Marathon 101- Tricks of the Trade for a Successful (first) Run




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Running a marathon is an enjoyable sport for people from all walks of life
and for people who are already fit and willing to undergo rigorous training, a
marathon is an achievement/goal one can work toward. For first timers running a
marathon can be a daunting experience, but with the right kind of motivation,
planning, and training it can be a fun and achievable goal.

While you put in your hours and weeks into training it is important to keep
in mind key factors and elements that will make your run an easier affair. If
you’re a first time runner then the best way to go about it is to set
goals/targets and work your way towards them (for eg: aiming for the 10Km run),
for seasoned runners it goes without out saying the goal is to run a longer
distance or a particular distance in a better time.

Through the rest of the article, we will provide you with certain tips and
take you through certain key areas of focus that you need to keep in mind while
preparing for your big day.


This is the period wherein you try and find your best fit and combination of
things that will help you bring out your best performance on D-Day.

Clothing, Equipment, & Gear- Make sure you are running
in an outfit that fits well and is comfortable. Pick one and stick to it
through your training and on the day of the marathon. The same follows for your
shoes, you don’t want to an uncomfortable feeling halfway through your run and
realizing that your new set of trainers are causing you more harm than good.

Long runs to build distance- During training vary your
runs with short and long distance runs. Long distance runs help you build your
endurance and stamina and also assist you to judge and keep track of the pace
you need to maintain that will help you go the distance on marathon day.

Track Training and Timing- Always track your runs and make
notes; it will benefit you in gauging what works for you and what doesn’t. Keep
track of your timing that will tell you the progress you have made and help to
set further goals and also serve as motivation to do better.

Routine- Take this time of training to formulate a routine,
things like whether you like to run with music or without, whether you prefer
the mornings to the evenings, or what food works for you before the race.
Things like these shouldn’t be left for the day of the run and should be
planned in advance. Also, mix things up during this period: try different kinds
of music that will help you boost motivation, different kinds of foods and
different times of running, too.

Food & Hydration- The most important thing while
running marathons and long distance runs is how you fuel your body. This, of
course, varies from person to person: some like to eat well to last the
distance while some prefer to go light on the tummy so as to not feel very
heavy. Things like fruits (bananas, apples) and electrolyte-based drinks serve
as good options to have before the marathon. Loading in on the carbs and good
fat makes for a perfect meal before a run as it provides the body with ample
fuel to burn.

Rehearsal- Once you have worked out all your essentials and
got all your basics in place try and run one or two of your long distance runs
on the actual track of the marathon. Familiarizing yourself with the track
helps you mentally prepare for what is in store for you.

The Marathon

It’s finally here, the moment you have been waiting for. Don’t try something
that is new and not practiced before, stick to what you have practiced in
training and have a good time.

Be Early– Arrive for your race at least 30 minutes prior,
remember there will be thousands of people all over the place and you don’t
want to be stuck in the middle trying to make your way to the flag off point.
Panicking to reach there and losing concentration is the last thing you want
before the marathon begins.

Warm-Up– Marathons are usually in the wee hours of the
morning or, at least, you have to wake up by then to reach the race, which
means your body will be cold and stiff when you wake up. So do your stretches
and warm up exercises before you begin your run to avoid cramps or any other
form of injuries.

Hydrate- Hydration during/before the marathon is key, the
water/juice/drink will replenish your body with the fuel you need to push yourself
further. But make sure you hydrate yourself in right quantitates and at the
right time to maintain that balance in the body. Dehydration is a runner’s
worst enemy.

Maintain Concentration and Keep Rhythm: Once you begin your
race concentrate on your run and keep your mind focused and not what others are
doing. Avoid a lot of stoppages and distractions. Maintain a steady rhythm and
pace while running, stick to what you were used to while training.

Have FUN- Enjoy every moment of your race, even when you’re
in pain, remember it will be over soon and you will be happy that you did it.
Especially the ones running for the first time, you will never have that
experience of running your first race ever again.

Post – Marathon

Well, you have done it all your pain and trouble has paid off. Once you
finish your race it is ideal to put on something warm like a jacket or
sweatshirt to prevent your body temperature from dropping drastically. Drink
some water or an energy drink; let your body get back to a normal state before
you eat anything (start off with something light and easy on the stomach like a
fruit). Take the remainder of the day to rest and recover and give your body
ample time before get back on track.

It is advisable to take a break of around 3-6 weeks before running your next
marathon depending on the distance to plan to cover.

Happy Running!!


Chintan Bhiwandkar, Football loving, book reading, and constantly running
insomniac. Hopes to build an army of pandas to take over the world one day.

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