And I ran: 8 tips for first-time long distance racers from #9Fitness

CINCINNATI - Whether you’re getting a final few runs in for your first half marathon (like me), prepping for the Flying Pig Marathon or just now getting in gear for the Redlegs Run , #9Fitness wants to leave you with a few training tips as your race day approaches.

1. Get those miles in! If you’re doing short runs every day to get your body accustomed to a 13.1 mile trek, you’re not really doing yourself any favors. Make sure you’re adding long runs (weekends are a great time) to the mix so your body gets used to a high level of activity for an extended time.

2. Cross-train. Mix up your workouts to strengthen your entire body: throw in some weights, swimming, hiking, biking, or yoga for a stronger body overall, which helps you maintain good running form and stay more energized.

3. Music makes a difference. If you haven’t tried running with music before, trust me: it makes a huge difference! Get fast-paced, pumped-up songs to help you keep a steady pace and encourage you to keep going! For my first race, I asked friends for their favorite running songs. Not only did I get some new music out of it, it was special to run with my friends’ support.

4. Take it outside. Are you just running on the treadmill? Feeling comfortable on your stationary gym machine? Time to switch it up. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a half marathon course that doesn’t involve a hill or two (or a lot more), so running outdoors gives you a more realistic sense of the terrain. In addition, elements like wind, rain, or humidity will force you to adapt to resistance, allowing you to push past them with ease during the race.

5. Eat and drink. You’ll want to eat before the race, so if you’re not used to eating pre-run, start consuming small amounts of food (remember: carbs are GOOD in this case) before you train so your body can adjust to running with a not-empty stomach. No one wants to see you throwing up next to the mile seven marker.

6. And on that note. Stick to drinks or foods with which you’re familiar during the race. Trying a new sports drink or gel pack for the first time mid-half marathon could bad. Really bad.  

7. Know the course. Study the course you’ll be running before you actually hit the starting line. Know where port-a-lets will be located in case you need to go mid-run. Also, get an idea of where the water and first aid stations are located along the route.

8. Remember to REST! If you’re running your legs off in preparation for your first race, you’re probably not having any trouble falling asleep. Make sure you’re getting a good night’s rest each night, and don’t forget to take a physical rest. Giving yourself time off in between runs aids against injury and stress on your body. Give a rest a try!

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Runners, share some of YOUR last minute with us first-timer! Send me a Tweet, @jennyfromthebak , and I’ll share it with our #9Fitness community.

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