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Preparing for a marathon? Mumbai Runners tell you how to get fit

Monday, 3 March 2014 - 11:37am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA Web Team
In case you don't plan to run in a marathon and are just looking for a way to keep fit in the city, then the answers to your fitness woes could be here.
  • Preparing for a run Preparing for a run

The dna i Can Women's marathon will take place on Sunday in Mumbai when different women from the city will run for a cause. Mumbai based social and physical platform on running and fitness in the city, Mumbai Runners give tips on how to prepare for a marathon or in general how to stay fit.

Deepak Oberoi and Tushar Motwani from Mumbai Runners are part of the group that has been conducting physical training on running in the city share some easy to do tips. Mumbai Runners has created platforms across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter where they share and encourage the joy of running in Mumbai by profiling runners from Mumbai, sharing knowledgeable tips and other related content. They also do innovative projects related to running, recently they worked with 'Flying Cursor' a creative agency to execute a campaign for SCMM 2014 highlighting runners and their reasons to run. 

 

Exercises that can be done while preparing for a marathon

One should follow a pre-run and post-run (cool down) regime to develop and maintain fitness levels for long distance running. Avoidance of a regular exercise routine leads to injuries.  Listing below few of the critical exercises :-

Pre-Run Exercises:  Performed to warm up the muscles and get your body and mind in the groove.

Spot Jumping: Try skipping (without a rope) on the spot and  gradually increase the height and range of each skip as you go.

Side Shuffle Step:  Step to the right side for 10 to 20 meters and then 10 to 20 meters to the left. You can do it walking and gradually progress to jog. As your muscles start to warm up, you can build the intensity so that you’re trying to cover as much ground as possible with as few steps as possible.

Backward Jogging: Start with 50-meter segments and then gradually increase your speed.

Butt Kicks: While standing tall, walk forward with an exaggerated back swing so that your heels come up to your glutes. When this is easy, try it while jogging. Do 10 reps on each side. Too easy? Alternate butt kicks with high knees. Do five butt kicks, then do five high-knee steps. The butt kicks stretch the quads and the “high knees” stretch the glutes.

Hacky-Sack: Lift up your left leg, bending your knee so it points out. Tap the inside of your left foot with your right hand without bending forward. Repeat 10 times on each side. This stimulates the balance you’re going to need when you start running.Keeping your back and knees straight, walk forward, lifting your legs straight out in front and flexing your toes. Advance this by adding a skipping motion. Do 10 reps on each side.

Both these dynamic stretches loosen up and activate all your leg muscles—inner and outer thighs, hips, hamstrings, calves and quadriceps—through full range of motion.

Leg swings: Hold onto a sturdy object, stand on one leg and swing the other leg forward and back. Do 20 reps. Then swing that same leg side to side 20 times. Each swing should build until your leg is close to its full range of motion.

Walking lunges: Take a large step forward with your right leg, and bend the knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor and knee is aligned with your ankle. Push back upward, draw your left foot even with your right and step forward with the left. Try to keep your walking lunges fluid, and focus on proper form. Do 20 (10 per leg).

Cool down exercise: These target specific muscle areas so as to avoid any injuries and help cool down the body in a very relaxed fashion.

Quadriceps: Lying on your right side, pull left heel into left glute, feeling the stretch in the front of the thigh. Repeat the same with the right leg.

Hamstrings: Lying on your back, lift and straighten one leg directly above hips. Holding the calf or thigh, press heel toward ceiling as you pull leg back toward chest. Try the same by switching the legs.

Glutes: Lying on your back, cross right leg over bent left knee. Then bring left knee to chest, holding onto the back of your thigh, gently pressing right knee wide. Switch the legs.

Chest: Standing straight, interlace fingers behind your back as you straighten out your arms and lift chin to ceiling.

Core/back: On all fours, round out your back (like an angry cat), and then invert it, making a C-shape with your spine, Repeat three times. Then sit back between your heels, forehead on the mat, arms extended in front of you, as you lengthen your back.

 

On exercises for men and women

When it comes to physical fitness, exercises are usually same for men and women. However the level of exertion, motivation and targets definitely differ.  Since different targets demand different level of dedication and frequency, the exercises can differ.

- Avoid all fast food and roadside food. Try to eat as much as possible of  home cooked food.

- Avoid alcohol and smoking. Alcohol stays in the body for 2 days hence alcohol will definitely impact your training regime and performance severely.

- One cannot stress enough on this - Drink enough water throughout your training. Our bodies tend to lose great amount of water while running, hence it is very important to keep yourself hydrated. During the run, ensure you intake water at regular intervals but also don’t overdo water drinking.

- During most marathons, you will find supporters distributing oranges with salt. Oranges are sources of vitamin C and they will help you quench your thirst and avoid any crams. 

 

When to start preparations for a marathon:
For a beginner at least 3 months of training is required for a half marathon (21 kms) but one’s personal fitness level, dedication and techniques plays a major role. Here we are detailing a very simple plan of 12 weeks which can be used by anyone. One should increase/decrease the distance depending upon his/her capability.

 

Where to run in Mumbai:
Mumbai has plenty of open spaces, it’s just that we don’t want to get out of our normal routine and breath in these spaces. 

Below are some of the spots which Mumbaikars can explore to practice running:-

1. Mahalaxmi Race Course – Great Open Space with 2.2km round track comfortable to the feet.

2. Marine Drive: A straight 4 km track across the sea-face. This spot is a runner’s paradise. Every morning, there are many individuals running on this track practicing for marathons and to main basic fitness levels. If one starts from NCPA, goes all the way till Haji Ali and returns back; he/she will easily cover 15kms.

3. Worli Sea Face – Another sea face spot. One can cover an easy 10kms here. 

4. Shivaji Park and Five Gardens, Matunga– Great green spot with plenty of runners 

5. Band Stand, Carter Road, Juhu beach – These spots are also beautiful locations and one will find never-ending inspiration to achieve their running targets

6. Aarey Milk colony, Borivali National Park- These are natural green spots and also loaded with runners throughout the year.  

7. Hiranandani Powai, Khargar Hills- These are really amazing routes to practice uphill running and increase your stamina.

 

What to eat:

You should eat with your mind and not with your stomach. Listing below some tips on diet for running:-

- Avoid all fast food and roadside food. Try to eat as much as possible of  home cooked food.

- Avoid alcohol and smoking. Alcohol stays in the body for 2 days hence alcohol will definitely impact your training regime and performance severely.

- One cannot stress enough on this - Drink enough water throughout your training. Our bodies tend to lose great amount of water while running, hence it is very important to keep yourself hydrated. During the run, ensure you intake water at regular intervals but also don’t overdo water drinking.

- During most marathons, you will find supporters distributing oranges with salt. Oranges are sources of vitamin C and they will help you quench your thirst and avoid any crams. 

If you feel that you are too late to get set for this marathon season, then it's never too late or too early to start for next year. Fitness and health go hand in hand, so the tips will be helpful to stay fit.


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