You’ve chosen the race, you’ve done the training. And you really, really want a PB at your half-marathon.
Here are 5 tricks which could give you the edge.
Pay Attention To Hydration
Lots of runners think about nutrition and what to eat in the days leading up to a half-marathon race, but very few think about hydration. Yes, you need to find the best breakfast for race-day, and work out what to eat the night before. But what about water? Load up on water in the days leading up to your race and get to the start line well hydrated.
The effects of proper hydration on running performance are well-documented, and we know that even a small percentage of dehydration can have a massive impact on endurance, pace and speed.
The fact is, you can “water load” in much the same way as you carb-load before a race. Slightly increase the amount of water you drink in the 5-7 days before your race and your body will respond well by being optimally hydrated.
Get Peak-Week Right
Peak week is a challenging time for most runners. Running volume is way down, mysterious niggles emerge from nowhere, and the mind games start. And you have so much extra time to sit around thinking about the training that’s got you to this point!
So use that time wisely. Rest and relax. Don’t do anything extreme at this point. Don’t try to make up for any missed training runs, or think about fitting “just one more” long run in. By all means get a sports massage but keep it light and gentle. Above all, relax your body and mind. A strong, positive mindset will count for a lot on race day!
Get Organised And Leave Nothing To Chance
Use the extra time available to get organised for race day. This is particularly important if you’re travelling any distance to the race. Prepare your running kit, pack your kit back, and take care of all the extras you may need on race day (gels, blister patches, plasters, hair grips, safety pins). Plan your driving route and make sure you know where to park (and how far the car park is from the start line). Find out exactly where registration is. Being organised will put your mind at rest and ensure you don’t get to the start line stressed and frazzled.
Sleep Well… Two Nights Before
It’s important to get a great night’s sleep before your race, but nerves, excitement, and the possibility of being in a hotel or B&B might mean you don’t sleep too well. So load up on sleep two nights before the race instead. Get sleeping hours “in the bank” and you will benefit on race day. Make it a point to wind down, de-stress, and get to bed really early two nights before the race to enhance your chances of the perfect half-marathon experience.
Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of a strong, positive mental attitude going into your race. You’ve done the training, you’re hungry for a PB, and the scene is set… Control everything which is within your sphere of influence, and let everything else go. Concentrate on what you’re here to do: and that’s get a brand-new half-marathon PB!