Unlike the Boy Scouts who are always prepared, I arrived at my very first half marathon lacking some fundamental “Do’s” and “Don’ts.” After some practical experience with the process, however, I learned these basic guidelines to make future races a bit easier:
1. Weather—always check the weather forecast! I arrived ill-prepared for the climate change from Austin to Dallas: 84—hot and humid to 51—cold and cloudy.
2. Nutrition—stay away from fiber to avoid unexpected port-a-potty visits and go heavy on the carbs to sustain energy.
3. Transportation—not a great idea to drive 200 miles after you run 13.1 miles! I should have either planned to stay the night or had a chauffer drive me home, which is what I ended up doing.
4. Sleep—plenty of rest is required to pound the pavement at your peak.
5. Meditation—clear your mind to silence the chattering.
6. Ego—don’t run with your ego. A friend passed this tidbit along to me, and I must say it helped me fight the urge to “compete” with the runners who passed me.
7. Music—make sure your playlist is ready to go. My personal favorites to energize my run are Usher, Pink, Flo Rida, Chingy, and A$AP.
8. Training schedule—stay on track! Despite the advice of all my friends, runners and non-runners alike, I jumped ahead of my training schedule and ran all 13.1 miles two weeks early. The resulting leg injury made the eleventh mile of the actual race particularly difficult.
9. Course map—don’t look at the course map, it will freak you out! Enough said.
10. Cheering section—make sure to bring some friends along…you’ll need them for moral support during the race and physical support after the race.
11. Estimated finish time—don’t provide a fraudulent finish time based on your poor self-esteem. Personally I ended up in corral 14 based on the time I submitted. For those of you who don’t know, this section is where they stick all the walkers.
12. Survival Kit—you’ll need a handy survival kit: band-aids, Neosporin, Advil, Cliff bars, water, lots of water…
13. Bling—wear your “bling” only on race day. Apparently, continuing to wear your medal in normal day to day activities is considered bragging.
I respect my shortcomings that led to this list. After all, progress rather than perfection even applies to half marathons, and moving forward, I am properly armed for my next marathon.
About the Author:
Vickie Bing is the Director of Alumni Services for BRC Recovery. She received her B.A. in English from the University of Texas at Arlington. Vickie is a former high school teacher. She is also an Air Force Veteran. You can read other posts at brcrecovery.com/blog.