10 Tips for Getting Richmond Ready

Tips for training for the Richmond Marathon or Half Marathon

I’ve officially started training for the Richmond Marathon this week! I know that the next 16 weeks (plus the 2 week taper) will be chock-full of hard workouts & runs that test my mental strength.  However, one of the things that I’m excited about is that I ran Richmond last year, so I can really make sure I train to this specific course.  I thought I’d share some tips with you all on getting ready for the Richmond Marathon (or Half Marathon).

Study the elevation & plan your long runs to mimic the course. One thing I love about this race is how flat the course is in comparison to most races here in Atlanta.  If you live in Richmond or even close to there, I highly recommend doing some training runs on the course.  If you’re not local to Richmond, take a look at the course map now and make sure you plan your training on similar elevation.  If you live in Atlanta, I definitely recommend checking out the Silver Comet Trail.  It has a slight incline on the out and a slight decline on the back, making this a great place to train for this course.  I plan on throwing in a hilly run every few weeks to build strength, but the majority of my runs will be on a relatively flat course. (Want to preview the Silver Comet Trail with me? Check out the event at the bottom of this post!)

Tips for training for the Richmond Marathon or Half Marathon

Running on the Silver Comet Trail

Train for the downhills.  If you’re running the full, know that the back half of this course is a net downhill, with a very steep downhill finish.  One thing I’m going to make sure I add into my training this cycle is a lot more quad strength work – I was really feeling those downhills the last few miles!

Create a motivation wall.  Print out inspirational images and sayings, and put it in a place that you will see every day as you get ready for your workout (like your bathroom or on the back of your bedroom door).  Also, print out an image of the start line to remind you that you will be standing there in November! The Richmond Marathon has some great printables on their website.

Test the fuel that will be on the course. The official fuel of this race is Powerade (the blue kind) and Accel Gel.  Even if this isn’t your fuel of choice, make sure you test both out on several long runs to see how your body reacts.  You never know if you’ll need to take it on course, and race day is not the day to try something new!

Mmmmm Powerade!

Mmmmm Powerade!

Find a half marathon (or 10k if you’re doing the half marathon) as a test race in September. Last year, I ran the Diva’s Half Marathon in September as a dress rehearsal and it was perfect.  It was a good check-in to my training and a great opportunity to test out my fueling and racing strategy.  Plus, since the race went well (Hello, new PR!), it was a great mid-cycle motivation boost! I highly recommend finding one by you around this time in the cycle.

10 Tips for Training for the @sportsbackers Richmond Marathon #richmondready Click To Tweet

Start thinking about race weekend logistics now. Since the race weekend coincides with VCU’s homecoming (GO RAMS!), book your hotel now.  Like literally, right now.  Hotels downtown will go fast! You can find hotel information here.

Recruit a cheer squad. One thing I love about this race is that the organizers make it super easy for spectators! There is an entire page on their website dedicated to helping spectators figure out how to make it to each party zone with all the road closures.  Richmond is a fun city to visit, and since the race is on Saturday morning, you can spend time with your cheer squad over the weekend.  Recruit a few people to travel with you and cheer you on (and have them book their hotels, too!)

Visualize how you’re going to feel on race day. This is something I do often on my runs! I love imagining finishing strong during my runs, and remind myself during hard runs how they will help on race day.  I don’t just picture the finish line – I literally imagine how I want to FEEL during the back half of the race.  I imagine that I’m gliding through downtown and powering myself to the finish.  Start the visualizing now!

Tips for training for the Richmond Marathon or Half Marathon

Sprinting to the finish!


Break in your race day gear.  This one likely applies as it gets a little closer since the weather will cool down.  I did many training runs (and even a half marathon!) in the gear I ended up using on race day. I also like to get a new pair of shoes a couple of weeks before the marathon to break them in, but still have some that are really fresh.  Start thinking about what you may want to wear on race day now!

Find a training partner.  Those long runs can get lonely, and at some point during your training, your motivation will hit a wall.  Having a training partner will help hold you accountable and keep you motivated.  Plus, it’s so fun to experience race weekend with a friend! Fun fact: Carrie and I became friends and training partners because I harassed her into signing up for Richmond.  I’ll admit my motivations were selfish, I wanted a training partner! Good news, I got one!

Carrie and I logged many miles together training for Richmond last year...and many lie ahead of us this fall!

Carrie and I logged many miles together training for Richmond last year…and many lie ahead of us this fall!

If you’re in Atlanta, I have great news for you! I am teaming up with the Richmond Marathon and the Metro Area Running Club (MARC) to host a training run!! If you are in the area and training for the Richmond Half or Full, join us on Saturday, August 20th for your long run.  We’ll be running on the Silver Comet Trail, and you’ll meet other runners training for the same race.  We will also have breakfast and swag for you!  RSVP on the Facebook event here.

Running the Richmond Marathon or Half? Check out these tips to get #RichmondReady! Click To Tweet

What tips do you have for getting Richmond Ready? Are you running the half or the full this year?

Check back each Monday for an update on my training! You can also subscribe via email on the sidebar –>

Other ways to follow my training: Bloglovin, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

I’m also trying to figure out this snapchat thing….my username is jessrunsatl

I am an official blogger for the Richmond Marathon, who has given me a complimentary entry into the 2016 Richmond Marathon.  I truly do love this race, and all opinions are my own.

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  1. After reading this I’m even MORE excited for Richmond again! Looking forward to logging all the training miles again along side you on our favorite trail 😊

  2. Great tips. I am not able to do Powerade or Gatorade so I practice carrying my own hydration.

    • Always a good thing to test 🙂 And great that you already know to steer clear of that stuff on race day!

  3. Great tips! I’ve never run Richmond, but I’m looking forward to it. And, I look forward to reading your blog during the months of training. Thanks Jess.

    James (Baltimore, MD)

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