Do wear something you like. Maybe it’s just me, but if I feel good outside, I also feel good inside. Wear your favorite running clothes!
Don’t wear something uncomfortable. Be cute, but don’t sacrifice comfort in a half marathon. Because ouch.
Do start the race with a positive attitude. I’ve gone into races with a negative attitude, and guess what? Those races sucked. The mind is powerful. Keep a smile on your face. You get to do this. You are excited. You are going to rock it.
Don’t compare yourself to others. It’s hard not to, but everyone is so different.
Do remember everyone has off days. And everyone has days when they’re on. Some days your body just won’t work the way you want it to, and some days you’ll feel superhuman. Try to remember this.
Do have a pace plan. Unless you are simply running with friends (which is a different kind of plan), you should have some sort of pace plan. Why? Because it will keep you from going out to fast. It also gives you something else to focus on. The fastest half I ever ran was the one where I stuck to my pace plan. For help making a pace plan, Races2Remember is a good site.
Don’t stray from your pace plan too much. Stick to your plan as best you can. Try to stay within 5-10 seconds of your planned pace. Of course, if you are injured or feeling like something is really wrong, go ahead and throw away that plan.
Do listen to your body. It’s just a race. You want to finish it in one piece.
Don’t give up. A lot of what you’ll go through in a distance running event is mental. Tell your brain to be quiet. (Unless you are seriously injured or feeling like there is something really wrong with your body, obviously.)
Do use runners as a target. Focus on a runner in front of you and try to pass them. It’s not personal, it’s racing!
Don’t stop in the middle of the road. Your plan may be to have fun and take pictures along the course, but others might be sticking to a specific pace. Or maybe you are using the run-walk-run method. Pull off to the side when it’s time to walk, so you don’t interrupt the flow of your fellow runners.
Do try to look up during the race. Notice the surroundings. Hear the sounds. Look at the trees or the water or the sky. Be present.
Don’t forget to thank the volunteers. “Thanks” and a little wave go a long way.
Do share your accomplishment. Some people don’t post pictures to social media or talk about their races. Why? You never know who you’ll inspire!
Kerrie Turcic is a runner from Maple Valley, Wash. Kerrie is currently a copywriter by day, and also a