What to do in the last week before your marathon

The last week before a marathon can be nerve racking, but by prepping effectively you can make sure it runs as smoothly as possible!

If you’ve signed up for a marathon this autumn, the final weeks are almost upon us, and the clock is counting down! If you’re in the final few weeks of training for a marathon, make sure you’ve got a plan for the last week before your race so that you’re prepared and ready when you get to the start line.

Taper effectively

It can be tempting to squeeze in those last few miles the week before your race, but what your legs really need is rest! Make sure your longest run is 8-10 miles at most and bring your training down to 30-60 minute walks or gentle runs, and avoid hills. This will help you avoid being over trained and fatigued and keep you fresh and limber for race day.

Get your nutrition right

There’s lots to take on board with nutrition, and it can really set you up for the perfect race day! By now you should have trained with what you want to use on race day, so don’t try any new gels or bars now. Stick with what works best - and if you’re not sure what to take yet, check out our race day nutrition guide.

For a comprehensive approach to fueling before, during, and after your marathon, refer to our marathon nutrition guide to ensure you're fully prepared. You can also maximise your marathon training with our running improvement guide, offering expert tips for peak performance.

Make sure your biggest meal is two nights before the race, not the night before. If you race on Sunday, fill up on Friday with a little bit of extra carbohydrates, and keep the final 24 hours lighter to avoid being bloated.

Aim to spread your fuelling in the final 2 days – getting in high quality carbs every 3 hours or so. Your body will find it easier to digest and store this!

Finally, aim to cut down on protein and fibre. Protein won’t provide you with the best fuel for your marathon and fibre can risk digestive discomfort. Keep your meals carb-focused! And, don't forget to check out our half-marathon meal guide.

Catch up on your shut eye

No late nights! Make sure you’re getting a good amount of sleep the week before your marathon, as recovery is vital in those final days. Get your early nights and sleep when you feel tired – and try and lie down as much as possible in the last 24 hours.

Hydrate right

Keep hydrated, but don’t over do it. Extra water can leave you feeling more tired as your body tries to manage the extra fluid – the best way to approach this is to drink little and often throughout the day, aiming to hit 3-4 litres. Top up with ZERO to make sure you’re keeping your electrolyte levels balanced as well, or Slow Release Energy Drink to also top up on carbs!

Keep to your plan

Now is not the time to try new things – stick to your plan, don’t try any new foods or sports nutrition, and make sure you’re following your training plan. You should have already trained with your planned gear and nutrition at this point, so don’t change it up now.

Prep your gear

Now is the time to make sure your gear is clean and ready to go. Wash it in plenty of time and write a checklist to make sure you’ve got everything you might need. Inspect what you plan on using and check for any worn laces, holey socks or loose seams that need sorting before race day. Make sure you check the weather forecast as well – do you need to bring more layers or spare clothes? Also, make sure your tech is charged up and ready to go!

Plan, plan, plan!

It’s best to iron out any potential kinks now – make sure you’ve got all of your race day info and check what you’ve got left to do: where do you pick up your race pack and when is it open? Do you need bring anything to pick it up? How are you going to get there and back? Are there any transport concerns, such as railway works? Is there a gear drop? Are there any rules and restrictions, for example no headphones? What is the weather forecast? Where do you need to be on race day morning and by what time?

You should be fully prepped! But most importantly of all, don’t stress out if something doesn’t go to plan, roll with the punches and remember to enjoy yourself. Good luck!

HIGH5 Run Pack

Marathon Nutrition PackThe HIGH5 Run Pack contains the nutrition essentials to support your next run or race with a combination of our most popular Energy, Hydration and Recovery products for runners. Get yours here.

Good luck!

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