Your 1st Half Marathon – Race day


On race week the nerves get in the way and people do crazy things. So many of you listen to our tips each week at classes and workshops but seem to forget everything a few days before the race. Don’t be one of those people.

Many thanks to Coach Aoife for putting together these wise words of wisdom and a few little reminders to keep you all calm in the days leading up to the Half Marathon….

half crazy

So you signed up months ago thinking it would never come (half hoping, almost dreaming). You told your family you were going to run a Half Marathon and you even sacrificed a few nights out as you had to get up early to do your long run in the morning. So you got this far, here’s how not to muck it all up on the day…

Don’t do anything new

If you have a question about anything for the night before or the day of the race this is the answer.

Night before the race

Treat it like the night before any training run. Have a normal dinner . Don’t eat anything you wouldn’t usually eat the day before a run. If you have some pre-race nerves don’t decide to go out for a little run to just calm you down, there is no benefit to doing it!

Have a  quick look at the route, and remind yourself where the water stations are. Check if the route marked in miles or kms. Work out the  arrangements for bag drop if you are using this facility. Lay out your gear, the same items you have been wearing during your long run. You don’t want to be rushing around in the morning looking for your lucky socks.

Leave the brand new socks/ runners / t-shirt etc for your next run, the last thing you want on the day is something uncomfortable that has not been tried and tested during your usual run. No matter how good the race expo gear is.


Pin your number to your top, now sit back and relax.

The training is done, Trust the Training.


Follow exactly the same routine you did for every one of your long runs in training.

Bathroom at the race?

All large events provide toilet facilities before the run and most will have some along the route too. Again check the route map for information.

Raining on the day?


If its raining you wouldn’t be the first person to arrive wearing a black bag. Rain coats  can make you very sweaty when you run in them and if the rain clears then you just have another thing to carry around the route. Wear a plastic poncho or create your own using a black sack with arm holes cut out. You can dispose of this at the start line.

How much water should I drink before the run?

You should be well hydrated by drinking water the days leading up to the race, on the morning have a glass with breakfast or bring a small bottle with you while you travel to the race. Too much will leave you feeling like you are carrying a water butt in your tummy and needing to go to the loo alot more than the usual pre race nerves will entail.

When should I take on water during the race?


Take on some water at each water station, even if you are not particurlarly thirsty have a sip and even just rinse out your mouth. You will thank yourself in a few miles.

What about gels and sports drinks?

Only take them if you have used them during your training runs. If you pass a water station at 10 miles and see they are giving out bottles of Lucozade, at this stage you are thirsty and feeling a little sorry for yourself… sure what harm would a mouthful do??… Alot, you don’t know how your stomach is going to react to taking on anything during running, especially at the end when your body is under extra stress.

If you are not used to it in training don’t decide now is the time to try this out!

Get to the race in plenty of time

Ok, so now you have arrived at the start line and you are ready. Be careful not to get carried away with how good you feel in the first few kms. As you hopefully had a week of tapering your legs are fresher for this run than they have been for your last few long runs. It is so easy to get dragged along by the crowd. Run your own race and respect the distance. If you still feel very comfortable at 11 or 12 miles then you can increase your pace a little but for the most part, sit back into a comfortable pace and enjoy the journey.


Smile for the cameras and the supporters and it will automatically make you feel better even if its a fake smile. Everyone around you will be jealous of your happy face. Some might even smile back.

You will never get to run your First Half Marathon again. Enjoy it.

the smile one


Don’t forget some cash for your post run coffee / cake. Well deserved.


Good luck to all our runners taking part in Half Marathon this weekend. No matter how hard you have trained its normal to feel anxious on race week. The hard work is done now. Its up to you to make the most of the race day. Relax, enjoy and don’t be worrying about things that are not in your own control.

Read more about our Half Marathon Coaching success stories.

fter a race

If ever you have a question or a worry, just contact us.