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Half Marathon Do's and Don'ts

May 28, 2019 - Lauren Leaman
Ever wonder what you should and should not do on race day? Here are the do's and don'ts of a half marathon.


1. Have a practice race

You do not want your first race to be a half marathon. You want to start small with a shorter race such as a 5K or 10K. A trial run will help you get a better understanding of your body. This will help you to avoid injuries and set you up for a smooth race.

2. Buy cushioned inserts for your shoes

Make sure on race day you are not wearing brand new shoes. You want to wear the shoes that you have been training in. This is because new shoes can cause blisters and discomfort during the race. To increase your foot comfort level try replacing your shoe inserts the night before the big race.

3. Warm up before running

Whether you are an elite racer or a hobby racer you should always warm up before the race. This will prevent injury and discomfort throughout the race. You should have a sweat going before the race starts. This means that your muscles are loose and ready to go.

4. Stretch and roll out the night before

Not only is it important to warm up the day of the race but also the night before. Stretching and rolling out your muscles the night before a race will make it easier to loosen them the day of and gives yourself a better shot at an easier race.

5. Take advantage of gravity

You may not think you are able to get up the big hill but you have to remember if you go up you'll have to come down. Once you reach the top of the hill take advantage of the down hill slope, relax your body and let the decline carry you down. This will help you save energy and let your body relax for a few seconds.


When that medal is placed on your neck at the finish line, do not take it off. Flaunt it around town. You worked hard to get it so you deserve to show it off and tell everyone that you did it.


1. Ignore your body

The biggest mistake you can make is to ignore your body. Post run soreness IS okay, but pain that drags on for days is not. Same goes for during the race, if you are not feeling well then you should walk or even stop. Listen to your body, your health is more important than finishing the race.

2. Don't start too fast

The worst thing you can do is PR in the first mile of the race. If you start off too fast it is going to make for a long 13.1 miles. Be sure to pace yourself and not go out too hard at the start of the race. Wear a running watch to help you keep track of your mile splits and overall time.

3. Forget to drink water before and after

Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. It doesn't matter if it is going to be 50 degrees or 90 degrees, you need hydrate the same way.You should start hydrating at least 3 days before your race. Dehydration is a racer's worse nightmare, not only will you not race as well as you would like but it could become crucial to your health.

4. Ignore your stretches afterwards

It is just as important to stretch after the race as it is to stretch before the race. Post race stretching will decrease muscle cramping and soreness. This is something that most racers forget to do, but is one of the most important.

5. Eat breakfast too close to race time

One thing you don't want is a huge side stitch from your breakfast only one mile into a 13.1 mile race. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to eat before the race so that your food has some time to digest and not cause you pain during the race. Some people may need up to an hour or two hours pre-race.

6. Use another racer's bib

Using another racer's bib can create a ton of unwanted stress on the race director. This can cause issues with timing, ranking and awards system. Be sure you wear the race bib that is given to you, if you find a race bib you will want to turn in it to the race director or a volunteer so that the issue can be resolved.


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