Last week I did the 20km race of Lausanne along with my friend Stef (@wholesomestef). To be very honest I was really dreading it. I had not trained as I had wanted to, and when Stef told me only about a week prior that it was uphill, I laughed only to stop myself from crying. It was uphill until about kilometer 13 and then went downhill before going straight along the lake for the last 2k. We weren’t lucky with weather and found ourselves running under the pouring rain, but in the end I had a blast. I literally caught myself smiling like an idiot while running because (maybe it was the ambience or the adrenaline or I have no idea) I was actually having so much fun. Stef and I crossed the finish-line hand-in-hand (literally) after only 1:51hrs, which is way better than the original 2:15hrs goal we had set for ourselves. Read more below for how I trained, what I ate and some extra little tips if you also have a race coming up or are thinking about running one!
How did I train?
I had been planning on doing this race for quite sometime, however I didn’t quite managed to go through with a solid training program.
I started doing 1 long run (12-13k) once a week about 4 months before the race. In January however I hurt my leg (doing box jumps, classic.) and I had to take almost two months off running. There was a point where I really didn’t think I would be able to do the race at all. Finally my leg got better, I was able to take the stitches out and I was back on track. I was doing my research on how to train for a half-marathon in 3 week, but of course, I managed to get sick, have a terrible cough and angina and had to take another week off running. Finally once I was better and more eager than ever to get on the track and train hard for the last 4 week leading up to the race, I somehow kicked a suitcase, almost broke my toe and had to take another week off with a bandaged foot.
So after planning this race 4 months ahead, I found myself with 3 weeks to train, where the last week (race week) I of course wasn’t supposed to be running too much to let my body rest and build up energy. During my 2-week half-marathon training, I basically ran every day. Not always long distances, most of the time between 4 and 8 km, with 1 long run a week (once 12, once 16). I continued the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide to keep up good cardio and just made running my warm up. The week leading up the race (the race was a Saturday) I simply did a few short runs (between 2-5km) and some yoga to stretch out all my muscles. The day before and day of, I only did some stretching. Although I wouldn’t recommend basing your half-marathon prep on my all over the place 2 week training program, I stress even more what I had previously been told, you don’t run a marathon before the marathon. Before the race the most I had done was 16km flat, and on the day of I found myself doing 20km uphill easily. Running is all the in mind, so as long as you stick to some good positive thinking and download some sweet beats to listen to, you’re good to go.
What did I eat?
The week leading up to the race I carb-loaded to the fullest. Being vegan I usually eat a diet quite high in carbs anyway but this week I really focused on having about 75% of my calories from carbs. My breakfasts were oatmeal (as usual), lunch was usually rice with vegetables, snacks were fruit in the morning and a sweet potato as afternoon snack, and dinner was usually quinoa or rice with vegetables (I know, I know doesn’t sound all that varied but oh man I was loving it).
My race was at 6pm, which is a rather strange time for a race. The night before I had a huge plate of gluten free pasta with roasted veggies and sweet potato (yes I basically ate my weight in sweet potatoes all week). The day off I had simply fruit and nuts in the morning, a small salad at lunch, and a big bowl of banana peanut butter oatmeal about 2 and a half hours before running to have some slow-releasing energy throughout the race. It was the perfect pre-run meal and I really think it helped me keep a constant good pace throughout, without having any dips in energy levels.
1. Drink lots of water before the race to avoid dehydration. I had read online that you should keep drinking water until half an hour before the race.
2. Get a good playlist. We all have different preferences in workout music, what I find gets me going and gives me energy and motivation, another might find terribly boring. Find out what music keeps you going during a run. I recommend one with a good beat, which will keep you on a solid pace.
3. Wear comfortable clothes. There is nothing worse than running in shorts that ride-up, or leggings that keep falling down. Make sure that whatever you’re running in has been trial tested, that you’ve gone for a good long run in that outfit before. Also always wear less than you think. It’s always better to be a little cool when starting than finding yourself having to take off layers during the run; it’ll just make you get out of the zone.
4. If it’s your first, don’t track. Of course if you’re a regular race runner and you have specific time goals then the use of a watch is always handy, however from experience, if it’s your first half marathon I recommend just going with the flow, plugging in some good music and running without a watch or distance tracker on your phone. If you’re always glancing at your watch to see your time, chances are it’ll just go slower, and way better to simply have fun with it and enjoy the ambiance.