Updated: Jun 27, 2019
In less than 48 hours I will voluntarily be running 13.1 miles all across the suburb of Maple Grove.
All for a stinkin' t shirt.
Ooooh or maybe we'll get socks this year.
I'm looking forward to it...I think...though I could use a change in the forecast (rain!).
I'm no stranger to half marathons and by now I feel like I'm pretty savvy about how to prepare for the big race. I've said before how much I love Hal Higdon's training plans. I've put in the training miles, so now what?
Here are a few tips for race day- some of them just might be lessons I've learned the hard way.
1. NO NEW CLOTHES, UNDERWEAR, SOCKS, OR SHOES. All caps. Yes. Now is not the time to find out that your leggings don't quite stay up, or your shorts still give you thigh chafing, or your undies are in a bunch, or your socks slide down your ankles. Even worse would be to wear a pair of shoes you didn't actually train in, unless you like sprouting bloody blisters. Make sure to stick with items you've done long runs in!
Must. Resist. Urge. To. Wear. New. Asics.
2. Clip your toenails. Kind of gross to mention? Maybe. But again, you don't want to be on mile 5 and realize that your pinky toenail is painfully digging into its neighbor. Get 'em trimmed up.
3. NO NEW GEAR ON RACE DAY. Think headphones, sunglasses, cell phone cases, water bottles, etc. You should have full confidence that everything works, and is comfortable. When I was training for my first full marathon, I bought a water bottle belt- the kind that holds like four water bottles. I then set out for a 15 mile training run. Never have I ever felt so weighed down! I realized that I'm just not comfortable with a water bottle belt- to each their own!
4. Don't forget sunscreen. Even two hours on a mildly cloudy day can lead to a sunburn.
5. Stick to the fluids that you trained with. What do I mean by this? I can't tell you which race it was, but I stopped at waaaaay too many fluid stations and drank waaaaay too much Gatorade and water. During my training I hadn't had that volume of fluids, so the result was that my stomach felt all nauseous and sloshy. I pretty much spent the last 8 miles running from garbage can to garbage can trying to make myself barf.
Now is a nice time to reinforce that running overall is a good time! Really!
6. Use the porta potty before the race starts. Don't rush yourself. Fun fact: my first marathon was in Detroit. I was so nervous! I hit the porta potty one final time...and the shotgun started and everyone started off and I was still shorts-around-the-ankles in a dark biffy. Eh, it doesn't matter! That's why the race chip was invented. If you miss the start time, don't worry.
7. Pack a few tissues with you if you can. Does anyone else experience running-induced drippy nose? No? The tissues might also come in handy if you accidentally hit a porta potty that's out of TP.
8. Bring sweats and an icy Gatorade for the car ride home. You might be a sweaty mess under your running clothes when you finish, but no matter what temperature it is outside, I always get chilly about 20 minutes after the race. If I remember, I also try to keep a pack of face wipes too- it's pretty gross but a sweaty face collects dirt and dust and to be able to wipe off that layer of grime feels pretty darn good.
9. Remember to have fun? I write a question mark here because when you're at the end, or sometimes midst of a race it can seem silly to be doing what you're doing. Like, why am I running THIS MANY MILES? When I used to jog along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis there was one particular hill that just always felt like my nemesis. I made up a mantra of "I eat hills for breakfast!" because 1. it's ridiculous and makes me smile, and 2. it reminds me of my favorite line from "Happy Gilmore."
If you're in a tough spot mentally or physically, instead of cursing yourself or boo-hooing yourself, think of a motivational mantra.
10. Enjoy a post race treat! Just not immediately post race. After I finished Grandma's Marathon in Duluth I grabbed some mint chocolate chip ice cream a vendor was handing out. I learned quickly that dairy and sugar and fat immediately after 26.2 is nooooooo good. Go home, take a shower, stretch it out, then enjoy a treat. I have a Little Debbie oatmeal cream pie and diet Coke with my name on it. My husband's set on a Whopper. To each their own!
I hope you've found this list helpful! Now is the time to sign up for and start training for whatever race piques your interest this summer!