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The unsaid benchmark of fitness and every sprinter’s dream – the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon – is not even a month away (January 15). Most serious sprinters would have been running for months now, putting their best foot forward with many supplements and innovative fitness regimes in place. Perhaps, some of us even participated in other smaller marathons for the experience and practice. However, as most regulars will confirm, the challenges and requirements for the SCMM are fairly unique. We spoke to some experts runners who are familiar with the course to guide us through some of the more specific dos and don’ts of the race.

Eat right

Get it straight: Intake of supplements is not mandatory. Stick to your home-cooked food. However, add lots of chicken and egg whites as protein is necessary before any race. It also helps to include a good amount of carbs into your daily meals to fuel you through your workouts. Besides, sleep for at least seven hours a day to not feel drowsy and tired. However, and most important of all: stay hydrated at all times. Ayesha Billimoria (29), fitness trainer, Adidas also mentions drinking Electral, and munching on dry fruits to gain energy. “Eating in moderation is the key. But do have a lot of vegetable juices, quinoa, and green vegetables because they are high on fibre and help rebuild muscles,” she says.

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Train strong

Aditya Palande (25), currently working as a design intern in Mumbai, has been running the marathon since 2013. According to him, strength-training runs four times a week is essential. “But distribute those four days in different types of workouts: regular, splits, hills and long distance,” he says, adding, “A person should be regular to running not every day, but at least three to four times a week, and rest for a day or two.” However, for someone who is running a marathon for the first time, time is not important; to finish the distance is a greater goal. 

Exercise caution

The last month is more about sticking to a training plan. Make sure you don’t injure yourself overdoing anything or doing some other activity which might hamper your readiness. Shiladitya Mukhopadhyaya (33), co-founder of HipCask, recounts learning this by example. “I went for a casual cricket match two weeks before my last half, and ended up with sore muscles for a few days which made me skip my runs. So, the last month for people in training is about keeping it low key, keeping your body in shape and not missing any training runs,” he says.

Extensive long runs are a big no, says Billimoria. The focus should be solely on stretching and speed work in the final month before the marathon. “Don’t exert yourself too much and don’t go for long runs because you need to be in good shape to give your 100% on the day of the run.”

Gear up!

Yes, the fancy posters of marathon always show runners with waist bands with bottles, GPS watches and sunglasses. But good running shoes and comfortable clothes is all that’s really required the experts say. “I use Asics shoes and Nike and Adidas running clothes. These are the two brands in India which offer quality products and a wide variety to choose from,” says Palande. Billimoria, who is not big on gadgets, also advises running without music, as that often takes the mind off the activity.                                  

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