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Race to a new fitness goal in the new year Become a marathoner in 2023

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Jan 13 2023

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New year, new start! At the beginning of each year, this can-do attitude gives our willpower a much-needed boost to put our resolutions into action and stick to them. In general, resolutions mainly involve committing to healthy lifestyle changes like getting fit, eating right, learning a new skill, or living life to the fullest.

Now, you probably said to yourself, “2023 is the year I meet my fitness goals and make it  MY YEAR!”. But you probably said that to yourself in 2021 or even in 2020! When we attempt to achieve a goal without a plan, it can usually end up backfiring, whether due to a lack of motivation, a busy schedule, or a harmful "all or nothing" mentality. One simple solution to overcome this is to make fitness a collective activity rather than a solo endeavor to create accountability and help you stay on track.

So how does one go about achieving this? Fortunately, with so many fitness-related events happening across India in 2023, staying active can be turned into a shared goal and can be fun, especially when you do it with family and friends. Although there are many noteworthy fitness events, marathons usually give people a sense of achievement and purpose and build healthy habits over time. Most marathons are about committing to a larger cause related to the planet and the environment or spreading awareness about a health condition. Therefore, marathons are not only a test of your physical strength but that of your mental fortitude and values.

Going ahead, we will take a look at some of the most popular marathon events taking place in our country in 2023. We'll first discuss how to prepare for a marathon, how to choose the right marathon for you and ways to stay motivated throughout the process. So let's get started!

Preparing for a Marathon

Marathons aren't about the race, they're about the shared struggle and you’ll find that training for it is just as important as the marathon. Here are a few things you should do to make it to that formidable finish line.

1. Get a Health Checkup and Diet Plan
Know your body before you test its limits with a complete health check-up. Training and preparing can be a  physically taxing activity, so it’s better to know of any underlying health conditions that may affect your ability to undertake that challenge. Consult your nutritionist for a diet plan because proper nutrition is essential for marathon runners, and it becomes even more vital during training. Hydrate and eat enough carbohydrates to fuel your body.

2. Make a plan for your training

The best way to find a training plan that works for you is to consult with a coach or experienced runner. Based on your goals, schedule, and current fitness level, together you can create a customized plan that fits your needs.

3. Work on the Building Blocks of Marathon Training

Marathon training involves some key components, and if you didn't know what they are, now you do!

  • Work on Your Base mileage:

Building your weekly mileage is necessary to successfully run a marathon. A good rule is to increase your mileage by 10% every week and ensure you run three-to-five times per week. Aim to build your weekly mileage up to 80 kilometres over the four months leading up to your race.

  • Commit to the Long Run

Doing long runs ensures your body adjusts to the distance and builds endurance. Scale your distance back by every few weeks and run at a slower pace, this usually builds confidence and correctly trains your body to burn fat.

  • Practice Speed Workouts

Increase your cardio capacity by practising speed workouts such as intervals and tempo runs. In tempo runs, you run at a pace that is slightly faster than your marathon goal pace. Intervals consist of periods of fast running followed by periods of recovery.

  • Rest and recovery 

Resting on some days helps your muscles time to recuperate from strenuous training and avoid mental exhaustion. On your rest days, do something low-impact like cycling, swimming, yoga, lifting weights, etc.

4. Join a Running Group

As mentioned above, staying motivated is easier when you train in a group. Running teams frequently include participants with a range of skills and knowledge and meet regularly to run together. You'll not only make new friends but also have access to more seasoned runners who can guide and support you. It can help you find the inspiration you need on days when you don't feel like running or training.

Popular Marathon Events in India

All large cities in India have at least one marathon named after them today, and a variety of marathons are organized quite frequently, so you can take part whenever you want. Let’s take a look at a few of the popular and noted marathons in various cities.

TATA Mumbai Marathon

When: 15th January 2023

The TATA Mumbai marathon takes place on the third Sunday of January every year, covering 42.195 kilometres (26.2 miles). The first edition of the Mumbai Marathon was held on 18 February 2009 and had over 22,000 participants. The TMM is divided into six categories: the Marathon (42km), the Half Marathon (21km), the Dream Run (6km), the Senior Citizen's Run (4km), Champions with Disability (2km) and the Timed 10k (10kms). It is the largest marathon in Asia and is currently recognised under IAAF Gold Label Road Race.

Runners for Mangroves
When: 5th February 2023

Taking place on World Wetland Day, this 10 Km marathon aims to raise awareness about the fragile biodiversity of Navi Mumbai's mangrove forest and take steps towards its preservation. Organisers include the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board and significant pro-environment NGOs.

Airtel Delhi Half Marathon

When: November 2023

The Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, which is usually held in November, is still a popular race that draws people from across the country. It begins at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and proceeds to Safdarjung Tomb, India Gate, Parliament House and back. The Half Marathon, Great Delhi Run (6 km), Senior Citizens' Run (4 km), and Champions with Disability (4km) - are the four categories. The event is preferable for beginners and can be a relatively easy race to finish with its achievable milestones. 

Goa River Marathon

This race takes place in Goa alongside the beautiful Zuari River. Beyond the river, city streets and tree-shaded trails will keep you enthralled. National Geographic has named the Goa River Marathon one of the world's top ten marathons. The marathon is divided into four categories: marathon, half marathon, 10km run, and 5km fun run.

Kaveri Trail Marathon
Starting at the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, the Kaveri Trail Marathon follows the Cauvery River's route. Runners love KTM because of its scenic beauty and physical challenges. There are three categories - a full marathon, a half marathon, and a 10km trail run.

Pune Marathon

India's oldest marathon is the Pune Marathon. It is a 42km run that starts at 6 am and ends at 6 pm. The event is organised by the Rotary Club of Pune. The first edition of the race was held in 1983, and the 37th edition will be held in December 2023.

In conclusion…

There are tens of thousands of runners participating in marathons, some of which are held on scenic backcountry roads whereas others are celeb-lined spectator-fuelled urban races. Try running a few shorter races like half marathons or fun runs to get used to the race environment and identify your preference.

Opt for running a marathon close to home for that home-field advantage and later on choose a remote race to explore new challenges and locales. Make 2023 the year you push yourself physically and test your endurance to make your 'Marathon Debut'.

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