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Your Better Half: How to Race Your Fastest Half-Marathon

Do you want to improve your half-marathon time this year? You can, if you’re committed to going beyond the training plan

Whether you’re a new runner contemplating your first long race this year, or you’re a veteran hunting down a new personal best, 2021 can be your year. Races might look different, but that shouldn’t stop you from striving to excel at 21.1 or 42.2 km. Here’s what you need to know — and do — to have your best race yet.

Know what you’re dealing with

It’s important to go into the fall with your eyes wide open. “I’m a fan of planning for the worst and hoping for the best,” says sports psychologist (and former professional triathlete) Danelle Kabush of Victoria. In past years, that meant hoping for a PB but being ready for a mid-run blister. This year, it means hoping that your race will run, but being prepared to do it virtually if it doesn’t.

If you want a real-life race, think small: local races will likely happen, while the bigger races with huge international fields are less likely to be open at their usual volume. “Races might go in the fall, but expect much smaller fields and a mashup of real-life and virtual racing options,” says Run Ottawa’s Ian Fraser, race director of the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon.

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