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Safety Tips to Follow During Your Next Run

7 safety tips that’ll keep runners safe

Running outside has tons of benefits no matter what type of run you’re completing! You can hit up the trails, take in the sights of a new city, breathe fresh air, say hey to folks you know, and so much more! But with those benefits comes some potential harm. There are many ways to ensure you finish your run just as healthy and safe as when you began. Whether you’re running one mile at your local track or 20 miles on your favorite trail, these 7 safety tips will help keep your training on track.

Run with a friend

Running with a friend is fun! It’s also one of the best ways to stay safe on a run. You’re more likely to be visible to vehicles and less likely to be the victim of a crime. Think strength in numbers. Should something happen to one of you, the other will be quicker to get help and assist until help arrives. Plus, everyone knows it’s better to train with friends because they will hold you accountable. If you need help convincing your friend to train with you, this advice should do the trick!

Listen to your surroundings

Whether you’re running the roads or the trails, you should always pay attention to your surroundings! Music can help us power through our run, but it can also prevent us from hearing what’s going on around us. If you run with earbuds, keep one out. If you run with both, keep the volume at a low level. You can also ditch the earbuds and play your music out loud. 

Run against traffic

Take your phone with you during your run in case you need it.

It’s important for you to see drivers and for drivers to see you. Running against traffic allows you to see what’s coming your way. Avoid running against traffic on blind corners as drivers won’t have enough time to react if they don’t see you until the last second. Plan your route ahead of time to ensure you’ll always run against traffic, especially when you increase your mileage.

Look both ways when crossing the street

This tip goes all the way back to childhood. When running, you should pay attention to everything. Don’t assume vehicles will stop. Chances are they might not see you. Also, just because you pushed the button to cross the street doesn’t mean it’s immediately safe to cross the street. Pay attention to all signals, when it’s your turn, still look both ways! Even though you think you know the light sequence, it could’ve changed. Don’t assume anything Pro tip: if you’re stuck at a light, spend that time completing one of these 4 stretches.

Wear reflective clothing

Reflective clothing will help with visibility, which is imperative when running outside. You want to be seen by vehicles so they can plan accordingly. Light-weight lights can also be placed on your arms, shoes, ankles, or hat. Reflective clothing and lights will also help you be seen by cyclists and other runners. Reflective clothing is especially helpful in the dark. These BSEEN LED bands will help you be more visible in the dark. They’re lightweight, have an extended battery life, and can fit on your arm or around your ankle. If you run early in the morning or at night, check out these night running safety tips

Carry your phone

Your phone can do more than just play music or track your GPS. It’s the most beneficial tool you can have in the event of an emergency. Make sure your phone is fully charged before you take off on your run. If you’re ever in an accident or come upon one, having your phone available can make a massive difference. Carry your phone hassle-free with a SPIbelt. They’re available in many different sizes and colors.

Tell someone about your run

Before you take off, tell someone your planned route, mileage, and when they can expect you back. This person can be a loved one, co-worker, or roommate. This gives them an idea of when to expect you back and where to check should you not come back on time. Turn on the setting that allows someone to know your location, most smartphones have this. Here are instructions for iPhone and Android on how to share your location.

Pro tip: vary your route. Switching up your route is not only great for your training, but it also reduces the chances of someone harming you on your run.

By utilizing one or all 7 of these safety tips, you increase the chances that you stay safe on your next run. Chances are you already use some of these. Increase your safety when running by using them all the time!

Convince Your Friend to Train for a Half Marathon with You

5 ways to convince your friend to train for a half marathon with you

Maybe you have a race coming up and you don’t want to train alone. Perhaps you need some motivation to get your running groove back. Or you could have a friend who’s talked about running a half marathon, but has yet to commit. Regardless of the reason, it is time to convince your friend to train for a half marathon with you. Training with a buddy is not only fun, but inspiring as well. You can encourage each other while training for the upcoming 13.1-miler. If they’re still on the fence, convince your friend to train for a half marathon with you using the 5 tips below. Remember, running is contagious!

Incorporate a stretch routine before all runs and workouts.

Pro tip: it’s important to remember that life happens. Share how you balance life and training with your friend. That and these 5 helpful tips will give them what they need to train successfully.

1. Describe the race-day experience

Sometimes not knowing what to expect on race day can be detrimental. Take this opportunity to let your friend know what happens during race weekend. From packet pickup to the finish line festival, explain the process and what happens along the way. Provide details about the vendor-filled expo, what to expect on race morning, and the party at the finish line. Build this 4-stretch routine into your training plan and make it part of your race morning.

2. Share training information

Share information, like your favorite GPS watch, with your friend.

Share tips about how to train for the upcoming half. Provide guidance for essential items like running shoes, GPS watches, nutrition, training plans, stretching exercises, etc. Communicate what works and didn’t work for you. This is also a chance for you to determine what might be holding them back. Your friend will have lots of questions. You want to make the entire experience as enjoyable as possible for them. Think back to training for your first 13.1-miler and try to anticipate what they might need. Chances are there are a few things that’ll help them that they’re not aware of, like side stitches. Share these side-stitch prevention methods with them.

3. Provide support and encouragement

Keep in mind, running can seem daunting for a first-timer. Offer support and inspiration that’ll help them continue, even during the tough times. Take small steps and set smaller, weekly goals. Incorporate the ABCs of goal setting and they will help you both build-up to the main goal: crossing the half marathon finish line. Don’t throw your friend into full-fledged running, especially if they’ve never run before. Recall why you started running in the first place and try to impart that to your friend.

4. Work at their pace

Your insight will help your friend cross the finish line!

Your enthusiasm for the half marathon might discourage your friend who might feel less-than-ready to run. To counteract this, make your training run sessions fun. Include tunes they enjoy or run in an area they’re familiar with. Be sure to not make them burn out. Keep things at their pace, from running to the information you share. Again, revert back to training for your first half and what worked for you. If your runs are at night because of their schedule, follow these safety tips and enjoy the benefits of running at night.

5. Create friendly competition and give rewards

What better way to stimulate the passion for running than some competition. It is a fun way to challenge each other during training. Rewards can be small and inexpensive, like home-baked cookies or a new pair of socks. It shows your friend that you’re thinking of them and will incentivize them to reach their goal. When thinking about competition, it doesn’t have to be between the two of you. Challenge your friend to run half a mile further than before or a few seconds faster during a speed workout. After all, they’re their own competition.

Running is an exciting way to get fit and have fun. What better way to enjoy this sport and train for the next half marathon than with your friend? This advice will help you get them off the fence and in training mode. Establish a routine, set smaller goals, and create friendly competition to help your friend cross their first half marathon finish line!

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.