Marathon effort: Celebrity runners share diet and workout tips for first-time runners

  • Jigar Shah, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Dec 16, 2014 16:07 IST

So, you've registered for the Mumbai Marathon, and picked a category (The full or the half marathon, or the Dream Run) as well. With a month to go (the event takes place on January 18, 2015), now's the time to step up the training.

We speak to celebrities who, over the years (the 2015 Mumbai Marathon with be the 12th), have become familiar faces at the event. They talk about their own training regimes, and share diet and exercise tips for others to follow.

Neha Dhupia, actor, runs the half marathon (21 km)
You need to know how much your body can endure. If you are running the 21 km event, then you should run an average of 35 to 40 km per week, so that your body gets used to the distance. You need to concentrate on your leg workouts, and train your gluteus muscles. When you start off (for those looking to participate in the shorter 6 km run), you need to start waking up early, and moving your legs. Marathons are all about giving it your best; it is not really a race. Also, a week before the run, go in for a carbohydrate-overload diet. Have potatoes, pasta, and increase your fruit sugar intake. I also use the app Run Keeper, which tracks my speed every five minutes.

Gul Panag, actor, runs the half marathon
My friend Amit Sheth doubles up as my coach, and helps me prepare for the marathon. I'm extremely health-conscious, so my fitness levels are always high. During my regular training, I concentrate on strength and flexibility, but while preparing for the marathon, I concentrate more on endurance and running. I try to clock in about 50 km in the week, spread over long runs and sprints. When I ran the Delhi Marathon, I was pretty comfortable. I don't know what kind of weather we will get during the marathon in Mumbai, but I will be prepared for the best.

Anusha Dandekar, actor-singer, just ran a 10 km event
I ran 10 km marathon recently. I was hardly prepared for it. So my only advice to people running the marathon would be to train harder and push yourself, and not do it in the spur of the moment.

Tara Sharma, actor, TV show host, preparing for the Dream Run (6 km)
I always run the Dream Run, hoping that the next year, I will push myself to run the full or the half marathon. Running and yoga have been my workout for years. I have always been among the top five runners in the Dream Run, and I have always maintained a consistent speed. Pacing your run is essential when you run the marathon. My advice would be to identify your body type, strength and stamina. Make sure you drink lots of water and wear the right shoes.

Expert advice
* For the first-time runner:
* Get a health check-up done to know where do you stand, health-wise. 'Am I physically prepared?' is the question to ask now.
* Ditch your regular gym workout; get a training expert to design your schedule for the run. For instance, body-building is not what you need for the marathon.
* Once the event is over, don't just give up running; train harder with the next year in mind.
* For the regular runner:
* Focus on your core (back and abdominal muscles); the longer format is excruciating, so you need to ensure your body can recover.
* Change your regular workout to specifically train your legs to prevent against injury.
* Also do cardio and strength training, and work on joint mobility and stamina.
- By Abbas Ali, fitness trainer to Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra

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