OK folks, we’re just two weeks out from the 3M Half Marathon—one of the fastest 13.1-mile races in the country. Its reputation as a PR-setting downhill point-to-point course always attracts a top field. Elite runners from around the country use it as a tune-up for upcoming marathons, and runners of all speeds target it as a race to notch their best time for the half.
Without question, it’s the kind of event where you want to bring your A-game. So to make sure you step on that starting line with the right frame of mind, here are some race-day tips from some of the elite runners entered.
Jessica Harper (Austin) Former Longhorn track ace and 3M Half Marathon defending champ ran a 1:15:45 in 2018: “Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it’s all about. When you get on the line- embrace the pre-race jitters because the adrenaline is kicking in which means you are ready to go and are going to crush. Smile through the pain to remind yourself to have faith and achieve what you think wasn’t possible.”
Bryan Morton (Austin) has a 1:07:16 half marathon best and here’s his race-day tip: “Ditch the GPS watch and run off feel and effort. Run conservatively the first two miles, settle into a comfortably hard rhythm and as you near 5K to go begin to notch it down further (no more than 5-10 seconds per mile) by picking out a runner ahead to catch. There’s going to be a point in the race where it gets hard. Lean on a personal mantra to get you through those low moments. Mine’s (stolen from my coach), “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can. I know I can, I know I can, I know I can.”
Andrew Leahy (Oklahoma City), who took third place at the 2018 Oklahoma City Half Marathon in 1:13:46: “Even if your nerves won’t allow you to eat. In preparation for the race whether it’s a week before or the morning of, it is better to overnutrition yourself then risking undernutrition! (just make sure to take some time to drink some coffee the morning of to ‘clear’ the system).”
Zach Meineke, an Austin transplant from Wauwatosa, WI boasts a personal best of 1:06:10 for the half and ran a sizzling 24:24 for the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K: “Don’t get into a rut of running the same distance and speed all the time. Some people always run the same pace and the same route. Don’t be afraid to mix it up with some speed work because running fast can be fun! I can’t wait to roll into the finish in downtown!”
Sarah Bishop (Fairfax, VA) won the 2018 Marine Corps Marathon, and has a half-marathon PR of 1:16:40:
“Don’t expect miracles on race day – but be confident in the race your training has prepared you for. Your mental toughness can determine your success just as much as your physical conditioning.”
Michael Morris, San Marcos High School track and cross-country coach who boasts a 9:02 PR in the steeplechase:
“Have faith, faith in your heart and mind. Faith in what you have done, what you can do and what you will do.”
Tere Zacher of Tempe, AZ, Olympian in Rio 2016 representing Mexico as an alternate in the marathon: “Keep a journal with every single workout you do and the things you overcame in the process. In this way, right before the race you can read them and remember why you deserve to be there and how well prepared you are, this is the best way to draw confidence!”
Upcoming races: Saturday, January 12 at 8:00 a.m., the Hays Highstepper Hot Chocolate 5K at Whispering Hollow Pavilion and Pool, 1580 Coldwater Hollow in Buda. Saturday, January 19, Taylor Garden Club Run for the Roses 5K at 9:00 a.m., at Murphy Park in Taylor. Sunday, January 20, the 3M Half Marathon at 7:30 a.m., Stonelake Blvd in Austin (by Gateway Shopping Center).