Preparing for a marathon needs a lot of time, discipline and commitment. Training outdoors is an important part of prepping for a marathon but no workout is worth risking your overall health or well-being for.
Follow our top 12 training tips for marathon beginners to ensure safe sessions:
- Avoid deserted areas like the plague. This is one of the running tips that you must always follow. Make it a point to train in well-lit and busy places. Always mark places along your route that can be points of help, be it a small garage, shop or home.
- Instead of a Point A to Point B and back route, consider a circular route. This works out to be the safest as you don’t have to retrace your steps and return to areas where you may have felt uneasy.
- If possible, train with a friend or join a running group. If training alone, test the route by walking or driving. Look around for busy areas and areas where someone can conceal themselves.
- Make it a habit of mixing up your running training plan. Varying your route and the time you go out is important to ensure that your movements don’t become predictable.
- If running or walking near a road, make it a point to face approaching traffic. Mind the vehicles parked by the roadside and avoid too close to parked cars with people in them.
- What you wear can also contribute to your safety on the road. Avoid wearing sportswear that draws unwanted and unnecessary attention. Some hooded tops or caps restrict vision and must be avoided.
- Don’t wear expensive jewellery and watches. Leave the expensive Walkman or music player at home. Get yourself a waist, pocket or bum bag to carry essentials such as a phone and some cash.
- Wearing headphones and listening to music may make the run more fun but it can make you distracted. You won’t hear anyone approaching and can be caught unawares. Run with yourself – with your ears open to sounds and approaching trouble.
- A personal safety alarm can be of great help if you run into trouble. Keep it close and set it loud so as to shock and throw off an attacker. The intervening minutes can mean time to get away.
- If you prefer to train in the dark, ensure that you can be spotted by drivers. Wear bright colours, preferably with reflective material or tape. This will ensure that you stand out.
- A head torch may be worth your while in areas with poor street lighting. They help you see, allow you to be seen and keep your hands free.
- Make it a point to tell someone when you head out for a run. Tell them where you plan to run and the time that they should expect you home. If you don’t, they can sound an alarm.
Marathon training for beginners isn’t easy. But ensure that you always stay safe by trusting your instincts. If something seems off, get away from the place as soon as you can. Don’t push yourself to your limit – you need to ensure you always have enough energy to find your way back in an emergency.
Stay safe and enjoy marathon season!