• Helen Phillips

6 Rapid Results for Race Day!

Are you in training for a Half or Marathon this autumn?

There are loads of halves all across the country, as well as Berlin, Chester, Abingdon, Lock Ness, Dublin and New York Marathons coming up, as well as tons more in the US and halves pretty much in every city around!

If you're racing this autumn, here are my 6 Rapid Results for Race Day to make sure you enjoy your racing.

1. Don't try anything new

Race day isn't the time to be trying out anything new, whether it's sports drinks, gels or new trainers. It can be tempting to grab a bottle or some jelly beans from the crowd. But unless you've tried and tested them in training, don't! Lots of new distance runners experience stomach cramps, and worse, if a particular gel doesn't sit well in their stomach. Make sure you try everything out beforehand on your long training runs. So you're prepared.

2. Wear your best kit

A race is a great excuse for new kit. You want to be feeling good about yourself, so splashing out on a new T-shirt or funky leggings can be great for motivation.

But don't be tempted to run in new trainers. If they're on your 'kit to buy' list, make sure they don't rub and give you blisters in a few training runs first.

3. Wear your name

When the going gets tough having strangers cheer you on can really help with flagging morale and keep you pushing for home. Iron on letters are available on the internet and are not expensive. And you'll be rewarded with your own personal screaming fan base around the course!

4. Pace yourself right

You've heard it loads of times before, but DON'T GO OUT TOO FAST! You won't 'make up time' with a sprint burst early on, just burn yourself out ... and you'll be flagging by mile 10.

Instead have a target finish time in mind, and run at a consistent pace throughout. If by mile 10 your pace still feels easy and you've more energy in your legs, then you can run a bit faster and push for a time. Tracking with negative splits gives you additional kudos points with your running friends too! And it's so satisfying sprinting for the finish line if your legs have energy left!

5. Plan in walking with your running

If training hasn't gone to plan, from injury, illness or over indulgent holidays through the summer, and you're not sure whether you can run the entire 13.1 miles, then plan to run your half with a run-walk strategy.

Take your walk breaks every 20 - 30 minutes, rather than leaving it until you're exhausted to slow down. That way, if walking is planned, you won't feel you've 'failed" after. I used this strategy coming back from a bad adductor strain a few years ago and my time was hardly different to my pre injury races. I found my legs had more energy and I was prepared to push myself and run a little faster knowing I had a walk break ahead. Give it a go, you might surprise yourself with your finish time!

6. Smile for the camera

You might be struggling, but smiling will help you push past pain. Also, every time you see a camera smile, jump for joy or raise your arms in celebration. Race day pics are expensive. You don't want 'Moody Mary' race day pics to remind you of your achievement!

If you're like me, someone who is bound to forget something, check out my Race Day Checklist here. I've gone to halves forgetting gels, with a Garmin running out of battery and headed to a marathon on a day when trains weren't running! So stressful. I always go through my race day list at least a day in advance now.

And finally, to everyone running a 10k, half or marathon in the coming weeks. Relax and enjoy your race. Running a race is awesome ... enjoy the day and be proud of your bling.

Helen x

If you're interested in reading more of my tips for running download my FREE guide LONG RUNS MADE EASY.