long runs helps you increase your mental toughness, so you'll be ready for some rough patches. Here are some tips for getting through the pain and discomfort.


Michael Blann

At the start of a marathon, your pre-race hydration efforts may lead to several trips to the porta-potty. The lines for the porta-potties are always long, so you'll want to make sure you get in line early and often. If you've never used a porta-potty before and you're wondering what to expect, here are some tips.


marathon spectators
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You'll need to take in some calories during your marathon to make sure you don't run out of gas. Some runners use energy gels or bars, while others prefer sugary candies or dried fruit. Here's a guide to what you should be eating during your race (and practicing with during your long runs).


Race spectators cheering
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Contrary to popular belief, it's possible to avoid hitting the wall. Making sure you're taking in calories (see above) during the marathon is one way to make sure you reach the point when your legs feel like they just won't move anymore. Here are some more tips for beating the wall in a marathon.