Running is becoming one of the most beloved physical activities around the world. Whether it is on a competitive basis or something you are beginning to slowly get fit or fitter, or even to indulge in a form of exercise to give you peace of mind, it definitely has a myriad of benefits for your physical and mental health. Running is in fact one of the most popular among the many diverse South African sports and you will find a large number of running based events scheduled here every year.
Running a marathon, or for that matter even training for one is not a regular run of the mill kind of workout or exercise routine. It is a tough undertaking that requires proper planning, dedication and months of training. The race itself which is a whopping 42 km or 26 miles is a undertaken in itself, but even days leading up to it when you are training hard, can take quite a toll on your body and mind.
Considering training will be ideally part of your daily regime and you want to be at your optimum on race day itself, there are certain safety measures and precautions you can take to be on top of your game. Let us take a look at a few pointers –
- Educate yourself with training knowledge – When you are just beginning a running regime or are planning to compete in your first marathon it is imperative that you don’t just jump right in two feet first. Firstly, go get a proper health check up done and assess where your health and fitness levels are at. Then make sure you find a training program that will guide you through the physical training schedule and start you off from a point that is manageable for you and meets you at your current fitness level. Read up on training techniques, breathing, stride etc. to keep bettering yourself and to avoid injury. If you are overwhelmed it would be good idea to get a personal trainer tog et you started on the way.
- Give your body a break – Although a regular and tough regime is part of training for a marathon or any kind of race, overdoing it without thought can be extremely detrimental leading to fatigue, lack of interest and worse muscle and bodily injuries. Rest days are scheduled for a reason and don’t skip them thinking it will help you run better. On the contrary giving your body a day of rest will help your muscles recover from wear and tear and give it the necessary healing time.
- Wear the right gear – Whether it is a marathoning event or just a run around the park, wearing the right running gear can make a world of difference when it comes to preventing soreness, injury and the like. Invest in a good pair of running shoes that give you adequate room for your feet to stretch, have good cushioning and good support. Experts also suggest that if you have been training for months and your shoes are showing sign of wear and tear, buy a new pair a little before marathon day and make sure to break them in. Another problem regular runners face is chaffing on the inner thighs which can be extremely painful. If it is an issue make sure you buy special creams and emollients to apply and wear a pair of bike shorts under your other attire.
- On race day – Come race day and the enthusiasm levels can be sky high. Make sure you follow course guidelines and familiarise yourself with the terrain. Also keep an eye out for where the medical stations and hydration stations are located. If you feel any form of check pain, acute muscle tear pain or breathing problems always stop and get some help.