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Half-Marathon Checklist

The Night-Before-Your-Half-Marathon Checklist

Prepping and training for a half-marathon is almost — if not equally — as challenging as actually running those 13.1 miles. People can seriously underestimate the work involved, and details can often go overlooked. Getting everything in order the night before is an excellent way to reduce stress, calm your mind, and ensure your half-marathon goes as smoothly as possible — then it's just you and those miles.

  1. Get your carbs. Have a nice, carby dinner with some protein to make sure you're fueled and ready for the next day and you have enough calories to sustain your long run. A prerace ritual I've developed with friends is going out for an early Italian dinner the night before a race. I would also recommend getting a BCAA drink, so you can start getting your body ready for the next day.
  2. Lay out your race-day kit. The last thing you want to be doing the morning of your race is frantically searching your room for that one thing (or several things). Finding and sorting out everything the night before will alleviate stress and ensure smooth sailing in the morning. Make sure you have the following:
    1. Clothes: Comfortable sports bra, top, and either shorts or tights — preferably items that you've worn before, to prevent chafing. Are you wearing a particular underwear, or do your shorts have lining?
    2. Shoes: Your trusty sneakers, and compression or sweat-wicking socks.
    3. Hair supplies: Do you need a headband? Bobby pins? Bring an extra hair tie, just in case yours breaks on the course (it has happened to me!).
    4. Trackers: If you're tracking your run, make sure you have your watch or your phone and app ready to go. Double-check that everything is charged and in a place you can find easily the next morning.
    5. Belt: Get your belt ready. Are you carrying gels? Water? Your keys? Credit card in case you need a taxi home? ID (you never know)?
    6. Race essentials: Bib and safety pins. Don't forget to have those pins ready! If you've got muscle tape, set that out as well.
    7. Toiletry essentials: SPF, deodorant, Bodyglide. Set everything out on your dresser or table so you've got a prep station ready to go.
    8. Headphones: Are you listening to music? Get your playlist in order, and put your headphones by the rest of your race-day gear.
  3. Set up your breakfast essentials. Or at least take inventory! Do you have all the foods (and coffee!) you need to get going? Are you having a prerace shake? Ensure you have the right stuff in your pantry and fridge so there's no issue in the morning, and you can focus your energy and efforts on your run. A little bit of meal prepping goes a long way.
  4. Figure out parking and transportation. How are you getting to the start line, and how are you getting home after you finish the race? Does your course have parking, or will you need to get dropped off? Figure this out ahead of time so you don't end up stuck — or worse, having to walk miles to your car after you've just completed 13.1 (and all you want to do is lie down and nap forever).
  5. De-stress, and get a good night's sleep (early!). Prerace jitters and anxiety can seriously mess with your ability to sleep. Try a nighttime ritual, including things like meditation, oil diffusing, sleepy-time teas, melatonin, and gentle stretching to calm your mind. Compression socks can also help for circulation, so feel free to sleep in them. Try to get to bed early to ensure you have as much energy as possible, and don't forget to set your alarm!
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