A friend recently wrote me for some half marathon tips for race day and coincidentally I received several emails during that same week, if I had general tips or advice for race day. Like many runners, I am always on the lookout for more tips. I google, pin, search, and ask for tips myself. After consistently running races for the past year (every weekend) I have ran enough miles to feel comfortable sharing some of my race day tips. I hope they help you, and feel free to share these with your other running buddies. My best tip is to:
listen to yourself, learn as you go, and over time you will find what works for you.
I still get race day butterflies, feel anxious the night before a race ...
I think that will always happen for me.
Those race day nerves show me I care, allowing me to show up,
My Half Marathon Race Day Tips ... but you can use them for any race
In General: have fun and make it fun ... I like to run dedication miles to people who inspire, motivate, or encourage me. This helps me put my race into perspective that in the end it is just a race, that life is the big picture. One of the best races I have ran was a 10k trail race in France where I actually made podium, coming in first. I ran that race for my sister. She had recently been running and started training. She inspired me with her photos she would send showing her new joy for running. So, I ran for her.
Bring water, I run with a light weight water belt and for longer runs I use a camelback so I never have to stop at water stations. If you do grab water, grab water towards the end of the water station, you will bypass everyone at the first portion of the water station.
Race Goal: Have a goal to keep moving, even if it is slow towards the end, make it a goal to move.
The Start: The first 5k of any race or start you will have a surge of adrenaline to run fast, it's adrenaline and others will be running fast too, but keep your pace. It's a half marathon you will make up that time at the end.
Your race, your pace.
Mantras: Create a mantra you say to yourself: for example you could say your race, your pace. Mantras are quick reminders to stay present. Stay positive. Stay focused.
Properly Fueling: Bring race fuel and bring your own. I have a sensitive stomach and there are only few Gu's that set with my stomach. Use whatever you have been training with. I also love (this is for long long trail runs over 30k-40k) eating dried apricots or a piece of bread.
What you Wear: Wear clothes you've been training in, sometimes there is a pressure to get a new race outfit but no no wear what is comfortable. After 11 miles, chafing does happen, and new outfits will move. You will have no idea how they feel on you while running. Are they comfortable or not? I once wore a new bra and oh my the story is not pretty.
Music: If you run with music try resisting for the first 5-6 miles, and use it at the end, it is great motivation and something to look forward to. I don't run with music but when I did this was a very good way to get a bit of energy at the end of the race. When I am not running to music at the start of the race I am more present allowing me to take in the sights and sounds of the race start.
Your Time: Don't get stuck on a specific time, just be so proud you signed up, and are doing what others would maybe be afraid to do. Focus on times the more you run, the more you train. If you are a runner and you don't meet your race day time, reevaluate your training, set new goals, and move on.
Your Breathing: Breathe, and breathe out any negative thoughts, open up those lungs. This helps at the end of the race when one's breathe is shallow and short. Try to create a meditative easy rhythm with your breaths.
Last but not least: Remember why you run, why you signed up for your race, and then simply run. I hope these tips help and I would love to know some of your tips if you have your own. Leave a comment so we can chat, share, and motivate each other to keep ... running. :)