Friday Favourites – Tips for the start of a Half Marathon
The last half marathon I did was less than 6 weeks after a 100km run. The finish line seemed to take an age to run too and despite almost cracking at the 15km mark I finished.
Half marathons are not easy. They are fast, furious but most importantly they are fun. Yep we said fun. We don’t run races for them to be easy, we run to challenge ourselves, to run beyond what we thought possible and we run to enjoy the feeling of satisfaction at the end of the race. Here’s to feeling all of this come Sunday when we line up at the start of the Melbourne Marathon half marathon. But first our top tips for the start of a half marathon.
Top 5 tips for a half marathon
Arrive to the start line in plenty of time
The start of the race is stressful enough without adding to it thinking you are going to miss the gun go off. Getting to the start line isn’t about getting there 5 minutes early and then starting, its about allowing time to get to the bag drop, go to the toilet (note: you could end up needing to go more than once), warming up/stretching and then finding your place within the group spending at least one minute to control your breathing and visualize the race.
Participate in the warm up
Group warm ups aren’t designed to exhaust you before the start of the race; they are designed to enhance performance and prevent injury. Gradually increasing the heart rate and circulation helps loosen the joints and increase blood flow to the muscles helping raise temperature, which contributes to faster muscle contraction. Having warm muscles lessens the risk of injury due to your body being subtler.
Allow time to mentally prepare
If your heads not in it, your body isn’t either. Mentally preparing for a race is thought to improve technique, skill and coordination.
No matter the distance there is going to be discomfort and taking a moment to prepare for this discomfort will ensure both body and mind can get through it when it presents itself. In the words of Haruki Murakami “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional”. The hurt part is an unavoidable reality – learn to deal with it.
Hydrate for better performance
But remember over hydrating can be just as detrimental as under hydrating. The recommended fluid intake varies from one individual to another along with temperature and climate playing a role in how much fluid we intake on race day. Aid stations are strategically placed along the course in key spots so use them – even if you just have a sip – don’t wait until your thirsty to have a drink. Sip at every aid station; preferably water especially if you haven’t tried the on course fuelling before.
Smile and enjoy the race
You have trained hard for this race, all the early mornings, missed social engagements not to mention the early nights, the sacrifices will be worth it when you cross that finish line. During the race remember to scan through the body; are you relaxed? Are your ears, nose, mouth arms and hands relaxed? Is your core switched on and do you feel strong with every foot placement? Are you running smooth, light and easy? Are you smiling? Despite what you are feeling on the inside, a smile seems to make you feel better – you are enjoying this experience; you love what you are doing and its good to show everyone supporting you that this is how you feel.
Good luck to everyone participating in the Melbourne Marathon Festival, it’s a great event to be a part of, you are lucky to be a part of it and with so much support on the side lines, its like a giant party with a whole lot of sweaty lycra clad runners!