By Dr. Sudip Chakraborty, MBBS, MD (Medicine)

Just like me, there must be many runners participating in this edition of marathon just for fun and some exercise. They need to go to duty the next day and attend to daily chores. So all those non-professional and non-defense personals’, the aim must be to complete the marathon without picking up any injury.  So here are some tips that might help;

1) Warm up and cool down, each of ten minutes before and after running marathon is a absolute must. Stretching is very important particularly ankles knee and hamstrings. One simple exercise to do the job is sitting in Padmasana pose and practicing it daily before running.

2) Alignment and form is another important thing. Try to run straight with toes pointing straight, shoulder hanging down and far from ears, elbow locked at nearly 90-degree angle and close to the body with palms in a position as if holding a glass. This position will give you the thrust u might need when accelerating and aerodynamically won’t be blocking air. Don’t run marathon without practicing at least for one month of graded incremental run. You should have completed at least 80% of the distance in your trial run.

3) Remember to conserve energy. Don’t go full throttle at the outset. Harmonize your steps with your breath. I prefer 2 deep inhalation followed by 2 exhalation, expiration time should be longer than inhalation. Especially when you are down with the reserves, just concentrating on breath instead of the cliff ahead, will help you.

4) Every runner comes across a thing called the WALL. It happens when the liver glycogen gets depleted and blood sugar level goes down. You will feel down and an irresistible urge  to quit. Just hang on. Slowly but surely, muscle glycogen will come to rescue, what is popularly known as second wind.

5) Hydration and salt intake just before and on the day of marathon is important to prevent cramps. So have good dose coconut water\ Electral\pedolyte etc. Try complex carbohydrates like potatoes and other tubers before marathon.  It will release sustained glucose without stuffing your stomach too much.

6) Land on your toes and forefoot and not on the heel. Run as if you want to show the sole of your shoes to the person who is behind you. Shoes should have good shock absorbing sole and a size bigger to accommodate the inevitable swelling of toes. Apply moisturizer in between toes to prevent chaffing and blister formation.

7) The first half of marathon is run on the legs and the other half on mind. You will have to grind it out and concentrate on steps, one at a time.

8) Runners run for themselves, not for glory or prize. Elite marathons like Sparathalon has no prize money just a completion certificate. Western state endurance race, a 100-mile foot race to be covered in 24 hrs through multiple canyons and inhospitable trail, gives only a buckle without a belt, on completion. So run to redeem yourself and see how far you can stretch your self-imposed limits.

9) Stay motivated. Very easy. All you need is tell all your relatives and friends that you are preparing for marathon.  Indians are very demanding, not from themselves but from others. So the moment they see an inch of flab in your waist, they will make fun of you and your running, never mind if they are having a belly that makes a gynecologist smack his lips.

10) Running is sport that thrives on momentum. So try not stopping never mind how slow is your pace. If you stop, then to restart against inertia, is more energy sapping.

So have a injury free marathon and enjoy the ride.