By : Anusha K.
Whether you choose to run for fun or race in a marathon, ANUSHA K. has tips for you.
READY! Get set! Go! When was the last time you did that? Err... running I mean. Well, besides helping you to lose weight and give your overall health a boost, running can be fun.
Many shy away from it because of time constraints, injury and lack of confidence. However, once you start running, besides noticing overall improved health, you will be aware of increased mental and physical strength.
Running or completing a marathon is an achievement that any runner would be proud of, what more a non-runner. A marathon not only pushes you to the limit in terms of endurance and fitness levels, it also tries your willpower.
Now, if you’re letting this freak you out, don’t! With a proper training schedule and exercise regime, even a beginner can run a marathon.
The Standard Chartered KL Marathon stays true to its theme “Run Your Race” this June. You can select your desired category from a wide range comprising the Full Marathon, Half Marathon, 10km and the Fun Run (5km).
You can take part in a series of clinics to prepare for the event. The marathon plans to host three clinics in partnership with Pacesetters Malaysia. The clinics are designed for all levels of runners and will cover training, diet and nutrition, dealing with injuries and safety tips.
The first clinic, “Back to Basics”, was held recently at Lake Gardens in Kuala Lumpur. Designed for beginners, it was led by runner and coach Mark Williams. Some of the topics addressed were pacing, hydration, stretching and specific goal-setting, among others.
How do you start?
Even if you do not plan to join the marathon, but would like to start running around your neighbourhood, you should get a full medical examination first. This is to ensure you are physically fit and do not suffer from any health ailments.
Then ask yourself, can I do this?
If you do not have time — make time! Wear the correct apparel and find someone to run with. A partner not only gives you great company, but you could work together to ensure both of you meet your goals such as complete a 5km-run.
Also consider the safety of the vicinity. You do not have to stick to one place. Run around the neighbourhood park on weekdays and the Lake Gardens for the weekend. Don’t wear headphones as these could block out sound and prevent you from being aware of your surroundings. Listen to the chirping birds instead.
Basic training tips
Warming up is crucial as it increases blood flow to the muscles and increases your ability to stretch without injury. Do a warm-up for five to 10 minutes. Stretch (breathe when stretching). Each stretch should last about 30 seconds.
The best time to start running is as early as 5am — 50 per cent of training and long runs should be done during this time. In a week, you should do at least two long runs which are varied in terrain and surface. Make sure you keep to your schedule and try your best not to lapse as it will be harder for you to get back to your usual pace.
“Problems that Malaysian runners face include the humidity and heat. It’s harder to run in scorching heat. Make sure you are well hydrated throughout your run,” said Williams.
The amount of time and effort put in depends on whether you are a beginner or an intermediate runner. Log on to http://www.mcmillanrunning.com for details on the programme that suits you.
After running, especially long distance, it’s important to replenish energy as quickly as possible.
Studies have shown that muscles are most receptive to rebuilding glycogen (stored glucose) stores within the first 30 minutes after exercise. If you eat soon after your workout, you can minimise muscle stiffness and soreness.
While you should eat primarily carbohydrates, protein is just as necessary. A good rule of thumb for post-run food is a ratio of 1g of protein to 3g of carbohydrates. Although nutrition bars and sports drinks with added protein are convenient options, while a yoghurt smoothie is a perfect post-run treat, especially in humid weather such as ours.
Here are three basic smoothies as part of your post-workout plan:
• 2 large bananas 4
• 1 cup frozen unsweetened pineapple chunks
• 1 cup ice
• 1 or ½ cup unsweetened pineapple juice
• 1 cup low-fat banana yoghurt
Place bananas, pineapple and ice in a blender or food processor. Add pineapple juice and yoghurt. Puree until smooth. You can replace bananas with mangoes or pineapples; this depends on your nutritional needs and your preference, of course!
Chocolate Cherry Smoothie
• 1 to ½ cup unsweetened frozen pitted cherries
• 1 cup low-fat vanilla milk
• ¼ cup cranberry-raspberry juice
• 1 tbsp chocolate hazelnut spread (Nutella brand)
• ½ cup non-fat vanilla yoghurt
Blend frozen cherries, then add remaining ingredients. Puree until smooth. Serve in a tall glass.
Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie
• 2 cups frozen banana slices, medium sized
• 1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
• 1 cup ice
• 1 or ½ cup vanilla milk
• ¼ cup peanut butter
• ¼ cup vanilla yoghurt
• 2 tbsps honey
Blend frozen fruits and ice. Add remaining ingredients. Puree until smooth. Serve immediately.
Where and when
The next running clinic is on May 24 (on injury prevention) and June 14 (Countdown) at Lake Gardens in Kuala Lumpur.
* Registration for the the Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2009 is open to both Malaysians and foreigners. With RM350,000 allocated in total prize money prize, it’s the biggest international race ever to be held in the country.
Log on to ww.kl-marathon.com for details.