Swarn Jha, Pinto Mandal and Vidhya Shah

Mumbai Marathon 2019: Want to ace it as a runner? Follow this guide

By Sunny Rodricks | Mumbai

Updated: Jan 17, 2019, 17:52 IST

Seasoned runners share valuable ideas about how to mentally and emotionally prepare in order to be successful at the Mumbai Marathon 2019

The 16th edition of the IAAF Gold Label Tata Mumbai Marathon to be held on January 20, 2019, will witness participation of over 45,000 athletes, including new runners who will be in the Marathon for the first time ever. The Mumbai Marathon is considered the Mecca of marathons in India and successfully qualifying for it is a huge achievement, especially for first-time runners. Also, being able to finish a marathon is a huge self-accomplishment for most participants.

But unfortunately, however enthusiastic or inspired you may be to compete in a marathon, it cannot be accomplished by just getting up in the morning and jogging your way to the finish line. Marathon runners will require proper training plans which includes running for long periods of time over a period of few months before competing in a half-marathon (21 Kms) or a full marathon (42 Kms).

Pic credit/Facebook Tata Mumbai Marathon

Therefore, if you are a first-time runner, it is very important to weigh the pros and cons before running the marathon. Should you run for glory and fame or should you aim for timing? What are the health risks involved when you are pushing your body to the limits? These are a few questions which will be running through your mind.

To help understand the challenges that pose to individuals who are attempting their first Mumbai Marathon, we spoke to seasoned runners and they have valuable inputs to share with first-time runners.

Tips for first-time half marathoner runners. Pic credit/ Facebook Tata Mumbai Marathon

Dr. Santosh Kumar Dora, Senior Cardiologist, Asian Heart Institute said, "Most people aim for completion or for good timing when they run a marathon, unlike elite runners who run for fame and rank. First-time runners should aim for completion of the race rather than look for timing."

Dr. Santosh Kumar Dora is himself an avid marathon runner and participates in the Mumbai marathon every year

Dr. Santosh Kumar Dora shares valuable tips that you must keep in mind.

For Marathon day preparation:

Pinto Mandal who works in KPO will be running his 8th marathon this year and will be pacing the 4.20 hours bus for the full marathon.

Pinto Mandal, a seasoned runner who has participated in 27 full marathons, 37 half marathons and 15 ultra marathons said, "While physical training and gaining mileage before the race are most important, runners must also prepare their strategies. Enjoying the race is absolutely important, but planning well ahead of time about the goals one wishes to achieve definitely helps in setting expectations right. The strategies involving pace and particular milestone targets must be challenging, but shouldn’t be unrealistic. Striking a balance is paramount." 

Vidhya Shah, a homemaker who has done world majors [International Marathons] like Berlin, Chicago, New York, and Amsterdam adds, "It is very important to prepare the mind, running a marathon is a mind game (for me). It is about positive affirmations; putting Paulo Coelho and Secret to use, that is the call of the hour."

Vidhya’s journey with running has spanned for 6 years from local marathons to doing international marathons including world majors like Berlin, Chicago, New York, and Amsterdam.

Vidhya urges first-time runners to constantly remind themselves by saying her favourite line, "I may not have a runners body but this body runs" love yourself, love your body."  She and other seasoned runners go on to give a few Do's and Don'ts that first-time runners need to adhere to:



While the D-day is nearing it's important that you pay heed to the useful tips that seasoned runners have shared. Also, there could be a possibility that you may want to train harder as the marathon day nears but besides training harder it is also important to train smart! Should you push the limit with the days leading up to the marathon or try new exercises? 

Four tips for first-time marathoners. Pic credit/ Facebook Tata Mumbai Marathon

Pinto states, "It is important to keep the body free of stiffness. Adequate stretches that involve stretching the neck, joints, and hip before and after the short run always help to keep any kinds of injuries at bay. Long runs and rigorous strength training are a big 'NO'. Having adequate rest a day before the run is very important."

While stretching and adequate rest are important for every runner its also important to take care of one's diet and food habits. Overeating or eating fried foods and consuming alcohol before the D-day can hamper the body big time. More so, first-time runners tend to get overboard with by trying new things from clothes, shoes to food and more.

Swarn Jha, a runner from Bangalore has 2 international world major marathon (Chicago and Boston 2018) to her credit.
"Runners should make sure that they are taking a good amount of nutrition. They should eat clean food. You should not eat anything and everything. Even if you want to eat something then you should try and cook it at home and make it healthy. Everything that you consume should be healthy and homemade. Any kind of last minute changes in diet would hamper your health. Do not choose anything that doesn't suit your body." says Swarn Jha a seasoned runner from Bangalore whose personal best in full marathon is 4:27 at the Chicago Marathon 2018.

She goes on to add, "Runners should also avoid wearing new clothes and shoes on the race day. Wear old clothes which you have been wearing since so many days that your body is familiar with! Wearing new clothes can give rashes to your body. Anything new should be avoided."

About the race:

The Full Marathon will be a 42 km run and will start from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus railway station and end at Hazarimal Somani Marg. On the other hand, the Half Marathon, a 21 km run will commence from Worli Diary and end at Hazarimal Somani Marg. The 16th edition of the Mumbai Marathon will see 8414 runners taking part in the full marathon, which is a 22 percent increase compared to the last edition.

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