Final Race Information for Carlsbad Half Marathon (1/16/2022)


It's race week for the Carlsbad Half Marathon. Congratulations to everyone who's made it this far and running next weekend! This is a lot of info and it is SUPPLEMENTAL to the information provided by the Race (see more below)  

You've spent a boatload of weeks training, logging hundreds of miles running. Spend the next 10-15 minutes reading it, in addition, to check out the links.

This is our “Race Information Summary” which consists of the most frequently asked questions over the last several years of doing this.

Final Race Info

I will be reviewing a lot of this stuff on Tuesday but review it in advance and have your questions ready. In general, there is a TON of info on the race website:

  • Video of Race Course:

Last Minute Bibs

Need a Bib? There have been a few last minute posting in our Facebook Group, and you will likely find some on Craigslist.  

Have a Bib? If you find yourself still with a bib by later this afternoon, then you should take your efforts to craigslist. You will still have to pick up your bib race pickup or expo to do the transfer, etc.  

**For newbies – PLEASE DO keep in mind that it is technically not allowed to sell/transfer your bib, though it is quite commonplace in the running community. Just keep a low profile at/near the expo and the like.  And . . . do NOT WIN the race (it’s happened before)

Race Confirmation

If you haven’t already, confirm your entry now.  True story . . . A few years ago, one of our runners for the Rock n Roll Marathon one year failed to do so and found out on Saturday afternoon at the expo that she was never confirmed. In a nutshell, it was a mess.

Expo & Bib Pickup

It’s generally a great idea to get to the expo first thing on Saturday morning to beat the crowds then get home and get some rest. The expo opens at 

Remember, you HAVE to pick up your registration on Friday afternoon or Saturday. Information on the Expo is in the Final Race information link below.  Enjoy your time at the expo, it's one of the better ones around.

Expo Hours:  
Friday, January 17 12 to 5 PM
Saturday, January 18

10 AM to 4 PM

Picking Up Someone Else’s Bib

In the past, they have let people pick up bibs for other people as long as the other party has a photocopy or picture of your ID of the person that is registered. Sometimes they will give you a hard time about this so if you can pick it up on your own that's the best practice. 

Training - How Much to Run? (Final Week)

You have received the “Race Taper” info as part of  articles in week 10 post. The most frequent question asked is how much and when to run during the final week:

During the final week leading into Race Day, you should have a good, easy run on Tuesday. If you don’t get out again on Thursday, you should plan to run Friday an easy 3-4 miles at most... And VERY EASY.  You WILL NOT get any training benefit by doing anything other than a very easy jog.  It's more to keep your body loose, stretched out, and things flowin’.

And if you don’t get out on Friday, plan on doing A VERY EASY jog for 15-25min. You will not “tire out” by running a mile or two, followed by a good stretch routine.  

For those NOT racing on Sunday, there will be a group run on Saturday morning at 7:15am for anyone in the club training for SDHM, La Jolla or Rock n Roll. Even if you are racing, it’s not a bad idea to come out and join them for an easy jog, warm-up and stretch.

Nutrition, Food & Hydration

Eat hearty during last few days, but DO NOT eat a huge meal after 7pm Saturday night before the race - plan to eat big early. Then a snack before bed. Most of you should plan on eating a small meal, or a small snack at least, VERY FIRST thing when you wake up on Sunday. Don't wait too long, however to eat.  Should have at least 90-120 minutes to digest most solid meals. Snacks and liquid supplements can be taken closer to race time.

Hydrate, Hydrate and Hydrate. Do NOT wait until Saturday evening to start drinking more fluids. It actually started days ago. You should not wait until Sunday morning to put down an extra Gatorade for breakfast - it’s actually not very effective by that late in the game.  Start hydrating now, if not 2 days ago.  Drink lots of water and supplement with things like Amino Vital, Gatorade or other sports drink, preferably ones with lots of electrolytes, etc.

