“13.1 – You know, only half crazy”
Last week, I introduce my blog world to Travis. An ordinary guy who’s about to do something extraordinary – go from non-runner to half-marathoner. If you missed that blog, don’t fear, it’s right here.
I’m so excited for him and it got me thinking about other runners preparing to lace up their kicks in less than two weeks and tackle 13.1 miles throughout the beautiful community of Fargo. That’s right, first-time-half-marathoners, I’m talking to you! I wish you all a happy, healthy run.
For all the Fargo first-timers, and anyone prepping for a first half marathon, here are my five essential prerace tips to ensure your bod is at its best on race day.
Take a Taper
Half marathoners don’t need to follow the same three-week, strict taper that’s a hallmark of full marathon training, but should spend at least the week prior backing off on mileage, getting more sleep and getting eating more balanced to that of a normal – er, I mean, non-runner – person.
I’ve never been a fan of the taper but this year I really needed it (as explained in my Boston Marathon taper blog) and I embraced it. And you know what? The world didn’t end. And I actually felt strong and happy on race day.
Rest the Day Before
Tying in with the taper is the all-important prerace rest day. Try to stay off your feet as much as possible the day before the race.
The exception to this rule: the race expo. You have to go to pick up your packet so walk around to check out the booths. The energy, the excitement, the excuse to buy unnecessary running swag – oh how I love the expo!
OMG that was such a struggle for me to type! I love leg day and I’m very vocal that it should be part of everyone’s workout program, runners included.
But the week before the race is not the time to push your legs to the point of fatigue. It’s the time to ease up on their workload and give them a break so they can be strong and light on race day. So, as much as I love a good leg workout, I’m giving you the okay to skip it – just this once.
Carb-loading, fat-loading, beer-loading (nope, that’s not really a thing). Whatever fueling strategy you follow in the days leading up to the race is fine, just don’t overeat, especially the day before the race.
Yes you want to be properly fueled but you don’t want to feel sluggish – or have to hit the porta-potty by mile 3 (let’s be honest, sometimes that just happens no matter how well you prepare).
While you don’t want to overdo it on food, overdo it, just a little bit, on water. Drink it throughout race week and, most importantly, all day the day before the race.
Your first half marathon is one of the greatest feelings ever. I’m super pumped for you all. To my fellow Fargo runners, I hope to see you out there on May 21!
Now, I want to leave you with one final tip that’s not designed for you bod’s health, but it’s my favorite piece of advice for first-timers: Start a Tradition.
Most athletes have a pre-game ritual; one thing they always must do in order to have their best performance. Part of it’s mental; part of it is that athletes are so disciplined, it’s one more easy thing they can add to enhance routine and mental prep. You’re a runner, you’re an athlete, so take a page from the pro’s playbook and start your own tradition.
Let me share my tradition story. It involves food (shocking!):
The day before my first Fargo Marathon, I ate Jimmy John’s for lunch. It was delicious, it fueled me up and I had a great run with no stomach trouble. Since then, Jimmy John’s has been my official Fargo Marathon prerace lunch. And I even took it one step further – when I’m in peak training, I eat Jimmy John’s for lunch every Friday, in prep for long run Saturday. Oh, but it doesn’t end there. I eat Jimmy John’s for lunch after a big race too.
Yep, I love me some Jimmy John’s. Shameless sponsorship plug: Please sponsor me, JJs.
Maybe you’re not planning to ever run another race. But, as runners know, racing is addicting! So why not create something that’s just yours, just in case you race again?
If you like this post and think other runners would too, please share it on Facebook or Twitter. As always, if you have questions or something to say, please leave a comment or tweet me, @runlikeagirl311.