Whether you're running your first or your hundred and first event, we guarantee that you'll pick up something useful from at least one of these half marathon race day tips!
If there’s one tip on this list that’s fundamental, to your enjoyment of a race, it’s this one…
Nothing new on race day!
Far too many half marathon runners both new and experienced break this rule at their peril.
To get the most from a half marathon, you should arrive on the day of the race having tested everything out over the previous few weeks. This includes:
The last thing that you want is for those new super lightweight running shoes to rub and give you blisters or, even worse, for that new energy packed gel to send you dashing to the nearest bush.
Race Kit Photo by solovjov.a.a
If you’re anything like me, you’ll wake up on race day morning packed full of nerves and a million and one thoughts going through your head.
The last thing you need to be worrying about is packing your bag.
When you rush to pack your kit it’s often easy to overlook important but little thought about items like water bottles, Vaseline, and even sunglasses.
Taking 30 minutes the night before your half marathon to pack your race bag can make a huge difference, it might sound silly, but I’ve always found it easier to sleep the night before a race knowing everything is in my bag ready.
Plus, when you pack the night before, you get to share photos of your neatly prepared with friends and family on Instagram!
Just like packing your kit the night before, arriving early at a race gives you peace of mind.
The last thing you want is to have to rush through registration, quickly change into your kit and then sprint to the start line.
A proper warm up pre-race is crucial if you’re looking to put in an impressive effort.
In fact, a 2008 study published in the Serbian Journal of Sports Science found that with the right warm up routine, runners could expect to see a 6% increase in running economy and a 2.9% increase in speed.
Not bad right?
Chances are if you’ve got a few events under your belt then you’ll have experienced this one for yourself!
Knowing where you should stand in at the start of the run.
While it’s not so much of a problem in big City races where you’re often “penned” by predicted finish time and ability, in smaller races it can be frustrating.
If you regularly run with a group of runners of a similar pace then it’s easy – stick with them at the start!
If you’re on your own, then the best thing to do is to get chatting to other runners.
Aim to start speaking to people in the middle of back of the pack and move forward/backward depending on the rough average.
Personally, I always try to be conservative with where I position myself as I always feel I get more of a mental boost as I work my way past people through the early miles.
The rule of starting slow and getting quicker is a running law as set in stone as other classics like limiting your weekly mileage increases to 10% of the previous week and nothing new on race day.
Break it at your peril!
It’s all too easy to get caught up in the start line stamped and run well beyond yourself in the opening kilometers.
The idea is to try and run each kilometer or mile progressively faster than the previous one – leading to the holy grail – a split Royal flush!).
Think of yourself as a car (bare with me here).
When you start the race, you have a full tank of gas.
Going too fast too early empties your tank quicker and leaves you less to go on towards the end, or even worse, nothing at the end!
As you become fitter, your engine became more economical and tuned to allow you to go quicker in the early stages.
Okay, so this last tip (and the token cliche) is simple – smile.
We know that sometimes you just want to put your head down and race, but there’s always time to look around and enjoy the realization of all the effort you’ve put in leading up to this day!
So there you have it, 7 of our favorite half marathon race day tips that’ll help you stay focused, relaxed and ready to enjoy the race. If you think we’ve missed a tip off the list, let us know in the comments below!