Pre-Race Nutrition

Speaking of eating . . . every meal is important, but no meal is more important than the one before a race. Eating the right pre-race meal at the right time ensures that all your hard training doesn't go to waste. Check out these guidelines on which foods are best to eat before a big race:


Nothing New Food-wise!

DON'T do or eat or drink or wear anything new, or that you're not used to. One of the reasons for the Saturday long runs is to practice and get used to "race conditions" . . . what to eat/when, drink/when, how much coffee should I drink.  Should I get on the pot before I leave the house, or wait for a blue toilet? DO NOT TRY ANYTHING NEW ON RACE DAY. 

Getting to the Race & Parking

Half the battle with race day has nothing to do with running.  It’s UPS’s tagline - “Logistics”.  

PLAN TO GET TO THE RACE EARLY! You’ll be parking in the Mall Parking lot.  It fills up fast and early and worse, traffic out on the 78 gets pretty bad. The later you arrive, the further you have to park, the later you arrive . . get it ;)   See the notes in the attached instructions - especially if coming up from the South, and exiting at one of the southern exits to avoid 78.

The last Saturday group run meets in the Race Parking lot in order to get a look and feel for the start. We’ll point out some parking options as well.

With all of that, I recommend you plan to arrive at the mall by 6:15am  Any earlier and you’ll have that much more time to chill out in your car. Any later and you run the risk of getting stuck in alot of traffic and crowds.

Meeting Area, Time & Group Picture

We do the same every race . . we designate a spot to meet up. Begin meeting up approx ~1-1.5 hours before race time. We then take a Family Picture EXACTLY 30min before race time, then you’re off on your own to use the porta pottys, change, drop your bags, etc.  We do NOT do any formal warm-up, etc.

WE WILL MEET IN FRONT OF THE FINISH LINE STAGE. Once we're ready to go, we'll head across the porta potties and around to the Corral Start. Keep and eye out for the Black Flag. 


  • >6:30a - Plan to arrive, the earlier the better. Find the BFRC group, rest, relax, hit the porta potties.

  • 7:15a* - GROUP PICTURE on the bleachers.

  • 7:30a - Bag Drop, hit the porta potties again, Head to Corrals.

  • 7:45a  - Race Start

*We'll be taking a GROUP PICTURE at 7:15a SHARP (30 minutes prior to race time) Please adjust your Porta-Potty visits accordingly.  I know some of you will miss the picture, just don’t let it be you ;)

Bag Drop & Gear Check

Most races include a “Bag Drop” area and operate the same way.  Sorry, we won’t have the Key or Clothing Tubs to hang onto your keys.

From the race: “Check your gear race morning inside the big expo tent using the ORANGE 16.5” x 14.5” CINCH BAG you will receive at packet pickup. The cinch bag will have a white box for you to write in your bib number. If you don’t want to write your number on the bag, write it on a piece of duct tape and place it over the white box. If you forget your orange cinch bag on race morning, a clear plastic 11” x 16” bag will be provided for you. As a safety precaution, backpacks and duffle bags will not be accepted. Do not check any valuables and keep in mind we are not responsible for lost or stolen items. Bags may be claimed after your race. Do not discard gear at the start line. All items left at the start line, on the course or not claimed on race day from Gear Check will be donated to local shelters.”


Keep an eye on the weekend weather. Here are some links and general notes:

  • Winter & Spring Mornings are typically cloudy / overcast, even if sunny day.

  • Summer & Fall mornings are typically full-on sun, assuming it’s a sunny day

  • Coastal Races (Carlsbad, La Jolla, etc.) typically experience more humidity in the earlier hours.

  • Sunshine is just as brutal as Heat. Wear protection (Sunscreen, Hat/Visor, Etc.)

  • Dress as if it were 10-20 deg Warmer than it actually is (everyone will vary)

  • Most races allow you to strip & dump clothing on the course. Wear long sleeves/junk mittens/gloves if cold and dump them.

