Running is one of the most popular forms of exercise around the world. Whether it is to lose weight, get fit, improve stamina and cardiovascular function or simply to get away and clear your mind, few things beat running. Long distance running has become one of the most favoured ways to test your body and mind and strengthen them as well and it is evident in the increasing marathon participation every year. Marathons around the world are getting bigger and better every year with thousands of participants looking to pound the pavements.
Marathons and other runs fun as they are, come with their own set of safety precautions as well in order to ensure that you have the best run you possibly can. Nothing can put a damper on your experience like unwanted injuries or mishaps that will douse the fire of all your efforts.
Let us take a look at a few basic precautions you should take when planning to run a marathon –
Get checked before you go the distance – Running a marathon is no easy feat. It is a journey of endurance, strength and sheer physical and mental strength. You cannot suddenly decide to run from 0 to 26.2 miles without some serious planning and even more serious training that involves logging in dozens of miles a week as well as other exercise. If you are looking to run a marathon this year or even begin a hard-core running regime and are a beginner, it is best to first get a clear bill of health from your doctor. Make sure you are good to go and find out where your starting point regarding your current fitness level is and this is even more important if you are older or do or have suffered from a cardiovascular or heart condition. Then you can find an appropriate training plan for yourself that will eventually lead to the big run. If you are a newbie aim for smaller runs like a 5k or 10 k first.
Drink up and drink well – Whenever you look at a marathoner or serious runner you will always notice that they are on their way with a bottle in their hands. Keeping hydrated during runs is extremely important and absolutely essential if you want to reach your finishing line in one piece. Apart from water, sports drinks are also a regular feature during marathons since they replenish the body with electrolytes and other energy boosting nutrients. When on a run, make sure you drink a little water ever so often and make sure you keep yourself well hydrated during training with a good water intake. Or else you are asking for exhaustion, dehydration and fatigue that can have serious and far reaching effects. Also a word of advice – avoid alcohol and binge drinking when on a training program or before a big run.
Wear the right gear – Yes, running does not need much equipment which is what makes it one of the most convenient workouts out there. However when on a long distance run like a marathon you have to be mindful of certain things. Firstly, wear a good pair of running shoes that will not only support your feet and ankles but also help you avoid blisters and sores. Make sure they are wider that your foot and maybe even half a size up. If marathon day is nearing it is a good time to replace an old pair that has seen a lot of wear and tear and break a new pair in. Wear comfortable clothing that does not hinder movement, and even look into moisture-wicking garments you will find in any sports store. Regular runners also prefer wearing a pair of tights or running shorts under their regular sports clothes to avoid chafing in the inner thigh area, which can be extremely painful.
Stay safe and keep running!
Harris Brown is a fitness trainer and works privately with a number of clients. He says that increasing marathon participation in the past couple years has given rise to some serious runners and training programs, which he also helps create. In his spare time he loves to surf and unwind with his wife and kids.