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With the Mumbai Marathon registrations open, and the event less than six months away, now is a good time to start training

lifestyle Updated: Aug 06, 2013 17:22 IST
Sumedha Deo
Sumedha Deo
Hindustan Times

Every major city in the world has one, it’s on most people’s bucket list and is considered as the pinnacle of physical endurance and — yes, we’re talking about the modern-day marathon. With Mumbai’s race less than six months away, many would-be marathoners have started training already.

Anthony W, an American media professional working in Mumbai, has been running marathons around the world for the last 20 years. “Since I’m from Chicago, I started with that marathon and have run races in most places I was posted in, including Paris, London, Buenos Aires, Tokyo and Beijing, among others,” he says. Anthony prefers jogging on the streets and agrees it’s difficult to do that in Mumbai. He hits the road at 4 am, running for a couple of hours each morning. “The most important thing is discipline. You cannot skip practice even for a day as that will push you into the laziness trap,” he says.

Forty-year-old Jaideep Dhamankar is the GM in a shipping company and works erratic hours. He says, “I’ve been running the half marathon for the last four years,” he says. “When I was younger, I’d start panting even in the 100 m runs, now my best time is 2 hours and 5 minutes.” Dhamankar uses an app (Hal Higdon) to help him practice since he cannot run at a fixed time due to his hectic schedule. “It gives me the freedom to practice. Some days I go running at 3 am and on others I’m out at 8 pm,” he says.

Before you run
Here’s what you need to keep in mind before you hit that treadmill:
“Before you start practicing for the marathon, you should be educated about which muscles are involved and what types of workout regimens you should follow,” says fitness guru Vinod Channa. “You should concentrate on your core, lower back muscles, quadriceps, hamstrings, calf muscles, inner and outer thighs and glutes. These muscles support your joints while running or jogging.” Physiotherapist Unnati Shah also warns against spreading yourself too thin. “You can start with a walk-run programme, which includes walking for 20 minutes and then running for 30 seconds,” she says. “Cooling down and stretching is important, along with agility training.”

For those getting introduced to running, don’t stress yourself too much. “You should be prepared to run the full marathon, only then can you manage the half marathon,” says Channa. “Start practicing slowly and gradually build your strength and stamina with weight -training and running. This way, you can avoid an injury.” You must also choose between practicing in the gym and running on the streets. “I’d suggest running on the roads as that will acclimatise you to the actual run,” says Dhamankar. He also advises meditating and strengthening your mental stamina as much as your physical self.

Easy steps to going all the way
Pick your run according to your stamina. Beginners cannot run the full (42.195 km) or half marathon (21.097 km) without a timing certificate from Timing Technologies India.
There are a limited number of seats, so apply early. Registrations for the Dream Run (6 km) open on August 26 and you can sign up for the Senior Citizens’ Run (4.3 km) from September 2.
If you’re planning on having a good time and not thinking about the athletic side of it, register as a group (maximum 35 members) with a covering letter from a company, NGO or any other entity.

Look before you run
Instead of heavy weight -training, go for moderate exercises with 10 to 12 reps, along with leg workouts.
Mix and match weight - training with functional and body-balancing workouts, which will help you in ankle balancing.
For cardio, instead of jogging on the road or in the garden, practice on the beach at least once a week. This will help you build up your ankles, balance power and support muscles and core.

-Vinod Channa, fitness expert

Week-long plan to run
Pick any one day in the week as rest day. This will help you recover from strain.
Select two days in the week to run at a moderate pace for some pre-decided number of miles.
Choose two other days for cross-training, which could be swimming, bike riding etc. for about 30 minutes.
Use one day for slow and long-distance running.
Remember to avoid intense workouts for two days in a row.

-Unnati Shah, physiotherapist