BOSTON (CBS) – For runners, one month before the Boston Marathon is the perfect time for a little dress rehearsal of the race. Most people will complete a 17 to 22 mile run four weeks before the event. While many runners have covered the distance in training, they might not have worked out their exact race day routines.
The Boston Marathon starts between 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., depending upon a runner’s Wave assignment. While most runners do their long runs whenever they can fit them in, the final long run should be done at the same time of day as your race. This will get participants prepared for how their bodies feel when they run from mid-morning through lunch and into the early afternoon.
Before the final long run, participants should eat the exact breakfast they intend to have on race day. This gives them a chance to fine-tune their nutrition choices and make sure they don’t have any digestive issues. If runners typically drink coffee, tea or cola in the morning, they should find out whether to push caffeine intake back or forward an hour to get the most of it while avoiding cramping. Nailing down nutrition before the big day may also help runners plan out a pre-race bathroom routine.
Shoes and Clothing
In the last long run, marathon participants should wear the shoes and clothing (weather depending) they plan to use during the race. Most running shoes hold up for between 300 and 500 miles. Shoes nearing the end of their life should be replaced now so that the runner has a chance to break in a new pair before the marathon. Race day clothing should also be checked to make sure it doesn’t rub or chafe.
Keep in mind that this year no Camelbaks or backpacks will be allowed on the course. Fuel Belt-style hydration belts with bottles that carry less that one liter each or a small fanny pack (no larger than 5 inches x 15 inches x 5 inches) will be permitted.
Racers should make sure they hydrate on their final long run with the same sports drink offered during the race. Fluid stops during the Boston Marathon provide water and lemon/lime Gatorade Endurance Formula. Participants planning on drinking Gatorade should make sure it doesn’t cause any stomach issues. Anyone planning to incorporate gels or chews should use the final long run to practice with the exact flavor and formula to use on race day.
While most people don’t have the luxury of someone handing them cups of water and sports drink on long training runs, drinking on the go should still be practiced, even if it’s done out in the backyard with a kid posing as a race volunteer holding a Dixie cup full of water.
If runners have issues drinking and running, they should consider carrying a straw (cut it to about seven inches in length). Straws are lightweight, and allow a runner to drink from a cup on the go without spilling very much. All a runner has to do is pinch the cup in the middle, put the straw in the open end, and drink. When not in use, the straw can be stuffed into a fanny pack or carried by hand.
Boston Marathon participants should enjoy their last hard efforts before race day. While the bulk of the training is over, racers will be put through an emotional test next week when the marathon taper begins.
Kimberly Bogin is an Emmy Award winning television producer who has been running marathons for 14 years. After her non-running friends banned her from talking about training, races and black toenails, Kimberly decided to write about it instead, working as the Running Examiner for the last four years. Examiner.com.