Coventry Half Marathon  is coming up in November. Here’s a few tips based on my experiences from last year’s race.

It has a start time of 8.30am which is unusually early for a half marathon.  This means you might need to get up earlier than normal in order to eat breakfast and have it digested before race day.

As I’m a little bit sensitive to runners trots I have to get up at 6am to get breakfast eaten at least 2hrs before the start.

Always arrive in plenty of time for parking, toilets and bag drop off. I usually arrive at least 60minutes ahead and more for a local event as they’ll be lots of friends and people to talk to.

If you live locally then walking, cycling or lift sharing is the best option for getting to the start.

If not make sure to check out the car parking. The best option is to use one of the multi-storey car parks at the Belgrade, Odeon or University. They’re all a few minutes walk to the start area and if payment is needed most of them take card or app payments s

o no need to worry about change.

The start area by the Cathedral is a beautiful setting and had plenty of facilities including toilets, drinks and bag drop off. Having said that it’s always worth having your only small supply of tissues and hand wash just in case.

Being in the city centre I found it incredibly congested at the start so not much room for a good warm up and didn’t get this right at all last year. If you’re after a good time and need a warm up then you’ll need to start your warm up well ahead of the start time and away from the start area.

Like most spring races it’s cold at the start. As it’s a fairly big race so you need to be lining up in your start pens quite early….and as well as not having a warm up I was freezing! Wearing some old clothes you can discard or a bin liner would be a really good idea.

The first mile is through the town centre with lots of turns and I found congested and slow. If you’re looking for a time then it’s probably worth starting in slightly faster start pen to account for all the people that get it wrong.

Coventry half isn’t an easy race. It’s pretty much up hill for the first half! So pace yourself.

The first few miles are steadily up hill but the biggest hills are at around the halfway mark in the section after Allesley Village.  Once you pass this it’s mostly downhill so you can open up your legs on the downhill along the Tamworth road.

Although the second half is downhill there is a short sharp shocker on the Radford road on the way back into town and also a steep cobbled hill to the finish line. At the finish line don’t forget to appreciate the view of the spectacular Coventry Cathedral.

If your supporters are meeting you at the finish make sure to have arranged a meeting point in advance. It can also be a handy to tip to give them some warm clothes for you to put on afterwards as there was a very long and cold queue for bag pick up in 2019.

Whatever happened in your run – if you made it to the finish that deserves celebration! Be sure to figure out how to celebrate your race in advance. For me it’s usually lunch with friends and last year we went to Fargo Village for delicious brunch!