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When Mukesh Apte, a senior accountant with an MNC in Mumbai started training for his first half-marathon in 2007, he landed up in the hospital with three moderately severe injuries within the first two weeks. Even today, he admits that his biggest folly was being ill-prepared he essentially decided on a  Wednesday night and started training at 5.30 am the next day.

Was it a bit of catastrophe? Totally. Not only did he not take the time to think and plan a training method, but he totally jumped the gun while training, and not surprisingly, his body collapsed due to shock and exhaustion soon afterwards.

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But, before you get demotivated, it’s important to realise that just like anything else in life, beginning to train for a marathon needs a plan. After all, you will put your body through a gruelling regime and you need to be strong enough to take it. Think of it as a road trip; you won’t get get going without Google Maps, right?

Pause To Plan, Please

It’s great that you wish to start training and cross the finish line triumphantly but remember that training for the marathon is not a piece of cake. It’s a challenging process, but it will get easier if you plan first and eat right. Seasoned runner Rohan Apte recommends starting a journal to track your current lifestyle to implement changes. He adds, “I know when the surge of motivation hits, you wish to jump off the bed out of the and hit the road, but pause. First, write down your current diet, what you drink, how much you drink and everything else”.  

The idea is simple: Running – Nutrition = Hospital. Once you know where you are lacking (maybe  you have 5 cups of coffee a day and no fibre at all!), you can plan your diet changes training schedule accordingly. Yes, they go hand in hand.

Tip: For first-time and disorganised planners, MealPlan Meal and Grocery Planner is a great app for mapping weekly meals.

Gear Up

Think you can start running in your fancy Vans sneakers? Wrong. “When I started training for my first marathon, I simply began without giving my gear any thought, or what I may require. That was a big mistake as I learned the hard way that my shoes were totally wrong for the distance and my feet,” said Renuka Sahni, Mumbai-based marathoner.

It is needless to say that you need to treat your feet like precious and expensive race car tyres. So, spend time in researching and finding the right paid off running shoes. Go to a speciality store and get fitted and yes, a good pair maybe slightly expensive but well worth the money.

Tip: Check out the Summer Shoe Guide from Runner’s World. It talks about the best running shoes in the market today.  

Find A Training Group

Trust us when we say this, sooner or later your motivation level will take a hit. That’s when a training group will come as huge support as it will act as a necessary motivator and will also make you more responsible. Think of it as a “Buddy Group” and on early mornings, you are much more likely to get out of bed when you know that folks waiting for you. Also, hearing encouraging words during a long run can work wonders for your spirit and can fight off fatigue.

Tip: If you are keen to get started then check out Striders, a pan-India running group. Or look around for the more local ones in your neighborhood. The park is a good place to start.

There you have it. Your pre-running plan to ensure that your training period remains injury and pain-free.

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