It’s Half Time. Are You Ready?

This weekend is the Helvetia Half Marathon… are you ready? What can you do this week to make it a better experience? Read on for some of our favorite tips when preparing for a half-marathon.

Rest. This is our favorite. The worst thing you can do when leading up to any big event is to overdo it. And we’re not just talking about running or walking. Other activities can contribute to overtraining, so it’s time to curb other outside activities. The more rested you are on Saturday the better. So this is not the week to add an extra running day and it’s also OK to skip your weight training, yoga, or spin classes this week. Later in the week you may feel energized with all this rest and want to mow the lawn, clean the gutters, clean out the garage, or perform other strenuous activites. Don’t do it.

Rest again. This time we’re talking about sleep. Get a lot of it. Studies show that most people don’t get enough sleep, so this week make a point of going to bed 30 minutes to an hour earlier than normal. If you have trouble falling asleep, try to avoid screen time (TV/computer/iPad) for at least an hour before bedtime. Sleep is a major contributor to our fitness and performance ability, so don’t skimp. It’s also natural to not sleep well the night before a big event that we’re excited about. But if you get plenty of rest for the week leading up to the event, that last night won’t hurt you — so don’t toss and turn worrying that a bad night’s sleep on Friday night will bite you on Saturday morning.

Hydrate. It’s broken record time… but get an extra glass of water in every day this week. Keeping your system topped off on fluids this week is another great idea to prepare for race day.

Clip Toenails on Wednesday. This one is always a surprise, but a great tip. Sometimes we can go too short when clipping and create tender spots at the ends of our toes, so cut your toenails earlier in the week to give your tootsies a few days before we spend a few hours knocking them around in our running or walking shoes on Saturday morning.

Pack Friday Night. The night before the event, walk through your routine. Lay out your race clothes and post-race clothes (did I hear someone say ‘Beer Garden?’) on Friday night. Check the weather forecast to help choose the right gear. Don’t forget your hydration system if you use one on race day, race number pinned on shirt if you picked it up early, and other requirements. Anything you can do to ahead of time you should do. Make sure the car has gas, for example. The goal is to reduce stress in the morning, so you don’t waste energy trying to find your favorite socks. This results in reducing your heart rate that morning (a good thing). You’d be surprised by how many of my Facebook friends actually lay everything out on the bed (including shirt with race number) and then post a picture of it. It’s their I’m-Ready-To-Go-Routine and it gets them in the right frame of mind, which is “peace of mind.” Give it a try.

Be Early. This means getting out of bed with plenty of time. Eat breakfast or whatever you usually do before the event. Leave for the race earlier than you think you should. Parking and traffic can be a little sticky around Hillsboro Stadium. As our past Yellow Coach JR used to say (about marathons or triathlons or in his case, Ironmans): “I’ve never heard anyone complain about getting to an event too early.”

Have Fun and Stay Fit,
John