Marathon training tips from Todd Williams - former Olympic Distance Runner.
Your marathon is almost here! You’ve put in the time, you’ve logged the miles, and now you’re ready to go. So how do you make it through that last week before your race? We grabbed some race tips from former Olympian Todd Williams, who knows quite a bit about both running and safety.
Meet Todd Williams:
Todd’s life as an athlete is exciting, and full of the twists and turns of a great career. He’s a two-time United States Olympic Distance Runner and a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu — and the only individual in the world that currently holds those two titles.
After a lifetime of kicking butt on the trails and in the gym, Todd brought his two passions together and created his company, RunSafer, to teach runners the fine art of personal safety.
Here are Todd Williams’ race tips for the week before your marathon. You’re almost there; do the homestretch right! Consider this your runner’s guide for your big day.
1. Get plenty of rest.
It’s totally normal to have racing jitters at this point in your marathon training: you’ve put in the miles, and there’s not much you can do right before the big day. Don’t let that keep you up at night! This is the perfect time to sleep as much as you can and reserve your energy. Enjoy the extra time in bed now that you’re not running at dawn anymore!
2. Don’t try to cram in one more long run before your marathon.
It’s tempting to test your stamina with a 20+ mile run about a week before your run — you’re feeling good, and you’re feeling ready. Don’t do it! You’ll tax your muscles and joints much more than you should. Follow your tapering schedule and trust that the shorter runs are doing their job of keeping you loose.
3. Start hydrating four days before your marathon.
Four days before your race, hit the water fountain hard. Better yet, fill up a water bottle and carry it with you everywhere. If you’re thirsty right before your race, you’re already dehydrated. Avoid that at all costs and keep hydrating at a reasonable rate throughout the week
4. Focus on your marathon goals.
“The high of a marathon runner is accomplishing the goal that is set,” Williams told us. “If it's finishing the marathon, or breaking three hours for the first time, it’s all a sense of achievement for the runner.”
5. Get mentally prepared by visualizing reaching that goal for your marathon.
Imagine yourself crossing the finish line, checking your watch for that amazing time, or cranking up those hills like a boss. This will help you get mentally ready.
6. ...But don’t beat yourself up.
“Running life can be really tough. The lows can vary from an injury during the hard training that it takes to finish a marathon to missing a qualifying time, such as trying to make it to the Boston Marathon. But the journey of marathon training and racing will always have its ups and downs. Take it easy on yourself and try to stay positive.”
7. Do some breathing, yoga, and stretching the week before your marathon.
Just because you shouldn’t be clocking major miles this week doesn’t mean you can’t treat your body well. Focus on getting loose and flexible for your big day. Spend your time on breathing exercises, yoga and pre-marathon stretching exercises to reduce injury and flexibility.
8. Mentally prepare by doing something fun to take your mind off the marathon.
“All runners go through anxiety when preparing for a race,” Williams assures us. Distract yourself with movies, time with family, read a book or anything fun that takes your mind off your upcoming marathon.
9. Review your marathon training log before your race.
There’s so much to worry about: injury, missing your goal, training getting screwed up by outside forces like illness and terrible weather — but don’t worry. “The way that I decreased my anxiety was by keeping a detailed training log that included all the hard work and sacrifice that I put in to prepare. I was still nervous going into the competitions, but my butterflies decreased about the possibility of failure because I knew I had trained so hard.”
10. Do a marathon dress rehearsal.
One of Todd Williams’ favorite race tips is to spend some time in your running “costume”. Wear every piece of running gear you’ll have on you during the race. Once you’ve done it once, you’ll be an old pro! “Do everything from the wakeup call in the morning to what you may eat before and during the race. This way you’ll be ready to go when race day approaches and both mentally and physically it will seem like you’ve already completed the race, which will help subside some of the nervousness.”
11. Review safe running tips for the big race.
Most races are full of people, but if you’re doing a trail run, an ultramarathon, or a brand-new race, you might find yourself alone for long stretches of time. You’ll want to take precautions while running. Williams has runner’s safety tips on his website, and here are a few that he is especially adamant about:
- Keep your music turned down
- Run in a populated area
- Wear ID
- Go with your gut
- Bring your dog along if you can
You can check out all of Williams’ RunSafer tips on his website.
12. Try wearable safety technology to keep you connected.
Williams is a big proponent of using the best safety technology that our world has to offer. Williams’ choice is Wearsafe, a combination of a Tag and App that use bluetooth technology to alert your friends, family, or coworkers if you’re in a bad situation. “I’ve used Wearsafe not only to run, but also in day to day situations where I may be going somewhere by myself in an area I’m not familiar with. Having something easily accessible and knowing that my safety contact can know if I need help in an instant has made me feel more confident. I would recommend Wearsafe for everyone,” he says. Todd has taken to wearing his Wearsafe all the time — that way he’s always in touch with his loved ones in case of an emergency.
No matter where you’re running, or whether it’s your first race or last, we want you to stay as safe as you can out there. And then, of course, have the best race of your life. It’s just a few days away — relax, have fun, and trust your training!
Want some more race tips?
Williams offers RunSafer workshops and tips at his website, http://www.runsafer.com. And don’t forget to check out the latest in wearable safety technology from Wearsafe on our blog.