As many of us know, Spring is the time when to get back on the track and complete many of this year’s running goals. Some people are collecting kilometres, some races, and others are simply seeking for new peaks whatever it might be for each of us.

I can tell personally that running is an interesting way to test your abilities and to challenge yourself in one of the healthiest ways. I have discovered that while running you can easily take off your mind from almost any daily issues and rewire your mind for new work. In addition, simple short-distance running keeps you healthy and in good shape.

Why do I write this blog? This weekend, Sunday May 7, in Otepää (41km from Tartu) we have “Tartu Jooksumaraton”, where runners can take part in 5 km, 10km, and 23km distances. It will be the first time I am running this distance (not original half-marathon distance 21.098m), therefore I am looking forward to having a great run and can’t wait to get on the track. I know that those who run, already know what is best to prepare before the important start, but why not to remind some of the things that help us to get ready for the start? Here are my 4 tips to be ready for your important run.

1. Always prepare for the distance you have chosen specifically (marathon, half-marathon, 10km).

I do not only mean obvious jogging beforehand to prepare your body but also work on the little details which will help you in your chosen distance. It can help to practice running on the exact time when the marathon is planned to be (clockwise). Your body will be not surprised if the run is in the morning, but you were preparing all the time only in the late evenings. Also, pay attention to the things you do when preparing. It means to not start anything drastically new on the week before the run. Definitely, keep to the routine and do not make any new discoveries over this week. From a practical side, choose good and well-fitting running clothes (not some cotton t-shirts) and be sure you have good used running shoes.

Getting ready for half-marathon from Otepää and Elva

2. Prepare mentally.

I believe that it is a half of the success. You have to be locked-in from the day one when you decide to take part in the race. Read some materials about professional runners to inspire you – it definitely helps to also set your training plan (just don’t get greedy and stick to your plan in preparation phase). Think about what you want to achieve (goals like personal best, break in 2 hours, to be in top 50% of runners ) in order to better motivate yourself. Lastly, try to imagine yourself running, and obviously, succeeding. It is great to see yourself at the finish line, which is also a good reminder during the race when you fell tired and exhausted, but you have worked so hard on this and you are too close the goal, so you cannot give up now. And there are many other things to think of, so take a moment to get ready mentally as well as physically.

Getting ready for half-marathon from Otepää and Elva

3. Two to three days before the race preparation.

Usually, there are four things I try to stick with before two to three days prior the run. Firstly, I try to not get stressed out that I might not have prepared enough or I might fail – I rather think about how good the race is going to be, because of the buildup I have done before. Secondly, I try to rest and not get tired of anything whatsoever. Especially sleeping is important. Thirdly, last two days I try to eat carbohydrate-rich food (pasta, bread, potatoes, fruits) to bring in carbohydrates and be ready for the race. Also, breakfast before the run is very crucial because you will burn plenty of calories and you need to fill up with some carbs (even though it would mean to wake up super early). Finally, last two days are off for me from long-distance jogging. I might take short 3-5 km run to just keep my body in pace, but no more. It is important to be well-rested and energized before the race!

Getting ready for half-marathon from Otepää and Elva

4. Finally, when the day comes – be positive (even if the weather is bad).

Good thoughts will help you be in peace and focus on your goals. At the venue I always warm-up and try to find some places to be with myself and relax (because that’s when the stress steps in for me). After last preparation of my mind – I am ready to go. Just no rush, a slow start in the long-term distance is always better than trying to be Usain Bolt.

Getting ready for half-marathon from Otepää and Elva

These tips, of course, I have found some time ago from other runners, so I hope to see more people sharing their tips here! J

Good luck on Sunday. And if not at Otepää or Elva, then in any other races!

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