For me, Half Marathons are the perfect race distance. It’s a great goal anybody can strive for; and it’s not too short and it’s not too long. It took me a little while to figure out my strategy for this kind of race, but given that I am now coming up on my 20th Half Marathon this April, I figured I would write a little bit on how I approach each race.
Pre Race Prep
- Two nights before, I ensure I eat a healthy amount of carbs and sleep at least eight hours. This is the most important night for getting good sleep.
- The night before, I will put my bib on my shirt and get all my gear and nutrition ready so I can wake up and go.
- The morning of, I prefer to take a brief cold shower to calm my excitement, and be cleaner for post race. I generally wake up at least an hour to an hour and a half before the race, depending on how far I have to commute to the start. I try not to race rush, but I admit it does happen. I drink one liter of water as soon as I wake up, eat one banana, and one cliff bar. I apply BodyGlide to my grundle, inside of my armpits and outside of my arms. If I’m wearing a tank top, I also apply around the lines of the tank because that can scratch me up.
- This year I am starting to carry everything in my FlipBelt. FlipBelt is amazing, it’s a must. It destroys its previous competitors with the buckle in strap and it even has a holder for keys. I at minimum keep my phone and gels in it. I prefer the CliffBar versions of race nutrition gels, coming in second is the more liquid PowerBar gels. My favorite flavors are generally dictated by the ones that don’t have caffeine, since I don’t drink coffee. Here’s my current Mount Rushmore of race gels:
- Vanilla CliffShot
- Strawberry CliffShot
- Acai Berry PowerBar Gel
- StrawberryBanana PowerBar Gel
- Plain CliffShot
- Citrus CliffShot (1/2x caffine)
- Chocolate Cherry (2x caffine)
- I grab water or gatorade at every stop, but I only drink water until I take my first gel at the 40 minute mark.
- I gel every forty minutes with water, otherwise I am drinking Gatorade at every stop. That usually means I’m bringing 2-3 gels to each half marathon plus an emergency gel– just in case I drop one or something. I’ll always pack one 1x caffeine or 1/2x caffeine just in case I am dogging it.
- The first thing I do is crush whatever they give me, bagel, pretzels, apple, they hand it to me and I’ll eat it. If I am on a training run 10+, I will generally have a protein shake with banana, peanut butter and almond milk.