Spring is just around the corner, which means race season is almost here! I am looking forward to a few big races this year, including Ironman Lake Placid at the end of July. However, my first race is a Half Marathon at the end of April, which I am very excited about participating in. Last night I was looking at the race website and jotted down a few reminders for the day of the event. Here are my top 5 tips for Half Marathon Race Day:
1. Plan Ahead: Get everything ready the night before. I like to lay everything out to make sure I have exactly what I need. I put out my running clothes, sneakers, socks, fuel belt, gels, bib, and visor. Then, I like to go through the event mentally to make sure I am prepared for the race.
2. Be an Early Bird: Races can be stressful and there is no need to add to the stress by showing up right before the gun goes off! It’s also best to get to the race early to avoid traffic delays and long port-a-pottie lines.
3. Nothing New on Race Day: This is one you may have heard before, but it can’t be stressed enough! I know some of the most experienced runners who have inadvertently thrown something new in thinking it would not have much impact on the race, only to regret it later. For example, I decided to try out some new socks once, thinking it was pretty benign. However, the lip on the back of the sock rubbed on my heels and I ended up with painful blisters by the end of the 13.1 miles. So nothing new means: No new gels, bars, sports drinks, clothes, socks, shoes, etc. It may be tempting to grab something at one of the aid stations, but if you have not tried it before, it is best to avoid it. This also applies to the day before the race, no new foods or drinks that might upset your digestive tract. (Check out my favorite Endurance Nutrition >HERE< )
4. Make sure to Charge Up the Night Before: I learned this one the hard way! Make sure to have any devices, such as a GPS watch, heart rate monitor, phone, or iPod that you are using for the race charged up and ready to go! I got my Garmin 920 xt for Christmas 2 years ago and I was so excited to use it for my first race. I had trained really hard for a Spring half marathon and was looking forward to pacing myself at the race. As I was heading out the door that morning, I realized my watch was only charged to 15%! I could not believe that I had not put it on the charger. Fortunately, I had a 45 minute drive to the event, so I charged it in the car and had just enough battery life to use it for the race.
5. Don’t Start out too Fast: It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and start out at a faster pace than planned when surrounded by other runners. Do your best to avoid this by going in with a plan for how to pace yourself. There are Pace bracelets that you can get online or some runners write it on the backs of their hands or arms. Personally, I go in with an average pace to maintain throughout the race and try to run the last miles at a faster pace.
Are you running a Half Marathon this Spring? Will it be your first one? Do you have any tips to add to my list? As always, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks so much for stopping by!
This post is being linked up with: Cynthia at You Signed Up for What? and: