It is not easy running a marathon, but with the right training and following the dos and don'ts, one can not only avoid serious injuries but also enjoy the run, says an expert.
Daniel Vaz, head coach at Nike+ Run Club, lists some dos and don'ts for the marathon - before, during and after the run.
‘Mentally preparing for your race by visualising the course and your race plan is an integral part of the final preparation. A night before the big run, lay out your gear, have an early dinner and go to bed early.’
Before the run:
Ensure that a part of your longest run (full marathon - 32 to 38 km, half marathon - 21 - 24 km) has about 60-70 per cent distance being run at your goal/race pace. For example, if you intend to finish the half marathon in one hour 59 minutes, the goal pace is 5:40 per km.
Also, you need to get familiar with the running course so that you don't get bothered with unexpected inclines. Practice your long runs with some inclines added so you know how much to slow down on such inclines on the day of the run.
A day before the marathon, it is recommended to stay off one's feet, and drink a lot of fluids to stay well hydrated.
One also needs to ensure that you don't skip food, nor go on any kind of diet just before the race. Taking meals that are high (65-75 per cent) in carbohydrates is recommended. There should also be adequate protein intake.
Lastly, mentally preparing for your race by visualising the course and your race plan is an integral part of the final preparation. A night before the big run, lay out your gear, have an early dinner and go to bed early.
On the big day, it is critical to take an easily digestible meal two hours prior to the race start time. Additionally, drinking adequate water to digest this meal is also important.
On the start line and during the run:
Just before one starts running for the big race, it is important to do a light warm up. Also, sipping water every now and then until the start is recommended.
For the first half of your race in a half marathon, do not run faster than your goal pace as it might lead to cramps. If the sun isn't being too nice, use a sponge to cool your head and back of the neck. Also, it is vital that one keeps sipping on water in order to avoid dehydration because once this sets in it becomes difficult for one to keep up to the goal pace.
After the run:
On finishing the race no matter how tempted one is to sit down on the grass and stretch the muscles, don't. This is because the muscles are inflamed and to ensure that one recovers fast, they need to move around to facilitate smooth blood circulation.
Having a meal which comprises of carbohydrates and proteins as early as possible will replenish ones glycogen levels. The proteins will help in repairing the damaged tissue.
For quick post marathon recovery, getting a good night's sleep, drinking lots of fluids throughout the day and eating food which is high in proteins and carbohydrates is the key to repair and refuel yourselves.
Stretching and ice baths are other ways to boost one's running recovery. This will help in increasing blood flow to the muscles while an ice bath will help in reducing post marathon soreness by reducing inflammation.