The countdown to our next half marathon is on. Strapping in for 21,097 meters? Keep reading for tips on fueling, pacing and recovery. And rest assured: If you regularly take Row House classes, you’re probably more prepared than you realize.
Be sure to hydrate the day before, as well as during the row. We’ll have coaches walking around to fill water bottles during the race, so you won’t have to worry about getting off to refill. Pro tip: Squirt top bottles make drinking during your row easier.
Be sure to eat enough the day before and the morning of the half marathon. Hint: Carbs are your friend! If you’ve used gel packs before and know your stomach can handle them, go for it. But don’t try anything new on race day.
DURING THE ROW
If this is your first half marathon, your goal is simple: finish!
Remember, 21,097 meters typically takes anywhere from 60 to 180 minutes. It’s not a sprint — it’s smooth, slow, calm and steady. Resist the urge to come out hard, and settle into a pace you know you can maintain. You can always speed up, but it'll be hard to recover if you push too much to start.
Sit up tall, set your breathing in sync with your pace, then it’s one stroke after another, each one just like the last. A good goal is to aim to maintain your split at about 30 seconds slower than your average 3-minute piece.
This calculator from Concept 2 can help you find a pace and total time.
You can take 60 to 90 second breaks as needed, but make them intentional. Watch the clock to ensure you’re not off the machine longer than you planned.
Gatorade or a banana is great during the row if you need to bring up your energy or sugar levels. Know that your muscles may start to tighten or cramp after 16,000 meters. Taking additional nutrients will help you cross the finish line, and make the post-row recovery a little easier.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! You need to replenish the water you lose during the half marathon. Coconut water is great for hydration and will give you a small carb boost.
You may finish with a sprint, or at least a faster pace than you maintained during the bulk of the row. After you finish, don’t hop right off the machine. The worst thing you can do after rowing 21,097 is to lay down and stop moving. Your muscles could cramp, and you’ll set yourself up for extra soreness and stiffness. Let your heart rate come down during a 5-minute cool down, which will doing wonders for your recovery.
THE NEXT DAY(S)
In the days following the half, listen to your body. You’ll likely need to take it easy, especially if this is your first half. That doesn’t mean spending all day sitting or laying down. Gentle movement will speed up recovery.
A slow walk or row — join for a Restore class — will help you shake out your muscles. Spend some time foam rolling, stretching or doing restorative yoga, and be sure to get a good night's sleep after your half marathon.
Questions? Just ask us! Our coaches are happy to help you come up with a plan to tackle a half marathon.