The excitement is in the air. The balloons are going up. The frosting is on the cake. Adrenaline is pumping. The party is about to start! 26.2 miles of party fun to be precise! What should you do to be a marathon running rock star? Here are 10 things to get the (running) party started!

#1) Hydrate! BEFORE race day. I know I harp on this, but you need to hydrate 24/7, not just before the race. Drink water (I like electrolyte enhanced water or drinks) a few days before the race. Remember you can't cram hydration!

#2) Rest! Taper is the hardest thing to do, but your body+legs will really appreciate it come race day.

#3) Expo! Get to the expo 2 days before the race. If the race is on Saturday, go on Thursday. If Sunday, go on Friday. The day before the marathon your only goal should be to stay off your feet.

#4) Be Prepared! Lay out your clothes, socks, race bib, put your timing chip on your shoe, your hydration, nutrition, etc. Write your emergency contact info on your bib.

#5) Your Name! There is nothing like hearing your name screamed at mile 21.7. Write it with a sharpie on your shirt, or sweat-proof paper & pin to your shirt. You'll feel like a rock star at the party :)

#6) Trust in Your Training. Your training is in the books+legs. You may not have gotten in all of your long runs, speed work, tempo runs, etc, but the marathon is here. The more you worry, the harder it will be to run. So, no head games! Stay positive. Cross that party (finish) line!

#7) Save the Cupcakes (and drinks). Wait to celebrate your achievement till after you cross the finish line. It will be that much sweeter, no pun intended.

#8) Eat! Post people are all too familiar with the "carb load" concept. What they forget is they need protein too. I recommend chicken, salmon, or turkey with some whole wheat pasta. Add touch of  Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Skip the cheese. Be careful of beans, salad & high fiber food. You don't want any 911 trips to the porta potty's on race day :)

#9) Smile! It may sound corny, but honestly, a smile can brighten your outlook for the race (regardless if you are going to win or come in last). And it can also cheer someone else up too.

#10) Pray! If you believe in God or not, it always helps to say a little prayer. Ask for strength to carry you to end of the 26.2 journey.

And because I am a generous person, here is a bonus tip for you.

#11) Dedicate! Whether you are running for a charity/cause or not, dedicate your race to a friend who might be going through a rough time, battling addiction or fighting cancer. Remember: running is a privilege, run for those who can't.

Now go run like the wind & let's get this party started!

Sarah Stanley is a professional endurance athlete who enjoys sharing her love of running knowledge with others. For more sarcastic wisdom, sign up for her monthly newsletter.

Photo by: Pink Sherbet Photography

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