La Jolla Half Marathon Race Prep 4/16/2022
Greetings Runners! I hope everyone has been well and training good! This post is for anyone running or attending the La Jolla Half this weekend. It is similar to previous race post (Carlsbad, San Diego, etc.) but has RACE SPECIFIC information within.
This is our “Race Information Summary” which consists of the most frequently asked questions over the last 10+ years of doing this. It’s the good stuff, but it is also SUPPLEMENTAL to the information provided by the Race (see more below)
Final Race Info
A portion of this may have been reviewed during the last group run or two. In general, there is a TON of info on the race website linked below.
Main Half Website: https://www.ljhalf.com/
Final Race Info: https://www.ljhalf.com/race-info-1
Course Map (Also Attached): https://www.ljhalf.com/race-course
Race Instructions: https://www.ljhalf.com/runner-instructions-half
IMPORTANT: EARLY START THIS YEAR 6:30 AM
Expo & Bib Pickup
The race expo will be on Friday only.
Unless you paid extra during registration to have early pickup of bib. You must pick up your bib number and shirt at the La Jolla Half Marathon Expo. Be prepared to show your photo ID to claim your bib number. You may designate a person to pick up your bib number but they must present a copy of your picture ID – no exceptions.
Friday, April 15 ........ 11:00AM to 7:00pm
Ellen Browning Scripps Park at La Jolla Cove
1100 Coast Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037
Training - How Much to Run? (Final Week)
In the artical section of this text is the “Race Taper” info 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.
Remember for Full marathoners running Rock n Roll . . . this is more of a "mid-season ultra tempo run practice race" ;) Don't kill yourself, but use it as a good training session and practice for the big race next month!
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.
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.
There is always a direct link between nutrition, hydration and medical. The Rock n Roll Race website has a decent overview section on Medial and Hydration.
DO NOT however, overcompensate and over hydrate. This can have just as serious effects. Simply reflect back to our long runs, some of which were toasty, and adjust accordingly. **KEEP IN MIND that this some of the information in the above links is specific to the RnR marathon.
Getting to the Race & Parking
Half the battle with race day has nothing to do with running. It’s UPS’s tagline - “Logistics”.New this year it look like shuttles will only be running one direction. It will take runners from the fishline back to their cars between 8:30am to 11:00am
Starting around 5:45am, the I-5 Freeway exits near the fairgrounds will start to get backed up - double edged sword - the longer you wait to drive in, the longer the car lines, the later you'll be. You will be parking in the big lot across the street from the track, so plan on a 10-15 minute walk from there. If you know back way to get into Del Mar race track, may want to use it. PLAN TO ARRIVE AT THE RACE TRACK NLT 5:30AM HINT: Come from the North, or if driving from the south, pass the backed up exit, and get off on the next one, come back down heading South.
Park at the Finish - and bus it to the start, Keep in mind that this is in the Cove area, so it gets very crowded even early in the morning. YOU MUST BE IN LINE BY 5:00AM. Last bus leaves between 4:30am and 5:15 am, race starts at 6:00AM. ** THE COVE AREA WILL BE BUSY. PLAN ON EXTRA 15-25 MINUTES TO GET INTO LA JOLLA, TO PARK AND THEN TO WALK TO THE COVE TO GET INTO THE LINES. PLAN TO ARRIVE INTO LA JOLLA NLT 4:15AM/4:30AM.
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.
>4:15 am - Arrive in downtown La Jolla (if taking bus to start)
5:00 am - Arrive to Del Mar Race Track (if driving to start)
5:30 am - Start grouping up, hang out, relax, etc. (Near gear drop off)
6:00 am - Group Picture, right on time
6:05 am - On your own. Final stretch, bag drop, porta-potties
6:30 am - Race Start
The Parking shown on the map is for guests, or for anyone who is electing to park at the Start, vice the Finish (like I noted above.) We will group up in the start area starting about 5:30am. The Start area is the entire Del Mar Fairgrounds parking lot. It shouldn't be hard to see a group of about 40 of us – we will be in the vicinity of the water tables / bag drop.
Hang out, warm up, relax and plan on our group picture at 6:00am SHARP. Plan your porta-pottie visits and arrival accordingly. Have your other halves ready with their cameras as it's usually paparazzi heaven :) This will give us enough time to strip down, drop your bags (see below) and get going to the corrals.
Immediately following the picture, we will meander into the starting corrals . . . about 6:15am. Race starts at 6:30am.
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.
La Jolla runs a bit different in that All checked gear must fit into one 11” x 16” bag which will be supplied by the race. You may NOT check any backpacks or duffle bags. This means that a small gear bag that you own from a previous should fit okay.
From the race which is pretty standard: All items left at the start line, on the course or not claimed on race day from the Gear Pickup tent will be donated to local shelters. Any bags left unattended will be removed by security.
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.
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!
From the race info: “Fully staffed and equipped water stations will be positioned along the course approximately every mile (2, 3, 4, 5.5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.5 and 12) with plenty of water and portable toilets. Grape Ultima Replenisher will also be served at approximately miles 2, 3, 5.5, 7, 8, 10 and 12. Note: We are no longer permitted to have a support station inside Torrey Pines State Park. There will still be one before, and one after exiting the park.”
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.
Official Black Flag Cheer Zone
Please consider joining us cheer on our runners! For those not running, family and/or friends, we usually designate an area to meet up and cheer on the runners. It’s a great time to show some spirit and boost morale of everyone running! Simply show up when you can, and bring some extra goodies: Facebook Post: https://fb.me/e/fbMUTehNZ
Runners, wear your Black Flag Running Club Shirt
Signs & Banners
Horns, Sirens, and More Cowbells
Frozen Otter Pops for the runners
Cut up fruit (Oranges) for the runners
Drinks, Snacks, Sunscreen, Lawn chairs (for yourself ;)
We will be at the Mile 12 hill starting around 7:30a (to see the leaders) The majority of runners will be passing through beginning around 7:45-8:15a. We’ll meet at the corner of Spindrift Drive and St. Louis Terrace. Here's a link to help you find it: https://goo.gl/maps/gLs1s Where to park: Park in La Jolla village, around Blue Bird Lane. Walk down to Spindrift (< 1mile) from there.
After The Race
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!
Everyone finishes in the La Jolla Cove lawn area and gets corralled through a finish area and dumped into the center of the park. It’s bustling with racers, spectators, etc. While we don’t formally meet up after the race, we usually congregate in the grass area in front of the stage so plan to stop by there to say hey! Or better, meet in the Beer garden :) **You must have ID to get into the beer garden, so make sure that’s with you or in your bag so it’s there at the finish.
Leaving The Race
Leaving always sucks. Be prepared to have some patience.
Frankly, getting out of La Jolla sucks so plan on having some extra patience. You’ll be whipped and getting sore too. If you have your car by driving to the finish, you’ll have an easier time. If you’re on a shuttle bus, be prepared to sit longer. You’ll get in the line at the East end of the cove and they shuttle you back to Del Mar.
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!