You've entered your first race/marathon. Exciting times! The lead up to the race has been filled with (hopefully) good training, finding out which clothes and shoes are the comfiest for you, and what food fuels you best.
As race day looms, here are a few important tips:
Pin your number on the day before. Don't struggle with this on race day.
As exciting as an expo purchase is, save that shoe/sock/shorts/top for your recovery run a few days later rather.
Everything that you have tried and tested during your long runs is what you should be using for your race. This includes nutrition. Do not try a new gel, food for fuel that your friend or someone at the expo recommended. Remember the rule: Absolutely NOTHING new on race day.
Aim to arrive at the start venue nice and early on race day. Factor in anything that could possibly go wrong eg. traffic, parking, long portaloo queues. This will ensure that you have more than enough time to get into your batch safely.
Don't shoot out of the starting blocks too fast. Always think "can I maintain this pace for 42km?". Aim to run your first half of the race slightly slower than the second half. This will give you an extra oomph in the tank to conquer the mental toughness and when the race really feels it begins at about the 33km mark.
Drink to thirst. Overhydrating can be dangerous. If you're not used to drinking Coke on your long runs, stick to water. Only if you really need a boost, have some but save it to the last few kilometres. If you find it too fizzy, pour some water in the Coke to get rid of the gas.
The night before, eat for supper what is normal for you. Don't start extra carbo-loading as you heard someone mention. Eat the same food that you ate the night before your long runs. It worked then, it will work now.
Lastly, have fun, soak up the atmosphere and smile for the cameras!