Top 6 tips for your first Half-marathon

The months of training building up to your first race is a big undertaking, and can be all consuming, but as the hard physical work is nearly completed the tactical & organisational elements of the race become more important. Here are 6 tips to help make your race day a memorable one for all the right reasons.

1) Dressed Rehersal. Use your long runs to practice everything you will be doing on race day. Of course wear your race outfit and make sure you know well beforehand if or where anything rubs or chafes. Of course looking good & feeling great is important but you won’t want the wrong clothes to turn a fun day into a painful blisterfest. Vaso, band-aids & the right clothes will make all the difference.
Also use these long runs to practice your race nutrition, including your pre-run brekky, and any sports drinks or gels you want to use during the race. Find your favourite flavours & get your body used to eating & drinking on the run. It can be a fine art for some. Run image morgue

2) Get out on the course you’ll be running for your race & familiarise yourself with the big hills or twists & turns. If the race is far away read up on what to expect and try to simulate it in your training. Hilly courses flat courses or warm or cold weather can have a bearing on how you cope come race day. To give yourself the best chance of achieving your goal and enjoying the race train on similar terrain to what you’ll be racing on.

3) Warm up. Develop a pre run routine that prepares your body for training and practice it each time you train. This will help reduce the risk of injury but also help calm the pre race nerves on the big day. If you’re racing in a cool climate take extra clothes to keep you warm before the race as you’ll hopefully arrive at the start with plenty of time before you race. You can often donate old clothes to charity thrown off at the start line.

4) Relax the night before your race. You’ve done all the hard work, so don’t 2nd guess yourself or wish if only you’d completed that extra speed workout. You’re ready! Layout all your clothes, attach your race bib and pack your bag so you don’t have any worries n the morning. Have an early dinner & get to bed early so you have plenty of rest. Set 2 alarms & catch the early train or bus so  you arrive feeling unhurried & relaxed & ready to go.

5) Familiarise yourself with the facilities. Bag drop, number collection, toilets, drinks stations are all important race day information to know. Read your event handbook or website and know what to expect. If the lines are long I often line up for the port-a-loos as soon as I arrive at the race start

6) Run your own race. Don’t be caught up with the sprint start or put off by other people’s pace. Stick to the rhythm that suits you and enjoy the spectacle. Running along the harbour or across the bridge can be an uplifting experience that you want to take in & enjoy. Ride the positive energy from the crowd & other participants but don’t get caught up in any print races. Your first half is usually all about finishing, and secondary should be the time. Enjoy!

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