5 Things to do 5 weeks before your Marathon

September 09, 2016 Posted By: Elise Yanover


Despite the steamy temperatures hanging around in many parts of the country fall marathon season is just around the corner. Here are my top 5 tips to take heed of as the days turn colder and darker and marathon day looms ahead.

1. Take care of the “little” things- Usually it’s around this stage of the game that many people start to come to see me with those little nigglies they have felt all through summer training. “Little nigglies” don’t’ always stay little especially as your mileage starts to peak and your tempo runs get more specific in the latter stages of training. Get on a  foam roller daily, stretch a bit more after your runs, get on your core training, and if necessary, book into see a professional to have those nigglies checked and treated. I’ve seen far too may runners come a week or two before their marathon with big injuries ignored for too long. This almost always leads to DNS’s or hobbling through a race.

2. Dial in your nutrition- This is something that should be done early in the training cycle, but if you are still experimenting or don’t quite have a plan yet, start it now! Practice using the fuel offered on course if you don’t plan to carry your own variety store on your bodyJ. If you are carrying your own, practice running with what you would take for the full race so you have the feeling of the added weight while you do your long runs. Not to mention how you plan to time the intake and how it sits in the gut. Make sure you are taking in what your body needs to stay strong and focused. This includes, carbs, fluids, electrolytes etc. Everyone’s needs are different so find out what works best for you.

3. Change your shoes- If your shoes are nearing their life span, getting a new pair (of the same model, I wouldn’t change my model 5 weeks out), will allow you to break them in before the race. That being said, most shoes don’t require much break in period any longer and if you’re sticking with the same model and brand you are used to, you should be fine even 2 weeks out. If your shoes are at least 6 months old, I would not suggest running a marathon in them, because once you fatigue, your form breaks down and your shoes don’t have that protection you need in the latter stages of the race.4.

4. Don’t rush the mileage- If you are recovering from a short lay off or had to cut back for injury, don’t rush your mileage. Depending on how long you had to take off, upping your mileage too quickly could result in re-injury or a new injury. Don’t try to make up for lost time. This is a very common mistake. It is much safer to gradually increase your mileage or even have to “heaven forbid” walk a bit in order to actually make it to your marathon safely and cross that finish line. Sometimes the mind controls the body and that isn’t always the safest or smartest option.

5. Get enough sleep and take your rest days- In the days leading up to your big day, make sure you get enough sleep and take your planned rest days. Your body rejuvenates, repairs and gets stronger with rest and sleep. Lack of sleep and rest increases the body’s production of cortisol. Cortisol in excess causes the body and mind stress which can lead to injuries and other health issues. Not to mention it just makes you feel more stressed! Adding in extra cross training may seem like a good idea as you get antsy during the taper, but your body on race day will thank you with good efforts and faster times if you rest properly in the lead up.

There you have it …. Now go and run a great fall marathon!!!


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Elise has been a registered Physiotherapist since 1992.
She has her own home based private practice seeing athletes and non athletes alike.
When she’s not working she is often seen running.

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