Covered Bridges Half Marathon: Getting Ready to Run!
May 23, 2013 12:18AM
● By Erin Frisch
Every June for 21 years, Woodstock, Vermont, has hosted the Covered Bridges Half Marathon. This year on June 2, the town will host the 22nd annual race. This race always sells out super fast because the beautiful course drops gently 200 feet in elevation over 13.1 miles, with only a couple of short hills. Named Vermont’s premier half marathon, the course winds around ponds and through picturesque villages, fields, and of course the eponymous covered bridges in the best weather the season has to offer (temperatures between 51 and 77 degrees with little chance of rain). With this year’s race on the horizon but already sold out, you might be wondering how you can get in on the action and prepare to participate in next year’s race.
Register Early. This race is notorious for registration closing out within the first 20 minutes of opening. The 2013 race registration sold out in just 14 minutes! The registration date is usually in early December, so keep an eye on their website and make a note on your calendar. Your other option is to sign up for the race and run for a charity. There are many available, and they require you to raise anywhere from $350 to around $700 to participate.
Develop a Training Plan. Depending on your fitness level, your training will vary. If you are a regular runner (at least 10 to 15 miles per week) but have never run a half marathon, a 12-week plan is perfect. A plan like this will have you running five days a week with one of those days being your “long” run and two days a week as rest days. Twelve weeks will give you plenty of time to build up to a 12-mile run before the race, with a “taper week” the week before the half marathon where you cut down your “long” run mileage. If you have a little less experience, there are 16- and 20-week training plans that factor in additional rest days (these are less intensive). If you have more experience, you can try an 8-week training plan where your longer run will start with more distance. Check out halfmarathons.net for some great beginner training plans.
Check Out the Course Map to Plan Your Fueling. You’ll want to see where the water and electrolyte drink stations are along the course. Usually they’re placed about every 2 miles from start to finish. Train with that in mind, taking sips of water during your training runs at the same intervals they will be available to you during the actual race. In addition, see what electrolyte drink will be offered (Gatorade vs. Powerade, etc.) and train with that drink. It is important that your body gets accustomed to using that as fuel during your training. Some electrolyte drinks may upset your stomach while others might not. If you’re planning to use energy chews or goos, test out different brands during your training runs because as with electrolyte drinks, some may upset your stomach. On race day, stick with your tried-and-true products to ensure the most comfortable run.
Above all, remember to have fun while you’re training and during the race. If you can get out this year to cheer on the runners and check out the course, you’ll have a better sense of what you’ll be in for when you register next year. If any readers have run the Covered Bridges Half Marathon before, we’d love to hear your comments and tips, and so would runners planning for the 2014 event!