I’ll be honest… my first few half marathons + marathons did not exactly go as planned. Especially my marathons. I felt like I did everything I could to train for those race correctly – track workouts, tempo runs, long runs, easy runs, strength training. But, come race day, I ended up crashing + burning halfway through the race.
The one thing I was missing?
A HYDRATION STRATEGY!
It’s amazing that something as simple as drinking something can totally ruin your race, but I can tell you from my personal experience, it is definitely the thing that can make or break your race.
But, I feel like I FINALLY have it all figured out, and once I practiced and put it into action, I was able to set my half marathon PR! And, get this, I WALKED and was still able to PR!
Here are my 4 hydration strategies that can help you have a successful fall half or marathon!
- Plan to hydrate every 20-30 minutes. This will be close to every 3 miles are so, which is typically about every other water stop in a race. You want to start hydrating EARLY in your race – regardless of whether it is hot or cold – so that you are not having to make up for it later in the race, when it is too late. I typically alternate water and sports drink every other time I rehydrate, but that is really up to you and what works best for you.
- Take the cup from the LAST person. I know it sounds really goofy (and it will go along with the next tip), but for me, this has helped me avoid people running by me and it’s one less decision I have to make during my race when I’m trying to stay focused on the task at hand. If I already know I’m going to take the last cup, then I don’t have to think about who to choose! Less decisions = more focused racing!
- WALK as you drink. I know this is the last thing any runner wants to do because they are SO concerned that they won’t be able to get started again. But, this takes minimal time – think, less than 30 seconds – and you will be able to drink more without having it spill all over you. I typically take the cup, start walking (which is why taking the last cup is also super important), squish one side so I have a siphon at the other end, take a few sips, and start running again.
- PERFECT PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT. OK, so it doesn’t necessarily have to be perfect, but it is one thing my high school choir teacher drilled into my head and I haven’t been able to let it go. You MUST practice your fueling strategy. Try to get as close to race-like conditions as possible, or at least everything you can control. From what they are offering during the race so you can see if it works with your stomach to when you are going to be stopping during the race. The more you practice it, the better it will go for you during the race. I would run a 3-mile loop that started and ended at my driveway in order to practice.
If you practice the strategy before race day, you are sure to see a great performance during your race this fall! But, the key is really knowing the strategy AND practicing it. And if it doesn’t work, try it again, or switch it up – which is another reason why you MUST practice!
Want more fueling, nutrition, running, and race strategies to help you get FASTER and train for your next PR?! All this and MORE is included in the Elite Running Academy VIP membership! You will get access to this hydration strategy, and…
>>> Pre- and post-run fueling strategies
>>> A daily nutrition program
>>> Race strategies for 5K, 10K, half marathon, and marathon races
>>> Running + strength workouts that will help you get stronger + FASTER
>>> A group of your newest running buddies to support you in your journey
>>> A coach who will be there to answer all your hydration + fueling questions to ensure you have your best race EVER!