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How to Run: Useful Advice for First-Time Runners

Our advice for first-time runners will start you off on the right foot

Did you just discover running? Welcome! Did you start running again after a long layoff? Glad to have you back. Are you returning from injury and ready to get back in a groove? Great news! The information contained in this blog post is geared towards first-time runners. But if you’re returning to running or have finally recovered from an injury, you can use this information too!

Remember: every runner starts at square one. You are about to embark on an amazing journey. It will include countless miles, early mornings, new friends, and plenty of finish lines! Take our advice for first-time runners and apply it to your journey!

Set a goal, find a training plan

Image of a runner posing in front of a 2020 Finisher backdrop after completing the 2020 KXAN Simple Health 5K. First-time runners should set a goal and find a corresponding training plan, like the free 5K training plan in this blog.One of the first things you want to do is set a goal. That could be a distance, a race, or a specific distance at a certain event. If you’re just starting out, an ideal goal race would be the Austin Half Marathon. The distance, 13.1 miles, is a great intro to the sport. Plus, you have plenty of time to follow this free half marathon training plan!

Set a larger goal and train for the Austin Marathon. Going from 0 to 26.2 is a great undertaking, but one that you can accomplish with help from this free marathon training plan. Want to begin with a smaller distance and get to the 3-block-long finish line festival before everyone else? Then the KXAN Simple Health 5K is right up your alley! The 5K distance is perfect if you don’t have that much time to train. Bonus points for getting friends and family to join you. Make sure you download this free 5K training plan and share it with whoever’s joining you.

Learn how to run your best

Running is simple, you put one foot in front of the other. But there are so many ways for you to run better and see improvement. Take proper care of your body, especially when you’re just beginning. Getting more sleep, taking time off, and hydrating properly are just a few of these 7 tips that’ll help you run your best!

Utilize these summertime tips

Summer heat saps everyone’s energy, most especially first-time runners. But you’re just starting out and are ready to keep running! Make sure you follow these summertime running tips to beat the heat like protecting yourself from the sun and learning why it’s important to adjust your running schedule.

Keep your motivation motor running

Image of runner from Mexico with his right arm flexed during the 2020 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon. This blog post have tips for first-time runners, like how to be relaxed and run your best.Some times the motivation just isn’t there. The chances of skipping a run or missing a workout are higher with first-time runners. But you’re not alone! All runners face this dilemma. One of the best ways to keep your motivation level high is to find an accountability partner. This person will meet you early in the morning and make sure y’all complete the run. Yes, you guessed it, you’ll hold them accountable too! Here are 5 additional tips for staying motivated.

Tips for running in the rain

You might not know it yet, but running in the rain is an absolute treat! Just make sure you’re prepared so a fun run in the rain stays fun. These 7 tips will keep your training on track despite the weather. Just make sure you check the weather before you take off. Don’t run if there’s lightning!

Don’t miss your morning run

Getting up for your early morning run can be difficult, especially for first-time runners. Completing an early morning run really sets up the rest of your day nicely! But the battle with your alarm clock is real. This is the case for veteran runners too! Implement some or all of these 6 tips. They’ll help you get out the door for your morning run.

Long-run recovery timeline

You’re logging miles. Crushing your early morning run. Your weekend long runs are getting longer. What’s left? Learn how to properly recover from your long run with this recovery timeline. This long-run recovery timeline will help expedite the recovery process and help get you ready for whatever’s next!

This useful advice will help put first-time runners on the road to success. But if you’re returning from a long break or recovering from an injury, this information is just as beneficial. Get ready for an amazing running journey! Hey veterans, if there’s something that worked for you as a first-time runner let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

7 Important Items You Need to Start Marathon Training

Start marathon training on the right foot with these 7 essential items

Using the right gear is as important as following the right training program when you start marathon training. High-quality, reliable items maintain an optimal level of comfort for your body. They also make it easier for you to focus on the task at hand during your marathon training. Include these running essentials when you start marathon training and make your experience as comfortable, fun, and memorable as possible! Pro tip: we share some of our favorite items below.

First and foremost, shoes

Pair of grey and orange women's Under Armour HOVR Sonic 3s. It's crucial to have the perfect pair of shoes when you start marathon training. Read about more items you need at https://youraustinmarathon.com/items-to-start-marathon-training/

Under Armour HOVR Sonic 3s are runner-approved!

