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Knoxville Marathon Director shares his top 10 training tips

The 2020 Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon is two and half months away.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The 2020 Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon is two and a half months away, and it's the perfect time to start training. Marathon Director Jason Altman said there are a few things to keep in mind before lacing up your running shoes. He shares his top 10 tips for getting across the finish line. 

1. Find the right shoe

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Altman suggests going to a specialty running shop to get properly fitted for shoes.

Altman said the easiest way to find the perfect pair of running shoes is to visit a specialty shop where experts can assess your foot.  

2. The same goes for clothes 

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You might regret it if you choose to wear cotton socks. Opt for moisture-wicking material instead.

Look for clothes made of moisture-wicking material. This includes socks. Altman said if you wear cotton socks on race day, you're bound to cross the finish line with blisters. 

"Plan for your body to heat up during exercise. Dress like it's 20 degrees warmer than the temperature," Altman said. 

3. Safety First

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If it's dark, wear reflective gear while running.

"Let someone know when and where you're going to run. If it's dark, wear reflective gear. Grab a buddy if possible. Safety in numbers," Altman said.

4. Make a plan for your music.

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If you run with your phone, make a plan for how you're going to carry it.

Make a plan for your music. We don't mean what music you're going to listen to, but how you're going to run with it. 

"If you run with your phone, have a way to carry it. If you listen to music, make sure to only have one earbud in to hear your surroundings," Altman said.

5. Don't overdo it!

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Altman said the biggest mistake he sees runners make is starting out too hard while training, especially since the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon aligns with New Year's resolutions and people feel motivated. 

"Starting out, don't overdo it! Alternate running and walking if you need to. Don't increase more than 10% in weekly mileage each week," Altman suggested. 

6. #Goals

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Make goals for yourself.

Making a goal can be a good source of motivation. 

"This could be a race. This could be the number of times to exercise per week. This could be the number of miles per week." 

The sky's the limit, but having something to work toward makes the end result even sweeter.

7. Join a running group

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A large turn out for one of the marathon's Saturday group runs.

Running with others can make the miles pass by faster. Altman suggests joining a group. The Knoxville Track Club has social runs on Mondays Balter Beerworks, Wednesdays at Runners Market, and Saturdays at locations that change each week. The 865Runs Instagram account posts daily options, so you're never alone. 

8. Refuel

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Woman makes herself a healthy smoothie while slicing fresh fruit in the kitchen.

"If possible, take in food 15 minutes after working out. Your body needs to refuel and recover from the exercise. If food isn't an option, supplements from Eddie's Health Shoppe are a great option," Altman said. 

9. Water. Water. Water.

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Female runner tying her shoe next to bottle of water.

Just because you're not sweating as much now as you do in the summer, doesn't mean your body doesn't need water during the winter. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. 

10. Don't skip the stretch

Participants in the annual Church Street Yoga event in Burlington move into a stretch position on Sunday. (Photo: ELIZABETH MURRAY/FREE PRESS)

Altman said that traditional static stretching is best to do after exercising to help with flexibility. Before running, go with some dynamic stretches to loosen up your muscles. 

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