Here is a rough guide to the final week before a race. 

5 days before
You should start gradually increasing your carb intake in order to start filling up your glycogen stores
. Remember you are tapering (on much less mileage) so be careful with portion sizes as you don’t want to be bloated or lethargic – focus on your complex carbs such as sweet potatoes, potatoes and brown rice.

48 hours before the race
Most people tend to go big the night before their race, when studies and professional athletes all suggest that your last big ‘’loading’’ meal should be two nights before your race as this gives your body time to digest, and use the nutrients as fuel. Many new runners make the mistake of gorging down bowls of pasta the night before, and this just leaves you feeling heavier and lethargic.

24 hours before
Just keep it simple and keep it healthy, eat your normal balanced meals as you would on your training days. Make sure that you take in plenty of liquids during the day, especially electrolyte fluids.

4 hours and less 
Make sure that you get a small, balanced breakfast in about two hours before the start. 

During the race
During a half-marathon it is recommended that you do hydrate and maybe have a small energy boosting snack/energy gel. Around the 6km/9km mark is a good point to have your first drink of water. It's recommended to not have sports drink at this table – as you still have a way to go and sports drink spike sugar levels to an incredible high but once your sugar levels have peaked they fall right down lower than before you drank the sports drink. Then have an energy gel at around the 12km mark (depending on how you feel on the day). Make sure that you've experimented with brand and flavour before and make sure that you have a sip of water at the next table. 

From here drink to thirst, and as you have practised on your longer training runs. Most runners are actually more likely to over hydrate than dehydrate. Having too much water will make you feel heavy, might cause to stop along the way and can actually have some dangerous side effects.

Eating soon after your run will also help to minimise stiffness and soreness. Pick a snack with protein and complex carbs as these build and repair muscles, and something with potassium as this mineral balances our fluid levels which is important for rehydration.

*featured image by Nutriciously on Unsplash