We’ve all done it, no matter the race distance. Trained hard, stuck to our plan, did the taper, got psyched up for the race, then, bam! Race day comes and it all falls apart. Let’s not let that happen again! Whether it’s your first half marathon or your 50th, learn how to create your half marathon race plan and avoid a race day fail!
We’re doing double duty here at the Running Coaches’ Corner today! There are two linkups that you can join! We’re also linking up with You Signed Up for What? for Half Marathon Race Tips! Cynthia is running the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Half Marathon this weekend and is getting psyched up for the race by hosting this linkup!
Before we get to the tips though I want to ask you: Did you get your March Stride Box yet? Because if you did, you need to take a look at the “Do It” card that comes inside each monthly box. You will see this:
Yes, my very own blog post, Improve Your Running by Activating Your Glutes is featured! I feel pretty excited and honored that Stride Box chose my post to be included!
Create Your Half Marathon Race Plan
While it’s a great idea to have a race plan no matter what the distance, it is vital for marathons and half marathons. There are many challenges and more things that can go wrong over the course of 13.1 or 26.2 miles, so that to run without a plan could leave you struggling, unable to finish, or even injured.
Here are some helpful ideas to help you create your own half marathon race plan.
Plan Your Outfit
It sounds kind of silly to be discussing fashion choices for race day, but planning what you will be wearing is an important part of your half marathon race plan. You’ve probably heard the caveat nothing new on race day. This applies to clothing as well as shoes, nutrition, and hydration.
First, take note of the weather. You may want to dress in layers, including a throwaway covering. Wear running clothing that is comfortable, fits right, and doesn’t chafe (you’ve discovered this throughout your training). Really,
speaking from experience, don’t wear the cute outfit that you picked up at the expo.
I’ve been wearing Skirt Sports for the last couple years (I’m an ambassador), and I love the inner shortie that keeps my thighs from rubbing together. And, since all of my skirts are so cute, I will not get distracted by new stuff at the expo!
Plan your shoes as well. Pick a pair that you have run at least a few times in. Sometimes even the same model of your favorite shoes will have a flaw or something else that will leave you limping those last few miles.
Plan Your Logistics
Getting to the start line of your race can be stressful, so include logistics in your half marathon race plan. Get parking figured out ahead of time and arrive early enough just in case there is a lot of traffic.
Plan for the Course
You’ve probably been told don’t go out too fast more times than you can count. I’ll tell you the same thing, but there are a few more things to think about for your actual running plan.
Hopefully, if your half marathon has a lot of uphills or downhills, you were aware of that and trained accordingly (my Downhill Marathon Training applies to half marathons as well!). A downhill start to a race can lure you into running too fast, something that you may very well pay for later in the race.
Races with lots of turns offer challenges as well, so plan accordingly where you should cut the corners (run the tangents) if you can, to avoid sharp turns and to cut down the overall distance.
If your race is on a flat, straight course, you still want to plan for it. This is the perfect type of course to make a negative split part of your half marathon race plan. Starting a little slower that your race pace, speeding up in the middle, will leave you energy to blast home those last few miles.
Plan Your Nutrition
From the first thing you eat in the morning to your post-race celebration meal, your nutrition should be a part of your half marathon race plan. Of course, this should all have been determined during training.
Have a light breakfast that is the same as your normal pre-run meal or snack. If the race does not offer the same type of fuel that you’ve been using, bring your own. Your nutrition plan should include how often you use a gel or other fuel.
Finally, have a plan for your post-race refueling too. You will want to get something light immediately after you finish. While most races offer fruit and other nutrition choices, make sure that you plan includes a little protein, along with the carbs, to refuel.
Plan Your Hydration
As with nutrition, you have been practicing your hydration throughout your training. If you’ve been using an electrolyte and/or carbohydrate drink during training, use the same thing for your race.
Hydration is not only about what’s happening during the race, though. You should be working to stay hydrated during the week leading up to your half marathon, on race day before you start, throughout the race, and finally, making sure to rehydrate after the race.
Plan for What May Go Wrong
Something will almost always go wrong. If you plan ahead, think about those things, and plan your response, chances are you will be able to stay on track with your half marathon race plan.
What can go wrong? Maybe you packed the wrong shoes, forgot to bring your races gels, felt so good you passed a water station, then paid the price down the road.
In a long race like a half marathon, you will almost certainly have bad patches. There will be times that you feel like you just can’t run another step, times that your feet (or name another body part) hurt and you want to give up. If you’ve prepared, planned ahead, you will know that this is just temporary, that you just need to stick with it and you’ll get through it.
Your response to all of these things should be part of your half marathon race plan.
Plan to Have Fun
Finally, whether you are running your first half marathon, trying to set a new PR, or just out there to do your best, try to remember that you’re having fun. Relax a little, make some new running friends, run the best you can, and have some fun! You’re one of a minority of people in the world who understand what racing a half marathon is all about!
Cynthia and I are both Rock ‘n’ Bloggers! We invite you to join us in a Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon or half marathon event this year! If you do sign up, be sure to use the code RNB15 to save $15 on your registration!
Do you have other suggestions to add to the half marathon race plan? Have you ever had to overcome one of those “what could go wrong did go wrong” moments?
And Now It’s Time for the Running Coaches’ Corner!
And This Week Only Share your Race Tips Here!
My weekly linkups! Please stop by and check out all of the great recipes, workouts, and information that all these awesome bloggers share every week!
Meatless Monday with Sarah and Deborah
Meatless Monday with Annmarie and Rachel
Inspire Me Monday with Janice
Wild Workout Wednesday with Annmarie, Michelle, Jen, and Nicole
The Plant-Based Potluck Party with Deborah
The Running Coaches’ Corner with Rachel, Suz, Lora Marie, and Me!
Giveaway Roundup and Try Out Thursdays with Smitha
The Blogger’s Pit Stop with Kathleen, Janice, Julie, and Menaka
Friday 5 2.0 with Rachel and Lacey and Meranda
Sunday Fitness and Food with Angela and Ilka