On Sunday I’ll be running the More/Fitness Half Marathon – my fifth half marathon (if you count the Nike one I jumped into unregistered on a date back in 2007-ish). I was a crazy kid back then and could run 13.1 at the drop of a hat. These days, I actually have to train and put in some half maraton prep.
To say I don’t feel prepared to meet my goals for the first time ever is an understatement.
Jess from Race Pace Wellness gave me a wonderful training plan, which she helped me adjust as challenges came up. Had I followed the original plan better, I’d be feeling good. But life happened.
I got sick and missed some speed work and a long run. An unexpected death in the family had me missing more runs.
The two long runs I did in Central Park felt slow – and then there’s my left knee, which hasn’t been itself since London.
But I’m staying optimistic. Long runs, speed work, cross training and strength training are only part of preparing for a race. I have a complete plan for half marathon prep that doesn’t involve any of the above – and in my opinion, is just as important. The following are a few of my tips for half marathon prep:
1. Detox: I give up alcohol, my beloved wine, at least two weeks before any race. It’s important for me to have my insides completely clean and functioning at their best.
2. Eating Clean: I kind of hate this term, but that’s what it is. Lots of greens, protein, slow burning carbs and minimal sugar. I’ve been eating at home as much as possible and making sure my meals are nutrient dense, adding lots of salads, green juices and smoothies to the line up. A lot of people think you have to “carb load” on pasta before a race. I make sure to eat plenty of slow burning carbs and healthy fat two days before (like this roasted sweet potato and black bean salad over arugula) then have a sensible meal of protein, healthy fat and slow burning carbs the night before.
3. Hydrate: Water is so important for flushing out toxins and keeping my energy levels up. I add citrus, mint and cucumber to a glass jar and sip on it throughout the day (see what I mean here), but I do this everyday, not just before a race. I’ll usually sneak in a coconut water or two also.
4. Massage & Acupuncture: Mid-week I got a massage to loosen up my legs, hips and lower back and acupuncture to help release some of the pain from my knee and I’m happy to report it worked! This morning’s run was pain-free and my knee is feeling good.
5. Sleep: Eight hours or more every night. Non-negotiable.
6. Envision: It always helps me to envision a positive outcome for any race – running strong, crossing the finish line at my goal pace and feeling happy and accomplished.
7. Stretch & Foam Roll: I’ve been doing this twice a day for the past week. As painful as foam rolling feels, I know it’s good for me so I force myself to do it as much as I can stand.
8. Heat: With my knee not being at its best, I’ve also been applying heat to keep the blood flowing and muscles loose.
9. Race Number and Packet Pick-up: I always do this two days before the race if possible so I can stay off my feet and not add more to my to-do list the day before. I picked everything up yesterday and got to catch up with Erica at the Erica Sara Designs Booth.
10. What to Wear: I plan what I’ll wear several weeks in advance. I make sure it’s clean the day before and then set it out right down to shoes, socks, race number and fuel the night before so I can easily locate everything on race morning.
What about you? After all the training and workouts, how do you prep for a race?
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