It’s a no-brainer to get yourself the perfect running shoes before you start marathon training. The right pair of shoes will equally distribute the force when your foot strikes the ground. Make sure there is enough cushioning and room on the inside of the shoes. This will put less strain on your feet. Pair your running shoes with socks that have more padding and wick away sweat quickly. Keep the rest of your outfit aligned with the weather. Some great shoe options include Under Armor’s HOVR line. Check out what we like and see if they’re right for you.

Infographic listing items needed to start marathon training, like running shoes, sunglasses, hydration. Read about all the items at https://youraustinmarathon.com/items-to-start-marathon-training/Schedule an appointment with our friends at Fleet Feet Austin and get fitted soon. Pro tip: learn how the HOVR line shoes automatically connect to MapMyRun via Bluetooth to track your progress.

Nutrition and hydration

You are what you eat! The significance of maintaining a healthy diet during marathon training is paramount. You have to consume nutritious foods and hydrate adequately to reach peak performance. Carry nutrition with you when you start marathon training, especially as your mileage increases. GU Energy Gels are ideal because they’re easy to carry and contain what you need on long runs. Read how proper nutrition is imperative and why GU Gel’s are ideal for marathon training.

When it comes to hydration, dissolve Nuun tablets into your water. They’re filled with the minerals and electrolytes you need to replenish your system. Hydrating after your long run is important, so keep a bottle ready to go for when you’re done! Pro tip: if you don’t carry hydration with you, stash it somewhere along your route. 

Running belt

When you start marathon training, you might want to carry a few essentials like money, your phone, keys, nutrition, etc. A light running belt, like SPIbelt, will carry your items conveniently. SPIbelt is a popular running belt brand with belts that come in different sizes, color schemes, and patterns.

Extra items to start marathon training

Image of a SPIbelt holding a phone in its pocket and a gel in the clip. A good running belt is nice to have when you start marathon training. Read about more items you need at https://youraustinmarathon.com/items-to-start-marathon-training/

A SPIbelt can carry so much!

Apart from the aforementioned must-haves, you might want to include sunglasses, a hat/visor, and/or headphones. See what we use on our long runs!

These running essentials are ideal for any runner when they start marathon training. Veteran runners might be set in their ways and know what they prefer. But for first-time runners, it’s important to test out different items on your long runs. You want to know exactly what works for you before race day arrives! What specific items are must-haves for you when you start marathon training? Let us know in the Austin Marathon Facebook Group and Twitter.

How Long Will it Take You to Finish a Marathon?

Know the 6 factors that may impact your marathon finish time

A marathon is 26.2 miles (42.2K) long. While most elite runners can finish a marathon in the 2-hour range, age group runner’s finish times vary greatly. We review the average finish times for different ages below. Runners usually have 8 hours to complete the designated 26.2-mile distance.  There are several factors that can influence how long it can take you to finish a marathon. If you already know your running pace, use this helpful pace chart to help predict your finish time or set a new goal!

Training and pace

Runner Pace Chart for 5K Half Marathon and marathon finish time predictionLike every competition, preparation is critical for a marathon. The amount of training you put in every day before the race is crucial to how your body acclimatizes itself to running long distances. You can roughly calculate how long it could take you to finish a marathon by taking your mile time and comparing it with a marathon pace chart. For example, if you’re completing a mile in 15 minutes then you would likely reach the finish line in about 6.5 hours.

If you don’t know your base pace, you can calculate it. There are tons of different pace calculators available on the internet. Another good way to figure out your base pace is to run a 5K. Your pace in the final mile is a good place to start for predicting your pace. Since you are planning a longer distance you will want to add anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute to calculate your full marathon pace.

Many marathons will have pace groups for certain times to help guide finishers. These pace times can differ from race to race but many times include the required qualifying times for the Boston Marathon. The Austin Marathon is a Boston Marathon Qualifier with hundreds of people getting their BQ each year. 

  • Pace groups available: 2:59, 3:05, 3:10, 3:15, 3:20, 3:25, 3:30, 3:35, 3:40, 3:45, 3:50, 3:55, 4:00, 4:05, 4:20, 4:35, and 4:50
  • The pace group leaders will run “even splits.” This means that every mile will be run at approximately the same pace
  • Think of them as a moving finish line with your goal time pinned to the back of their shirts

Age and gender

Although age and gender do not restrict your ability as a runner, there are considerable differences in the stats in these categories. On average, men complete a marathon in a little more than 4 hours, while women take roughly 4.5 hours. The marathon running population is typically 30-40 percent female and 60-70 percent male. People of all ages complete a marathon, though the bulk are between 30 and 50 years of age. 

