30 Day Challenge: Countdown to a Half Marathon
The OC Half Marathon is only three weeks away and the nerves are starting to set in. For a racing newbie it can all seem a little overwhelming and intimidating! I spent some time this week researching some helpful tips for marathon runners leading up to the race and how to get through race day itself. Whether you’re preparing for a marathon, obstacle course challenge or an endurance competition, here are eight tips to keep in mind.
Following a training schedule that suits your needs is important for race day success, but try to mix up your workouts along the way for best results. By incorporating other forms of exercise, you will help improve your overall fitness level while giving your bones and joints a rest. Try something low impact like swimming, cycling or yoga.
Be Comfortable in Your Attire
There’s nothing worse than having to tug at your shorts, adjust your bra or deal with hair in your face on race day so be sure to plan your outfit ahead of time. Pick breathable fabrics and test them out on at least one long run. Don’t forget double-layered socks to prevent blisters!
Know The Course
Whether you’re driving, running or even writing a paper, things seem to go by faster when you know what to expect. Prior to race day, scope out the course and pick landmarks throughout as mini goals along the way. Breaking the distance up into smaller segments will make it seem more manageable.
Tone down your workouts the week before your race to store up energy and give your muscles a break from the daily grind. Go on a few easy runs or do some light speedwork while preparing physically and mentally.
Game Day Fuel
Complex carbohydrates provide energy for long runs so be sure to fuel up properly the morning of your race. Test different foods prior to the day of and see what works for you. Be sure to stay hydrated throughout and take advantage of any water stations along the way. Check out these eight best foods for runners and start incorporating them into your diet now.
Be Mindful of Self Talk
Races and other competitions require a lot of mental toughness and your thoughts can heavily influence your performance. Focus on what you can control and change any negative thoughts you have into positives. Cheer yourself on throughout the race and remember, mind over matter!
Learn to Relax
One key factor to optimal performance is learning to focus on relaxation. A relaxed mind produces a relaxed body, which is a secret to fast running and efficiency. A relaxed body requires less effort and energy. Get into a relaxed state of mind by meditating, listening to soothing music, taking a hot bath or practicing yoga. Come race day be sure to relax the muscles in your face while running and avoid clenched fists.
Occupy your mind with something else (anything else!) than the task at hand and next thing you know the race will be half way over. Try focusing on the lyrics playing on your iPod, calculating the distance you’ve gone in your head, or making up an “I Spy” game for yourself.
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