So you’re running your first half, huh?

This past weekend I ran the St. Luke’s Half Marathon in Allentown PA and was reminded how much I hate their hills.  The race was also 25% newbies, meaning this was their first half marathon. Ever.  I ran into someone at Kathrine Switzer’s booth at the expo who lost 125 lbs and was running her first half.  This weekend, I’m running the Cap City Half (and was stupid enough to go for a run today) and it sounds like there’s going to be another good crowd of newbies to the half marathon running scene.  On the Cap City Facebook page, they asked for advice from the veterans to people breaking their half marathon virginity.  It got me thinking, so here’s advice from yours truly (ME, of course!):

  1. Don’t show up at the expo 5 minutes before it closes on the last day.  Make sure you get to the expo with plenty of time to get your bib, swag bag and shirt and to take care of any unexpected problems (like your 6′ tall husband registered the both of youand ordered you a large shirt when you’re 5’2 and 120 lbs) or if there’s something wrong with your registration.  You don’t want to get locked out!!
  2. Bring your confirmation sheet with you (For Cap City, go to the Confirmation Page, look yourself up and there should be a print button to print out your ticket).  It eases things up on you when you’re picking up your bib.
  3. NEW ADDITION: Make sure to fill out the medical info on the back of your bib.  If something happens to you (and yes, I’ve seen runners passed out on the side of the course or taking breathing treatments from medics and having trouble speaking), this is the first thing medics go to.  Be honest here!!
  4. Enjoy the expo!  And scout out free stuff, there’s usually a lot of it.
  5. Carbs. And carb loading.  2 nights and the night before, make sure you have some pasta (or something of the like) to get yourself enough fuel before race day.
  6. Don’t try anything new.  This goes for diet (so you don’t mess up your GI system) and sleep.
  7. Get a good night’s sleep 2 nights before the race.  The night before race day, you’re going to be too excited AND you have to be up bright and early the next morning to get to the start.  Don’t make me get Bart Yasso to yell at you!
  8. Hydrate before the race!  And by before, I mean at least the day before. You’ll be sweating through whatever you’re wearing and you’ll have salt dried to you after the race.  Be nice to you’re body!
  9. Have a certain type of Gel, GU, Powerade Chew, etc that you like?  Bring it with you race day.  I don’t go anywhere near gels, I gag on them.  I always tell people (for me personally) that the only way their getting me to use a gel or a GU is if I’m being threatened with an IV.  For the record, I’ve found that powerade chews work for me so they come with me every race.
  10. Traveling for a race? Check the weather.  Or bring a few different clothing options if you’re not sure.  Or both.  I usually have shorts and capris, a short sleeved and long sleeved shirt.  For events early or later in the year, I plan accordingly.
  11. Run your race.  If you’ve been running 10 minute miles, go with it.  Don’t try and run with the Kenyans and Ethiopians- you’ll hurt yourself and you’ll be miserable the entire time!

    Don't run so you're looking like Homer Simpson!

  12. Run to enjoy the race.  You only get one first race, so it’ll be your PR no matter how you look at it!  Don’t worry about times, you have the rest of your running life to compare times

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