- If it’s a simply 10km goal or the next ultra marathon, here’s everything you need to know about being a runner.
- Find out about the physical and mental preparation you need to achieve your goal.
- Take advantage of the region’s love for sport with the best places for a jog including Kite Beach and JBR.
- Whether it’s the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, or something more abroad, make sure you’re ready with this runners’ guide.
It’s been decided – whether you intended to or not – you’re running this year’s Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon. You’ve got the shoes, the look, the motivation. Now all you need is the training plan to get you to the finish line.
So where to start – no it’s not all about spending endless hours on the community treadmill, constantly eating salads and listening to “Eye of the Tiger” on repeat. Training for your next marathon (be it the London Marathon, Dublin Marathon or even something closer to home like the Dubai Marathon), is a lot easier than one may think.
And this is all about the who, where, what, why and when of marathon running.
First things first – here are 5 things no one tells you about running your first marathon:
1. Fear will replace excitement: As sad as it sounds, it’s only once you’ve officially crossed the finish line, do you feel relieved, sore, and so grateful that you embarked on this journey. But until that moment, just remember that it’s perfectly normal to let the nerves sink it – it’s what makes you human after all.
2. Not everyone will be supportive: Yes – your talkative aunt may warn you about your knees hurting and people will be a little upset that you chose not to frequent the local pub because you’ve got to train, and that’s ok. Because this is your goal you’re chasing, not theirs.
3. It’s expensive: For a “free” sport, running can surely add up. From the new running shoes (which are great motivators/investments) to the ‘treat yourself’ moments post-run, every little thing adds up. Simply decide on your budgets and remember to include things like recovery foods, race entries, clothing, sunblock etc.
4. Your feet will hurt: It goes without saying that running is hard – it’s a mental and physical game you play as soon as you’ve stepped out. Invest in a decent pair of running shoes that cushion your feet the whole way through. And never, ever, run incredible distances with new shoes.
5. Life goes on: You’ve done it! Yes, you! You’ve just completed your first marathon. This is more than a simple one-off achievement, this is a story you can pass on to other novices because you’ve gotten through it all. Now it’s about deciding on the next one.
The easiest way to get into running as a sport is to join a running club – and luckily in Dubai, there are plenty to choose from. The Desert Road Runners, Dubai’s oldest running club, meets six nights a week (not Wednesday) in various locations around town as they prepare for events throughout the year.
The Dubai Creek Striders are also a large running group in Dubai and meet Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights at Al Barsha Pond Park or the World Trade Centre.
There are many people who run with different goals in mind, so you don’t have to worry about keeping up with the pace. Keep in mind that popular clubs such as the Nike Running Club and Reebok Running Club also have various events set up around Dubai.
Now that you’ve signed up to change the way you’ve been living life, you just need the best place to get those wheels moving – Dubai is a haven for runners, with many beautiful and specially designed places to get started. Try Kite Beach or JBR Beach for their cushioned running paths and spectacular views, or head down to the Dubai Marina for a vibrant run at any time, day or night.
Now that that’s out the way, let’s get to training.
It’s all about steps (excuse the pun). No one will go from couch potato to marathon marvel in a day, but whose to say it’s not possible to do so in a few weeks? Sounds like a dream, but it’s doable with the correct amount of discipline and drive.
Start off easing your way into the distances; depending on your level, aim to increase your distances by 10% every week. This way you can ensure that you’re pushing further, without risking injury. Make sure you take your recovery periods as these will help your body adjust to the changes.
If you’re serious about getting yourself fit, consider this 8-week training plan on http://womensrunning.competitor.com/2015/08/training-tips/coach-tips-for-marathon-training-plus-an-8-week-plan_45248/2 where it all comes down to planning and discipline. The most important part with this type of training is to eat right, and to keep pushing, even when it feels like you can’t. Because as mentioned before, it’s a physical and mental game to finish a marathon.
If running a marathon is something you’ve always wanted to do or part of a bet you lost, it’s one step (or in this case, many) closer to a healthier you. Your whole body, mind, and spirit towards running, sports and physical well-being will be redefined, and that’s the best part. Because there really is nothing like the feeling of reaching a goal, big or small and knowing that you did it because you put your mind to it.
With the region being home to so many fitness-gurus, you can take your pick when it comes to which marathon you choose next. From 10km fun runs to marathons, such as the Johnson Arabia Dubai Creek Striders Half Marathon, which takes place at the Dubai Creek, or even the iconic Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, you can be sure that there’s an event for everyone.
For a complete list of upcoming events, visit https://marathons.ahotu.com/calendar/united-arab-emirates.
On your marks. Get set. Run!