Tips for Your First Marathon, Triathlon, or Walkathon

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Whether you like to walk, run, bike, swim, or all of the above, safety should always be at the forefront of your mind! Of course, the exact training regimen you follow will be sport-specific. For instance, triathlon training techniques should incorporate elements of running, swimming and cycling. Marathon training techniques will emphasize endurance while running.

No matter what your activity of choice is, there are general safety guidelines that will help you to prevent injury and perform at your very best. Check out the following tips to train safely for your upcoming marathon, triathlon, or walkathon.

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Safety and Performance Guidelines

1. Start out on the right foot.

Speak with a doctor or other health professional to ensure that you don’t have any health conditions contraindicating rigorous exercise. A huge part of preventing injury is making sure that you’re healthy at the starting line!

2. Set an appropriate training schedule.

In order to prevent injuries, you need to slowly accustom your muscular and cardiovascular systems to the stresses of exercise. If you’re new to rigorous exercise, set an appropriate training schedule that will ease you into shape. You’ll slowly build up endurance for a walkathon, triathlon or marathon. Check out our Running Program for Absolute Beginners for a sample training schedule.

3. Warm-Up

Warm up before your workouts with dynamic stretches. These stretches are meant to be performed while moving. They will warm up your muscles and prep them for work, which helps to prevent muscle strain. Don’t skimp on your warm-up! Dedicate a good 10 minutes to this part of your workout, you’ll be so glad you did! Here’s an instructional video for some of the best dynamic stretches out there!

4. Lift some iron.

Get yourself a strength training routine. Weight training at least 3 times a week will strengthen the muscles that you use while walking, running, swimming, and biking! Consider trying this Runner’s Strength Training Workout and read about the 9 Proven Health Benefits of Lifting Weights.

5. Set an attainable goal.

Unless you’re a seasoned athlete, your goal should simply be to finish the race, not to win it. A competitive mindset may seem like a good motivational tool, but it can lead to over training, which often leads to injury. Check out our racing attitude advice in this post: Running Your First 5k is Easier Than You Think.

6. Know your body.

Educate yourself about common injuries and how to prevent them. When you know what to watch out for, you can nip it in the bud before it gets out of hand. Consult our guide: 7 Common Running Injuries and How to Avoid Them. Always consult your doctor if you experience any kind of pain.

7. Cool down.

Cool down with static stretches after your workouts. Check out the 10 Essential Stretches for Runners. These stretches are to be performed while holding still. This means no bouncing! Static stretching will replenish your tired muscles with fresh blood and help to flush out the waste products generated during exercise. The more that you stretch, the less soreness you will experience! As with warming up, it’s a good idea to allot 10 minutes to cool-down stretches.

8. Go shoe shopping.

Yep, you heard me right. Obtain proper footwear for your specific foot type. Our guide, Choosing the Perfect Running Shoe, can help. The right running shoe can make the difference between first and second place!

9. Train on the correct terrain.

You should train on the terrain on which you’ll be racing. You don’t want to train on concrete if you’ll be running in the sand! Training on the right terrain can save you from unplanned cramps and sprains… not to mention improve your performance come race day!

10. Fuel your body.

Don’t forget that a rigorous exercise schedule necessitates a healthy eating regimen. Try the 7 Best Superfoods for Runners. Your body needs proper nutrition, now more than ever. Plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains will ensure you’re getting the nutrients you need to stay strong and fit.

11. Don’t forget to hydrate.

Water should be consumed several times per day, especially when you’re working out. Overheating and dehydration can knock you off your training schedule and onto the couch. An inadequate supply of water will also fail to keep your muscles well-nourished and leave you more susceptible to strains and soreness. Take part in the 30-Day 8 X 8 Water Challenge!

Download your copy of the Running Schedule for Absolute Beginners. It’s FREE!

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Following these Tips for Your First Marathon, Triathlon, or Walkathon will ensure safety and improve your performance! Most importantly, a safe training routine will allow you to continue doing the things that you love!

What do you think of these guidelines? Did we leave anything out? What’s your favorite training tip? Let us know in the comment section!

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