Finding yourself slowing down in the last few miles of your half-marathon can be disappointing after all the training time. I have some tips for you to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
First, know your pace and your goal time. Setting your pace per mile to achieve your goal can help keep you on course with your goal finish. There are mile markers at each mile during the race; checking your mile pace will keep you on track. This way you will know if you’re running too fast, which can lead to fatigue in the later miles. This leads to my second tip: Make sure you don’t start out too fast.
Third, take into consideration fueling before and during your race. Have a breakfast that’s a mix of carbohydrates and proteins that are easy to digest and don’t introduce any no new foods that you want to “try out.” Having GI discomfort during the race can really slow you down. During your run, take the time to fuel with a carbohydrate gel or chew. The usual recommendation is to consume an energy gel or some chews after an hour of exercise.
Finally, keep it steady through the final flat miles of the race. Look at the course map and elevation in advance to make sure that you are aware of the turns on the course and changes in elevation.
Julie Khan is a physical therapist in the HSS rehabilitation department. She graduated from Columbia University with a masters and doctorate in physical therapy. Her clinical interests include post-surgical sports-related injuries and running mechanics. An avid runner, Julie enjoys rehabilitating runners and helping them get back to their sport safely and even stronger than before. She is a USATF Level 1 Coach as well as a Road Runners Club of America Certified Coach. She has completed more than 20 half-marathons and seven marathons, and presented at the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon.