The bulk of your training is in the books. Here's how to make the most of all of the training you've done.
Focus on recovery with good sleep, eating, and keeping stress levels under control.
- Sleep - make sleep a priority over the next 3 weeks. Adjust your schedule, ask your family to be understanding, and get your sleep!
- Eating/Nutrition - make getting in good quality sources of food a priority. Key nutrients include quality carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Foods to avoid are food that do not provide you with good nutrients. Skip the french fries, beer/alcohol, chicken wings, etc... you get the idea. Instead, for the next 3 weeks give yourself good lean proteins (chicken, good piece of steak, etc), good carbs (pasta, baked potato, rice, etc), and quality fats (canola oil, etc). Another key is to still take in your quality calories even on your recovery day. Many have a misconception that calories should be less on a rest/recovery day. Let's change that thinking to still taking in your calories. Your body needs the calories/nutrients to restore/recovery. After the marathon, enjoy the treats that you've limited in the weeks leading up to race day.
- Stress - Do your best to lessen stress over the next 3 weeks. Use deep breathing techniques, relaxation techniques, soothing music, or other things that help you relax. For factors not within your control, use coping skills to minimize stress. Block out distractions or frustrations to lessen stress.
Be realistic with expectations - we all have goals and expectations on race day. Allow yourself to have a dream goal, but also be realistic with expectations according to your training and ability levels. Try to avoid focusing only on your time goal as that can add undue stress and worry. Instead, focus on the process - the start, your pacing, breathing, fueling, etc.
Avoid a training pitfall - the only mistake you can make in the next 3 weeks is to overdue! Do not try to "Makeup" for a missed run or workout. The bulk of the training is done, and now you need to focus on the above factors to allow your body to best utilize all of that work you've been doing!