The Marathon – Final week preparations

The final week before a marathon can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. As someone who has recently run the Paris marathon and with the London marathon coming up in just one week, I understand the importance of proper preparation. Here are some final week preparations that worked for me:

Nutrition – It’s important to fuel your body with the right nutrients before a marathon. This means sticking to a balanced diet and avoiding foods that may upset your stomach. One week before the marathon, I focused on eating complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats. I also made sure to hydrate throughout the day.

Alcohol – While it’s tempting to celebrate the upcoming race with a few drinks, it’s best to avoid alcohol in the week leading up to the marathon. Alcohol can dehydrate you and affect your sleep, which can negatively impact your performance on race day.

Foot hygiene – Taking care of your feet is crucial during the final week before a marathon. Make sure to keep your feet clean and dry, and wear clean socks every day. You may want to use a foot cream to keep your feet moisturised and prevent blisters.

Toenails – It is important to trim your toenails before the marathon to prevent them from rubbing against your shoes and causing discomfort. However, be careful not to trim them too short as this can also cause pain.

Shoes – It’s best to stick with the shoes you’ve been training in during the final week before the marathon. Wearing new shoes can cause blisters and other foot issues that can affect your performance on race day. Many runners choose to wear a different pair of shoes on race day, known as their “race day shoes.” These shoes are often lighter and more cushioned than the shoes worn during training. However, it’s important to break in your race day shoes and have had some time in them previously to ensure they feel comfortable on race day.

Last minute necessary purchases – In the final week before the marathon, make a checklist of any last-minute items you may need such as energy gels, electrolyte tablets, or running belts. Make sure to purchase these items in advance so you’re not scrambling on race day.

Making a playlist – If you’re someone who likes to run with music, take some time to create a playlist that will keep you motivated during the marathon. Choose songs that are upbeat and make you feel energized. Also make it 30 minutes longer than your expected finish time!

Rest and sleep – During the final week before the marathon, it’s important to prioritize rest and sleep. This means allowing your body to recover from your training and conserving your energy for race day. Make sure to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night, and take naps if you feel tired during the day. It’s also important to listen to your body and take rest days if needed. Overtraining can lead to injury or burnout, so make sure to give your body the time it needs to recover. You would now be in your final week of taper.

Strength training and  cross-training – Incorporating strength training and cross-training into your final week preparations can help you improve your performance and reduce the risk of injury. Strength training can help improve your running economy, speed, and endurance by targeting the muscles used in running. Cross-training, such as cycling or swimming, can provide a low-impact workout that helps you maintain your cardiovascular fitness without putting extra stress on your joints.  During the final week before the marathon, it’s best to focus on low-intensity workouts that won’t leave you feeling sore or fatigued on race day. This may include light weightlifting, bodyweight exercises, or gentle yoga. Cross-training activities such as swimming, cycling or walking can help improve your cardiovascular fitness without adding extra stress to your body.

Weather forecast – The weather can play a significant role in your marathon experience. It’s important to keep an eye on the forecast in the days leading up to the race and dress appropriately. This close to race day, the forecast is likely to be quite accurate, so pay attention to any potential rain or wind. If the forecast calls for rain, make sure you have the appropriate clothing, such as a waterproof jacket or hat. If you need to purchase any additional clothing or gear, make sure you do so with plenty of time to spare.

With these final week preparations, you’ll be ready to tackle the London marathon with confidence and ease. Good luck!



Ali Abbasian is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon specialising in Foot and Ankle Surgery – click here to find out more  or get in touch