Weather Forecast

Specific Race Information, Course & Maps

There is a ton of information on the race website:

Live Tracking & Results

We offer free live tracking so your family and friends can track you during your race. On race day, there will be a link to live tracking located on the homepage

General Racing Info & Tips

Final Race Preparation

Here are a few good online articles on your final Preparation. For Half Marathoners, keep in mind some are geared towards the FULL marathon, but most of the concepts apply:

Aide on The Course

There will be plenty of water, aide and even GU on the Half Marathon course. Taken from the guide: “Fully staffed and equipped water stations will be positioned along the course approximately every mile with plenty of water and portable toilets. Grape Ultima Replenisher will be served at approximately mile 2, 4, 6, 9 and 11. Vanilla Bean and Chocolate Outrage (both flavors contain caffeine) GU Energy Gel will be available at approximately mile 4, 8 (and more for the full marathon…)”  

So, plan on leaving your water bottles, belts and CamelBacks at home - run light, run fast!

Spectators & Road Closures

Every race is different in regards to spectators. The ability and ease for spectators to get on the course and depends on many factors:

  • Public Access - How available is it? I.e. AFC Half = No spectators at the start area.

  • The Course Itself - what parts of town (or country) is it going through. Are the neighborhoods safe?

  • Traffic and Congestion - Is it downtown very crowded, or in back street neighborhoods?

  • Your transportation - Getting around in a Cadillac Escalade is quite different than a 2-wheel scooter or a Bike.

If you have friends & family coming to see you for the Half Marathon, keep in mind that you can only get so far out and back in 2+/- hours with all of the traffic and congestion.  In years past, I found it successful to see the Start, Go back to car and head out to Canon Road which is Mile 4.5 outbound, and mile 9 on the way back.   If they're swifty, they may be able to see you out and back, and then even get back in time to see you finish.  If they want to see you at the finish, then best to plan to only see you on the way out and head back after you pass.  (The faster runner you are, the harder it is to see you on the finish)  Of course, all depends on overall crowds and traffic.  It's pretty crazy around the area.  But they will definitely NOT be able to see more than one spot out on the course.  


Aaron’s Secret Spectator Spot

Canon Road above gets a bit crowded since it’s easy access, and the fact that it’s the one that the race publishes. I have personally watched many races from Manzano Dr., just South of Canon Rd.  I won’t spell out exact instructions here, but have provided some links below:


200 Manzano Dr.

Carlsbad, CA  92008

 Cheer Station:

Street View:

Directions from Mall:


This is called my “Secret Spot” for a reason and Canon Road gets very crowded for a reason . . . please keep amongst ourselves and your friends and family only

There is nothing better and more satisfying than finishing, crashing on the grass, celebrating with family and friends. And where applicable . . . hitting the beer garden!! After the race, get your nice finish area picture, pick up any free schwaag, recovery snacks, and drink. NOTE: We do NOT do anything formal after the race. Just find us and celebrate!


Registered participants over the age of 21 and displaying their bib number and proper ID are invited to visit the beer garden in the finish line festival to receive a complimentary Ballast Point beer (limited to one per person while supplies last).

Leaving The Race

Leaving always sucks. Be prepared to have some patience. Leaving will be just as ‘fun’ but you won’t be under the stress of getting to a race. Plus you’ll have recently finished!!  But I’ll warn you now, plan on a hefty wait time to get out of the parking lot.  It’s been up to 45-60min in years past.  The closer you get to the start line, the deeper you’ll be in the parking lot which means more traffic to wait through.  You may want to consider parking further away, back out towards el camino real.

Final Thoughts

That's it for now . . . And should be it for the rest of the race weekend.  GOOD LUCK TO YOU ALL, AND CONGRATULATIONS AGAIN FOR MAKING IT THIS FAR!!!  Please let us know if you have any questions!