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25 Race Training Tips From Actual Runners Who Have Been There

Everything you need to know in order to get through training and still enjoy life.

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We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us how they take care of themselves mentally and physically while preparing for a race. Here’s what they said:

Please note that these aren't medical recommendations. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any kind of treatment.

1. Run in the morning so that the rest of the day is yours.

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"I like to get training out of the way. That way I can still make plans after work with friends, or do home projects. It's maddening to not have a social life or be able to do anything because of your training . . . running should be enhancing your life, not putting a stopper in it."

—Rachel Jacobs, Facebook

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3. Take a break from running and cross train.

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"Not only do you get the benefits from whatever cross training you choose — muscle balance, improved range of motion, strength — but you also have an alternative way to get a good workout and maintain your fitness for the days when you know running isn't the right choice."

—Kathleen Vandevoorde, Facebook

4. Two words: Body Glide.

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"[Body Glide] comes in a little deodorant-like stick so it doesn't get on your hands and it goes on smoothly. It's saved me from so many days of chafed thighs and it doesn't leave a residue when you wash it off."

—Leah Katherine Alburtus, Facebook

5. Try running without headphones to stay tuned into your body.

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"Listening to music may help, but what if during your race your batteries die? Or you forget your headphones? Training in the moment by focusing on breathing, form, where you're feeling pain, what makes it feel better, etc., helps you understand how your body works and surprisingly, makes the time go by much faster than music."

TravisCormi

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7. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks if you need a break from music.

"They can make the run go by faster because you're actively listening and before you know it you've crushed your run."—deabel01

8. Make sure you go to a running store and get shoes that are properly fitted to your feet.

Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

"Every runner is unique in terms of stride, pronation, foot strike etc. When running short to marginal distances you can get away with running in a shoe that does not perfectly align with you running style. When the miles ramp up, however, small misalignments can turn into serious and in some case life-long injuries."

—Spencer Taylor, Facebook

Here's everything you need to know to find the perfect running shoe if you need some pointers.

9. Make it tougher to skip your training runs by leaving your gear out.

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"This eliminates a step in the morning and serves as an accountability measure; nothing makes me feel more guilty than putting clean, unused running gear back in the drawer."

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10. Set a goal for your finish that’s somewhat ambitious but totally do-able.

"Don't try to run a sub-2 hour half marathon if you're just starting to run. If you push yourself too far telling yourself 'I need to achieve that goal,' you're running a huge risk for some permanent injuries."

zephiebee

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11. Listen to your body and take an extra rest day if you need it.

Universal Pictures / Via Twitter: @funnyquotees

"It's important to not push yourself to the limits of exhaustion before the race. If your long run is scheduled for a Saturday and your body tells you that you just can't do it that day, run it on Sunday and modify your plan for the rest of the week."

—Anne Caverly, Facebook

12. Find different and interesting routes to run and landmarks to track your distance and motivate you.

angryjedi.wordpress.com

To help my mile progression I did a couple of things: Went on runs that inspired me — for me these are typically on the road near a river — and found distance landmarks, because saying "I just need to make it to the Lake Street bridge" is way better than saying "I have 8 more miles to go."

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15. Use a calorie tracking app to ensure you're eating enough food to sustain your body during workouts.

"As long as you are eating healthy foods, eat as much as you need. You're body needs food for fuel and recovery."

—Samantha Ewing, Facebook

16. Invest in wool-blend running socks.

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"The right socks will change everything! It is a waste to buy the latest and greatest shoes and then put on a $1 pair of cotton socks. Running specific wool and synthetic socks are your friend."

glynisf

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20. And make sure to focus on strengthening your core.

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"A strong core is absolutely essential to maintaining good running form — and maintaining proper form reduces the risk of injury. It will allow for your body to make more accurate micro-adjustments on an uneven trail or terrain."

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22. Eat simple carbs before your long runs and recover from them with carbs and protein.

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“What and when you eat is so important because it sustains you on long runs. Your body needs it... Food is your greatest ally in training, so work with it and not against it.”

susanrebeccah

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23. Or take dance classes to use and work your legs in different ways.

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"Every other day I take dance classes like ballet, tap, contemporary, etc. They work muscles in my legs that running doesn't, therefore letting my running muscles sorta rest. Dance also helps with flexibility."

ActorAnon

24. Instead of comparing yourself to other runners, get psyched about your own progress.

Laura Berger / etsy.com

"We are our harshest critics. There will always be someone faster, someone training harder, or longer, or more frequently. I found that the more positive I was about my accomplishments, the better I felt, and the better my run."

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