A pair of running shoes is the most important piece of gear you’ll need to train for a marathon. The shoe needs to be flexible with a grippy outsole, lightweight and breathable Credits: Adobe Stock

The running life: How to take up marathon without breaking into a sweat

If you’re a new runner or planning to run your first marathon, you may be wondering about how to prepare and where to start. Be aware of certain dos and don’ts before your first 5K

Namrata Kohli | New Delhi

Rakesh Kumar Kashyap from Panchkula started running at the age of 46 to offset his craving for sweets. He preferred to control it by running rather than leaving sweets. With no background in sports or a very active lifestyle, Kashyap started with a few kilometers per day. Today, he has moved on from marathons to ultra-marathon (an ultramarathon, is any footrace longer than the traditional marathon length of 42 kilometers) and is just back from the tough Leh marathon. And is already preparing to participate in Sparthalon in Greece, a 246-kilometre ultramarathon race which is the world’s most grueling race across rough tracks, muddy paths, and steep hillsides. Just to be eligible for this race, he had to finish 160 km within 21 hours.

Sharing his story, Kashyap reveals that – “It’s all about practice. But 80 percent of the battle is won by a strong mind rather than a strong body. Sometimes there is pain in some part of your body, and you are feeling tired, but it’s the mind which eggs you on.” He feels that community events and group training help in upping your goals. Discipline in lifestyle and food are a must. He usually takes a lot of protein, sprout, milk, egg, juice etc. as there is constant muscle pull, wear and tear while running such long races. A minimum of six-hour sleep is mandatory as the body needs proper rest before any such intense activity and marathoners like him have a 9 am to 3 am sleep cycle.

Ask him what his feeling is after completing an ultra-marathon and he says the instinct is always ‘now never ever again.” But when the body rests and recovers in two days, the zeal to run comes back.

Why Run

The running boom came in India because people in their 40s started running in early 2000. Meet Coach Ravinder, a marathoner, fitness coach, mentor who organizes most running events in Delhi NCR region. He says, “You know the mid-life crisis. The average age of a person doing a marathon is 40 years because there is struggle in professional life, one starts losing health and people keep looking for avenues to vent out their frustration. Running gives you “me-time”. Besides, running is an inclusive activity – it doesn’t differentiate between a CEO and a Class 4 employee. From the start line till the finish line, everyone is the same and running and cheering each other. And yet, it’s an individual activity as you are not competing with anyone except yourself. Our tagline is ‘Beat Yesterday’. Running brings a sense of equality as well as a sense of community.”

How should one prepare for training? Says Coach – “Be prepared to train 3-4 times in a week. The idea is to run, recover, rest, and run. In each session, there is 30 minutes of intensive activity with warm up in the beginning and brisk walking plus cool down in the end.” As for the charges, fitness experts may charge anything from Rs 3,000-5000 per person per month for thrice a week group class. But if it’s personal training it can be anything from Rs 500- Rs 5,000 per hour.

He suggests the best way to start running is to add some running in your walk “just like you add salt to wheat flour… it should be done organically.” He suggests a beginner to join a group class as that helps in keeping you motivated. But the most difficult part is getting up early in the morning and getting out of the bed – those who can accomplish that, then fifty percent of the job is done.

Get Your Gear Right

If you’re a new runner and wondering where to start, the good thing is running is a low-maintenance sport—what you need is just running shoes, running clothes, supportive sports bra and running-specific socks. You don’t need anything fancy. E.g. no need to buy the most expensive pair of shoes in the store but investing in a good pair is a smart idea that will help prevent injuries and make for more comfortable runs. Avoid wearing 100 percent cotton socks as a runner. If you wear cotton socks, the moisture won’t get wicked away if your feet sweat. Apply the “no cotton” rule to all your gear and opt for a synthetic blend dry fit or quick dry attire.

