That's it, we're in the final stretch before the marathon! How to manage the last week before the marathon to reach the top? I tell you everything and I will even extend it to the last two weeks of the pre-marathon because this is the key period that can easily turn a good marathon preparation into a bad one. All mistakes made during this period will be paid for in cash during your marathon. From training to pre-race details, I tell you everything about how I manage this final stretch towards the marathon.
D-14 before marathon: Last big long run
In terms of marathon training plan, there are several schools. Some position the biggest long run 3 weeks before the marathon and others 2 weeks before. In any case, these two long outings must be the hardest. 3 weeks before you can make the longest run in terms of volume and climb up to 2h30 of running and test your marathon speed at the end in fatigue condition. Below I give you 2 examples of outputs that you can use. One focus looks like a marathon for those who still want to work on this aspect. The other one based on half-marathon pace to work at a higher pace than the objective and therefore feel more comfortable marathon pace.
Example 1: A first hour and a half in fundamental endurance followed by a specific marathon pace. 3×20′ or 2×30′ (r:2′) will allow you to assimilate this rhythm and work on tired legs to get a minimum of the running sensations that await you.
Example 2: Less long, 1h30 to 1h45 but more intense. 2×15 or 2×20′ looks like his record in the half marathon. Rough session but which if you are ready will give you a big confidence for the rest.
Don't forget to test your race refueling on this type of trip, it's the best time to validate it! Same for the equipment, we get into D-day conditions!
D-13 to D-7: Drastic decrease in volume
Everything is settled, from now on, we no longer try to improve but to rest. If like me you have fallen behind in your preparation and missed sessions, too bad, trying to catch up here is like going straight into the wall! Eating well, drinking well, sleeping well... A good recovery is very important during the preparation, it is all the more important when the race is approaching!
In this week, we keep the same structure as in the rest of the marathon preparation but we divide all the volumes by two. We keep the intensity, but where you would have done 2x10x300m on the track, do it in only 10x300m. Ditto for the "long trip" of D-7, it becomes a 1-hour trip in fundamental endurance. You can put a marathon abseil, 3 x 8′ (R:2′) where you should end up with a feeling of ease. It's speed memorization, no more work!
D-6 to D-1 : Rest and very moderate activity
The last week before the marathon, we could do almost nothing. Rest is the key factor in getting in shape on the day. The more we rest, the more energy we can store for the marathon. A light training is still interesting to prepare the race as well as possible. A few short outings, 30 to 40′ maximum which can integrate 10 x 15″ to 20″ recup 30″ while relaxing, without ever forcing or a marathon abseil over 2-3 x 1km. It can also be done through a bike ride, just to turn the legs, to make the heart work a little. But remember that all this is no longer really training, just enough to actively oxygenate your muscles!
Details of the last week before the marathon
If the training issue is settled, it is good but not enough to make a good race. Do we still have to properly manage all the little "details" that the last few days have in store for us?
And it has to happen with fully charged batteries. And it necessarily requires nutrition to have a maximum of energy available for the race! If there are special diets for the last week of the race like the Scandinavian Dissociated Diet (I will come back to this), I am more interested in a light, non-binding version. The main thing is really in the last 2-3 days before the marathon. In this phase, it is necessary to "load" carbohydrates to have a full reserve once on the starting line. No need to eat pasta until it explodes, an image often stuck to the marathon runner with the famous pre-race Pasta Party. The goal in the last few days is to integrate more starchy foods (cooked Al Dente otherwise it is much less effective!) into his diet. You must also make sure you eat digestible things that you are used to eating so as not to upset your body.
Be as prepared as possible for your race
All the details count then, so get as much information as you can about your race to be ready for anything. Bib pickup, Transportation, Accommodation, Race Watch Restaurant, Course Details, Your Refuelling Plan, Departure Time, Departure Airlock, Weather for Choosing Your Equipment, Toilets... Be organized with a precise schedule, prepare everything, be informed about everything and... have a Plan B if something doesn't go as planned because it always happens !
There is nothing worse than adding unnecessary stress before an objective competition. The stress of the before race is already important (and normal it proves that we want to succeed!), adding a stress that we could have avoided is a shame because it can take a lot of mental energy that you will need during the race to perform!
For the last meal in the morning before the marathon, it is 3 hours before the start for a good digestion and relatively light so as not to be "heavy" during the race. Sports cake, white bread toast with honey or other low-fibre cereals... Keep something close to what you eat every day! ????
All you have to do is enjoy your marathon!
Never forget that, you trained hard to be there, this marathon is your reward! Get ready to have fun during your run because with the last two weeks before a well-managed marathon, you should have legs of fire in the first part of the race and take the maximum! Then... It'll be like training, hard, maybe very hard but... That's why we're here, right? ????
All this to remind you that you will probably be stressed, excited the day before the race, sleep may be difficult to find? It's not very important, if everything else has been done the right way, nothing can stop you from enjoying it fully!