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Top Marathon Training and Preparation Tips for Everyone

25/11/2019

With the marathon season around the corner, I believe a lot of people would be interested in dusting out their running shoes and gearing up for the run. Before you get running for the full Marathon certain things need to be aware of to complete it and to prevent injuries.

Strength training:

Marathon running as such is good for your heart & cardiovascular system but over a while can lead to injuries to your ankle, knees and your hips. Strength training aims to keep the muscles around the knee, hip and ankle joint in good shape. Also, your core needs to be stable if you want to derive the best results from the run. There are a few pointers you can take if you are planning your first marathon.

Training:

First and foremost do not directly attempt the full marathon; the start is with planning for a 5K then a 10 K and then for half marathon (21K) and then for a full marathon (42K). There are training schedules available online which you can access it will help in training for each one of these races.

Medical examination:

A medical checkup is very important to see that your cardiovascular system can keep up with the stresses of a marathon; if you have had previous injuries to the knee joint or any injuries to the cartilage of the meniscus in Orthopaedic examination is in order

Gear:

Clothes:
Fine rapid drying material works well rather than ill-fitting/cotton garments. Clothes that don't ventilate can cause sores

Shoes:

  • Buy 2 pairs and avoid using them for more than 500 to 600 kilometer
  • If you have pronated feet then choose shoes that have better medial arch support; you can assess this by twisting the shoe, holding it at the toe and the heel, if the shoe twists easily that means the mid arch support is poor.
  • The heel of the shoe should be slightly rigid to give your heel good support and the lining should be padded for comfort
  • Avoid buying a new pair of shoes before the marathon; you should always use the shoes which you have been using during the training for the marathon
  • Try new shoes in the evening because your feet and to be more swollen up in the evening
  • Because you are running a marathon does not mean that you need the most expensive pair of shoes, what you need is the best fitting pair of shoes for you that will serve the purpose

How to run:

While there are multiple methods and postures by which you can run and for a detailed assessment of your running posture you should consult a physio or a trainer, but in general few guidelines can be mentioned

  • The eyes should be steady and focused in the front
  • Your torso should slightly lean forward when you are running
  • Your shoulders should move straight in the front and the elbows are at 90° angle moving from your Chin to your hip joint
  • The shoulders should be slightly retracted to give the correct posture
  • The hands should be relaxed when you are running
  • The knee should be in line with the midfoot when your heel strikes the ground

Nutrition:

When it comes to the nutrition aspect not a lot of new things are needed if you are already on a healthy diet. Recommendations for a distance runner are not very much different from a non-runner although they may need slightly more calorie intake before the run.

  • One should consider having a higher carbohydrate meal before a run rather than high protein / high fat means which can cause sluggishness or bloat; energy is needed for running and eating some high-calorie stuff which is loaded with carbohydrates before running will stop you from running out from gas during the run.
  • Home stuff like a banana and a chapatti with sugar or cold cereal on milk usually is good. Avoid high fiber high protein foods just before the run.
  • After running you want to replenish your energy as early as possible so to prevent soreness of your muscles so what you want to do is you want to have is proteins in a ratio of 1 gram to 3 grams of Carbohydrate. Protein bars a good option or a chapati with malai and Sugar or a fruit and yogurt smoothie.
  • Avoid having alcohol or partying out before a run especially the night before it can dehydrate you so you will not feel energetic for the run.
  • Try to use sports drinks rather than regular mineral water during the run as you will need an intake of calories during the run as well as to replenishment of sodium loss. Mental preparation: Marathon running is half a mental sport and half physical sport. Relax mentally before the marathon.

Taper:

It's important to taper before the marathon and especially the last few weeks Tapering is done to allow your body and your mind to recover and build up the glycogen stores which will be required during the run.

Sleep:

Try to get a good sleep in the week before the marathon so that even if you don't get a good sleep in the night before the run due to anxiety, you don't feel weak and dull.

Raceday:

  • Try to reach early for the marathon so that you can fix your spot in the run
  • No new surprise breakfast menu for the run: try to stick to your time and tested stuff
  • Ease yourself into the run: slowly increase your pace over the marathon duration rather than going all guns blazing in the first quarter.

Warning signs:

  • If you have a little niggle, you can continue running but if you are not able to run then you should stop and pull out; hopping and jumping is not running
  • Whatever pain you get the run it will be suppressed by endorphins; the pain will be amplified post-run so if something hurts you like 2of 10 during the run it's more likely to become 5/ 10 most run so if you feel that pain is significant don't keep on running.
  • If you start getting any chest pain during the run not keep on running
  • Any developing swelling along with the knee which is causing significant pain to consider pulling out of the run
  • If it's a dull pain and something which you are used to which you used to get in the pre-run then it is safe to continue; if it is more of a stabbing pain which is new compared to what you previously used to get then it may be something serious and better to stop
  • If you are feeling dizzy lightheaded it might not be such a good idea to continue with the run and it better to pull out or at least take a rest and regroup and rejoin the run

Recovery:

Recovery from the run starts as soon as you cross the line. You must consume carbs, as well as proteins, post the run. Walk around for 10 minutes bring your heartbeat to normal and then ease into the post-run celebration.

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