2020 has taken its toll on the world, but perhaps one positive to come out of the pandemic is the number of people who have taken up running just to get out of the house. Running is a fantastic way to boost your overall health and wellbeing, let off some steam, and take in some fresh air while you do it. But it's important to look after your body while you run, especially if you're going longer distances.
If you're hoping to build your way up to a marathon in 2021 but you're new to long-distance running, it's important to do your research and make sure you're prepared for what you're about to undertake. Contrary to what some people think, you don't have to be superfit to run a marathon; you just need to know how to pace yourself, and how to avoid chafing while running. Here are our top tips for completing a marathon - or a 10k! - safely and successfully even if you're new to the hobby.
Train, train, train
Whatever you do, don't roll up to your first long-distance run thinking your thrice-weekly 5ks will see you through. Running long distance is very different to running short distance, and you'll have to steadily train yourself up to running longer runs before the big day.
Before you run your marathon or even train for it, make sure you stock up on all the necessary running essentials. A good water bottle, comfortable running shoes, and essentially, a pair of thigh chafing bands will all give you the comfort you need to make it those last few miles.
The most important thing to remember when running a marathon is that it's, well, a marathon. There's no point shooting off from the finish line and trying to sprint your way to the end. Take your time, and know that if you slow down to a walk every now and again - or even spend half the race walking - you're still doing a fantastic job. Walking a marathon is hard, let alone running one. Don't let your pace hold you back.
There's no shame in taking a break
Finally, remember that your health and wellbeing are paramount during any long run. If your body is telling you it can't go on, well - sometimes, that does mean a short break might be needed. There's no shame in taking a break and putting your health first when you're undertaking something so physically tough and demanding as a marathon.
Feeling a little better about running your first long-distance race? Once you know take out the competitive element and remember that, as a new runner, nobody expects you to place first, it's much easier to just enjoy the run and look forward to the sense of satisfaction you'll have after you've finished. If you do suffer from chafing rash, you can put on a pair of thigh bands put an end to chafing for good.