You’re running your first half marathon! First of all, congrats! You officially rock. Second, we have some helpful advice for you! Run Haven has compiled a list of 13.1 helpful tips that first time half runners may not know.
1. Plan for expo/packet pickup:
Most races prefer (and some races require) you to pick up your race packet before race day. If your race gives you this option and you are able to make it work with your schedule, do it! Waiting until race day can add extra stress that is not necessary AND could hinder your performance. Oftentimes, races will allow a friend to pick up your packet, but not all will, so make sure you check in advance.
2. Slowly ramp up mileage in training:
If you haven’t run more than three miles ever, and it’s a week before race day of a half marathon, you might be in trouble. It’s crucially important to have a training plan in place weeks (or even months) before the race starts. And start small. Start with minimal mils and work your way up to the double digits. There are tons of training plans out there. Find one that works for you, and stick to it!
3. Have a hydration plan:
You will need water and/or a sports drink at some point during the course of the half. It’s best to hydrate early and often — as soon as you feel thirst setting in — to make sure you don’t get dehydrated. Remember, you’re likely running faster than your training runs (partially because of the race-day adrenaline), so you may need more water than you’re used to. Check out the course map beforehand to know where the water/sports-drink stops are located.
4. Check out the signs:
One of the most fun things about running a half (or full) is the crowd support. Reading the signs that family and friends hold up along the course can be a great way to pass the time and have a laugh in the process.
5. Brunch is the best:
Think about what you want to do after the race. A nap is definitely on the schedule, but before that why not head out to brunch with your friends or family. It’s the perfect meal after running 13.1 miles — filled with carbs and mimosas — as you retell the tales of your incredible race.