Beginner’s guide to training for a marathon – PART 3 (race day essentials)


So you’re getting towards the end of your training and feeling pumped. Race day is fast approaching and you want to be as prepared as possible – but where to begin? With City 2 Surf coming up this weekend, and the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival just around the corner, we’ve gone ahead and done the hard work for you, and trust us, there are certain things you don’t want to be without! We’ve also got some expert tips from Richard Ivanov, senior personal trainer and manager of Vision Training in Mosman and lululemon ambassador. Follow our quick guide and you’ll be all set, with only the running to focus on without unnecessary distractions…

Race day essentials

1. Disposable warmth

Depending on what time of the year and where your race is, it’s likely that you’ll be up early and have a chilly start. It’s a good idea to have an old jumper or track pants to throw on that you can leave at the starting line. Often races will donate all left over items to charity – so you don’t need to feel bad about leaving them behind. You can even make-shift a garbage bag jumper for cold or wet weather!

2. Sun protection

It’s likely that you’ll be running outdoors, even if it is first thing in the morning, you’re going to need some good sun protection. Some good quality sunscreen/zinc, a long sleeved running top and a visor or hat is a good option. You also may want to carry a little sachet of sunscreen on you to apply mid race.

RICHARD’S TIP: go easy applying sunscreen on your face. There’s nothing worse than sun cream getting in your eyes! I’d recommend wearing a hat instead.

We love → Ultraceuticals Ultra UV Protective Daily Moisturiser SPF 50+, $69

3. Fuel

Do your homework before the race to find out what kind of gels and/or sports drinks that will be on offer on race day so you can trial these during training. Its important to know what works for you and what doesn’t, so your body doesn’t get a shock mid race. There are lots of different options, so make sure you test a few out during training. You can buy a running belt to store your fuel in and you can even buy specially made hand held bottles for a water supply. The key is to practise with these items before the race so it feels comfortable.

4. Chaffing prevention

Body glide or Vaseline is essential to prevent chaffing – put it everywhere! Think bra lines, inner thighs, inner arms and chest… otherwise you’ll be nursing some pretty unpleasant rashes post race.



We love → Vaseline – Cocoa Butter SPF 15, $3.84 approx.

Handy items for your pre-race kit:

  • Sunglasses
  • Safety pins for race bib
  • Paperwork/ information/ timing chip (if provided prior to race day)
  • Running belt to store your gels, extra sunscreen, phone etc.
  • Band-aids
  • Tracking device
  • Phone charger – your phone battery is likely to run out during the race, especially if you’re using it as a source of music! You can purchase a portable charger or use another type of tracking device if this is what your using it for.
  • Athletic tape
  • Lip balm with added sunscreen
  • Water bottle
  • A change of clothes for after the race: extra socks, clothes, jumper, towel, waterproof jacket, undies, shoes
  • Foot powder
  • Tissues/ handkerchief/ toilet paper
  • Pain killers (we hope you won’t need these, but just in case… )

RICHARD’S TIP: Have a marathon dress rehearsal. Highlight your longest run in your training plan and wear the same gear, pack the same energy sources and playlist etc. That way you’ll know if something doesn’t work, you’ll have time to make changes.

To do: the day before the race

PREP: Have all your gear laid out ready for the morning, so all you have to do is get up, get dressed, have your fuel and make your way there. Chances are you’ll be nervous, you don’t want the added stress of remembering everything and scrambling for last minute items. Knowing that everything is ready will help you sleep easier too.

EAT: Make sure you eat familiar food, something you’ve tried before and know works for you. Keep it simple! Chicken and rice or sweet potatoes is a good choice, with some vegetables. No alcohol please!

DRINK: Really keep you fluids up – 2-3L of water. You’ll need to be well hydrated.

SLEEP: Make sure you get as much rest as possible! Chances are you’ll have to get up early and you’ll be fighting those butterflies and nerves as your drifting off to sleep. Remember that you’ll do your best and try not to stress!

To do: morning of the race

EAT: Again, have something you’ve tried before and know works for you. It’s not recommended that you leave home on an empty stomach. You could try toast with peanut-butter or home made nuttela, fruit is also a good option, bananas work magic!

DRINK: something with electrolytes in it 30-45 minutes before the race. Be sure to drink while you run and never miss a drink station. If you are taking gels it’s also a good idea to have water after to wash it down with.

GETTING THERE: Public transport, taxi, get a lift etc, avoid driving yourself if possible.

RICHARD’S TIP: As mentioned NEVER skip a water station during the race, don’t wait until you feel thirsty – your muscles are 80 per cent water, they need it to function correctly.

To do: post race

EAT: Whatever you want, go crazy! This is definitely an opportunity to indulge in what ever takes your fancy, obviously you’ll want to opt for something substantial. Treat yourself, you earned it!

DRINK: H2O. And a lot of it. You will need it!

REST AND STRETCH: It’s so important to spend some quality time stretching! Otherwise you’ll be in a world of pain.

POST-RACE TIP: Have an ice bath. Fill a tub with cool water, wear your undies and a long sleeve top – add ice and sit for about 10-15 minutes or take a dip in the ocean followed by a warm shower. This really helps with post-run soreness. It’s also great to get used to having these during training after your long endurance runs.


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Melanie Davis
Melanie is a driven creative with a passion for health and fitness. As a trained graphic and textile designer, Melanie specialises in layout and composition, design for web and print media and visual communications. She also enjoys photography and styling. Health and wellbeing has always been an important part of Melanie’s life. She is a dedicated runner, yoga enthusiast and ocean swimmer. Mixing up workouts and including resistance and interval training helps to keep her fit and strong. She also has a passion for nutrition and loves to develop recipes that are free from dairy, gluten and refined sugar.