Get expert tips and advice on how to have a successful Boston Marathon experience. Learn the do's and don'ts from a seasoned Paradis Pro to make the most of your race day

Boston Marathon: 10 Do's and Don'ts: Expert Tips for a Successful Race Day

The countdown is on!  With the Boston Marathon less than a week away, we wanted to share some advice from Paradis Pro Rebecca Trachsel.  With 31 marathons (11 of them Boston) under her belt, Rebecca shares her list of Boston Marathon DOs and DON'Ts that will help you feel as prepared as possible. 

"Less than a week until about 30,000 runners from all walks of life come together and line up in Hopkinton for the Boston Marathon. Whether it’s your first rodeo or you’re a seasoned Boston beast, the day tends to be full of surprises and is always an epic one in some way. Something I tell my own athletes before every competition is to control the "controllables".  You can plan out lots of things ahead of time. What you eat for dinner, when you’re going to bed, what you’re wearing, how you are getting to the start. And you should make sure those are all totally set so you don’t have to worry about them on race day. As far as things you can’t control, like the weather, do your best to let it go. You’ll just be wasting valuable energy on things you can do nothing about. I’ve had my fair share of adventures through the years and learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t."

Below, find a list of Rebecca's top DOs and DON’Ts based on my her experiences. No matter what, make sure you take a minute to be proud of yourself for just making it to this point. Results aside, training through a marathon cycle, particularly in New England, is a feat in and of itself.  Hats off to all of us!

Boston Marathon Do's

1. Do lay all your gear out for race day the night before. Every single thing from your clothes, shoes, underwear down to your safety pins and lucky penny. Trying to find something essential the morning of a race is incredibly stressful and should always be avoided. 

2. Do make sure you have all your fuel (ie. gels, chews, bars) and then throw in an extra one just in case. I have dropped one, lost one in a port-o-potty (fell out of my pocket), given one to a stranger who was desperate or simply needed more fuel than I thought. It’s always better to have more than you need.                                                                                            
3. Do practice taking water from a paper cup on the fly.  It sounds dumb but it can be tricky. And missing out on fluid when you need it, for lack of a better word, sucks. Personally, I like to grab the cup, fold it in half and sip out of the crack. Put a cup out on a wall or table and do a dry run. You’ll be happy about this one. Trust me.

4. Do bring throwaway clothes and/or a blanket. It doesn't matter what the weather is doing, it’s a solid plan to have extra layers that you can wear or sit on and then toss. Even if it’s predicted to be warm in the afternoon, standing around the start in 45 degrees with shorts and a tank on will be very uncomfortable and being cold for that long will completely zap your energy. Buy some cheap sweats or pajamas or bring a blanket that you’re willing to part with. And if rain is predicted, trash bags are your friend. This is a big one. 

5. Do use an anti-chafe product like Bodyglide or Squirrels Nut Butter and apply it anywhere you think you need it. Chafing and blisters can ruin a marathon and if they start early in the race you’re not going to be happy. I put it on my toes, under my armpits, under the seams of my sports bra and shorts. Basically, I coat myself in it because if it's hot or rainy something’s going to chafe.

6. Do respect the hills. There are no tricks or shortcuts to get through these babies.  There are four of them. And they are in the second half of the race. And they are hard. End of story. Be smart.

7. Do have fun. Should you high-five every person on the sidelines? Probably not.  But, you should let yourself have a good time. This is a once and a lifetime experience for some people. The crowd is there for you. Well, and for themselves, too. But mainly for you. Soak up the vibes. Take a minute to smile or thank a volunteer. Don’t let the day get away from you without taking time to be in the moment. You’ve earned it. 

Boston Marathon Don'ts

1. Don’t change anything on race day without trying it first. The expo has tons of cool products and experts will tell you theirs is the best and you HAVE TO HAVE IT.  And that might be. But don’t roll the dice on that advice. Wear the clothes, underwear and shoes you’ve trained in and use the fuel and fluids you’ve practiced with. New socks equals new blisters and none of us have time for that. 

2. Don’t forget to charge your electronics. I can't tell you how many times I’ve arrived to a race and realized my watch or headphones were dead. Can you deal with it? Probably. Do you want to? Probably not. Phone, headphones, watch, heart rate monitor, whatever it is you use and want, make sure it’s good to go. 

3. Don’t go out too fast. The Boston course is downhill at the start and runners tend to get excited and then carried away. It never works. No matter how good you’re feeling, if you fly through the first half faster than you’ve planned you’re going to pay for it at some point. And that’s never fun."                          

    Thank, you Rebecca, for showing us the way and sharing your marathon wisdom.  We are cheering for you on Marathon Monday and always - enjoy it!