IT IS RACE WEEK and no matter how many times I have done a half marathon, I still get all the nervous, excited feelings!!
This will be my fifth half marathon to run and my third time to run the Nashville half marathon. This in no way makes me any kind of running expert but I can say I have learned something from each previous race, and am still learning each time I run. Here are my last minute tips for you to keep in mind these next few days and on race day so that you can hopefully do your best and have FUN in the process!
1. Use These Last Few Days To REST
I know you have worked so hard these last few months and some of you might be afraid to rest too much this week for fear of losing your drive. It is important to let your body rest and stretch! I usually run at least two times this week before the race and only about 2-3 miles for each run.
2. Drink Lots Of Water The Night Before, Not The Morning Of The Race
It is important to hydrate yourself with PLENTY of water but make sure it is the night before and not the morning of the race. You don't want to drink too much the morning of the race and be running to the bathroom every five minutes or waiting in the long port-o-potty lines before the race. You also don't want to have too much fluid on your stomach that will just slosh around while you are running. Drinking adequate water the night before should help you to be properly hydrated for your run.
For more tips on nutrition for training and race day, click HERE.
3. Make A Playlist
Put together a running playlist so that you have the right music to keep you motivated throughout the race. I would definitely recommend making your own playlist instead of a Pandora or iTunes station because I tried that for a race and my service was terrible with so many people there that I was unable to play it. I ended up going the whole race with random selections (some slow music) that did not really help me get through the race. Sooo be prepared and make a playlist of your own fun and motivating songs!
4. Get Your Clothing & Gear Ready
Getting everything ready and laying out my clothes always helps to calm my nerves the night before the race. Feeling prepared makes me feel ready and also makes me less likely to be a hot mess the morning of the race, running around trying to get everything together. It also helps to give me more time in the morning to do other important things like eat breakfast, go to the bathroom, stretch, and get my mind and body ready!
5. Review The Course
Look over the course so that you can be familiar with your route for race day! Find out where the water stops will be and at what miles you will find the port-o-potties (two VERY important things to know and I am not sure which one I find more important on race day but I am thinking maybe the latter)
6. Get Yo Sleep
We all know that sleep is essential for performing our best and a half marathon is no different. This is my fifth half marathon and I still get anxious the night before like it is the night before Christmas (yes, I still get giddy and have trouble sleeping the night before Christmas....because SANTA, duh). This anxiousness never helps when it comes to trying to get a good night's sleep so try your best to go to bed early and not worry too much about the next day!
7. Get Up Early
Make sure you give yourself enough time before the race by getting up early so that you can eat breakfast and drink some coffee and hopefully go to the bathroom as much as you need to before leaving the house. If the race starts at 7:00am, I would recommend getting up at least an hour and a half or two hours early before race time.
8. Show Up Physically AND Mentally Ready
Not only do you want to show up stretched and muscles warmed, you also want to make sure you are mentally ready for the race. A half marathon is no joke when it comes to mental toughness. Get your head in the game and keep telling yourself that you can do this and that you are stronger than you think. For my very first race I had to continually encourage myself, pray for strength, and tell myself "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." I really think mental strength is just as important as physical strength, if not more important. So show up with your mind ready to kick some butt!
9. PACE YOURSELF
Your adrenaline is going to be pumping and it is going to be easy to go super fast in the beginning but try to refrain from doing so. Stick to your training pace so you don't wear yourself out too soon. Remember to just run your own half marathon! Don't worry if people are passing you or if you have to stop for a second. It is YOUR race and it does not matter what anyone else is doing (unless they are passed out on the sidewalk and need help, then maybe you should care what they are doing).
10. RUN THE MILE YOU ARE IN
Try and run in the moment and not think about how far you have to go. Take it one step at a time, one mile at a time. Listen to your music and watch the people cheer you on as you pass!
11. Take Advantage Of The Water Stations
Don't be afraid of messing up your time by stopping to chug a cup of water or Gatorade. It is important to stay hydrated throughout your run and your health is way more important than beating a specific time. Take a second to drink some water and then get back into your run!
12. Think Outside Your Body & Pain
The last 2-3 miles of the race are the toughest, I am not even going to sugar coat it for you. This is the time when the whole mind over matter is going to really make a difference. Your feet and legs will be hurting and wondering why the crap there are so many hills in this race. Try and let your mind take over your body and think outside your pain. Think of all the people around you cheering, and look at all the funny signs people are holding up. Think about how hard you have worked and the pain that you overcame during training and remind yourself that YOU CAN DO IT!
13. BE PROUD OF YOURSELF No Matter How You Finish
You are a ROCKSTAR and no matter what your time is when you finish or how many times you had to stop, you DID IT!!!! Be proud of yourself for all of your hard work and determination!!
Most importantly, HAVE FUN!!!!
GOOD LUCK to everyone who is running!!! Let's all have fun, rain or shine!!!
***Have some last minute tips to share??? Feel free to comment below and let people know your experiences and advice!!