The training week before a half marathon race is a crucial time in your half marathon training plan. A lot goes into prepping for your half marathon a week before. This includes physical, mental, and logistical prep. Know how far to run, what to eat, when to rest, and how to coordinate the logistics of half marathon race week, with this concise last week before a half marathon checklist!
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Table of Contents
Get Ready for the Last Week Before a Half Marathon
This checklist will help you ace your half marathon race week with ease!
- How to EAT
- How to HYDRATE
- How to RUN
- How to CROSSTRAIN
- How to REST
- How to Coordinate LOGISTICS
- How to LAST MINUTE PREP
Want your own copy of this handy checklist?
#1: How to Eat During Half Marathon Race Week
You are going to want to start carb loading the week before your half marathon. But be careful, this is not a time to gorge on any kind of carb, it is the time to fuel your body with the right reserves of healthy carbs, to be stored up for use during your half marathon race.
>>MORE: Find out why peanut butter is a power food for runners!
In order to healthily carb load the last week before a half marathon, be INTENTIONAL. I would highly recommend planning out your diet for the week leading up to the half marathon, and know exactly what you plan to eat for each meal for the week.
***Need help meal prepping? Grab this Weekly Food Prep Printable!
If you need ideas for half marathon race week food prep, check out my sister post on the best foods for runners for plenty of ideas, including healthy carbs, proteins, fruits, and veggies.
And if you want specific meal ideas for the night and morning before your race, then you will want to check out this Half Marathon Race Day Checklist!
Remember, you are carb loading, so there’s no need to gorge, but do eat consistent healthy, carb rich meals each day, mixed in with consistent small snacks comprised of healthy carbs, fruits, and vegetables. Your body will appreciate every drop of energy you have stored up for it when it comes time for race day!
Your last dinner before race morning is critical. Focus extra attention on healthy carb loading for this meal. A favorite of runners is a pasta dinner, with some bread, veggies, and fruit on the side. I myself have eaten pasta the night before a big race, usually coupled with some bread or toast, a sweet potato, and fruits and veggies like berries and carrots.
#2: Hydrate and Then Hydrate Some More
In addition to eating right, you need to make sure that you are hydrating, consistently. Each and every day leading up to your half marathon race. Do not make the mistake of gorging on water 10 minutes before your start. Aim to drink at least 10 glasses of water each day throughout the day, in the week leading up to race morning.
>>>Need Help Tracking Your Daily Water Intake? Check out this handy daily water tracker!
This will help keep you hydrated not only during your race, but it will help to aid in your recovery afterwards. Also, the week before is a good time to avoid both sugary and alcoholic drinks. Stick to water the week before. Reward yourself after you cross the finish line.
*** Check out my collection of handy half marathon downloads, including trackers, checklists, calendars, and more resources for training!
#3: How to Run the Week Before a Half Marathon
Your last long run (and it should be tapered, according to my 16 week half marathon training calendar), should occur no less than a week before race day. DO NOT try to cram in a long run with less than a week before your half marathon. At this point in your training, quality is way more key than quantity. You need to be rested and your body fully restored for race day.
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That being said, several days out from half marathon race day, feel free to go for a quick jog, keeping your mileage no more than 2 or 3 miles tops, at a gentle pace. You are not going for speed or a personal record this time, just to keep loose. Think of it as just shaking out your legs in preparation.
If you feel like another rest day would be more beneficial than a short jog, then give yourself a grace pass. There have been half marathon race weeks where I have skipped the last, short run day, and instead opted for a rest day, or a cross train day, or just a short walk. Listen to your body at this point.
No matter whether you take part in a short, loosening run or not the last week before a half marathon race, keep your pace and effort relaxed. Do not over do it!
#4: How to Cross Train the Last Week Before a Half Marathon
You should still be cross training during the week leading up to a half marathon. Do some yoga or Pilates, take a bike ride or some long walks, do some easy HIIT home workout routines, etc. But be sure to not push or over-exert yourself on your cross training. Keep it simple and relaxed.
***Want your own customizable HIIT Workout Plan? Download your own HERE!
#5: How to Rest During Half Marathon Race Week
Rest is VERY, VERY important. That is why not only should you be tapering your long runs the week before a half marathon, but you should also be upping your dosage of rest.
As you can see on my own 16 week half marathon training calendar, there is an extra day of rest the training week before a half marathon. Make sure that you take this rest seriously. Eat healthy, hydrate, and REST.
#6: How to Coordinate Half Marathon Race Week Logistics
There are logistical aspects to consider when coordinating plans for the week before a half marathon.
#7: Know Your Course the Week Leading Up to a Half Marathon
Take a final look over the course. Get to know it inside and out. Know where the hills are. Know where the aid stations are. Know how far apart they are stationed. Visualize yourself running the course. If you plan to fuel mid race with gels or snacks, know your anticipated when and where you will plan to do this, or whether you plan to rely on aid stations solely.
What’s your hydration plan? Will you utilize aid stations solely? Then you might want one of these trash free, eco friendly cups!
What’s the weather going to be like on race day? It does not hurt to start checking a week before your half marathon, to help prep things you might need for the weather, like special gear. Knowing the anticipated weather and temperatures can help you start assessing what clothes and gear you will need to bring, for during your race as well as after. For a super lightweight, highly compressible, waterproof and windproof outer shell for those rainy morning starts, check out the Outdoor Research Helium II jacket!
Do you foresee needing to shed layers based on your anticipated weather forecast? Remember, your race day morning may start off chilly, but several hours later you may be warmed up enough to not require layers. If so, are there places along the course to drop layers?
Do you anticipate being cold as you wait at the start line, but then fine as you begin your run? You may even want to consider buying a pair of cheap sweat pants to wear (that you can leave in a drop bag at the start line) in the starting corrals, that you can shed as soon as you are ready to take off.
#8: Know and Prep Your Race Day Food
Start planning a week before your half marathon what you will eat the morning of your race, and start buying what you can ahead of time. Remember, race day is NOT the time to try new fuels, stick to what has worked for you for the entirety of your half marathon training.
>>>MORE: Check out why peanut butter is the ultimate power fuel for runners!
Check whether your post race festivities will include a post race meal or snack, and if not, then start coordinating to get your recovery foods purchased. And if you plan to fuel mid race, start obtaining those items as well.
And, that brings up a good question – do you NEED to fuel during a half marathon? Get the answer to that question HERE!
#9: Check and Prep Your Gear
Start visualizing and mentally laying out the gear you will need. Do some check overs during the week before a half marathon. Check the integrity of your shoe laces. Are all your zippers and buttons on all your clothing and gear secure? Do you have an extra hair scrunchy (one of my most common issues is having my hair scrunchy snap during a run and not having a backup).
Check over every piece of clothing and gear you plan to use, from the key pieces to the supporting players. If you are using a water bladder in a running hydration vest, like my Camelbak running hydration vest, check for leaks. Start doing laundry and laying aside what you need to pack/use for race day.
Are you a music runner? Then start getting your playlist together. Make sure your bluetooth or earbuds are working properly.
Just like race day is not the time to experiment with new foods and fuels, neither is it the time to experiment with new gear. Stick to what has worked for you. That is why is it is so important to check over your gear the last week before a half marathon, and make sure everything you plan to use and rely on is ready to go for race day.
#10: Know Racer and Spectator Logistics
Don’t forget about logistics for yourself and any spectators that may be there to support you! Do you need to start arranging transportation to and from the start and finish lines? If necessary, are your overnight lodging plans secured?
Are there certain places along the course for spectators to gather, and do they know how to access those points? If you have family and friends coming, do you have a post race meet up spot or plan in place?
Will you change clothes immediately after your race? If so, then start laying aside and packing what you will need to change into.
***Check out this sister post on last minute prep the morning of your half marathon race. And….
#11: Last Minute Prep Before Bed
- Finish a hearty, healthy, carb loaded dinner along with plenty of hydration!
- Set your morning alarm. Remember, give yourself plenty of time, especially if you are a first timer.
- Charge your phone, earbuds, watch, GPS, etc. and have them prepped and ready to go.
- Lay out your non-perishable breakfast food items and have them ready to go for the morning.
- Lay out your clothing, bib (if you have picked it up already) and gear.
- Do a final gear and clothing check.
- Pack personal items in advance, like gels, snacks, ID, etc., in your running belt or vest, etc.
- Read a book or do something calming to relax your mind for sleep. Try to go to bed early.
And there you have it, how to successfully prep for your last week before a half marathon, and confidently go into race day! So what comes next?
Get to know all the other components of a successful half marathon training plan, with my 16 week half marathon training program for beginners, designed to get you from 1st stride to finish line in just 16 weeks!
Need a half marathon training calendar to go along with your training program?
It comes complete with all of your weekly runs, weekly mileage increases, cross training days, and rest days, all planned out for you!
***Want all this INFO plus MORE? Get your complete Half Marathon Training Ebook here! Full of helpful downloadables and printables that show you exactly how to execute everything on this checklist, from the months leading up to your race, to race day morning!
- The 13 Best Running Goals for Beginners
- Do I Need to Fuel During a Half Marathon?
- What to Eat the Night Before a Long Run
- Essential Beginner Running Gear
- 17 Tips for Training for a Half Marathon
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Last update on 2023-08-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API