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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.

Tips For Running in Cold Weather

We’ve all been there. One day you’re running on a mild 60-degree day with the sun beaming down on you, then seemingly overnight the weather drops to near-freezing levels and the wind is howling outside your window. 

When the temperatures dip it can be challenging to get outside, but as long as your gear and mindset are up for a slight challenge you’ll find yourself crushing those runs like never before! We spoke to some seasoned runners and asked them what their best cold-weather-running advice was, and they delivered!

Staying Warm

  • I start chilly and use my effort to warm up. In those temps, I wear a pair of tights, a long shirt, glove liners, and a headband that covers my ears. No jacket is necessary unless it is windy or raining.
  • I dress a layer below what I would normally wear around. For example, I usually wear a hoodie and maybe a light coat over that when going around, but to run I would just wear a long sleeve and maybe a t-shirt as well. Even if you feel chilly before you start running, that’s fine. You’ll warm up quite a bit when you get going.
  • Experiment with layers. Everyone feels temperatures differently. Layers allow precise adjustment. Maybe different materials and thicknesses of long sleeve t-shirts and a vest. Thin cap or gloves if needed. 
  • When it hits 50 for me, I wear gloves. I also get cold very quickly so anything 60ish and below I wear tights. My tops depend on the wind honestly.
  • Try out the website dressmyrun.com; it uses your location, time, weather, and any factors ( such as if you get cold easily ) to tell you how to dress. I used it when I first started running and it was very helpful. 
  • A good hat, socks, and gloves will go a long way in keeping extremities warm. Don’t skimp on those.
  • Hands. Getting proper running gloves this winter was a game-changer.
  • Thin gloves are what I find the most helpful in staying warm during the winter runs.
  • I will typically wear 3/4 running tights or a long-sleeved shirt, a headband to cover my ears, and running gloves. I take the gloves on and off to help regulate my temperature. Below 0 degrees, I wear both the tights and the long-sleeved shirt.
  • You will need less clothing than you think. Last week, I ran 18 miles in 16-degree weather wearing a long sleeve thermal tech shirt, a long-sleeve t-shirt, a wind jacket, and running tights under my shorts. At times, I was almost too hot (the sun helped).
  • It’s only cold at the beginning. The hardest part is getting over the cold mentally. I always say that I can quit after one mile if I’m too cold. I never do.

Staying Visible

  • Not really about the dress, but worth mentioning that colder weather means shorter days. Plan your runs keeping in mind that the sun sets sooner and quicker.
  • When it gets dark visibility is key. A good headlamp is vital in these situations. I can’t tell you how many times when I started hiking and running I would misjudge my timing and end up in the dark.

Staying Healthy

  • Warm-up EXTRA well. Stretch well. Make sure you don’t take your warm-up clothes off until the last minute before your run. Keep moving even when they’re off
  • Make sure the legs will stay warm, the face is covered but breathable, ears are covered and hands are covered.
  • Stay hydrated. Cold, dry air pulls moisture from your lungs and you will still sweat. If you carry a water bottle, be careful, the water may freeze.
  • Transitioning to cold weather running usually brings injuries to new runners as suddenly they run faster and longer. Follow the rules of not progressing too fast and for too long of a distance. Your tendons and ligaments adapt slower than your cardio.
  • If it’s possible, do some warm-up stuff indoors before you head outside. Things like ankle/hip activation or strengthening. Make sure you protect your ears, hands, and neck. I like using a buff/neck gaiter for my neck and my ears if it’s that cold outside. Layers are your friend, if you have too many just tie them around yourself.

The 2020 September Running Playlist: Music to Your Ears

We curated the 2020 September Running Playlist just for you

You want music? We’ve got music! Austin is known as The Live Music Capital of the World and we are big music lovers. Every year, we showcase live music throughout the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon course and at the 3-block-long finish line festival. These monthly playlists will allow y’all to hear what we’re listening to. Each song can be found on its monthly playlist and our master #WeLiketheSoundofThat playlist! We also share every song on Twitter. Hit the ‘Follow’ button on Twitter so you know what’s next! The 2020 September Running Playlist has everything you need, including the legendary Red Hot Chili Peppers and the energy-creating Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Pro tip: having a playlist that you love is a great motivational tool to get you out of bed for your morning run!

Playlist pro tips:

1) In Spotify, drag the 2020 September Running Playlist to your ‘Playlists’ section for quick access

2) Then click the download button so you can listen even if you’re offline

Click play on the 2020 September Running Playlist before you take off for your next run. These songs can pump you up, allow you to catch your breath, or help you focus on the warm-up/cool-down. However you incorporate music, just make sure you can still hear your surroundings. It’s important to know what’s going on around you! Is there something you like that we didn’t list? 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.