Average finish time by gender and age group from the 2020 Austin Marathon

Average Finisher Times based on age group for the austin marathon

These stats are important to know so that you can plan accordingly and maybe even take home an age group award. Age group awards are usually presented to the top 3 male and female overall in each age group. Categories begin with 19 & under and end with 85+. Groups increase in five-year increments.

Awards for the Austin Marathon (for male and female) include:

  • Overall champion
  • 2nd place
  • 3rd place
  • Age Groups: 19 & under 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79, 80-85, 85+

Terrain and weather

One part that can affect how long it takes to finish a marathon is the course’s terrain. The flatter the course, the lesser the effort required to run on it. But terrain does not necessarily dictate success or make a course hard or easy. With proper training for a course, you can set a PR (personal record) on all different styles of course. Pro tip: Try and run the course before race day. Practice some of your long runs on the course if you can!

As much as terrain decides the intensity of the challenge, weather can significantly impact how long it will take you to finish a marathon. If it is warmer than normal, your energy could drain faster. Your body consumes more energy to perform the task at hand and keep your body cool. Participants normally prefer the cooler temperatures in the winter months. But as with everything, if it gets too cold this could impact your time because it could take longer to warm up at the start.

Knowing about these factors and how they can impact how long it could take you to finish a marathon will help on race day. Keep a record of your time and work to improve it at your next marathon. With proper training and dedication, you could set a brand new marathon PR! How do you prepare for these factors during your training? Have they impacted how long it took you to finish a marathon? Let us know in the Austin Marathon Facebook Group or on Twitter.

How Cycling Can Help You Improve Your Running Performance

Improve your running performance when you add cycling to your training

Are you a marathon runner looking to optimize your performance? Have you recently discovered marathons and want to learn more about training? Either way, maximizing your stamina, endurance, and physical fitness is crucial to improving your running performance.

Running is an activity that necessitates the use of leg muscles to a large extent. A complete training program is crucial if you want to improve your running performance. It’s important to exercise and strengthen all muscle groups. Fitness experts recommend that you cross-train. Cycling is a great way to cross-train. Riding your bike at least once a week can help you train smarter and improve your running performance as a marathoner.

Cross-training involves activities other than your usual sport. In the case of marathoners, it involves exercises other than running. You might run fewer miles, but cross-training helps engage more muscle groups, enhance endurance, and strengthen leg muscles.

Why cycling is beneficial

Many runners choose cycling for their cross-training and also follow this advice when increasing their mileage. Here are some benefits runners can take advantage of when they begin cycling:

Prevent overuse of leg muscles

Overuse injuries are very common in long-distance running. Integrating another activity can make all the difference between an overuse injury and making it to the finish line. Using the bike reduces impact on your body, especially your feet, while continuing to strengthen your leg muscles. Pro tip: if something doesn’t feel right, get it checked out! Learn how the Ascension Seton Sports Performance experts can get you back on track and headed to your goal.

Strengthen complementary muscles

While short distance runs or sprints can help build muscles, long-distance running is known to hinder muscle growth. The main muscle groups used in cycling are the upper leg muscles like your quadriceps and hamstrings. However, you also use your calf muscles, gastrocnemius, and soleus. Cycling also engages your core and back while giving your arms and shoulders a good workout. As a form of resistance workout, cycling builds and strengthens these different muscle groups.

Expand lung capacity

True, you’ll log fewer running miles by cycling. But you won’t sacrifice some of running’s benefits, like expanding your lung capacity. Simply put, the more fresh oxygen you take in, the more oxygen can be pumped to your muscles. That’s a good thing! While on the bike, you can also practice breathing patterns. The more you can comfortably control your breathing, the lower you can keep your heart rate. A lowered heart rate can relieve some of the stress your body experiences during training.

Cycling is an ideal addition that can better your aerobic system while being easier on your muscles, joints, and tendons. Riding your bike once or twice can improve your running performance. It’s a great complementary activity that can help you achieve faster running times and reduce the chance injuries. Do you cycle as a means of cross-training? Let us know why in the Austin Marathon Facebook Group or on Twitter.