While many people finish half marathons in less than two hours, most of us are going to be out there for at least a couple hours. At that point, you need to think about your hydration and refueling a little bit more than you would for a 5K or 10K. You’ll have to think more about your race and recovery strategy, too, so we’ve put together a few tips to make your next (or first) half marathon a great one.
Make a list and put your gear together the night before. You might want to bring a few more things for your half marathon than you would for a quick(er) 5K. Making a list and setting everything out the night before will ensure that you don’t forget anything.
Check out the course ahead of time. When you’re running 13.1 miles, you don’t want to be surprised by a hill at mile 11, so review the course map online before you go. It can also be super motivating when you’re starting to feel tired to know you’re coming up on a special landmark.
Go the bathroom ahead of time. Going to the bathroom before a half marathon is a non-negotiable. No matter what you feel like, get in that port-a-potty line. You won’t regret it.
Find your pace group. Figure out your possible pace based on your training and goals and then either stand near that pace group or that part of the pack. If you aren’t contending for a top spot, don’t line up in the front, but you don’t have to be in the very back, either, unless you’re planning to walk the race.
Bring energy gels. It’s recommended to take energy gels every 45-60 minutes. Even if you’re running a fast half marathon, you’ll probably need to take at least one supplement. If the aid stations are going to have the kind of gel you usually take, you may not need to carry anything, but don’t count on trying something new on race day.
Keep moving. After the race, walk around for at least 10-20 minutes, if possible. This will help flush out your muscles and you will feel much better the next day!