It’s so close we can almost touch it – so here are my final words for the last few days of training.


Last Long Run and Taper Period

By now you will have completed your last ‘long run’ in training (depending on your training and goal this may have taken the form of your longest run, or a run completed with sections at ‘race pace’ or even a route recce).  Whatever this looked like, you should now be in your ‘taper’ period – a reduction in training load to allow your body to recover ready for race day.


Nutrition and Hydration

If you haven’t already, use some of your remaining training runs to practice fuelling and hydration and at least one run practice the timings of race day and when to eat breakfast, what to eat while waiting at the start pens and what to fuel with during the race.  Cut down on alcohol in the week/days before race day – alcohol can disrupt sleep and affect your levels of hydration.



It is surprisingly common to not sleep well the night before (and sometimes after) a race – and whereas you cannot ‘bank’ sleep in the days before a race, it helps to have a good ‘sleep hygiene’ routine in the days before the race.  Try to go to bed (and get up) roughly at the same time every day the week before race day and cut down on caffeine after midday – particularly if it disrupts your sleep.  Switch off your phone, have a hot bath, read a book and sip camomile tea to help you relax.


Dress Rehearsal

Along with practicing what to eat and drink before, during and after the race – it’s a good idea to do a trial run of what you will wear on race day – make a note of the temperature (and humidity) on your training run, and how your clothing felt, and can you make adjustments.  The temperature isn’t something you can control, but what your wear can influence how comfortable you feel during the race.  Think thin layers, comfort over style and make sure you pack a clean and dry set of clothes and shoes in your kit bag for afterwards.

The Route

Personally I don’t recommend running the whole route in training – mainly because of road safety – on the day of the race all the roads on the route will be closed to traffic.  It’s not essential to do a route recce but what you can do is ensure you know some of the basics before race day – where the race village is, what time to get there, how to get there and what your supporters need to know about the race too.  Don’t worry about getting lost on the day – unless you are starting in the first wave and intend to lead the race all the way – you will always have someone in front of you to follow.

Race Day Strategy

There are lots of different strategies for the race, depending on what your goal is – whether that is to finish the race (running, walking or crawling) or to aim for a personal best time.  It’s your day, your race and your goal – you probably won’t finish first and you probably won’t finish last (somewhere in between) – we all get the same medal – so you might as well enjoy the day!  At the start, don’t waste vital energy over-taking other runners wait until you get to Newbridge Road which is much wider (by which time you should be well into your pace).

Mind Games

Running a half marathon is physically hard, but it also takes mental strength to keep going – especially if things get really tough during the race.  Here are a few things to try:-

  • Remind yourself why you are doing this (personal challenge, raising money for charity)
  • Look for colours of the rainbow as you run (red post box, orange shoes, yellow hat etc)
  • High five someone in the crowd (children love this and it gives you a bit of a boost)
  • Dedicate the mile you are in to someone special (what would they be saying to you)
  • Play fancy dress bingo (look for a fairy, a bride, a pig)
  • Count your footsteps to 100 (in multiples of 2)
  • Smile!


Final Tips

  • Cut your toenails a few days before – not the night before or on the day
  • Get all your kit ready on the Friday before the race – in that way you still have time to go shopping or wash and dry things for race day
  • Focus on sleep, loading up on carbs and cutting out alcohol the days leading up to the race
  • Don’t try anything new on race day (fuelling, shoes, clothes, strategy)
  • Take a throw away jumper at the start to keep warm
  • Don’t start off too fast – you will regret it towards the end of the race
  • Make a route overview plan (where is the water, your supporters, hilly sections)
  • Focus on your mental state of mind more than your physical body (try out the mind games above)
  • And above all smile – especially when things get tough (a smile and a grimace look pretty much the same in photos but you feel a whole lot better when you actually smile).

And finally I want to share with you something that someone said to me when I was about to run my first Bath Half Marathon in 2012 – I was stood on the start line feeling nervous, excited, anxious, sick and slightly bewildered and someone said something to me that changed everything.

“You’ll be fine – the training was the hard bit – the race is the fun bit – enjoy it”


And that’s what I will be doing on 15th October – enjoying every minute of Bath Half Marathon – see you there!




Angela MacAusland

Run Coach Angela and Run Bath Director and Head Coach

[email protected]

[email protected]