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Marathon Madness

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

If you took part in the recent Mumbai marathon, you are in a great shape right now. But, are you going to be able to maintain your fitness through the year? Purva Indulkar brings you a few tips

Whether you are a seasoned runner or a first-timer, participating in marathons requires rigorous training and long-term dedication. They are a game of endurance and strength, and if you ran the Mumbai Marathon, you probably spent the better part of last year getting your fitness levels up. But, what now? Just because you’ve achieved your goal, you shouldn’t go back to slumping on your couch or gorging on tubs of ice cream! Here, we tell you how to maintain the strength that you’ve built up over the past few months and stay fit for the rest of the year, so that you don’t have to start from scratch the next time around.

Focus on recovery
For people who run on a daily basis, taking a break might sound counterproductive, but considering the physical and mental stress that your body has gone through during the prep, it does need to rest. So, after any major marathon or race, take at least two weeks off. You can choose to skip your workout or try easy yoga asanas at home — something that won’t put too much of a strain on your body. Swimming, cycling or brisk walking is fine, but avoid intense activities. If you participate in several marathons during the year, you need to take short breaks like this at least twice or thrice a year.

After two weeks
Good news; you can start running again! But, don’t try intense runs just yet. Start off slow and gradually increase your running time. Even the slightest hint of pain or soreness, may point to an injury, so make sure to get it checked by a professional. If you train too hard too soon, it might cause serious (and possibly permanent) damage. You may even have to sit out an entire running season. So, if you pick up an injury during or after the marathon, allow it to heal completely before getting back to your training routine.

Be a beginner
Once your body has completely healed, focus on covering at least 40 kilometers every week at your best speed. Intersperse this with running-focused strength training workouts such as core exercises, leg strength training (two-leg or single-leg squats, toe-ups or step-ups, for instance) and upper body exercises such as push-ups.

Follow this routine through the year to stay fit, and simply increase the intensity of your workouts as a marathon draws near.

Try something new
It’s easy to get bored if you run the same route every day, so keep your routine interesting. Try a different route every week or cover the same route in reverse. Make a playlist of motivating songs and update it regularly or buy new gear once in six months. You can also join a running club where you’ll meet like-minded people, which will turn your training into an interesting and social activity.

Expert Speak
Sports performance enhancement specialist Kunal Sharma tells us, “One way to maintain balanced fitness levels through the year is to be dedicated and committed to following a healthy lifestyle. It is of utmost importance to follow a disciplined routine. This also includes making time for daily activities such as sleeping and eating. The statement ‘You are what you eat’ is a hundred per cent accurate. And so, nutrition is the first step. Make sure that you’re hydrated at all times. Insufficient water leads to dysfunctions of the brain, heart and internal organs. Water forms an essential part of our joint fluids and is crucial in muscular contraction and relaxation. Your sleep patterns also play an important role in keeping fit. Without a restful 7-8 hours of sleep, you cannot have ideal bowel movements. And finally, you need to exercise at least four times a week for about 45 minutes with a focus on interval or burst training.”

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