There are some things that people only know after actually running a half marathon. Other things just don’t cross anyone’s mind beforehand. So here are a few pointers that might help you avoid any unwanted surprises on race day.
1. Your running time won’t be double a 10k
Even if you’ve already completed a running event like a 10k before, don’t expect to just double your time for a half marathon. It’s a completely different kind of race, and obviously your endurance has to run out at some point.
2. Training for a half marathon doesn’t require you to have already run the whole thing
There is absolutely nothing to worry about if you haven’t run 13.1 miles in your half marathon training. It’s actually expected. If you can do between 10 and 11 miles then you will be fine.
3. Walking is fine
Walking in your half marathon is nothing to be ashamed of. You’re doing an absolute trek of a run, and you are allowed a rest at times.
4. You can go for a short run the day before (if you want)
If you have a bit of pent up energy it’s fine if you need to head out for a quick 20 minute jog the day before your half marathon. Don’t necessarily push yourself but if you think it’ll help then go for it.
5. It’s not a big deal if you don’t sleep well the night before
Most people don’t manage to sleep well when they’re nervous. So it’s likely that people have smashed their timings and races on less than a full night as well. Aim on sleeping well the night before that and you’ll be fine.
6. They’ll tell you not to listen to music
The race organisers will probably tell you that music is forbidden. But if you’re a rule abiding citizen you’ll probably kick yourself when you see everyone else with their headphones plugged in. Just be careful to take them out when road running.
7. You have to forget your ego
People will pass you. People who you don’t think ‘should’ be passing you. But you can’t let it worry you. Everyone has their own strong points in a race — especially one as long as a half marathon. Or maybe they really are just better than you or have done a bit more specific endurance half marathon training. Don’t let them dictate how fast you run though as it might jeopardise your race.
8. You’ll get to a point where it really is tough
Lots of people cite mile 10 as the marker point in a half marathon for when it gets really bad. Wherever it is for you, if you know it’s coming you can know it’s not because you’re not fit or fast enough. Remember that and push through.
9. There will be a great atmosphere
Enjoy it. It will feel absolutely amazing having people cheer you on. But at the same time try not to get carried away with it. Don’t go at a pace that you can’t manage just because the crowds are egging you on.
10. You need to think about warm clothes
Before and after it’s worth making sure you keep yourself warm. A pretty good running tip is to do a bit of charity shopping beforehand. You can throw away your outer layers as you are running. Just make sure you are met by somebody at the finish line who will give you something else to wear.