5 common pitfalls every marathon runner must avoid


Speeding up, training too hard, cramming in, dehydration, improper running gear, uneven breathing and lack of nutrient-rich food are some mistakes that marathon runners make. Although these are some aspects which are usually given undue attention to, over-training and pushing oneself too hard to gain maximum results in the lowest possible time is a very common mistake. As Mumbai marathon 2019 gets closer by the week, here are some mistakes that can be easily avoided by marathoners for a comfortable and successful run:

1. Extra mileage- too much, too soon

Running is a high-impact activity. If you try to cover more distance before your body is physically capable, you will suffer from aches and pains. Giving your body time to become stronger can simplify the process and you can easily prevent any injuries. A general rule of thumb is to ramp up your running by no more than 10 per cent per week.

2. Unusual fixation on pace

In their determination to achieve a certain goal as quickly as possible, runners very often forget to listen to their body. A speed which feels extremely comfortable and easy on a cool, cloudy day with flat ground may become challenging on a hot day with sloppy/ uneven terrain. Weather, ground and illness are the many variables that a runner must take into consideration before pushing themselves to try harder than their average.

3. Skipping recovery days

Whether you are working or studying or training, recovery days are essential for a successful outcome. Follow up with an easy effort run or cross-training session after a hard work-out to give the body time to recover. This will give the runner time to heal, adapt and get better. “Every once in a while, leave your watch at home and run at a comfortable pace. At regular intervals check in with your breathing and overexertion. Slow down when either seems to be going a little haywire,” suggests Dr Santosh Kumar Dora, Senior Cardiologist, Asian Heart Institute and an avid marathon runner and regular Mumbai marathon participant. Another alternative is to walk and run at regular intervals- run for a few minutes and walk for a minute.

4. 18 weeks of training in 6 weeks

“Cram 18 meals in one sitting and bad things will happen. Cram 18 weeks of training into six weeks and bad things will happen. Our body takes time to get used to the demands of a race. Runners who try to cram up their training do not attempt to run again because of the terrible after-effects of their first run. Time will enable you to improve your distance, speed and stamina. If you’re one of the newbies who is just learning to run, take several months of practice before you start to race. Eventually, you will hit a tipping point where you will only improve. You need at least six to eight weeks to prepare for a 5K or 10K, 12 to 14 weeks for a half marathon, 16 to 22 weeks for a marathon, and 20 to 24 weeks for an ultra-marathon,” Dr Dora says.

5. Starting where you stopped

Similar to training hard on recovery days is pretending that you haven’t taken a holiday from training and jumping back to where you stopped. Especially if you have stopped because you are ill or due to an injury. Your training plan needs to be flexible- to accommodate sick or injured days. It is always better to go into a race healthy and with a lower mileage base—your body and mind will be better prepared for the demands of the race.