Getting Started: Hannibal Cannibal for the Beginner

By: Rebecca Humphreys, DPT

Physical Therapist with Hannibal Regional Hospital

So, you’ve been thinking about running the Hannibal Cannibal but just can’t get Lover’s Leap out of your mind. Guess what? The first step to the finish line is signing up for the race! That may be the motivation you need to kick start your training program.

Afraid of the hills? Don’t avoid them. Learn to conquer them. If all you can do is walk up hills, then start there. Start interjecting 1-2 minutes of running up the hills with a minute walking rest. Think about relaxing your shoulders and focus on one step at a time. Set a goal to increase the time you spend running versus walking every week. It takes time to increase your running tolerance, but consistency with your training effort is the most important part.

Spoiler alert: July in Hannibal may be a little warm. Preparation for the heat on race morning is very important. That’s why consistent training in the heat is important. It helps your body adapt to the heat and learn your personal limit. It is recommended to drink at least 8 oz of fluid before you run, and try not to overdo it on the water. Have some Gatorade or beverages with carbs and electrolytes to keep you better hydrated in the heat. You also might want to try dry fit clothing to wick away the sweat and keep you a little cooler.

Last of all remember that the race is FUN. Don’t start at the front of the pack expecting to break records. Find other runners around your pace and stick with your training. If you’ve had any major health issues you might want to consult your doctor or physical therapist first to see what kind of training program would be most appropriate for you. However, there are plenty of free training programs and tips for beginner, intermediate and advanced runners. A few ideas of where to start are and Whatever you do, just remember: When you cross the finish line, all your hard work will be well worth it!

For more information on the Hannibal Cannibal visit or call 573-629-3577.