Half Marathon for the Beginner: 7 Days until the race

I’ve written about training, nutrition, hydration and the gear you need. We’ve been training for a few months now and we have one week to go. What now?

This is the weekend before the big race. We want to hit our distance and pace targets next weekend. So, we have to start allowing our bodies to recover and be at full strength and health on race day.

There is always the thought for the novice runner that you have one more week to train and gain. But at this point, if you push a long run this weekend, you’ll take recovery time away from your body and it won’t be able to perform at the highest level next weekend. So any gain you might get from an extra long run this weekend won’t be realized in the result.

Here’s the plan I’ll be using for the second year.

This weekend, a week before the race, my long run will only be 8.5 miles max. I’ll have to force myself to stop. We will all be tempted to go ahead and run to 9 miles or round off to 10 miles. Don’t do it. Leave something in the tank as hard as it may be.

If you are like me you probably did 10 miles last week and probably 11 miles the week before that at the pace we wanted. We can do it. You don’t have to prove to anyone that you can do it again the week before the race.

The week of the race, our mid-week routine is going to switch up too. Instead of 3 to 5 miles on Tuesday and Thursday and cross training cardio 40 minutes on Friday, we are only going to run 2 to 3 miles on Monday and then run 2 miles max on Wednesday.

Do your cross training cardio on Tuesday for 30 minutes max on the bike (something sitting). It is also fine to skip leg day for this week (but just this week), and don’t work on your core in the weight room after Wednesday. Thursday and Friday will simply be passive recovery days.

Remember, hydration starts at least 2 days before the race and the big carb meal is also 2 days before the race, with a smaller carb meal the night before.

You’ve probably heard that one guy say he just goes out and runs and doesn’t think about all this. Well, that’s his thing. Maybe I’m not a natural runner, I have to train for it and prepare for it. I’ve made mistakes before my long training runs that I don’t want to repeat. I made mistakes before my last half marathon (drinking too much within an hour before the race) that I don’t want to repeat. Hopefully you can learn from my experience and be ready to run.

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