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MAN, MACHINE, MARATHON

By nature, human body structure has been engineered to perfection and has evolved for long distance running. Our ability to repair damaged tissues and remodel our skeleton together with an incredible mind power makes us perform better than most machines. However, marathon being a skilled sport needs weeks and months of training for proper coordination, strength, and athleticism.  Expert advice and guidance is therefore mandatory to have an injury-free event. Listed below are explanations for few confusing queries that arise in most of the marathon runners especially in beginners.

Can I run a marathon too?

Our body is a powerful machine with an in-built ability to conserve energy for survival. One need not have six-pack abs or be an Olympian or a sportsperson to perform unbelievable acts of strength, grit and endurance. Every one of us is capable of challenging human limits and creating world records. We are all, in fact, born athletes

Are marathons harmful for us?

Marathons are considered to be one of the most demanding physical challenges that an individual can undertake. It is an extreme form of exercise that requires months of preparation and dedicated training. For this reason, it is recommended that you should seek medical clearance before beginning your training. Also advice from experts like trainers, physio’s, doctors, and people who have ran marathons before, is a great way to start for beginners.

Running causes joint damage?

During our lifetime, our joints are able to sustain 270,000,000 collisions with the ground with an incredible amount of harmful ground reaction forces. Such forces could potentially wreck havoc and damage our joints in no time. To prevent such catastrophic events our joints are covered by sponge-like tissue called as ‘cartilage’ that work as shock absorbers and absorb all the harmful impact forces as we walk, run or jump. So, as long as your cartilage is healthy, you can run a marathon with ease.

Can I run barefoot?

Our feet has 26 bones, 33 joints and a combination of long ligaments and tendons that transform it into a powerful, resilient, energy efficient device that twists and recoils like a spring. The structure of our feet is so unique that it can easily support hundreds of pounds of weight over any surface at any speeds without losing balance! Running barefoot is good and involves slight changes in the muscles used and also the pattern of weight bearing.

Can my ligament get injured or torned?

Ligaments present in our joints twists upon themselves, shorten and tighten or ‘lock’ a joint and convert a flexible foldable leg into a rigid lever similar to a foldable walking stick used by blind people for walking. This process happens effortlessly and without our knowledge every single time we walk, run or jump. This amazing physiological ability not only helps us stand straight for long hours but also help us run, jump and perform unbelievable stunts. However running and jumping puts lot of stress on them and puts them in harm’s way.

Does running cause weight loss?

Several studies conclude that running is probably the most efficient way to burn fat. And this is because during long runs our body relies more on fat as fuel instead of glycogen (the sugar stored in muscles). Indeed, fat utilization becomes more efficient as you run longer and as your carbohydrates stores start to dwindle. However, muscle weighs more than fat. Typically, when people start to work out, they lose weight at the beginning (losing fat), but then start to gain weight (muscle). So even if you do not lose weight, relax, your fat is being converted to muscle mass.

How to recover after marathon?

The race leaves its mark on you in the form of blisters, plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, cramps, dehydration, muscles aches and tears. Therefore, post marathon recovery is an essential part to help heal injuries and set new targets for future event, race or fitness level.

Given below are few tips to follow to safely recover from a marathon…

Few hours: replace fluids and electrolytes, carbohydrate replacement, gentle stretches, and completely avoid alcohol, coffee and diuretics which drain out body fluids

Few days: rest properly, sleeping helps us to recover from soreness and minor injuries, continue fluid intake, have a balanced nutritious diet, also you can stretch, massage or swim

Few weeks: gentle running or jogging can be started now, and cross-training is a good option.