Heavy layers, worn out shoes are a big no-no. Ditto for brand new gear on the day of your marathon. Race day is not the time to experiment with a new pair of running shoes, running shorts, or a new sports bra. You should be trying out new clothes and shoes during your training runs and then stick with your tried-and-true favorites that you know are comfortable.

What’s trending at e-commerce channels. Amazon.in has a large selection of these categories available from both domestic and international brands. According to Saurabh Srivastava, Director & Head, Amazon Fashion India – “Running, athleisure and comfort footwear, such as sneakers, have found a special place in consumers’ wardrobes. Millennials and Gen Zs, make up the majority of the customer base for these categories and, in addition to their interest in fitness and working out, they are largely influenced by latest trends, social media preferences. Customers from metro cities, as well as smaller tier 2/tier 3 cities, have been seen shopping for domestic and international brands in athleisure wear and sneakers. For fitness enthusiasts, we have popular brands like Adidas, Puma, Skechers, Nike and more, as well as high-end brands like Columbia, Bugatti, Saint G and more. We have products starting at Rs 200 and going up to Rs 10,000-20,000.”

Top Marathon Events

You can start by enrolling yourself to your neighborhood community of runners and then gradually start participating in marathon events. Most of these are conducted in various categories such as marathon (42kms), half Marathon (21kms), 10 km, and the 5km fun-walk-or-run. Some of the most popular Marathon events in India include the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, now called Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon; TCS Bangalore 10K, Tata Mumbai Marathon, Tata Steel Kolkata Marathon, NMDC Hyderabad Marathon, Satara Hills Half Marathon. Some marathons are held on beautiful terrain such as the Goa River Marathon alongside the picturesque Zurai River. The Kaveri Trail Marathon (KTM) known for its scenic beauty starts near the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary and follows the flow of river Cauvery. Then there are theme-based events such as Pinkathon founded by Milind Soman to encourage women’s health and fitness. And there are tough terrain marathons such as Run the Rann, which is literally about ‘running through the desert’ where runners go through the white desert of Kutch often spotting wildlife along their way. The Ladakh Marathon held in the town of Leh is one of the toughest marathons in India. It is held at 3,500 m above the sea level and so, it requires you to reach Leh at least a week before the race to get acclimatized with the weather.

Recently the ninth edition of the 72-kilometer-long Himalayan Khardung La Challenge, the world’s highest Ultra Marathon, ended on September 9, also celebrated as Himalayan Day. The Marathon was run on the route from Khardung village and back to Leh City with nearly 200 participants. Speaking on the success of the Himalayan Ladakh Marathon, Chewang Motup Goba, Founder & Race Director, Ladakh Marathon said, “The Khardung La Marathon has seen tremendous success this year, thanks to the collective support of brand Himalayan, police, volunteers, military forces, and healthcare professionals. The 9th edition of the Khardung La challenge after the pandemic this year is brimming with renewed energy, vigour and the overwhelming response we have received has surpassed our expectations.”

Finally, a marathon is not about just running but overcoming your limitations. You’re running on guts. On fumes. Your muscles twitch. You throw up. But you keep running because there is no way you’re not crossing the finish line. The training asks you to forsake pleasures, to discipline the body, to find courage, to renew faith, and to become one’s own person, utterly and completely.

Price Chart

Having the right marathon gear can make a huge difference to your performance and comfort level when you’re tackling a long race. The best marathon gear is well-fitted, comfortable, breathable, and high-quality




Running Shoes

Adidas, Nike


Running T shirt

Puma, Reebok


Running Shorts

Nike, Adidas


Running Pants

Van Heusen, Generic,


Sports Bra

Van Heusen, Jockey


Best Handheld Water Bottle


Tego, Nathan

1,500- 9,000

Post-run massage tools

Yesindeed, Lifelong


Best Foam Roller

Strauss, Boldfit


Wrist Bands

Strauss, HeadTurner


Running Socks

Heelium, Darn Tough,


Source: Market Research

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