The Run Melbourne will be held this coming Sunday. This might be the race you've been training hard for, or it may be part of your longer term goal on the way to the Melbourne Marathon in 12 weeks time (October 16).
Either way, whether you're planning on running a PB or just looking to have a great race, the Half Marathon distance is a great way to test your pace and your progress.
Here's a few, well six tips to get you started on the right foot on race day.
1. Preparation : Ensure you eat well for the couple of days leading up to the race; add a few more carb dishes to your diet and drink plenty of water. or an electrolyte mix like Endura. You'll know that your muscle glycogen stores are full, and you're well hydrated and ready to race when you wake up on race day.
- lay out all of your race gear the night before, & attach your bib to your singlet. Don't forget to fully charge your running watch!
- it's usually pretty cold on the start line, so take a warm windcheater with you to throw away just before the start. An old one will do or pick one up from St.Vinnies.
2. When you wake up : You're fully fuelled from the night before, so you only need a light breakfast and about 500 mLs of water/Endura. Don't eat or drink more than this, or you'll be lining up for the toilet instead of running your race.
3. Warm Up : You want to be ready to race from the start, so with about 20-25 minutes before the gun do the following. Spend 5-10 minutes easy jogging to get your heart rate & circulation going, then perform 5-6 strides ( 60m @ 70% ) to get your nervous system switched on & ready to run.
4. Racing Now! : The gun has gone, and the mad flurry of runners stream by. Resist the urge to race away towards the front of the pack. Be patient, start within your goal race pace and avoid dodging and weaving past other runners, which will only waste valuable energy. The crowd will ease after 1-2 kms, by which time you will have settled into your running rhythm. Now, you can start to pick up your pace gradually to your goal pace. You don't need to catch up any lost time in the very next km, but get up to pace, get relaxed and find your rhythm. There's plenty of time to come.
5. Race Plan : Your start should always be relaxed, slightly off your goal pace, allowing your body and yourself to settle into the run. This should only take 10-15 minutes before your are ready to pick it up a bit. From this point you can work your way up to your race pace focussing on good running form; think smooth, light & easy. Once you get to the half way point, and you're feeling good, you can start to push your pace a little higher up towards your threshold. Now, with 5 kms to go, it's time to really put your training to the test, pushing your pace a little further and your lactate threshold. This is where your Tempo (threshold) training will kick in as you come home with a fast finish and a big smile.
6. Use the Course Luke! : Of course the course is not flat, and this new one is less so than the old one. Naturally, this can play havoc with your paces and pacing. So, it's most important to use the course - the uphills and downs to your advantage. Let your pace ease up on the uphill sections; just keep relaxed, shorten your stride, maintain your cadence and get up as efficiently as possible. Then on the downhills; of which there are plenty in the second half of the course, relax again, open up your stride and you'll catch up that time.
Good luck and all the best to every runner this weekend.
As always, Run Well and love the run!