What to expect at my first half marathon...

... the procedure for the day etc...

1 to 20 of 39 messages
08/12/2012 at 19:58

Hi all, I have my first half marathon in March 2013 and I wondered if anyone could talk me through what to expect on the day? What is the usual procedure with regards to turning up, where to go and what to do, getting your chip, how to find your start position, etc?

Also, any advice like what to take with me, are there sports drink/gel stations or just water stations regularly aroud a half course, that kind of thing?

Any advice would be welcome please!! Thanks

cougie    pirate
08/12/2012 at 20:08
All these details will be in your race instructions that you get sent nearer the time.
Most likely you will get your chip sent to you too.
08/12/2012 at 20:18

Hi Bikerbabe! That's really exciting! I did my first half marathons this year - Bristol and Reading!

First things first .. With all the lead up etc my brain wasn't working on the day so I was really glad I'd laid all my gear, gels, bus passes, chip on shoes etc out the night before! Definitely worth doing!

With regards to procedure, each one is different but you usually have your number before so you don't have to sign in on the day so you can just turn up. I'd be AT LEAST an hour early in case of delays in traffic, queues at baggage etc. Chips are usually sent out with numbers beforehand but if yours haven't been, then be extra early in case there's an hour queue.

There will usually be a baggage lorry where you can drop kit you won't need during the race such as the warm coat you took with (take a warm coat/top - you'll be freezing and nervous before the start!), car keys etc.

Definitely take a bin bag. When you've left your warm top at the baggage drop you'll be cold and a bin bag keeps the heat in and you can dispose if it at the start. You'll look silly but practically EVERYONE will be wearing one. I promise

Start pens should be clearly marked. They're usually in expected finish times (suc as 2:00, 1:50 etc) or number colours or in pace times (9 min/mile etc). If not grab a marshal - there will be loads around to help you.

You should get a course map or race info with your race pack telling you where the water stations and gel / sports drink stations are which will help you plan what to take. However, don't rely on them having what you need - they may run out! better to take what you need if you can carry it! And definitely don't try any new gels on the day ... otherwise a combination of nerves and unexpected sugar can cause dramatic tummy upsets!

Hope this helps! Good luck! Let us know how you get on!!

08/12/2012 at 20:19

Jeez - essay. Sorry!

08/12/2012 at 20:19

Oh ok, thanks Cougie. I'm just getting a bit excited already, thats all

08/12/2012 at 20:42

Thanks RunnyRunRun thats wicked, just what I was looking for! I am so excited already and I haven't even started my 12 week training plan yet, that starts on boxing day so in the mean time I am re-doing a 5K plan to up my mileage!

08/12/2012 at 20:59
Bikerbabe what halfmarathon are you running in march?
08/12/2012 at 21:04

Good luck Bikerbabe! I loved doing the half marathons as unlike 5ks you can pace yourself and go steady and take in the scenery and soak up the atmosphere. 5 - 10ks I never seem to notice much going on around me as I'm holding on for dear life!

08/12/2012 at 21:29

Tee hee well I will definately be on a go slow! I am more a plodder than a speed freak! Thanks Runny

Ringo I am doing the Reading Half on 17th March  

08/12/2012 at 22:00

Hi Bikerbabe


08/12/2012 at 22:05

At the risk of lowering the tone, I would recommend bringing some spare toilet paper for when the portaloos run out.

08/12/2012 at 22:08


08/12/2012 at 22:15
Haven't run that one but it rates highly. Runny run has just about covered it. I ran my first 4 years ago and have run about 50 or so now. I would focus on getting there early as toilets are always busy. It's normal on your first to get caught up in the excitement,but try not to set off to early you want to finish it comfortably not on your last legs. Train well and raceday will be more enjoyable. Also don't forget the end of race. Stretch,rehydrate,eat recover and reminisce about what you have achieved. Hopefully you will love it.crossing the finish line at half or full marathons is one the best feelings in the world and sadly addictive. Good luck
08/12/2012 at 22:20

i asssume uve had sports gels previously ??


08/12/2012 at 22:25
Good advice from literatin. Dress appropriately for hot or cold weather. I ran bath half in march and it was one of the hottest runs of the year in 2010 I ran it and it was like running in the North Pole. Protect any area you might chafe or blister in. There is plenty of wise and inspirational people on the forum none more so than micknphil
08/12/2012 at 22:28

lots to expect and prepare for

if ONLY i knew then what i know now  

08/12/2012 at 22:50

Hi Micknphil

Literatin - sounds like good advice!

Yep, have a variety of clothing now (thats adictive too!) so will dress for the weather... am currently researching nipple rub prevention (lowering the tone again!) as its not nice!!!

Sports gels, nope! Only sports drinks so far as I haven't yet run long enough to warrant needing a gel, but as my running time increases I will try one or two and see how I get on... I understand some runners carry a few jelly beans with them instead of gels, right??

Thanks guys n gals for all the advice!!

08/12/2012 at 22:54

one golden rule if i may advise

never try anything new on race day - or the last few days biuld up to it

myself - i would'nt - not even now

08/12/2012 at 22:57

Yep, i have read that so many times... stick to what you are used to and what is comfortable... good advice and it makes perfect sense!!

08/12/2012 at 22:58

plenty of time inbetween race to experiment


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