The morning of a half marathon race can be an overwhelming experience. After months of training and race day prep, you will likely feel a combination of anxiety, adrenaline, nervousness, pride, restlessness, and exhilaration! It is easy to overlook the steps necessary to know how to prepare for a race the morning of, so it is helpful to have a ready checklist to use for the day of a half marathon. Make preparing for race day easy with this morning of half marathon prep tips and to do’s!
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Table of Contents
Morning of Your Half Marathon Checklist
In order for your half marathon race morning to go smoothly, take care of these to do’s on your race day checklist!
- Wake Up Early
- Eat a Hearty Breakfast
- Final Gear Check
- Final Weather Check
- Confirm Logistics
- Warm Up / Stretch
- Use the Bathroom
***Did you know you can get this checklist as a handy DOWNLOAD? Grab your own Half Marathon Race Day Morning Checklist HERE!
#1: Early Rise and Plenty of Time
Give yourself plenty of time the morning of a half marathon to prep, check over, and fuel up. If you think you need an hour, give yourself and hour and a half. You will need time to dress, check over the integrity of all necessary gear, and fuel up with your race day breakfast. Rushing before a race is bad for your mental game, as well as your physical game, if you are feeling anxious. That is not the head space you want to go into your half marathon with, and the best proactive way to offset this is to give yourself more time than you think you will need!
>>MORE: Check out why peanut butter is the ultimate runner fuel!
Give yourself enough time to consume all food you have deemed important. Today is not the day to skimp on fuel because you ran out of time. Your body will be thankful for every ounce of energy it gets later. Having enough time to properly eat should be of the highest priority.
Also consider that you will need time to arrive at the start line, park, pick up packets if you haven’t already done so, stretch, and make last minute bathroom arrangements. If you plan to check bags for post race pick up, or order merchandise, or change clothes, give yourself plenty of extra time to do so.
Bathrooms at many half marathon start lines get VERY crowded the closer it gets to start time, so count on using the bathroom taking some time.
Be sure to do some gentle stretches and light warm up before you start your half marathon. 10 -15 minutes of warming up should suffice.
Consider all these factors when determining how much time you will need to prepare for race day morning, and how early you should get up.
#2: Morning of Half Marathon Race Day Breakfast
Backing up to race day breakfast for just a moment, because this one is important. Make sure that your race day breakfast is energetic, easily digestible, and brimming with healthy carbs! Think toast, oatmeal, bananas, almonds, peanut butter, and the like.
>MORE: Check out this post for more meal suggestions that contain foods perfect for runners!
Also, hydrate consistently throughout your race day breakfast as you prep for the morning of your half marathon.
>MORE: Looking to up your nutrition and hydration game? Check out these meal planners, running checklists, and hydration trackers!
Whatever you do, do NOT experiment with new foods the morning of race day. There will be other runners showing off their fancy fuels, including some items you probably have never heard of. Save it for later, and stick with what has worked for you throughout your half marathon training.
#3: Final Half Marathon Day Gear Check
Hopefully, you laid out all your necessary running gear and clothing the night before, and hopefully you included a gear check over as part of your WEEK before a half marathon prep. That being said, complete one final gear and clothing check over as part of your half marathon race day prep.
Make sure every button, zipper, and clasp are in working order. Collect extras of everything you may need, from extra hair scrunchies to running gels.
Are you using a water hydration system on your person, like this Camelbak water hydration vest? Make sure it is pre-filled with water, and thoroughly checked over for any leaks.
Or you can opt to use a running hydration belt like this one, that comes with built in storage for your personal items. Of course, you should always check the race course and know where the aid stations are, and how frequent they are.
You also have the option to simply rehydrate at the stations with this trash free, environmentally friendly, cupless option, but I would always recommend having a hydration option on your person.
Make sure your running playlist is downloaded and ready to go, if you are choosing to listen to music during your run.
If you have your bib, go ahead and attach it to your running top now. If you are bringing gear or clothes for post race, have those ready to go in a drop bag.
If you are running with a form of Flip belt, or are utilizing a pocket system, decide now what items need to stay on your person for the race, like snacks, gels, or earbuds, and get those packed away in your transportation system.
Many half marathon races will give you a drawstring bag to carry essentials in, so if you have one, go ahead and load that up with the items you will need to use either immediately before or after your half marathon race. You can likely check this bag at the start line if there is a drop bag area, or leave it in your vehicle for later.
#4: Half Marathon Day Weather Check
Do a last minute check of the weather, and prepare for it by sticking to your original plan, or adjusting to new weather developments. Factors like rain may necessitate bringing an extra water-resistant or waterproof layer, like this ultra lightweight Outdoor Research waterproof and windproof jacket, for before, during, or after the race. Or weather may possibly cause your commute and parking time to take longer, in which case you will need to allocate more time.
#5: Confirm Logistics of Your Race Day Prep
Know the answers to these logistical questions in advance of race day morning:
- Do you know where to park?
- Can you walk to the start line, or is there a shuttle?
- Is there a fee to park, and do you have the necessary payment?
- Do you need to bring your driver’s license in order to pick up your runner’s packet?
- Are there specific wave start times, and do you know your wave? Or is there one general start time?
- If you are dropping a bag, do you know pick up procedures and location?
- Are you familiar with the course (how many loops, directional changes, elevation gain, etc.)?
- Do you know how many aid stations there are, how often they are spaced out, and what they are stocked with? (this will help determine how much water, snacks, gels, etc., you need to plan to carry on your person)
- Is there a post meal snack or meal provided, or do you need to make your own post race recovery plans?
- Do you have spectators coming along, and do they know where they can gather to wave, cheer, and meet you post race?
Hopefully these are questions you have already addressed leading up to the morning of your half marathon (as part of your week before half marathon checklist), but make sure you definitely know the answers before that first stride!
#6: Warm Up and Use the Bathroom
The two big things you need to do immediately before your half marathon start are to warm up / stretch, and use the bathroom. Give yourself at least 10 minutes to stretch and do some light warm up. Again, don’t try anything new or fancy now, stick to your warm up and stretching routines you have used throughout your half marathon training. Keep it easy and light, no over-exerting!
Make sure to use the bathroom before you start. Many courses have limited facilities en route. Bathroom ques can get quite long the morning of a half marathon, so give yourself plenty of time and do not wait until the very last second.
And there you have it, all the components of your half marathon race day prep! You are now fully knowledgeable on how to prepare for a race day morning on the long awaited morning of your half marathon!
Would you like this checklist in a handy DOWNLOAD?
You can get your own Half Marathon Race Morning Checklist Printable HERE!
***Wondering how to GET to this final morning of your half marathon training? Get the breakdown of all 12 steps that go into an effective half marathon training plan, starting with my 16 week half marathon training calendar for beginners.
*Want help creating a CUSTOMIZED training plan based on your INDIVIDUAL strengths and needs? Fill out this INTEREST FORM to get started on your 1:1 Training Calendar Consult!
- “WEEK BEFORE” Half Marathon Checklist
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Last update on 2023-08-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API