A “Last Week Before” Half Marathon Checklist: Counting Down To …

A “Last Week Before” Half Marathon Checklist: Counting Down To …

The training week before a half marathon race is a crucial time in your half marathon training plan.  A lot goes into prepping for your half marathon a week before.  This includes physical, mental, and logistical prep.  Know how far to run, what to eat, when to rest, and how to coordinate the logistics of half marathon race week, with this concise last week before a half marathon checklist!

Disclosure: Below are some affiliate links-these are all products I highly recommend. I won’t make any recommendations on this page that I haven’t tested or personally used!

Get Ready for the Last Week Before a Half Marathon

This checklist will help you ace your half marathon race week with ease!

How to Eat During Half Marathon Race Week

You are going to want to start carb loading the week before your half marathon.  But be careful, this is not a time to gorge on any kind of carb, it is the time to fuel your body with the right reserves of healthy carbs, to be stored up for use during your half marathon race.

In order to healthily carb load the last week before a half marathon, be INTENTIONAL.  I would highly recommend planning out your diet for the week leading up to the half marathon, and know exactly what you plan to eat for each meal for the week. 

If you need ideas for half marathon race week food prep, check out my sister post on the best foods for runners for plenty of ideas, including healthy carbs, proteins, fruits, and veggies.

Remember, you are carb loading, so there’s no need to gorge, but do eat consistent healthy, carb rich meals each day, mixed in with consistent small snacks comprised of healthy carbs, fruits, and vegetables.  Your body will appreciate every drop of energy you have stored up for it when it comes time for race day!

Hydrate and Then Hydrate Some More

In addition to eating right, you need to make sure that you are hydrating, consistently.  Each and every day leading up to your half marathon race.  Do not make the mistake of gorging on water 10 minutes before your start.  Aim to drink at least 10 glasses of water each day throughout the day, in the week leading up to race morning.

>>>Need Help Tracking Your Daily Water Intake?  Check out this handy daily water tracker!

This will help keep you hydrated not only during your race, but it will help to aid in your recovery afterwards.  Also, the week before is a good time to avoid both sugary and alcoholic drinks.  Stick to water the week before.  Reward yourself after you cross the finish line.  

How to Run the Week Before a Half Marathon

That being said, several days out from half marathon race day, feel free to go for a quick jog, keeping your mileage no more than 2 or 3 miles tops, at a gentle pace.  You are not going for speed or a personal record this time, just to keep loose.  Think of it as just shaking out your legs in preparation. 

If you feel like another rest day would be more beneficial than a short jog, then give yourself a grace pass.  There have been half marathon race weeks where I have skipped the last, short run day, and instead opted for a rest day, or a cross train day, or just a short walk.  Listen to your body at this point.

No matter whether you take part in a short, loosening run or not the last week before a half marathon race, keep your pace and effort relaxed.  Do not over do it!

How to Cross Train the Last Week Before a Half Marathon

You should still be cross training during the week leading up to a half marathon.  Do some yoga or Pilates, take a bike ride or some long walks, do some easy HIIT home workout routines, etc.  But be sure to not push or over-exert yourself on your cross training.  Keep it simple and relaxed.

How to Rest During Half Marathon Race Week

Rest is very important.  That is why not only should you be tapering your long runs the week before a half marathon, but you should also be upping your dosage of rest. 

How to Coordinate Half Marathon Race Week Logistics

There are logistical aspects to consider when coordinating plans for the week before a half marathon.

Take a final look over the course.  Know where the hills are.  Know where the aid stations are.  Visualize yourself running the course.  If you plan to fuel mid race with gels or snacks, know your anticipated when and where you will plan to do this.

What’s your hydration plan?  Will you utilize aid stations solely?  Then you might want one of these trash free, eco friendly cups!

Will you carry a water hydration system on your person, like my favorite Camelback running hydration pack, complete with internal water bladder and storage pockets?  Or maybe this water bottle belt?


ME.FAN Silicone Collapsible Travel Cup – Silicone…


CamelBak Women’s Circuit Run Vest with 50oz…

AiRunTech Upgraded No Bounce Hydration Belt Can be…

What’s the weather going to be like on race day?  It does not hurt to start checking a week before your half marathon, to help prep things you might need for the weather, like special gear.  Knowing the anticipated weather and temperatures can help you start assessing what clothes and gear you will need to bring, for during your race as well as after.

Do you foresee needing to shed layers based on your anticipated weather forecast?  Remember, your race day morning may start off chilly, but several hours later you may be warmed up enough to not require layers.  If so, are there places along the course to drop layers? 

Do you anticipate being cold as you wait at the start line, but then fine as you begin your run?  You may even want to consider buying a pair of cheap sweat pants to wear (that you won’t miss losing) in the starting corrals, that you can shed as soon as you are ready to take off. 

Start planning a week before your half marathon what you will eat the morning of your race, and start buying what you can ahead of time.  Remember, race day is NOT the time to try new fuels, stick to what has worked for you for the entirety of your half marathon training. 

Check whether your post race festivities will include a post race meal or snack, and if not, then start coordinating to get your recovery foods purchased.  And if you plan to fuel mid race, start obtaining those items as well.

Start visualizing and mentally laying out the gear you will need.  Do some check overs during the week before a half marathon.  Check the integrity of your shoe laces.  Are all your zippers and buttons on all your clothing and gear secure?  Do you have an extra hair scrunchy (one of my most common issues is having my hair scrunchy snap during a run and not having a backup). 

Check over every piece of clothing and gear you plan to use, from the key pieces to the supporting players.  Start doing laundry and laying aside what you need to pack/use for race day.

Are you a music runner?  Then start getting your playlist together.  Make sure your bluetooth or earbuds are working properly.

Just like race day is not the time to experiment with new foods and fuels, neither is it the time to experiment with new gear.  Stick to what has worked for you.  That is why is it is so important to check over your gear the last week before a half marathon, and make sure everything you plan to use and rely on is ready to go for race day.

Don’t forget about logistics for yourself and any spectators that may be there to support you!  Do you need to start arranging transportation to and from the start and finish lines?  If necessary, are your overnight lodging plans secured? 

Are there certain places along the course for spectators to gather, and do they know how to access those points? If you have family and friends coming, do you have a post race meet up spot or plan in place?

Will you change clothes immediately after your race?  If so, then start laying aside and packing what you will need to change into.

Last Minute Prep Before Bed

And there you have it, how to successfully prep for your last week before a half marathon, and confidently go into race day!  So what comes next? 

>>>Be ready for race day with this “morning of” checklist!!!

Get to know all the other components of a successful half marathon training plan, with my 16 week half marathon training program for beginners, designed to get you from 1st stride to finish line in just 16 weeks!

It comes complete with all of your weekly runs, weekly mileage increases, cross training days, and rest days, all planned out for you!

Last update on 2022-09-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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