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Running a marathon is hard work. You truly do not know what it’s like until you begin training for it and then run that race. Thousands of people do it each year, so it’s not impossible, right? However, those people spend months, sometimes years, training for that race. You need to understand what you’re doing if this race is your first marathon; take the steps to properly train and learn to avoid injury. If you’ve been training for the marathon and are coming up on the race, here are some tips for what to do the week before. You want to make sure you’re in top shape while also avoiding pushing yourself too hard that final week.

Taper your training

You likely have been ramping up your training for the last few months leading up to the marathon. The week before is the time to slow down your training routine. Instead of taking long runs each day, aim to do your last longer run about a week before the race starts. Then, keep your runs around 5 miles or less and do some more conditioning work.

Plan out your week

It can be easy to go too far with tapering off your training and seriously cut back your running. In order to avoid this problem, plan out the week leading up to the marathon ahead of time. Do a 5 mile run the first day, then do some interval training and keep your muscles working. The last three days, choose a day to rest and do some short runs. You’ll stay active, but be rested enough for the marathon.

Get plenty of rest

Sleep is so important to marathon success. It’s easy to get nervous, but you need to have an adequate amount of sleep. The night before your race, you might be anxious and find it difficult to sleep or may be sleeping somewhere unfamiliar if you traveled to the race. In order to offset these possible issues, get plenty of rest the week before. Go to bed at a regular time and keep yourself relaxed.

Pay attention to nutrition

You’re going to want to eat a fair amount of carbs leading up to the race, but be careful that you don’t overload on these. If you eat too much unhealthy food, you’ll feel sluggish on race day. Different people follow different ideologies; some people do a “depletion phase” for carbs, but then load up a few days before the race. Others pace themselves. Figure out what works for you, but try to keep everything in moderation. You’ll also want to stay well hydrated leading up to the race and immediately before.

Do not experiment

This rest period may seem like a great time to try some new methods or nutrition items that claim to help boost your performance on race day, but if you’ve never tested any of these methods, do not experiment. The last thing you want to do is throw your body chemistry off or have a reaction to something you’ve never tried before leading up to your marathon.