Photo via Pixabay by Thomas Wolter

Training for a race or marathon can be grueling, exhausting work, but it’s extremely important for your health and safety to put in the time well before race day comes so your body will be ready. Boosting your endurance, strength, and agility is a very big part of preparing for any race and can keep you from losing stamina halfway through.

There are several tips you can follow when training, both to keep your body in good shape and to keep you safe when you’re training alone. Here are some of the best.

Make smart choices

While it’s tempting to put in your earbuds and pump up the music while you run, it’s not the best idea if you’re training at night or early in the morning, especially if you are female. It’s all too easy for attackers to target someone who doesn’t have full use of all their senses, so reconsider that music and save it for the gym, or even during the day.

It’s also important to choose safe places to train. Consider the time of day you’ll be running and whether you’ll be alone; many runners train at night or early in the morning because it’s not so hot, but this can be detrimental to your safety in some areas. If you live in the city, stick to well-populated spots, such as the trail at a park, and always assume that drivers can’t see you, even if you’re wearing reflective gear.

Carry your phone with you during every run. Even if you aren’t going to use it for music, you’ll want to have a way to reach someone should something happen or if you got lost.

Choose your shoes carefully

Running can cause quite a bit of wear and tear to your feet and shins, so choose your running shoes very carefully. Go to a sports shop and ask the salesperson to help you get measured so the shoe will fit you perfectly, and try several different kinds before making a decision. These shoes can get expensive, so don’t make an uninformed decision.

You may also need to change shoes for the weather, so it won’t hurt to have two pairs: one made of mesh for summer, and a warmer pair for winter.

Take care of yourself

Training for a race can leave you feeling exhausted and can affect your mind as well as your body. Take good care of yourself by eating well–a diet rich in green, leafy vegetables and protein is usually best–and staying hydrated, and do something to pamper yourself now and then. Get a massage or soak your feet after a long run. It can really help your state of mind and keep you relaxed no matter how tired you get.

Double up

Keep your feet from getting blisters by doubling up on socks. This is a trick many professional runners use and can help you stay comfortable even when you’re on the last mile. Look for synthetic socks that have moisture-wicking technology, as well, which can keep your feet nice and dry during your run.

Many women also employ this trick with sports bras to help minimize jiggle, as well. Look for cotton/spandex bras that will give you support.

Keep it light

Many runners carbo-load the day before the race to boost their energy levels, which is fine, but on the day of, it’s best to keep things light. Have a small breakfast, such as a piece of fruit with half of a whole-wheat bagel, and drink plenty of water. This will keep you from feeling sluggish.

Remember that every runner is different, and it may take you awhile to get where you want to be. Try to stay patient and keep in mind that the key to reaching your goal is believing that you can.

Original post by Jason Lewis. Check him out at strongwell.org.

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