Session 114: Plan Your Way to a PR

9 tips to help you run your next PR

Fall marathons are right around the corner!  If you are running one - and a handful of you are - you'll want to have done everything you can to have your best day on race day.  It's a very long way to run to have something go wrong.

Knowing that you want your best on race day, regardless of if it's a marathon or a 5k, you want to run your best when it counts.  To do that, you need to plan and test out what you think will work best for you.

That might be what you eat the night before or the exact running clothes to wear (or not wear) on race day.

In today's post, I'm going to turn over all the stones that you may or might not have thought about.  Again, even if you have no intentions of running a marathon, this is still the post for you.  You want your best on race day and you'll want to have thought about all of this so you can run fast when it counts.

Knowing what works for you and what doesn't is the name of the game. I know that If I eat right before I run, it's going to be a bad, bad run.  So I plan accordingly.  This post is set up so that you can plan and execute.  You may not get it right on the first try, but that's why you're practicing it now and not on race day.

  • How fresh do your legs need to be to race well?

Fresh legs help you run well, but having too fresh of legs isn’t good either. There’s a balance between being fully rested and rested enough. Trial and error is your best friend.

  • Get your in-race nutrition (if necessary) nailed down

If you’re running a half or full marathon, you’ll have practiced taking on fluids and nutrition during long runs and workouts. Anything shorter and you probably don’t need to, except maybe some water. Practice makes execution easier, so practice during workouts.

  • Pick your race gear by wearing in workouts and long runs

I know what shorts to wear when I want a banger of a workout. I also know which shorts are always left in my drawer right before I need to do laundry. Those will never be race day shorts.

  • Don't race in new shoes or "dead" shoes

You don’t want brand new shoes on race day and you also don’t want to be in shoes that are long past their prime. 1 month until race day is a good time frame to be thinking about replacing your shoes if you need to.

  • Know what you can keep down prior to a run

Food is tricky to talk about because everyone is different. What works for me won’t necessarily work for you. I can’t eat before a run and maybe you have to eat before you run.

  • Plan a race strategy (negative split, pacing, competing)

Talk with your coach, advisor, or mentor on how best to cover your race distance. It might be by running at a specific pace for a distance, then kicking it up a notch for the finish. Whatever it is, practice that feeling during training.

  • Find a dinner meal that won't leave you feeling yucky

  • Practice your warmup routine and tweak as necessary

Your warmup is the bridge between not running and running fast. You NEED to have a warmup routine. You can find mine here.

  • Do you need to run the day before your race? If so, how far?  

Some heavy-duty mileage people need to keep their mileage up to feel good. Others, like me, don’t need to do much prior to race day. As the saying goes, “the hay’s in the barn” definitely applies to me. That being said, I still want and need to run the day before a race.


You need to have a plan for your racing - whether it’s your peak race or not. The bullets above will help get you to your start line firing on all cylinders. Be smart with your training and take into account everything you can and your race will go well.

Friday’s Action Plan:

Racing is more than showing up. Plan for what will go right, but also what will go wrong.

What’s Got My Attention:

Article: How to race a marathon like Olympic Bronze Medal-Winner Molly Seidel 

Article: How to taper right to be fit and ready for your marathon

Popular Articles on the Blog this Week:

Fueling Your Long Run

Make Workouts Easily on your Garmin Watch

LifePro Massage Gun Review

Popular Newsletter Sessions:

Prioritizing Health & Wellness - Sept 2020

Active vs Passive - Sept 2019

Quote of the Day:

If the same mistakes keep repeating themselves, then you have to re-evaluate the role you played and change it.

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Here’s what I’m working on and what I’d love you to check out:

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Thanks for following along on the journey! Have something you’d like to add? Have suggestions or comments? Email me: TrainwithMarc@gmail.com

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Marc is a middle school teacher and coach but also works with distance runners online. I help distance runners around the globe by providing support, writing customized training plans, and designing workouts to help them reach their racing goals. I write for my blog every Wednesday morning and newsletter every Friday morning.

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