I first wrote this post nearly two years ago for my first ever Half Marathon. The title was essentially the same but sounded specific to the event which was Run To The Beat. Since running a couple more Half Marathons though I realised that the tips were valid and valuable for every single Half Marathon so I’ve given the post a little makeover for 2015…
Top 10 EssentElle Half Marathon Tips
1. Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail.
It kinda goes without saying, surely?! But just incase…make sure your expectations align with the training you put in. For my first Half Marathon, I only had 4 weeks to train. In that time, I did minimal running so my only goal was to finish the race using the fitness I already had and establish a benchmark for a time.
2. Pack your race day bag BEFORE the morning of the race. Ensure you include a change of clothes for after the race, sandals, plastic bag for wet clothes, tissues / toilet paper, water, snacks / food , race gels and a towel (amongst many other things).
3. Pack a race outfit that is tried and tested. This is not the time to whip out brand new trainers or sports bras. Your kit needs to be reliable and comfortable. Don’t forget your race t-shirt, your chip, race number, map and other bits and bobs that you have been sent in your race pack. I now use a race belt which allows me to attach my number without it being secured to my top. It also holds my shotbloks / gels so means I have less in my pockets or no need for a bumbag.
4. Keep off your feet as much as possible the day before the race and race morning. You want your legs to be at their best for when you get going. A short shakeout run the day before works for some people; between 2 – 5km. Don’t forget to cut your toe nails too!
5. Ensure you eat 2 – 4 hours before your start time. Something like porridge will be a good start to your day. Other options include a bagel with peanut butter, a banana and energy bar or a bacon sandwich and a cup of coffee!
6. Hydration! Drink 16-24 oz of water 1 hour before the race then stop; empty your bladder as much as possible before the race starts. Drink a small amount 10 minutes before you start and every 20 minutes there after. Utilise the sports drinks offered about 40 minutes into your race and use your gels as and when necessary.
7. If it’s cold out, take some cover ups to wear at the start line which you don’t mind disposing of before you start. You might also want to carry a bin liner to use if it rains! I personally have never been a bin liner kind of girl!
8. I will be focusing on my race as 4 x 5km runs; that way I won’t freak out looking at the bigger picture! After all it’s mind over matter (right?!)
9. Once you have finished (hoorah!) you should eat something Low GI along with some form of protein. A lot of people say chocolate milk works for them; unfortunately I am lactose intolerant so this is not an option for me! Other ideas are a bagel with peanut butter or a smoothie. The main thing is to refuel as quickly as possible and not to forget to rehydrate.
10. ENJOY YOUR RACE! …what’s the point otherwise?!
So, what’s on your race day kit list? Any EssentElle tips of your own?!