This Marathon, run like Forrest Gump

Published: 19 December, 2013 10:47 IST | Hassan M Kamal |

Running a marathon isn't just about stamina or training, but also about will power and knowing how to overcome a problem while on the run. With a month to go for the Mumbai Marathon, Hassan M Kamal invited a few experts to create a list of typical problems that might arise on the run and offer solutions to deal with these so you don't fall by the wayside

Before the run
Join a runners club

While many readers might be training individually because of irregular schedules or busy lives, it’s advisable to join a runners club, especially if you are a beginner. “You can learn a lot from your peers, who have been running in marathons for a while. If you have just started, join a running club,” says Dr Sudhir Pillai, cardiologist, PD Hinduja Hospital, who has been a marathon runner for three years. Deepak Londhe, fitness trainer and founder of the Mumbai-based runners academy, Striders, says that running in a group helps improve your confidence. One can join clubs like Striders; Joints in Motion in Mulund; Nike Run Club in Dadar and Juhu; Thane Runners Group, Run Indian Run in Chembur and Ghatkopar.

Marathon runners practise early morning at Shivaji Park, Dadar. Pics/ Pradeep Dhivar

Runners disease: Plantar Fasciitis
This is a common injury that affects beginners and regulars; it’s identified by a deep ache or sharp stab in the base of the foot, or the morning hobble, if you can’t put your foot on the ground. The most common cause is a drastic or sudden increase in mileage, wrong running shoes, and poor foot structure causing damage to the Plantar Fascia, a connective tissue that runs from the base of the toes to the heel. “Many give up running after this, but the good thing is it heals on its own. You need to be mobile throughout the period. It could take weeks or months but it gets better. There are few exercises that physiotherapists will recommend,” says Dr Pillai. He suggests upping training gradually, and to wear comfortable running shoes.

Dr Sudhir Pillai, cardiologist and marathon runner for the last three years

During the run

Breathlessness can be either physiological (when the body reaches its limit) or pathological (most likely a cardiac arrest or any heart disease), says Dr Pillai. “Physiological breathlessness is more of an indicator of your body’s limits, and with proper training, you can push it further. But pathological breathlessness (especially if you have a history) requires immediate attention,” he adds. Whatever be the situation, if you suddenly start feeling breathlessness, the first thing to do is stop running, advises Londhe. “Ideally, your body should be able to recover in two-three minutes. But if it doesn’t consult the on-the-spot medics immediately,” he adds.

Deepak Londhe 

Don’t speed up or down a slope
Londhe says that many runners speed up while going up or down a slope, unaware that this puts extra stress on their ankle and knees, and might cause a stress fracture in the sheen. “Always walk it out, whether you are going up or down a slope,” he reminds.

Walk-Jog method
Understand that you can’t finish the entire distance by running. The best method that the world’s marathon experts use is a combination of jogging and walking. “Run the first 200 metres, follow it with a walk, run again, and follow it with another walk. This way, you can cover longer distances,” says Londhe.

Don’t gulp all the water at once
A common mistake most amateur runners make is that the moment they reach a water point, they gulp as much water as possible. This makes them feel dizzy, and they might feel like throwing up. “The ideal way to drink water while on the run is to take a sip of water, wet the tongue, spit half and gulp the rest,”shares Londhe.

Know your body and mind
If you think you can be marathon expert by following most of the eight-to-twelve-week training routines, think again. “Training is essential to help improve your stamina, but remember, the marathon is a long run and tests not just the body but also the mind. It takes at least two-three years of practice for the body, and mind to work together and adapt to changing conditions. The last 7-8 kms is a mind game to push the body to finish the race,” asserts Dr Pillai.

The Garmin 210 comes for Rs 31,770 with a foot pod to help you measure your steps.

Use the right gear
“Never wear new clothes on the day of the run,” warns Dr Pillai. Wear them at least three-four times before the day of the marathon. Also, avoid cotton if it’s a long-distance run, since it gets heavier as they absorb sweat and might slow you down. “Also, prolonged use of cotton may cause nipple burns,” he warns.
Watch: To keep a record of your progress and monitor your heartbeat while on the run, use a watch like the Garmin 210, informs Londhe.
Shoes: The sole of the shoes should be well-padded. You should be able to bend it completely around the centre. 

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