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Pittsburgh Marathon Race Day Tips

How to start and finish a race strong

You’ve logged the miles and worked really hard — now it’s time for all that hard work to pay off! Here are my top Pittsburgh Marathon race day tips on how to start and finish strong at your Pittsburgh Marathon Event.

Read the Runner Guide first
Reviewing the race materials is one of my top suggestions for race week. It will contain valuable information like packet pick-up dates and times, the course maps, where gear check is located, what time the race begins, and post-race festivities. This guide will leave you feeling prepared and relaxed for race day. Access the 2015 Runners Guide here.

Stick to the old, out with the new 
If there is one piece of advice that I suggest for race day it’s to stick to your routine. This is not the day to start trying new food, wearing new clothes, or changing any part of your running routine. You want race day to be as smooth as your training runs, without any unexpected glitches.

Prepare the night before
The day of the race may get hectic and you want to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. I always attach my race bib to my shirt or race belt the night before to ensure I don’t forget it. Think of it as your golden ticket; without it you aren’t able to access your start corral, and you won’t have a timing chip. I also suggest having your running gear and fuel ready to go in one place so that you can get up and head out the door on time.

Arrive early
Give yourself plenty of time on race day for the unavoidable. Know that there will be street closures, traffic, and even unexpected delays. Leaving early will give you enough time to arrive, check your gear bag (if you have one), and find your start corral to get warmed up.

Thank the volunteers
There are THOUSANDS of people that volunteer their time to make race day a success for you, so make sure you thank them every chance you get. I never leave a water station or cheer station without thanking the volunteers. They will appreciate it and you will feel great about it!

Have a post-race plan
If you have friends and family meeting you after the race, plan a central meet-up location. I suggest meeting in the family reunion areas because they are well marked and easy to find.

Relax and have fun
Trust in the training you have done and be confident in your ability to do well. Marathon weekend is a great time, so take it all in and enjoy yourself!

Good luck and have a blast! Comment with any questions you have about race day prep or suggestions you have for other runners!

I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes that best sums up race day:

“I tell our runners to divide the race into thirds. Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality, and the last part with your heart.” – Mike Fanelli