Marathon season is in full swing. Whether you’re gearing up for your first race or your twentieth, here are some tips to help you to train for the race in a safe way and stay safe while training.
1. Never skip a warmup
Preparing your muscles and heart for the training ahead is crucial for reducing your risk of injury and helps to improve your overall running performance. Before you set out to conquer some miles, start with 10 to 15 minutes of light jogging and dynamic stretches like skips and butt kicks.
2. Share your route
Whether it’s a family member or a trusted friend, make sure someone always knows where you plan to run and how long you plan to be gone. If you’re going on a long run, plan to have someone call halfway through to check in, and if you’re using an app like Strava or MapMyRunto track and share your runs, never post your route online.
3. Train in numbers
Not only will running with a partner keep you motivated (who doesn’t love a little friendly competition?), but it will also help keep you safe. Individuals make easier targets than a pair or group of people—plus, running with others gives you an extra set of eyes and ears to notice anything out of the ordinary. If you can’t find anyone to run with you, join a local running group on social media or run with a dog.
4. Stay visible
As the days get shorter, it might get dark outside when you train, which makes it important to be intentional about what you wear to help drivers see you. Opt for brighter-colored clothing, wear a lighted running vest, and carry a double-duty safety device that can help you be seen and help deter attackers, like the LED Armband with Pepper Gel or a Clip-on Personal Alarm with LED Light.
5. Vary your route
Avoid being predictable to unwanted onlookers by switching your route throughout the week. If completely changing your route isn’t doable, try changing the time of day you train or run your usual route backward to keep it less predictable.
6. Follow a plan
Running a marathon is no easy feat. Like any goal you set out to accomplish, it needs an action plan. Find an online race training plan or consult a running coach to ensure your training plan sets you up for success. A good marathon training plan slowly increases your mileage each week, incorporates strength training days, and includes easy recovery days. As they say, slow and steady wins the race.
7. Be able to defend yourself
There’s no such thing as being too prepared. Take a self-defense class and carry a safety device to protect yourself if push comes to shove. A runner-specific safety device like a Pepper Gel with Hand Strap offers immediate, convenient access to protection right in the palm of your hand. Plus, unlike pepper spray, pepper gel only affects what it directly contacts and is less likely to blow back in windy conditions. This Runner Pepper Gel also features an adjustable, ambidextrous hand strap with a reflective logo to help increase your safety while running at night.
The last thing a potential threat wants is attention drawn to them, so if you find yourself in an unsafe situation, use the safety tool that’s always with you—your voice. If you feel unsafe, yell to alert anyone in the area and draw attention to yourself.
8. Properly hydrate and fuel your body
We all know a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water are important, but it’s especially important when you put your body through strenuous activity, like training for a marathon. When you build your marathon diet, Abbot recommends focusing on carbs first to ensure your body has plenty of energy to train.
9. Check the weather
When you’re going on hours-long runs, you don’t want to leave the house without the right gear. Make sure you double-check the weather before you head out for a more enjoyable run.
Good luck at the race, runners!