Here are some tips :
– Have a clear objective on why you are running. This is very important… it is to enjoy the outdoors? Lose weight? Train for half marathon? Train for a full marathon? The objective will define how much and how often you should run
– Track. I religiously track every km I run on runtastic app and post it on fb/instagram. It makes me accountable plus I like getting the ‘likes’. It is very motivational
– Support. In the form of people. Very important. I follow NGOs/runners/coaches on fb which inspires me to keep running. There have been times when I have gotten off my ass to run after reading a runner’s post on how pleasant the weather is for a run. Also, keep away from negative people. 90% of the people are lazy and have never gotten off their couch. They will never have encouraging things to say. Sometimes they may make you feel weird for running long distances. Shut them out. They are A holes who will have a fat ass while you have muscular drool worthy calves.
– Social network. Instagram is my best buddy these days… followed by fb. There are people I am connected to on instagram who like and comment on posts. I do the same for them. This a support group of a different kind… a mutual admiration society, if I can call it that. And then there are strangers on instagram who will like/comment on posts. I check out their accounts and if they are into running too promptly add them. And also people on fb who may not get off their ass but will definitely appreciate my efforts. I wish I could name them here but don’t want to for fear of missing out somebody.
– Strength train. This is as important as running. Running burns muscles and muscles make you stronger. You need to strength train to make your thighs, calves, ankles stronger. I work out in the gym 3 times a week- focussing on upper body or core or lower body. And please don’t even waste time on 2 kg weights (unless you find them heavy). Also, most instructors have no idea what they are doing… so, research your workouts… and create your own routine. If it was upto my instructor I would still be lifting 2 kg weights and never have done a proper push up.
– Cross train. Apart from the gym and run if you can do another form of cardio- dance, swim, cycle… do it. That is highly recommended. Earlier, it was Jazz for me and now I swim.
– What to eat before running? I had a banana. It filled me up and gave me enough energy for a 2 hour run. Now I have the Muscle Blaze protein bar… tastes yuck but gives me enough energy for a 3 hour run and has a lot of proteins
– What to eat after the run? I have my whey and then breakfast. You can eat anything.
– Hydrate. Very important. Any run longer than 1 hour needs hydration. Never ever skip on this. If the run is longer than 75 mins you need an energy drink like Gatorade or Wild.
– Shoes. When I started running my basic sport shoes were enough but as the runs became longer I invested in a pair of Puma shoes. But then they developed holes in less than 6 months which pissed me off. I decided to spend more money and buy a pair which would last years and bought Nike. Mainly because the sales people in other stores (Reebok, Adidas, Puma) did not know anything about the shoes they were selling. Seriously, these guys are selling shoes worth 10 k and have no idea at all. Ask them what ‘pronation’ is and you will get a blank look. The problem was that the Nike shoes are for long distances… they are great with endurance but don’t improve performance. Which means… I can run longer but not faster since the sole is thick. I had negotiated with Puma when the shoes got holes and the store owner (the brand kept my shoes for 1 month and then returned them refusing replacement) replaced the shoes. These have a thin sole… improve performance but are not great with endurance. So, I wear the Nike ones for long runs ( 10 k and more) and Puma for shorter runs. For example, I wore the Nike for half marathon and will wear Puma for the Pinkathon 10 km run in September. Breaking into new shoes also takes time. Nike would make my knees hurt but gradually that stopped.
– A marathon is not about running faster but running longer. Endurance is required and your training should take care of that. The shorter runs should focus on improving performance and the longer runs can be slower but longer.
– Try and run on different routes… running on the same track can be very boring. You will also discover more about the city you live in.
– Can you run a marathon without training? Sure… if it is the only one you plan to run. Many people just get out of bed and head to a marathon… they may even complete it in 3 hours but will be bed ridden for the next 2-3 days. I have read these experiences online and also know someone who ran without training. He ran a very fast 10 km- in 55 mins… which is awesome. But then could not move any further. No kidding. True story. He just lay down on the road and that was the end of running for him. Train hard… but train well and more importantly, consistently.
– Lastly, enjoy the run. I had started feeling the pressure recently. Everytime my pace went higher than 8 min/km I would panic. I decided to stop tracking. The app would run in the background and give me updates only when I wanted… which was every few km. I stopped fretting about pace and time or distance. I knew the route for a 16 km and would enjoy it… irrespective of the time. And thats why the objective is important.