You’ve now completed months of training and preparation and the big day is in sight! These are some tips for the final weeks to make sure you’re as successful as possible on half marathon day.
You should have been running in your race trainers already, but make sure you have at least one run with your full marathon day kit on so you know that everything is comfortable. It works really well to complete this dress rehearsal as your penultimate or last long run. Make sure you eat in a similar way to race day, warm up properly and time yourself so you know what pace is comfortable for you. Completing this at least one week before half marathon day will give you the opportunity to change outfits or pre-race routine if you need to.
This is your opportunity to get some rest and recovery in preparation for the half marathon. Ideally start tapering two weeks before the race date. After completing your longest training run, tapering should consist of gradually decreasing the mileage (eg. Next long run 10 miles, then 7 miles etc). It’s a good idea to keep running as often during the tapering period to keep the habit of regular exercise, but the decreased time spent running will give you some well earned recovery and a chance to reflect on your training journey so far.
When you first set off on half marathon day, you can easily find yourself going quicker than you normally would because of the crowds and the atmosphere. While it is good to feed off that initial adrenaline, it is important to make sure you don’t burn out after a few miles in. Have your optimum pace in mind and try to keep running to that. You are not allowed to use headphones during the race but singing along to your steps in your head can help to maintain a steady rhythm!!
Nutrition and Hydration
With pre- race nerves it can be difficult to eat but do make sure you have enough slow release energy in your body 2-3 hours before the half marathon starts. Make sure you practice your food routine prior to half marathon day and stick to what you know works for the day. Toast or porridge are the best breakfasts to consider before your run, and a banana can help give you last minute energy just before your run.
It is so important to keep hydrated before and during the run. Drink little and often and consider drinks with electrolytes to replenish nutrients lost during the run.
Warm up/ Cool down
On race day it is vital to complete a proper warm up to reduce the risk of injury and optimize your performance. This should consist of a gentle 5-10 minute jog to get everything moving, running drills and dynamic stretching. There can be some waiting at the starting line so be prepared with a warm-up exercise to complete for the last few minutes before setting off on the run. There are videos on the Facebook page with step by step guides of running drills and dynamic stretches.
Afterwards, make sure you put some time aside to cool down efficiently. This will reduce post-run ache and give you a chance to assess for any niggles which have presented during the run. See Andy’s exercise video on the Facebook page for cool down ideas!