Marathon season is well and truly upon us, whether you’re taking part in your first 5km run or hitting the track for the full slog, Katie Clift from Cancer Council Queensland will let you in on a few secrets to success.

There is nothing more invigorating than a good run, it can reduce stress and anxiety, increase feelings of happiness thanks to a boost of feel-good hormones (above and beyond a “runner’s high”), aid in maintaining a healthy weight, increase joint strength and bone mass, reduce your risk of cancer and other chronic diseases, as well as keep your mind sharp.

So, perhaps it’s time to dust off those running shoes in the back of your cupboard and get a taste of the magic?

The thought of a marathon can be daunting, but preparation and pace is paramount. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of ticking a long-term fitness goal off your bucket list, and we’re here to help!

The key to success is staying motivated, training smart and maintaining proper nutrition.

We’re sharing seven of our best running tips to get you on track.

Download a good playlist

Music and energising beats have motivational effects that can make you work harder and faster. A good tune can enhance vigor and excitement and reduce tension and fatigue. So, if you need a little extra push to take a run, pop on some Beyoncé.

Get a running buddy

Getting out of your warm bed for 5am training in the cool of winter can be tough. This is why you need to get yourself a running buddy! Training partners are one of the most valuable tools a runner can have. You’re more likely to show up and push harder if someone else is counting on you.

Invest in good shoes

Wear good shoes that support your running style – this is vital for injury prevention. If you’re investing in a new pair of shoes, make sure they’re adequately broken in before the race day to save yourself from painful blisters.

Listen to your body

Don’t compare yourself to others. Run at a pace true to your own fitness level. Set small goals and build your way up to the big one. An easy way to do this is to time your runs and aim to improve your finish time during each training session.

Fuel your body

Fuel your body with healthy wholefoods. Nutrition plays a very important part in training and recovery. Protein contained in lean meats, eggs, beans, dairy and soy goods aid in the repair and recovery of muscle tissue damaged during training. You also have an excuse to eat more carbs!

Stretch

Stretching before and after running reduces the risk of injuries, sprains or tears. Stretching prior to running warms up the muscles so they’re ready for work, while stretching after running helps to pull out and lengthen muscles that have become tightly wound from exercise.

Rest

It may sound counterintuitive, but it’s important that you take time to rest, especially during the final days of preparation. During rest time levels of muscle glycogen, enzymes, antioxidants, and hormones return to optimal levels. Immune function and muscle strength also improve. Your body needs to recover from training to stay healthy and minimise the compounding impacts of fatigue. Enjoy your time off so you’re energized when the big day arrives – treat yourself to a massage!

Most importantly, have fun!

Looking for an upcoming running event? Visit cancerqld.org.au and get involved in Walk for Women’s Cancers (June 27), Gold Coast Airport Marathon (July 4-5), Bridge to Brisbane (August 30) or The Color Run (July 27).