Fitness, Running Tips

5 Things You Should Do The Week Before A Half Marathon

On Sunday I will be running my 5th half marathon!

It’s crazy to think I only started racing a little over a year ago and have already completed 4 half marathons and a full marathon. I completely fell in love with the structure running brings to my life and the huge sense of accomplishment you get crossing that finish line knowing all your hard work and dedication has paid off.

Yep, you could say I’m addicted to running.

To prepare for America’s Finest City Half Marathon this weekend I’ve reflected on my previous 4 half marathons and what I did in the weeks leading up to them.

What worked…what didn’t work…what I’m going to do differently this time…etc. and it sparked the idea for this post on 5 things you should do the week before a half.

The week before a half marathon is one of the most important weeks of your entire training schedule. I’ve made a lot of mistakes the week leading into a half that cost me big time come race day…upset stomachs, heavy legs, almost missing the start of a race, running high on DayQuil…etc so here’s some tips to help you run your best half possible!


So sweaty post run this past weekend!

5 Things You Should Do The Week Before A Half Marathon:

1. Stick to your eating normal routine- It’s so tempting the week before a half to change everything you’ve been doing to “prepare” for your race. But in reality it’s so much better to just stick to what you’ve been doing. If you normally eat ice cream after dinner every day…keep doing it. Do you usually eat pizza the night before your long runs? Have that pizza the night before a half not a brand new “healthy” chicken recipe. Your body is already in such a routine from months of training so resist the urge to throw off that balance the week before your race. 

Ideas for good things to eat the morning of a run click here. 

2. Actually read the race info & study the course map- This is so important especially if your doing a point to point race (a race where you start and end in different locations). Having a game plan and knowing all the details about parking, shuttle times, gear check…etc can prevent so much race day stress. Also be sure to check what will be on the course for hydration/fuel. I learned this the hard way in a half where I just drank whatever was on the course…uhhhh whatever it was made my stomach so upset. Most races have water and a sports drink so just know if it’s not a sports drink you’ve had before consider carry your own or stick tow water.

All my race day essentials including clip on water bottles here.

The course map may be the single most important thing to look at! You probably should have looked at this the second you signed up for the race to adjust your training accordingly but just in case you haven’t DO IT! Knowing you have a flat race then the last mile all uphill will allow you to adjust your speed accordingly plus nobody likes a surprise hill at mile 12!

More on training/ preparing for hilly races here.

3. Start hydrating NOW- Sorry but if you think hydrating the night before a race is going to be enough…it’s not. You really need to start hydrating about a week before a half. I highly recommend making things easy and just adding an extra 20 oz of water/ day into your routine. Also be careful of consuming alcohol the week before a race. It’s incredibly dehydrating, interferes with proper sleep and can throw off your digestion. My advice….stick to that good old fashioned H2O!

Tips for drinking more water throughout your day here.

4. Take extra precautions to avoid getting sick- Maybe I’m just crazy but I swear the week before a race I always feel like I’m getting sick. Maybe it’s going from months of intense training to chilling out in the taper weeks or maybe it’s all in my head…who knows. What I do know is the week before a race I wash my hands constantly, use hand sanitizer after touching anything and avoid super crowded places.

5. Find the balance between rest & staying loose- It’s taken me a long time to find what works for me. I’ve taken tapering too seriously and didn’t run AT ALL the week before a race and not tapered at all running 12 miles the week of a half and lifting weights the day before…both were not ideal haha! You want to go on some easy runs the week before your race to keep your muscles loose but now is not the time to try Orangetheory Fitness for the first time or do a last minute tempo run. You will not gain any physical fitness the week before a race so relax, stay loose and enjoy some extra time in your day.


I seriously do 90% of my training on trails…it makes transitioning to pavement so much easier!

Your Turn,

What do you always do the week before a half marathon?

Have you ever ran a half marathon?

Anyone else running America’s Finest City Half this weekend?


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1 Comment

  • Reply GiGi August 16, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    I’d say – DONT think of it like a race. I feel like if you do that, you will only get more anxious about it!

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