Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
*Post Courtesy of Organic Runner Mom
Do you have a half marathon coming up? Whether you a new comer to the 13.1 mile distance or a half marathon junkie, tips for race success are always helpful. Every race can be so different and sometimes having a new trick or tip in your race day “tool kit” can be a big help.
Easier said than done, but on days when you are able to keep race day jitters to a minimum, you are guaranteed to have the most fun and a greater chance of having a fast time. Take a few minutes the night before and the morning of the race to sit down in a quiet place and visualize your race plan. When your nerves get the best of you, just try to roll with it and let that extra jolt of adrenaline carry you along the course.
Split the race
When racing longer distances, I try not to think of the completing the whole distance. Instead I break the race into manageable pieces. For example, when running a half marathon, if you like running 5Ks, complete a 5K and then imagine the next 5K as a whole new race and so on until you see the finish line in view. Playing this kind of mind game when you are racing can help you to focus on what is going well and to forget the tough parts.
Set 3 goals
Set a dream goal—going for that mega P.R. Set a realistic goal—use your training and previous race experiences to predict a finish time. Set the goal of finishing the race with a positive attitude having enjoyed the race experience. Being comfortable with achieving any one of your goals before the race gun goes off can take the pressure off and allow you to relax at the starting line (see Tip #1).
Wear tried and tested gear
You want to be comfortable on race day without the fear of surprise chafing or wicked blisters. Choose gear that you know your feet and chafing prone areas will be comfortable in for 13.1 miles. Road test your gear prior to race day so that you don’t have a race day wardrobe malfunction (if you know what I mean).
Soak up the race-day atmosphere
Keep your eyes on the finish line, but remember to enjoy the race. Get to the race course early enough to pick up your race number and get your fueling and hydration for the race ready if you will be carrying your own. Leave time to hit the bathrooms (hopefully not porta potties) and to go for a warm-up that you have pre-planned. Take some to time to check out the course and course maps. When the race gets going stick to your plan but also look around and use the positive energy of the people cheering you on and the energy of the other racers to pull you through the tough parts.
Most important of all? Celebrate your finish and the post-race party at the finish line. You made it!