Race strategy: How you reach your goal

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Participating in a long-distance race requires not only physical preparation, but also a smart race strategy. Here are some valuable tips that can help you plan and succeed in your race.


There are a few things which are recommended in preparation for an endurance race. These include organisational aspects such as arriving on time so you won't be stressed already before the race. In the morning of the run, take enough time to prepare for the day. Eat plenty of breakfast, even if you don't feel like it - you'll need the energy.

Before the start

Again, take you time for warm-up, drink enough and go to the toilet shortly before your start. Lining up in your starting block at your desired position could also be crucial. If you are aiming for a fast run, try to move towards the front of the starting block. This way you don't have to overtake many runners, as this costs energy. If you are not yet able to run a fast time, you should be towards the back of the starting block - this way you will feel less stressed if many runners overtake you shortly after the start.

Choosing the right running clothes is also crucial to feel comfortable during the race. Be sure to adapt to the weather. Don't dress too warmly as your body will generate a lot of heat during the run. Too much and not breathable clothing increases the risk of your body overheating during the run. Thanks to our partnership with DPD Switzerland, you can drop off your clothes just before the start and have them sent home. Find out more about the parcel service here.

Don't start in too fast

One of the most common errors in long-distance running is starting too fast. It's tempting to get carried away by the energy and euphoria of the crowd and run yourself ragged at the start of the race. However, it is important to start at your pace so you still have enough energy later in the race. If you're running already at your limit in the first 5 to 10 km, the rest of the race will be incredibly tough - both physically and mentally. A good way to control your pace is to use tools such as pacemakers, sports watches and pace bracelets. These will help you maintain your planned pace and avoid wasting too much energy in the beginning. This requires that you know your target time and pace before the run. Determine your pace per kilonmeter and try to stick to the plan. At our marathon expo, you can have your pace bracelet printed with your pace per kilometer. Here, you'll find out which pacemakers are running in which starting block.

A popular strategy for long-distance running is "negative splitting": You run the second half of the race faster than the first. This requires a well-controlled pace at the start as you have to pace yourself, but rewards you with a strong finish and the knowledge that you have managed your energy reserves wisely.

Nutrition: Nothing without testing beforehand

An appropriate nutrition strategy is crucial for long-distance running. It is important to test in advance what foods and drinks you can tolerate during the race. Make sure you try different food options during your preparation. Plan the ammount and frequency of your nutrition intake during the race in advance. Don't wait until you feel hungry or thirsty as this could be a sign that you are already dehydrated or low on energy. Click here for the nutrition plan and valuable nutrition tips.

Mental strength: Keep a positive attitude

A long-distance race is not only a physical challenge, but will also challenge you mentally. Try to always stay positive during the race to keep yourself motivated. Break the race into smaller stages and reward yourself when you reach milestones. As your race draws to an end and your energy dwindles, try to soak up the atmosphere of the spectators. Try to enjoy that you already came that far. Visualise the moment when you're crossing the finish line. You can do it!

Overall, a half marathon or marathon requires physical as well as mental and organisational preparation. Remember that each and every person is unique. Therefore, it is advisable to try different strategies during trainings to find out what suits you best. It may not work the first time. Don't be discouraged, keep trying - you will find your strategy.