We’ve been training for this moment (more or less) for almost four months and now it’s finally here—our half-marathon is this weekend! For many of us, this will be our first race, so our coach, John Henwood, is giving us some last-minute advice with the hope that we’re perfectly prepared come Sunday.
THE NIGHT BEFORE
Prep everything you can in advance
Have your bag packed and pin your number to your singlet. Check the weather and lay out your clothes—it's always better to be too warm than too cool. Determine the shortest and least stressful way to get to the race. Look at the race website to note the water stations and see exactly when you need to be in your corral.
Pack a post-race bag
Bring a bottled water and nutrition bar for after the race. Add extra layers if it’s a cold day. Bring your phone and anything else you’ve trained with (a belt, music, gu’s, etc.). You’ll keep these with you when you get to the race and you’ll leave the rest of your bag in a supervised station to pick up once you’re done.
Make a timeline
Write down when you want to wake up (at least 2 hours and 15 minutes before the race), eat breakfast (right after you wake up), get to the race (60 minutes before start time), warm up and enter your starting corral.
THE MORNING OF
Get warm and loose
When you get to the race location, warm up properly so that you’re loose and relaxed at the start line.
Don't go out too fast
Never race at a pace where you’re uncomfortable in the first half—save it. If you’re feeling tired, slow down a little. You’ll get your second wind if you just take the pedal off.
Adjust for your environment
You should have a goal pace that you want to run in the race, but if the conditions are unexpectedly hot or adverse, adjust your pace—otherwise you’ll run out of steam.
Make sure you’re drinking 4-5 ounces of fluids every 25-30 minutes.
If your iPhone dies, do not panic
Relax and take in the spectators and supporters along the course. The advantage of not having music is that you can hear your breathing, which will help you better control your pace.
Relax, stay steady, take in the spectators and don’t forget your fluids. You’ve got this!