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I’m running a marathon in, gasp, TWO DAYS. Hopefully, this time Sunday I’ll be close to the half way point, with only 13.1 miles to go! Woohoo! Also, I’m crossing my fingers that Hurricane Sandy doesn’t crash this party. While I understand that rain won’t kill me, I’d really prefer to not spend more than four hours soaking wet and running. Isn’t the running punishment enough? Geesh! However, what will be will be, so if Sandy decides to show up, I will embrace her with open arms, keep calm and run on.

In case any of you readers are contemplating conquering a marathon, or perhaps even running this weekend too, I thought I’d provide a quick rundown of the essentials.

1) The cardinal rule of marathon racing: Don’t do anything differently on race day than you’ve done in training. If you’ve always eaten a Clif bar before training, eat one before your marathon. Consistently chowed down on sport beans mid-run? Don’t quit now – keep it up on race day. Think you need new shoes the day before the race? No, you don’t. Keep everything the same as your training run and you won’t have any unwelcome surprises or shocks to your body.

2) Comfortable, breathable, moisture-wicking clothing. I am typically outfitted in all Lululemon clothing because it is the most comfortable and the fabric is made to wick away moisture. For Sunday, rain is probable and sweating, no matter how much of a chill there is in there, is a definite. Buy a cheap sweatshirt or long sleeve shirt for the time you’ll spend waiting for the start and then you can ditch it once you start running. All excess clothing collected along the race course is donated, so you can even feel good about yourself! If it is raining, a garbage bag with a hole for your head and arms will do the trick to keep you somewhat dry while waiting around. Gloves and hats are also good to have on hand to keep you warm.

FYI, these are my favorite running pants:

Run Inspire Crop II | $86.00

3) Hydaration. I’ve tried all types of hydration options and always come back to the water belt. Sure, it looks like a fanny pack on steriods. But guess what, we don’t decide to run marathons to look good. Staying hydrated is essential, so go with the option that works best for you.

Nathan Water Belts | approx $35

4) Put your name on your shirt. Each year I’ve run, I buy iron-on letters and put them on my Team in Training jersey. As a result, I have a personal cheersquad thousands strong helping me every inch of the way to the finish. I imagine this might be what was like for Oprah to run her marathon, minus the bodyguards, billions of dollars and media empire.

5) A really great attitude. Remember, you don’t sign up for a marathon because it is easy. You sign up for a challenge. You sign up to remind yourself just what you are capable of, and, in the case of the Marine Corps Marathon, you sign up so that you can respect those people who have exerienced much more pain during their time in service than the pain of running 26.2 miles. Running a marathon is something that very few people will achieve in their life, so congratulate yourself for your determination, perseverance and soon to be accomplishment. Remind yourself to enjoy every step, every stride and every mile because let’s face it, it very well could be a once in a lifetime experience!

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