Earlier today I ran my 5th Amica Iron Horse Half Marathon (recap coming soon!) in some downright rainy and humid conditions.
Yes, I am currently training for the Leheigh Valley Marathon on September 11th but but since Amica Iron Horse was the first half marathon I ever ran it holds a special place in my heart and I always “try” and make it my “A” race of the Spring.
I have been a bit reflective this past week remembering how I prepared the week before my first half marathon in 2010. Basically it was spent “tapering” (or at least what I thought it meant at the time),taking 2 Tylenol PMs to make sure I got some sleep, but in all honestly I really just wanted to make sure I got to the start line on time.
Over the years I have picked up a few tips- some that worked and others that seemed like a good idea when I read/thought them up only to be disastrous. It’s been a lot of trial and error over the years, and I am neither a professional nor perfect, BUT in honor of my running my 5th Amica Iron Horse Half Marathon earlier today, I thought I would provide 5 tips that work for me a week before a half marathon.
What I Do A Week Before A Half Marathon
- Consistent Sleep – I am notorious for giving myself “5 more minutes” before going to bed and that often times leads to a later bed time than I would like. SO, week before a half marathon I make an effort to remain a home body and get as much sleep as possible. The race start time is usually early, so “banking” sleep earlier in the week is a good way to make sure you get to the start line as refreshed as possible.
- Recovery Tools – They should always be within reaching distance from the place you spend a lot of your time BUT if you have not been as consistent as you should have been during your training – break them out. If you don’t have a foam roller or other “torture” device, it’s a good idea to invest in one. If you can’t, then check out the myriad of resources online for different ways to stretch and perform self massage.
- Physical/Massage Therapy – Now this is not for everyone but I have been dealing with various ailments throughout my running career. This year I have made part of my routine to keep appointment with “my team” to stretch, strengthen and/or loosen any of those potentially niggling pains. One caveat – deep tissue massage (in my experience) the week before a half marathon is a no-no. Save and schedule those types of massages for after the race.
- “Clean Eating” – I know that means different things to different people. To me – it’s lots of fruit, vegetables and lean meats. No alcohol and no sweets! It’s one week – you will survive without your after work glass of wine or dessert before bed. Eyes on the prize, you’ve worked this hard. I’d rather get to the start line being fueled on lean meats, fruits and vegetables then fried food and ice cream. Trust me – this advice comes from experience. It’s no fun to run with that heavy feeling for 13.1 miles.
- Run 1 Quality Workout Mid Week– It does not have to be a long workout and it should not be one that leaves you fried at the end ,BUT a good quality workout the week of a half marathon helps keep my legs fresh and the blood moving.
So there you have it – the 5 things I make an extra special effort to make a part of my routine the week before any half marathon I run. I hope one (or all of them) help you get to the start line strong and focused!
Let’s Connect – Am I missing any? What do you do the week before a half marathon (or any race for that matter) to prepare?