half marathon

One week before

It time to start getting excited! My husband jokes that me a week before a race is like someone cramming for a test, which isn’t at all untrue. 7 days away from a half marathon I try to start eating about six small meals a day – high fibre – mostly fruit and vegetables, protein and whole grains but I’d avoid high fat foods and especially dairy (except in my coffee – some sacrifices would be too great).

6 Days Before

Continue my eating plan. Now it’s a good time to start obsessing about every minute detail of what I’m wearing, what fuel I’ll be using, where I’m picking up my race pack from, generally questioning why I make myself do this. For a half, I would tend to use gels as fuel because it’s a shorter distance so I don’t have to worry about them upsetting my stomach.

5 Days Before

No more strength training! I know, annoying. But you don’t want any muscle soreness on the big day. I continue with my eating plan and I’m probably fighting off some kind of phantom taper illness at this point so I’d probably add in huge amounts of vitamins to ward it off. Usually the taper illnesses will go away a couple of days before, but who knows? This could be the one that sticks around. Probably best to have olive leaf extract as well.

4 Days Before

The day before my diet switches over, so might as well enjoy the¬†fruit while it lasts. Nothing much changes on this day except that I’m probably complaining more loudly on social media about how awful tapering is.

3 Days Before

Switch to low-fibre, high-carb diet. Still no fat (other than in coffee). Disappointing. Stick with six meals a day. And then I start drinking about 2L of water a day. Which I should probably be doing anyway, but I don’t. In a couple of those glasses of water I would add in an electrolyte tablet as well.

2 Days Before

PANIC. I mean continue with my low-fibre, high carb diet. Wonder if alcohol is a carb. Generally, mysterious phantom taper illness will vanish at this point and I can continue my full-time job of anxiously obsessing over my pacing strategy. Even splits if you are wondering.

1 Day Before

15 minute easy paced run to take the edge off the nerves. Continue with the most boring eating strategy known to man. Think about all the chocolate/wine/fried foods I will eat after I finish. Keep drinking an inhuman amount of water. How do people drink this every day? Probably have a glass of wine with dinner, because I’m pretty sure it’s a carb.

Morning of the Race

Coffee about an hour before. At least two toilet stops. Fuel 15 minutes before start time. Fuel at 6km/12km/18km and time it with a water station so I can wash down the god awful gels with something. Think about the epic Facebook post when I’m done. Coffee at the end.

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Obviously. There’s a medal, right?


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Zoey Dowling

Written by: Zoey Dowling

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