9 Half Marathon Tips

Half Marathon Tips

This week I am in rest and stretch mode as I prepare to run my 9th half marathon this Saturday, the Monumental Marathon in Indianapolis.  I signed up for this race MONTHS ago, and I trained throughout most of the summer.  While I can typically train for a half marathon in about 8 weeks, this year I started VERY early simply because I wanted running to be part of my weekly workout routine.  This summer was a HOT one, but the weather made a turn last week and now the weather is very wet and in the 40s!  I’m hoping for sun and 50 degrees on Saturday’s race 😉

Since this is my 9th half marathon (!!!) I thought I would share a few tips that I have learned along the way.  I also want to make note that I very much still feel like a newbie at all of this, despite completing several races, so if you have any tips, tricks or advice you wish to add or share please comment below!

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  • Nutrition

This is something I have learned the hard way.  When I first started running longer distances and training for my first ever half marathon, I would feel extremely nauseous after every run.  I quickly learned that my body needed proper fuel and hydration before, during and after the run.  Because everyone is a little different in what they prefer to eat before races/workouts, my biggest advice here is to pay attention to what you eat during training and how it makes you feel.  After training the summer, I know exactly what I am going to eat on race morning to help me feel my best and strongest!

  • Slow Down at the Start

At the start of a race, I always feel so much excitement, adrenaline, and a touch of nerves.  This used to lead me to start off too fast at the beginning causing me to have little energy toward the end of the race.  It’s important to start with an easy pace (for you) and ease into the run.  You’ve got a long way to go and want to reserve your energy for the end when everyone else is crashing 🙂

  • Have FUN

This is something I am STILL working on.  As a very goal oriented person who prefers to be regimented, it can be really easy for me to get frustrated when a run doesn’t go exactly as planned.  For me, that frustration really sucks the fun out of running! When I started training for this race, I had a specific time goal in mind.  With a TON of change going on in my life and my schedule being consumed with my dietetic internship  I quickly realized that my training runs weren’t going as planned.  I was getting really upset with myself and I wasn’t looking at the positive side of what I was accomplishing at all.  After many chats with Brian and my mom, I shifted my mindset to enjoy each and every run no matter what the pace.  So, this Saturday…my only goal is to enjoy myself and to complete 13.1 miles injury free!

  • Make a list for what to pack and lay out your clothes the night before race day

I’m a list person by nature, so making a list of what I need and laying it all out ahead of time really helps me feel confident that I’m not forgetting anything (although sometimes I still do!).

  • Make a Plan with Your Friends/Fans

I’m pretty lucky because Brian has been to every single half marathon/marathon that I have completed.  Having him on the sidelines gives me more motivation than I could ever explain or have imagined, so when he comes to watch we make a plan so that I know when to look for him AND so we can find each other at the end of the race.  Many websites share a map of the course and often give suggestions of great spots for watching the race.

  • Stop to Drink at the Water Stations

This may sound like a no brainer, but the first few half marathons I completed I didn’t stop once for the water.  I was afraid it would mess up my time, but really my body NEEDED the hydration.  Now, I know that the few seconds added to my time by stopping to drink at the water stations really doesn’t make that much of a difference and it’s so worth it to get the hydration my body needs.

  • Hitting a Wall

Running a long distance like 13.1 miles or 26.2 miles is hard mentally and physically, and I think it’s important to recognize that going into it.  Even if you’ve run the distance of the race, there may be a moment when you want to stop, walk, throw in the towel, etc and that’s ok!! That being said, recognizing that this is a temporary situation and you are moving towards the finish line will help you get through that wall and push to a strong finish.

Holy cannoli, chafing is real and I often feel like there is no planning for it!  There are many days when I don’t need any body glide at all, but when the surprise day that I need it comes…things get pretty uncomfortable.  I typically put it under my arms and sometimes on my legs, but I’ve heard people putting it on their waistbands, between their toes, heels…basically if you think you might get a blister or notice something rubbing the wrong way use body glide on it 😉

  • Relax During Race Week

Your hard training is done, so now it’s time to stretch your muscles, eat food that makes you feel amazing, hydrate, keep a positive mindset, and plan your post-race treat/celebration 😉 . At least that is MY plan this week.  I’ve got lots of yoga scheduled, an appointment with my athletic trainer, early bed times, and several cups of water with my name on it!

Good luck to any runners with fall races coming up!!

Boulder Rez Half Marathon 2016

Your Turn:

  • Share any advice you have for runners in the comments section!

Comments

  1. Best of luck to you this weekend at your half marathon!!

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