The AMAZING Half Marathon wants all our runners to be successful! We suggest avoiding any of this list of ten to have the smoothest 13.1 miles on March 6, 2016 (or at any race for that matter)! REPEAT: Try to NOT do the items on this list!
- Run in New Gear
A runner should never race in something not used previously (and repeatedly) in training. New shoes could lead to bad shin splints, blisters, a painful race, and a whole host of other things. New running shorts might result in a terrible chaffing situation. New Bluetooth headphones are begging for technical difficulty. That old stuff might be ragged, but better safe than sorry!
- Eat a Lot for Breakfast
Ever tried running on a very full stomach? It’s not fun. Minor GI issues can impair even the most seasoned runners, but severe GI upset will, no doubt, result in a less than stellar half marathon! Stick to the tried and true meals. A few favorites are oatmeal, toast, protein/granola bars, and bananas (with some coffee, if that’s your thing!).
- Go Out Too Fast
This could be the number one cause of bad races. Getting amped up at the start line with the fervor of the other runners, the music, and so much training and planning behind you, it’s easy to fall into the “overzealous start” group. Supremely disciplined and consistently paced runners do it as well, but if you see your pace 20, 30, 60 seconds faster than goal pace, reel it in and slow down! Missing a goal finish time due to early burn out is always regretful.
- Think Negative The Whole Race
Doubting one’s self will lead to a bad race. Much of running involves mental fortitude. Allowing negativity to seep in strips away the mind-body connection that gets so many runners through tough races. Knowing what to tell yourself during those tough spots- lyrics to a motivational song, counting cadence, figuring up pace or fractions of the total distance remaining, or even conjugating verbs in a foreign language (yes, we’ve heard of runners doing this!)- do whatever you have to do to keep your mind from going to a place where you end up defeating yourself.
- Drink Lots of Alcohol Before A Race
Clearly advice for the 21+ crowd, but it’s worth the mention. Allowing yourself to be “over-served” the day/night before a race could cause one to oversleep, miss the race, dehydration, mid-race GI problems, over-heating, or at the very worst end of the spectrum, running hungover with the very real possibility of throwing up. Too many runners have compromised races with pre-race festivities… run the race you have trained to run and just grab a drink after you get that PR!
- Don’t Sleep the Night Before A Race
Thinking that going without sleep before running a half marathon can result in serious physiologic and even psychological detriment. Delayed travel circumstances or a nervous night before can both lead to under-performing on the course. Try to ensure that you have accommodated your sleeping arrangements so that they cannot be compromised by external factors.
- Ignoring the Weather
Weather. The runner’s nemesis. When heading out to a race, not prepping for temperature, precipitation, or humidity changes can severely hinder a runner’s chances of optimum performance. Making matters more complicated, much can happen in the weather between the time a runner starts a half marathon and finishes a half marathon. Throw away clothing and alterable (arm sleeves, jackets tied around waists, disposable rain ponchos) pieces will save a runner from hypothermia in a freezing rain race or ease the run for one in hot conditions.
- Ignoring the Race’s Difficulty
“It’s only 13.1 miles.” While, this is true, it is still a feat that only 1% of the US population will accomplish in a year. 13.1 miles of racing necessitates training and planning. Look at the course map, elevation chart, and reviews. Determine if you will need additional Gu, fluids, or music to get you through tough spots in the race. Hills or higher elevation courses also require additional training and/or consideration. Just because it’s “Half” of something doesn’t make it any less difficult!
- Exhaust Legs Too Close to Race Day
During taper period, most runners feel they are losing their endurance. Some fall in to the temptation of a hard run too close to the race. The body needs time to heal and repair for hard runs and races. Walking extensively at the expo or around town can wear down legs as well. Give your body what it needs to give you the PR on race day!
10. Give In On Training
Injury is one thing that all runners understand. Conceding for reasons other than injury will only leave that bucket list item out there for another day. Stay in the training! You want the feeling at the finish! The chills running through your body and the exhilaration of having completed something you have never done before (and maybe thought you could never do at all) will make EVERY training run and EVERY early morning and EVERY sore day worth the cost.
You WILL be a Half Marathon finisher. You will be! You might even earn that Personal Record (PR). Give it all you’ve got. Don’t compromise your race with any of these saboteurs.
See you at the start line. March 6, 2016. Baton Rouge, La.