The thought of running a marathon or a half marathon may seem exciting, but experts advise taking full precautions to avoid any health-related complications later on, especially for first-time runners.
Health experts do not advise running a marathon without proper training, and by training they mean under a good quality fitness trainer. Ideally, one should start preparing six months before the date of the marathon, but even three months is not too late.
“One cannot prepare for such races overnight, it has to be done in a planned way,” says Dr Deepak Chaudhary, director of New Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital’s Sports Injury Centre.
Dr Chaudhary himself has been a regular at such events for years now, and says that before the training starts; even more important thing to do is to get a health check up done.
There are people who have collapsed suddenly due to a heart attack or a stroke in the past.
“It is crucial to get a complete health check done, including that for heart, brain and the nervous system, bone and joint health to rule out any serious condition that may worsen or turn fatal due to exertion. One should not have any major pains like knee joint, back etc. as it can get worse,” he says.
Training should start once the fitness checks are in place, and it has to be a proper training under a professional.
“It has to be a combination of cardio, strength and stretching exercises; all three are important to get the perfect result. I have been training people for quite some time now and can vouch for the benefits of all these three together,” says Pratap Malla, a south Delhi-based physical trainer, who claims there is a sharp jump in his clientele during such events. “It is best to train in a group,” he adds.
Along with physical training, taking care of the nutrition part is equally important to build one’s stamina.
“When you are starting to train it is important to take lots of protein-rich food as it helps in building muscles. Keeping yourself well-hydrated is crucial and closer to the d-day, it helps to increase your carbohydrate in-take,” said Delhi-based nutritionist Kriti Behra.
It’s a myth that to increase your energy reservoir, you need to load yourself with fat-laden food. Your regular healthy fat in take will do,” she added.
The closer to the date of the event ask your trainer to teach you correct breathing techniques, how to take strides so that overall timing is improved.
However, doctors strictly warn against overdoing the training.