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Marathons are for women too: Here's what you need to know as you prepare for your 1st marathon

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Lisa Haydon talks about marathon running for women, and the unique challenges they face.

Lisa Haydon

It's taken some time for marathons to become synonymous with women. Drop the word "marathon", and bang comes to mind a picture of men running with lean sweaty bodies and wet see-through T-shirts, slogging to finish the long distance race with the focus of a race horse with blinkers on. 

We generally tend to associate marathons with men. But with a lot of awareness these days, women are going that extra mile, quite literally, to reach superlative levels of fitness.

The marathon running fad is catching on fast these days, with companies organizing and motivating their employees to be a part of long distance racing. However, it's very important to be familiar with the facilities that these marathons provide us in terms of health, beverages and safety.

Running a marathon isn't a decision that takes place overnight with a joyous exclamation of "Eureka! Eureka!”. A lot of preparation goes into running a marathon. It’s physically and mentally strenuous but it also churns out a good amount of endorphins.

Your marathon preparation needs to be meticulous

The basic foundation of running starts with picking a good pair of shoes that are not just trendy, but also comfortable enough for your feet. Your shoes need to minimize any damage – both internal and external. Comfortable sportswear as well as a good moisturizer to moisturize the parts of your body that get rubbed during the run, go a long way in keeping them rash-free. 

It's almost impossible to run a long distance race without transitioning from small distance running. Regular small distance running prepares you over the long term, to be marathon-ready.

When I try to get marathon-ready, I focus on training, and on my playlist, which keeps me motivated throughout the run (usually for the first 15 km, after which I go into machine mode and prefer not to listen to music at all, and ride its highs and lows. There are enough highs and lows when running without the emotional peaks and troffs of listening to music. And of course PUMA  handles my running woes with its comfortable line of Dry Cell sportswear and trainers. This line of sportswear comes with moisture management which helps me perform while also keeping myself cool and much drier than other cotton fabrics.

Hydration is everything!

It's very important to hydrate yourself at frequent bouts of time to prevent injuries and fatigue. Water and energy drinks are provided at the stalls placed at every 2 km, to refill our bodies for the water we have lost through perspiration. Also, kinesiology tape can be kept handy in case a muscle spasm is triggered while clocking the miles. 

Finding a washroom to answer nature's call might be a problem sometimes due to the lack of sufficient toilets; however, efforts are being taken by organizers and sponsors to fix this issue. Most professional marathoners actually pee in their pants – especially if they are running for time. Using the toilet wastes minutes. 

A tracking device that measures distance and tracks steps and calories burned helps you keep a note of your performance. When the sun shines brighter than other days, a cap to protect your lustrous mane and a good sun block lotion to prevent photo-aging helps to a great extent in combating the harsh rays of the sun. I prefer not to wear sunscreen however, as I find that it spreads all over my skin especially if it is a hot day, and sweats into my eyes, making them burn. So be careful of sunscreen in extreme heat. 

Ladies, running a marathon is not easy, but I assure you, it's worth it. The feeling of being a part of a marathon is not just exhilarating, but also empowering, and a testimony to your physical and mental strength.


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