Making a run for it in the New Year

PT Jyothi Datta | Updated on January 16, 2018

It's fun to run

Marathons are getting people out on the road, but running requires some care

“I was there. What should have been the biggest day of celebration was overshadowed by the tragedy of that day. But the Boston Marathon came back bigger and stronger than before,” says Rick Muhr, a coach for the Boston Marathon, on the bombing that shook the venue in 2013.

It is a reflection of the spirit of the runners, says Muhr, a runner for 42 years, recollecting how they emerged from the shadow of the terror attack.

But Marathons are getting more people to put on their running shoes, as they aspire to participate in these events across the world. While some are driven to improve on the distance they run and their timings, others see it as a runway to adopting a healthier lifestyle.

Come January and Mumbai will flag off the first of many Marathons to be held across the country. And Muhr, who has completed 32 Marathons and qualified for every Marathon in Boston since 1979, has some advice for runners on training and injuries. It is estimated that about 74 per cent of runners suffer a moderate or severe injury each year.

When you train for the Marathon, you need to be consistent and moderate, listen closely to your body and gradually increase the mileage, says Muhr. And that is not an overnight decision; in fact the training should begin at least five months before the event, says the endurance coach.

Muhr is ambassador for Zero Runner, an innovative training device that supports zero impact running. He was in Mumbai for the international promotion of the device to runners of all hues — recreational, competitive, fresh off-the-block and older people who enjoy running.

Muhr claims that the zero impact runner is even useful for those with knee and back problems. The explanation being that the equipment simulates running, allowing the knee to bend and thereby ensuring that no pressure is put on the leg or the knee.

There is no doubt that running has tremendous long- and short-term benefits for all chronic diseases, says Aashish Contractor, head of rehabilitation and sports medicine with Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital. But that can be said of any exercise and running is one form, he says. To stay healthy, you need to run three to five days a week for 50-60 minutes, says Contractor. And anything more than that does not necessarily help.

The idea is to exercise and not everyone needs to be a Marathoner, he says. Running in a Marathon is more of a personal achievement and it helps people fix a goal for themselves in terms of how much they will run, timing, etc.

Marathon or otherwise, it is not uncommon to see people jog on the promenade in Mumbai, flanked by the scenic Arabian Sea and the characteristic skyline on either side.

And as a New Year dawns, running may well get added to many a resolution list, for the health benefits it brings or just for the sheer joy of running.

Published on December 23, 2016

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