Depending on your level of fitness as a runner, you’ve probably spent anywhere from about 12 to 16 weeks training for your half marathon.
Now, you’re in the final week of training — hopefully enjoying the taper process without going too crazy — and while most of the hard work is well behind you, this point in your training is just as important as all the rest.
As race day inches closer, there are a few things you’ll want to pay extra special attention to if you want to increase your odds of having a truly great race.
They’re all healthy habits that hopefully you maintain on a regular basis and especially through a training cycle, but that you’ll really want to hone in on in the final days leading up to your race.
Sleep: Be especially adamant about getting at least eight hours every night in the week leading up to your half marathon. Sleep is cumulative. If you miss out, you can’t make it up by sleeping more the next day, which is why it’s important to get a good night’s sleep on a regular basis. That said, it’s natural to be nervous the night before your race, so if have trouble sleeping that night, don’t stress over it. It’s more important that you get enough quality sleep during the week before your race and the night before the day before your race.
Nutrition: Slightly increase your carb intake. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean you should stuff your face with donuts, bagels and ice cream — refined carbs and sugars don’t make for the best long-term fuel sources. The goal is to fuel your body with nutrient-dense carbs by eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Foot Care: Be extra friendly to your feet this week. Wear comfortable shoes as often as possible, especially if you do a lot of walking during the day. This means ditch the high heels and definitely avoid any shoes you know might give you blisters.
Yoga and Foam Rolling: If you don’t do so already, add some stretching and foam rolling to your post-run routine. It’s especially a good idea to use a foam roller to break up tight muscle tissue and then stretch with a few runner-friendly yoga poses afterward.