It is summer time, a time when there are umpteen marathons and races scheduled around the world. A time when people put on their running shoes, get off their couches and take them outside to pound the pavements and running tracks. Running a 26.2 or even a 13 mile race is no easy feat and if you plan to do so, odds are you have a training program and marathon guide in place and are getting set or have started to train regularly.
Participating in a marathon is not a regular take it easy kind of physical endeavour. It often requires months of training, a dedicated regime and a dedicated attitude to match. You have to be mindful of a lot of things including the amount and intensity of your training, breathing techniques, nutrition and more.
We have rounded up a few important dos and don’t when it come to marathon participation from expert trainers and dedicated marathoners themselves. Take a look –
- Do begin training well in advance – Running that amount of a distance requires some serious planning. Even if running is part of your regular workout regime, you cannot just jump up one and day and go participate in a marathon. Chalk out a training and marathon guide that lists in detail how much distance you are going to run every week, how you will aim to improve your time and pace, how you plan to change your diet and more; and then get going and start doing it!
- Don’t forget to schedule in rest days – An intensive training program such as this one can take a toll on your body leading to muscle fatigue, soreness and even injury. Worse yet getting too tired can totally demotivate you and derail your efforts. Give your body time to heal and repair by scheduling in regular rest days. Also during the last week or so before your race, start dialling the intensity down; it will do you no good to be over tired and fatigued come marathon day.
- Do pay attention to your diet – Good and balanced nutrition is an extremely important part of your marathon journey. Find out what nutrients you should be getting and in what proportion for example some trainers suggest that carbohydrates should form 60% of your daily intake and protein 30% while training for a marathon. This is definitely not the time to go on a low carb diet or indulge in overly fatty foods.
- Don’t forget to hydrate – Whether it is during your training or on marathon day itself, hydration is key. Make sure you drink water every 20 minutes or so depending on your pace and the distance you plan to cover. Athletes also indulge in sports drinks with electrolytes, vitamins, glucose and other energy boosters on race day. Dehydration will only lead to fatigue and isn’t good for your body, so drink up. Also it is wise not to indulge in too many if any alcoholic drinks the night before race day.
- Do stick to a pace you are comfortable at – Aim to run your marathon at a pace at you can continue with all through, or else follow short sprints with a slower run in alternate intervals. If you are an experienced marathoner or a fast runner you can also go slower in the first half or three-fourths of the run and then speed up in the last 10 miles or so.
- Don’t ignore severe discomfort – If at any time during the marathon you feel an injury coming on or are short of breath, have a chest ache or anything you think is major, always stop and get some medical attention.