Taper Your Training With a Twist
Race week is all about doing just enough training to keep your legs loose and your mind relaxed. It's not the time to squeeze in that last speed workout—doing so leaves your best stuff on the training path. For example, if you train four times per week and are training for a night half marathon, I would have you do the following to taper your training and rest up for race day:Monday: Run 40 minutes at an easy-to-moderate effort at race start time
Tuesday: Cross-train for 30 minutes
Wednesday: Run 30 minutes at an easy-to-moderate effort
Thursday: Cross-train for 20 minutes or rest
Friday: Evening 20-minute run at race start time at an easy effort
Saturday: Night race
Include Dress-Rehearsal Runs
The greatest way to prepare for a night race is to train in the night, and simulate both the time and conditions you'll be racing in. In the 2 to 3 weeks leading up to the event, train at the same time as the race start. This will allow you to practice your fueling schedule, figure out the foods that work and the right portions, and get a sense of what it feels like to run in the dark. Include at least one night training run early in the week of the race to keep the momentum flowing.
Sleep in and Enjoy
One of the many benefits of an evening race is you don't have to wake up at the crack of dawn. Get plenty of sleep and enjoy your morning. Consider this a light activity day, and avoid standing on your feet for prolonged periods of time—it sucks the life out of the legs. The same goes for heels, girls.
Get in Gear
Running at night requires a few more gadgets and apparel than daytime running, but I consider this a bonus because it involves shopping. Go with brightly colored apparel with reflective properties, a headlamp or hat with lights and flashing lights or glow sticks if you want to stand out and look cool. Some runners even create a special design with glow-in-the-dark tape with their names and designs. The key is to see and be seen (and show your style). At one race, I saw a runner decked out in Christmas lights with a star on his head. I thought it was a mirage, as it was at the end of a very long trail race.Some of my favorite night gear includes: race.