AUSTIN RECAP & 13 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE RUNNING A HALF MARATHON

Last Sunday I ran my third Half Marathon! It was the Austin Half Marathon and it went so much better than the year before. My time was 2:03:12 which I’m pretty happy with considering it was raining, we got in to Austin at 1AM the night before and I hadn’t trained with any hills.  My time for the same race last year was 2:20:50 and my time for the Dallas Half in December was 1:57:03.  I have definitely grown since my first race and thought it would be helpful to share my Half Marathon running tips since a few of you have reached out saying you have one coming up!

You can find my 20 week training program here, my first race recap here and my second race recap here!

half marathon running tips

shoes // hat top and leggings c/o on running

Hydrate for days leading up to the race

It really makes a huge difference in your performance! Make sure to hydrate before, during and after.

Don’t try anything new the day before or of the race

Make sure you have practiced a long run with the foods you are going to eat the day before and morning of so you don’t have any stomach problems during the race!  I like to have brown rice with edamame the night before and Starbucks Iced Coffee with a Think Thin or Rx Bar the morning of.  They usually hand out sports drinks and other gels during races, but make sure to only use what you’ve practiced with.  I personally just stick to water and these gummies. (I didn’t end up taking them in my last race, but had them with me just in case. For some reason they just didn’t sound good this time ha.)

You can Fold the top of your water cup in half

There is usually a water cup station every few miles.  You can pinch your cup at the top to drink while running so that it doesn’t spill all over you and you don’t have to slow down lol.  Not sure why I didn’t think to do this until midway through the Dallas Half in December, but it made a huge difference!

Cross training can make you a better runner

When I started training for my first race, I stopped doing any other forms of exercise because I was so worn out from running! For my last two races, I logged less miles in training, but kept up with pilates, stairs and the bike.  This actually made running way easier because I was also strengthening my core and upper body and it was also fun to switch things up!

Practice in your exact race day outfit

For my first Half Marathon, I wore a pair of shoes I had never done a long run in and got the worst blisters! You definitely want to practice a long run in everything including the socks and sports bra.  My most recent race was warm and raining.  I wore these shoes, these socks, shorts, a tank, this sports bra, this belt for my phone, my apple watch, a hat and these running headphones!  The outfit was perfect.

Don’t walk unless you have to

If I ever walk during a long run, that is when I start to feel the pain and it is hard to get going again!

Try not to look at your watch too often

Looking down at my watch during a long run can make it go by slower and the distance isn’t always accurate.  It is good to have for monitoring your pace and heart rate, but try not to check it too obsessively.

Research the course

The Austin Half Marathon has a lot of hills and a steep incline at the last mile.  You want to be mentally and physically prepared for the course so you know what to expect.

Keep moving after the finish line

Try not to stop and sit down for at least a few minutes after your cross the finish line!  You want to keep things moving and slowly get your heart rate down.

Stretch and Foam Roll

Getting in a good stretch and foam roll days before and after the race help make the recovery so much better.

Have a reward waiting that you can look forward to

It could be a celebratory brunch with friends, a long bath, a manicure or a massage… have something to look forward to while your running!

Plan your next runs

After the race is over, it can be kind of a let down to not have anything to train for!  I usually sign up for a 5k and schedule more weekly runs on my calendar so that I have a reason to keep running.

Relax

The whole thing is supposed to be fun… so relax, enjoy being around other runners and smile! You’ve trained for this!

Happy Running! Xo

running playlist

This fleece sweatshirt is so comfy to warm up in! You can download my running playlist here.

Below is the outfit I wore for the Austin Half last weekend.

austin half marathon

 

Images by Mary Summers