April 3, 2020

You’re in the MCM! Now What?

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Congratulations, you’re running with the Marines at the 45th Marine Corps Marathon (MCM)! Now what?

First, share the good news on social media using #RunWithTheMarines and tag us! Then, start planning for your success in October. Trust us when we say we know a thing or two about planning. Take our advice and use the 5 T’s to guide you through training and event day.


Training plans can last anywhere from 14 to 30 weeks depending upon your current physical fitness regimen. MCM partners with Runcoach, which offers personalized training programs and other features such as cross training workouts with video demonstrations and a GPS-enabled app to track your training runs. Runcoach provides a free training program for MCM participants or a paid gold level program with personalized coaching. Check out our training page for more helpful tips!


Plane, train or automobile – how will you be arriving? Book your travel arrangements early, especially hotel rooms, as Arlington, VA and the nation’s capital fill quickly. Check out the MCM travel page to learn about our partner hotels and convenient lodging options. The Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center is the MCM headquarters hotel. The Health & Fitness Expo happens in here as well as several other MCM Weekend functions. Event morning shuttles are offered from the Gaylord to the Pentagon for the MCM and MCM50K and the National Mall for the MCM10K. Arlington hotels in Crystal City are convenient to MCM shuttle service to Runners Village in the morning and from the Finish Festival for post-run.

It’s also best to develop your event day travel plan early. There are a multitude of ingress and egress options to get you to and from the start or finish lines. Metro cards can be purchased in advance of your arrival. Affordable parking can be reserved through different apps. Shuttles run from the Metro to the Health & Fitness Expo throughout the weekend. Travel information will available via the MCM website, with links to our local partners, including Arlington, WTOP, Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center and more.


Functional and comfortable attire for long runs is a necessity. Clothing that droops, sags or causes chafing is an unwanted distraction, especially on event day. The value of socks that help prevent blisters, a hat to help with the elements and sunglasses cannot be understated. MCM partner Brooks creates motivational MCM training gear, made from tested performance fabrics that will keep you comfortable and motivated throughout your weeks of training, and on event day.

Knowing what to pack for event day can alleviate the stress of the unknown as well. The basics will include shoes, socks, top and top layers, bottom and bottom layers; but some not so obvious items might be extra shoe laces, watch, headbands, arm sleeves or running belts. Prior to packing, make a check list and check it twice. Lay out your flat runner before going to bed the night before the MCM. Event morning is not the time to discover you didn’t pack your lucky headband. You should plan for those extra layers to be “toss items.” These are intended to keep you warm in the early morning, pre-run hours that you will toss to the side in that first mile as you get going. All clothing collected by the MCM is cleaned and provided to area shelters.


As you take on long training runs, incorporating pre- and mid-run nutritional supplements, specific breakfast and snack routines and hydration sources become increasingly important. Train with what’s on course: Gatorade, Honey Stinger gels and Jelly Belly Sport Beans.If you train with a specific snack or hydration product and eat the same breakfast before every long run, remember that event day is NOT the time to make changes to those habits. If you’re unable to pack your favorite food stuffs, ensure you budget time to stop at the store prior to event morning.

Time Change

Traveling from afar? Arlington, VA lies in the Eastern Time zone. If you’re traveling from outside this zone, you’re going to need to adjust your timepiece and your body’s internal clock. On event day, you might be waking hours earlier than you’re accustomed. Our international runners could fly across the finish line at what is normally tea time! Plan for these changes as you make travel arrangements and work to adjust to your new time zone as efficiently as possible.

And remember…

Keep an eye on your e-mail inbox for important eNewsletters with information to guide you through each milestone in the coming months and follow the MCM on Facebook and Twitter.

Have friends or loved ones who didn’t get in via the Lottery? Let them know there’s still a way to #RunWithTheMarines! Hopeful runners can secure an entry by running with one of more than 60 MCM Charity Partners.

Congratulations on securing a spot in the 45th MCM.

Register for the Marine Corps Marathon Weekend

Recognized for impeccable organization on an iconic course managed by the US Marines in Arlington, VA and the nation’s capital, the Marine Corps Marathon is one of the largest marathons in the US and the world. Known as ‘the best marathon for beginners,’ the MCM is the largest marathon in the world that doesn’t offer prize money, earning its nickname, “The People’s Marathon.” The weekend also offers the MCM10K and MCM50K.