Half Marathon Reflections

Over the weekend, I completed a half marathon. Although I wrote a recap of the race itself, I’d like to share some of the lessons I learned from my half marathon experience.

1. Train in conditions that will be similar to the conditions of the race: I did a lot of my half marathon training on the treadmill. I know I’m probably in the minority but I enjoy running on the treadmill. Unfortunately, the climate controlled gym did not prepare my body for 85+ temperatures and high humidity … Toward the end of my training I did a few of my long runs outside but for my next race, I’d like to spend more time training in race-like weather conditions.

2. Have a plan for hydration (during and post-race): I used my CamelBak during the race and it was a LIFESAVER! Although the race did offer water stations, I didn’t feel that there were enough water stations for the hot/humid conditions of the race. When I finished the race, I received a plastic cup with lukewarm water. Yuck!! Hopefully this isn’t the case with most races but it’s definitely something that I’ll keep in mind for the next race.

3. Fuel, fuel, fuel!: Although I brought a packet of GU and my favorite Shot Bloks, I counted on the water stations to provide Gatorade. The stations did provide Gatorade but it tasted pretty watered down. Fortunately my awesome husband brought some Gatorade with him when he came to watch the race!

4. Race day support is huge!: My husband, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, 3 nieces and nephew came to cheer for me. I couldn’t have imagined how much I’d need that support during the last mile of the race. Man, it made such a HUGE difference in getting me through to the finish line. I’m really grateful for their support.

5. Try clothes out before the day of the race: Generally, I’m pretty good about this one. I learned this lesson the hard way during a 5K in December when I tried out a new pair of cold weather running tights at the race. Unfortunately the tights kept slipping and I spent the entire race constantly pulling on the waistband. While I knew my capris, shirt and sports bra would be great, I choose poorly on my socks and ended up with a huge blister.

6. Have a plan A, B, and C time goal for the race: Use plan A when the weather is perfect, you feel amazing and you’re completely on top of your hydration/fuel. Plan b comes into play when conditions aren’t ideal but you’re still feeling strong. Plan c is all about survival. 🙂 I went into the race knowing that the heat/humidity would take a toll on me so I planned on shooting for my plan B time goal. About 2/3 into the race I realized that my body would need more walk breaks than I’d originally planned and adjusted my plan accordingly.

7. Enjoy the experience: It’s easy to get caught up in time goals, race day frustrations, weather conditions and fuel/hydration issues. I had to remind myself to enjoy seeing the benefits of my training and accomplishing one of my goals!

What are your favorite race tips?

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4 Responses to Half Marathon Reflections

  1. Amber says:

    Amber, from Eats and Exercise by Amber stopping by to say HI and congrats, that’s AWESOME girl. i think my limbs would fall off after five miles, so kudos to you 🙂 AND I love the name of your blog! Great race tips, I especially like the plan a, b, c, I feel like I’d end up with plan z, or “just don’t die while running”

    • Em says:

      Amber, thanks for reading! I agree completely, sometimes my plan is just to survive the race. 🙂

  2. Diane says:

    Thanks for sharing your article! I am still trying to get the perfect routine down. For now, my main concern is whether or not there’ll be time to use the bathroom “one more time” before the start or not. I can’t seem to forgo my morning coffee but I can’t stand running uncomfortably either. I started making myself get up 3 hours prior to start time. Now there’s time for coffee, breakfast, changing my clothes 5 times, a little social media, and use of the porta-potty one more time!

    • Em says:

      Thanks for reading, Diane! I agree – making sure there is time to visit the bathroom before a race is crucial! I’ve read a couple of running books and one suggested that if you use the restroom before a race, you should keep getting back in line and going to the restroom until it’s time to line up for the race. 🙂

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