8 useful fitness tips to remember when you train for a marathon

Train for a marathon is a goal you’re likely to find high up on bucket lists of most serious athletes. “My first marathon was a deep experience for me,” says Urmi Kothari, energy coach at Kinetic Living. “When you’re running on the sea link along with 8,000 other people, and there’s no sound you can hear but the soft thuds of feet hitting the ground, it moves you from deep within.” Though Urmi has been involved with sports for the last 19 years and has been running for as long as she can remember, participating in the Tata Mumbai Marathon was a deeply-satisfying experience. “I promised myself that I would not walk during the 21km race, and I did not let myself down,” she proudly says. Here, the marathon finisher shares key fitness advice every beginner and fitness enthusiast can benefit from.

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Start training in advance

“Beginners who want to run a marathon — whether it’s a 5km, 10km, or 21km — should start training 6-8 months in advance. The reason is that your body needs to get used to being on your feet for a long duration. Try to walk or jog for 30 minutes 3 times a week. And while you’re at it, keep switching between walking and jogging until you find a pace you’re comfortable with.”

Clock your miles

“Make sure you’re monitoring the miles you’re running and the pace at which you’re moving — that’s how you can keep track of your progress. Investing in an Apple Watch is highly beneficial as it monitors the distance you’ve covered, your heart rate, your average pace amongst other details which come in handy when you want to see where you are in your fitness journey and how much more you can improve on. Plus, the Nike Running app that is integrated with the Apple Watch has guided runs which feature an audio coach to monitor your performance.”

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Train in a certain heart zone

“It’s very important to train in a certain heart rate zone. For beginners, 155 should be your maximum heart rate, with the average being between 120-130. If you’re going higher than that, you might end up injuring yourself or contracting cramps.”

Strengthen your lower body

“Twice a week, work on your glutes, quads, ankles and back. Runners who go long distances end up with a back pain, as their posture may be incorrect. Exercises like deadlifts, hollow holds and bridges will engage your core and balance your body.”

Invest in proper shoes

“Majority of beginners wear the wrong shoes, which hampers with their strides. Invest in correct running shoes which support you as you run and manage your foot to core integration and help you in using your energy efficiently.”

Don’t forget to hydrate

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“Running can severely dehydrate you. The Apple Watch features an app called iHydrate which can help you in setting reminders to drink water every half hour.”

Breathe in, breathe out

“While running, it’s easy for beginners to start huffing and puffing. To ensure a regular breathing pattern, monitor your heart rate, and when you’re running, focus on your breathing. This will help you understand your body and how it’s reacting to your run.”

Give ample rest to your body 

“Overtraining can lead to depression and can cause apathy towards your workouts. Getting a massage done every 10 days will help you relax your muscles as well as your mind.”

Tata Mumbai Marathon takes place on January 21.

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