Prepare to Recover – Top Tips for Half Marathon Success
So you’ve signed up to run a half marathon… great! But unless pounding the pavement for 13.1 miles non-stop comes as naturally to you as brushing your teeth, the key to your success is understanding that the run itself makes up just a small part of the hard work that has to happen in order to cross that finish line and — just as important — to feel good in the days after.
Most half marathon training programs are about 12 weeks long… but we’re not here to tell you what to do during those three months of sprints, long runs and intervals. We’ll leave that to your friendly neighbourhood running group, trainer or fitness app.
We want to talk about that last gruelling week leading up to the race (seriously, the hardest of all if you ask us) and the days after the race. Your training and recovery regimen during this time is the key to being able to savor the victory of crossing the finish line without having to feel the burn for days on end afterward.
Final Pre- Half Marathon Training Tips
- 7 Days To Go
- Eat plenty of unprocessed, starchy carbs. The best carbohydrates to eat in the days leading up to the race include whole grains, cherries, sweet potatoes, beets and honey. These will help get your body, and mind, ready for the journey ahead.
- Practice makes perfect! Head down to the course to try it out a couple times so that your mind and body can get an understanding of the terrain.
- Get plenty of rest. Be sure to get a lot of sleep the week leading up to the race and avoid heavy workouts. Without sufficient rest your body will feel overworked and tired on race day. Don’t avoid working out all together but take it easy – add in walks, swimming and yoga.
- 24 Hours To Go
- Don’t run on an empty stomach. Be sure to have a healthy breakfast that includes complex carbs like a slice of toast with peanut butter. You know what works best for your body. Hopefully you’ve done some testing by now.
- Hydrate! It’s important to drink plenty of water. By drinking OXiGEN water, you’ll also be increasing the oxygen levels in your body, helping to improve endurance and stamina for your run.
- Take it easy. Plan for a relaxing day in order to save all of your energy for the big race. This way you’ll be refreshed and ready to go.
- Plan ahead. Lay out all of your race gear the evening before. You’ll need your race bib (don’t forget the safety pins!), your shirt, shorts (or pants), extra hair ties (if needed), socks and your running shoes. PRO TIP: Wear clothes and socks that you’ve run in before – race day is not the day to try a new shirt, shoes or socks!
- Today’s the Day!
- Channel positivity. Expect the unexpected but remain positive and stay motivated!
- Get there early! Aim to be there at least 90 minutes early. Rushing to get there, park and find your spot in line will only stress you out and that’s the last thing you need before the race.
- Take an OXiGEN shot half an hour before start time. Since the water stations probably won’t be serving OXiGEN water (we’re working on it!), you’ll want to be sure to get your extra dose of oxygen before you hit the course.
- Warm your muscles. Loosen up your muscles by doing some key stretches before you start running. Proper stretching will help prevent injuries and muscle cramps. An overview of some of the best pre-race stretches can be found HERE.
- 6 Tips to Boost Your Half Marathon Recovery The Day Of
- Rehydrate! You lose small amounts of body weight due to loss of fluid during half marathons. So be sure to drink plenty of water post race.
- When you take OXiGEN water, you’re giving yourself a chance to recover faster. The active ingredient in OXiGEN water, ASO®, has been shown to speed up the clearance of lactic acid. Bonus!
- Stretch. Stretching after a run is very important as it will help keep the muscles warm and flexible, thus avoiding injuries.
- Chill out. Hours after the race, treat your body to an ice bath. The cold therapy treatment will reduce swelling and soreness.
- The Day After
- Get some sleep! You’re going to be extra tired the following day and probably very sore. Be sure to relax so your body can heal. Maybe even get a massage, you deserve it!
- Go to yoga. Yoga is a good way to recover from almost anything you do. Sign up for a class the next day or try our five yoga moves at home that can help you recover post-workout.
Now you’re ready to conquer a half marathon! Take our advice and follow these helpful tips for how to prepare and recover for a half marathon. If you’re looking to sign up for one soon, check out the San Francisco Half Marathon, we’ll be there cheering you on!