Become hardcore with these rad tips on building a marathon-runner body
by Dr. Rajani Patil
You know it’s Marathon-time when your Newsfeed is filled with “stories” of fitness challenges and miles run in a day. And you might even be tempted to participate in one.
Running is a form of fitness that has many takers. It needs very little investment – it’s like – “Have feet, will run.” For most people, the efforts at getting fit and staying fit is a never-ending cycle: Resolutions come and go, one fitness fad tried and discarded as you start yet another one.
The benefits of running are many, including reduced stress, improved overall health, a balanced mind and soul. It is also one of the best ways to lose weight and work the heart.
But running a marathon is actually a whole different ballgame. It requires specific training done in the right way. Here are some tips that can help you build a hardcore, marathon-runner body:
- Starting the practice: Begin training for a marathon at least a year before the D-day. This gives the body enough time to adapt.
- Invest in coaching: A good coach and a well-structured training program customized for you, with the appropriate warm up and cool down stretches, will go a long way.
- Invest in proper shoes: The right pair of shoes is critical and should be picked based on your foot type, terrain and body weight. Get Gait Analysis done by a sports physiotherapist to understand the right way to run so that any inadvertent injuries are minimized.
- Distance: Take care to ramp up your mileages slowly and steadily.
- Base mileage: Plan your weekly mileage over time. Running 3-5 times a week with relaxed pacing and increasing the mileage by 10% per week is a great way to train. Practise one long run every 7 to 10 days so that the body gets enough time to recover. Also, someone with a smaller body frame can pick up the mileage faster than a person with a heavier body as it puts stresses due to increased weight.
- Rest and recovery: Adequate hydration, sleep, nutrition, sports massage and stretching to perform at your best at each run, are important for recovery.
- Strength training: Running involves a lot of muscles working together to create synchronized stride. It is therefore important to maintain muscles at their optimal strength. The calf and quadriceps are especially adapted to act like a spring, saving energy to propel the body forwards. Add functional training, Pilates, weight training, swimming, and core workshops on rest days.
- Energy and hydration: Practise your runs with hydration packs and energy gels or bars in a side pocket so as to get accustomed to it. Long runs lasting for more than two hours cause depletion of energy due to which the body might feel tired and heavy. Replenish your energy at timely intervals; sports drinks are recommended every few miles.
- Breathe right: Work on your breathing while running. This helps you train your diaphragm and provide enough oxygen to the body to reduce the energy expenditure.
- Pump up your stamina: If you are new to running, concentrate more on building time and not distance. Set realistic goals to keep yourself motivated.
- Listen to your body: You can hear your feet while running. Are your treads soft or hard? A softer landing will reduce the impact on your knees.
- Inner strength: Running trains not only your body but also your mind. Sometimes, pushing your body just a tad bit more to finish your running goal for the day strengthens your discipline and gifts you a positive, goal-oriented frame of mind. Run your own race. Don’t compare yourself with other runners. Whether it is a 10 km or a half or full marathon, have a game plan and stick to it. Build a marathon body you can be proud of.
About Dr. Rajani Patil
Dr. Rajani Patil is a sports physiotherapy specialist with a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree from A.T. Still University (USA). She is also a Certified McKenzie practitioner and is the holder of the Sports rehab Certification from North American Sports Medicine Institute (NASMI).
She is the founder of OrthoSports Physiotherapy with two clinic locations in Mumbai. Her expertise ranges from providing consultations to corporates, wellness companies as well as individuals, for sporting and running events as a gait analysis and shoe expert. Dr. Patil is on the specialist panel of several fitness groups and faculty at prestigious Sports Universities as well as that of well-known health & fitness magazine Krunch Today. She is a prolific writer and contributes insightful articles to various forums. The goal of OrthoSports Physiotherapy is not only to help one find relief now, but also to give tools for continued good health.
You can connect with Dr. Rajani Patil here: https://www.orthosports.in/