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A Marathon Run Towards Fitness
By Nisha Varma, Reebok Master Trainer and Prevention advisor
The best thing about running is that you don't need to develop a new skill - unlike, say cycling or swimming. Whether you've run before or not, our marathon plan is sure to help you get going.
The Basics Before you Begin:
1. Check with your doctor before you start the programme if you are either overweight or have been unwell.
2. Invest in a good pair of running shoes.
3. Wear clothes made specially for running (those using the play-dry technology), as they wick the moisture away from your skin. Go for lightweight shorts and vests.
Weekly Training Schedule for the Marathon
You need to train for 2 months before participating in a marathon.
Monday - Brisk walking for 30 mins (3.5 km)
Tuesday - Brisk walking for 35 mins (4 km)
Wednesday - Brisk walking for 35 mins plus slow jogging for 2 minutes
Thursday - 'same as Wednesday'
Friday - Strength training for legs, abs and lower back
Saturday - Interval training; walking for 30 mins, jogging for 4 minutes and walking for 2 minutes (repeat this at least twice)
Sunday - 'same as Saturday'
WEEK 1, 2 & 3
Same as week one. Just increase the jogging time and cut down on walking intervals till you can jog non-stop for at least an hour week three onwards. Progress slowly. Get a body massage at least twice a week to help your body recover.
WEEK 5 AND 6
Increase your speed slightly and time yourself by running on a treadmill. Run for as long as you can (track the distance and time).
Try one 7-km stretch on the mud track. Jog/run for 40 minutes on alternate days. Rest in between.
In the last week before the race, go a little easy on practice and follow week one programme only on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, go for a swim and a massage.
Rest two to three full days before the race.
6 Must-do Stretches for RUNNERS:
SHOULDER - Bring the right arm across the chest, parallel to the floor with your shoulders down and relaxed. Place the left hand on the upper arm and gently press towards the body. Repeat on the left side.
LOWER BACK - Lie on your back with your knees bent. Gently pull both the knees towards your chest, lifting the feet off the floor. Hold and relax.
QUADRICEPS - Using your wall as support, reach back with the right hand and hold the right ankle. Keep the hips forward and the knees together. Repeat on the left side.
HAMSTRING - Begin by lying on your back and looping a towel around one foot. Extend the leg by using the towel as a stabilizer. Repeat with the other leg.
CALF - Using the wall as a support, place one foot behind the other. Lean your hips forward with the front knee slightly bent, back knee straight and heel down. Repeat on the opposite side.
GLUTES - Using the wall as a support, flex the right knee across the body and towards the left shoulder. Hold. Repeat on the left side.
Warning: Hold each stretch for about 12-15 seconds. Move slowly and smoothly into the stretch . Don't bounce. You can repeat each stretch 2-3 times. Listen to your body. A sharp pain could be a sign of over stretching.
1. Be on a high carbohydrate and protein diet while training. However, you should avoid refined carbohydrates like refined sugar and whiteflour. Load up on complex carbs like whole wheat and oatmeal, fruits, wheat flakes etc. For non-vegetarians, fish could be an ideal source of protein while for the vegans, soya and dairy products are a good substitute. Combos like black gram and green gram sprouts, dals and lentils like rajma and lobia will be good.
2. Have adequate water/sports drink as well as supportive supplements like carb gels.
3. Avoid too much of spicy and heavy food during training as it will effect your speed and energy.
4. Never start your workout on an empty stomach. Eat half an hour before your training.
1. You should hydrate well before, during, and after the run. The thumb rule is to replace the fluids lost during training. So you will need 4-5 litres a day while running or training for the marathon.
2. Have at least half a litre of water an hour before the run, 30 to 60 ml every 15 minutes of the run and 1 litre or more after the run. The requirement varies on the basis weather and sweating rate.
3. Sports drinks are also a good idea and more so in hot and humid climates as they not only hydrate but also replenish salts and carbs lost from the body during the run and reduce the fatigue factor.
4. Drink before the feeling of thirst sets in.
5. Aerated drinks and fruit juices or caffeinated drinks should be avoided during the run as they hinder performance.
The Right Shoes
1. Invest in a good pair of shoes which have forefoot flexibility, cushioning, proper heel and arch support.
2. The shoes should be light and be able to prevent over pronation or over supination of the feet.
3. It should have the capacity to dry out fast and should be made of 'breathable' fibre.
4. The running shoe should be capable of taking away the impact created by the heel/midfoot strike while running.
TIP: Women have a more delicate foot structure and need to buy shoes made for them. Always buy shoes in the later half of the day as your feet tend to swell up slightly and give a more accurate idea of the correct size. Walk around in the shoe for a few minutes and always try them with socks.
Things to Remember
1. Do not miss your warm up and cool down sessions. Warm up by walking at a comfortable pace for 7-10 minutes. You should feel an increase in your breathing and heart rate. Your cool down session should include light stretches.
2. By progressing your workout systematically, you should be able to run for about 50 minutes at the end of 6 weeks.
3. Try to do most of your training on a soft surface such as a mud track rather than on asphalt or concrete.
4. Keep more than one pair of trainers on the go at a time.
5. On the morning of the race you should eat at least 3 hours before the run, anything after this time could cause intestinal discomfort during the race.
6. Use sun block/goggles if the sun is too bright.
7. Have a cold bath after each training session.
Things you Should Not Do
1. Wearing old, worn-out shoes (this will cause injury)!
2. Running only on roads, getting on the grass when you can
3. Training if you are ill or injured (it will only make things worse!)
4. Running right after a meal
5. Exercising on an empty stomach.
6. Training too much. Inadequate rest will lead to injuries.
7. Wearing shoes without socks. This might lead to skin irritation.
- This article has been contributed by