I am running my first half marathon on Sunday. I am very excited but the race day nerves are appoaching. I have followed a training plan and am hopeful and confident I can achieve the distance. My question is: I have trained without drinking or eating on all the runs I have done including the longer distance ones. I am aware its probably to late to test out energy gels and I have too many allergies to risk these on race day. However I am wondering what I should consume drink wise during the race. On all my long 10 mile + runs I haven't drunk anything but I feel on the day I may need to. Will I be ok drinking at some of the hydration station and if so how much should I drink, how often etc?
Hi Lydia, don't worry about energy gels for a half-marathon. They are not needed by most people, and you've proved to yourself you can run without them.
I'm assuming your longer runs have been at slower than race pace, so you will probably find yourself getting thirsty due to the higher pace.
You probably want to grab a drink at the first couple of stations, but you don't have to drink the whole cup or bottle. Later in the race you can skip the stations if you dont feel the need. I tend to find on hot/sunny races I drink at most stations (even if its just a mouthful) but skip some on cold/wet races.
Lydia - i did my first half last weekend, and found drinking a bit of an issue. Advice i'd been given before ( but didn't follow very well ) was to slow right down at water stations to drink and maybe even walk. I tried to drink on the run ( plastic cups ) and got it everywhere except down my throat. By walking, you can drink properly without spluttering / half drowning yourself, and you won't lose that much time. To be honest by the time i'd gone through my last stop (which i walked through .. hallelujah !!! ) i was thinking it was maybe quicker to walk than run through and having 4 or 5 attempts to get it down !!!
If you do insist on running through, some other advice i've since been given that i will bear in mind in future is to squeeze the opening of the cup so it's smaller and doesn't spill as much.
Re how much to drink, everyone will be different but i reckon i drank half a cup at 3 of the 4 water stations and felt like i needed more with about a mile to go. I don't drink on training runs up to 13M either.
If they have bottles at the water station you can take one each time and just sip it as you go. I take one sip about every 10/15 seconds for a few minutes as long gulps make me feel sick. I also pour water over my arms and back if I am hot - but may not be a problem next weekend! I don't use gels but do take jelly babies sometimes and they may be given out by spectators but again I just nibble otherwise they may me feel sick but if you havent been using anything I wouldnt on race day.
Agree that bottles make it easier than cups - and only a few sips probably needed if you are used to running without anything. Similar to the cup theory above, even with bottles I sometimes find it easier to squeeze some out first (making sure you don't soak any other runners!) as easier to control the sips if I do that. Is there a race website - it should say if it is bottles or cups so you are prepared either way, and know how many there are/where placed. A few sips at each water station would probaby be preferable to gulps at any stage.The race may have energy drinks as well - again, you are unlikely to NEED these for a half marathon, and I would avoid these as well if you haven't tried in training.Once you've done this one you can evaluate how you felt, and then decide if you need gels/energy drinks for your next one and try them out in training.Good luck
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