Tata Mumbai Marathon: From the early hours of race day until the commencement of my own race, thoughts of those who supported and encouraged me throughout my training lingered in my mind. As I stood on the starting line, the same tingling sensation enveloped me, accompanied by the looming questions: Would I successfully cross the finish line? Was this destined to be my day? However as the saying goes:
“All that starts well ends well.”
Despite achieving a significant improvement in my timing compared to the previous year, with a reduction of one hour and five minutes, I felt content with my finish. However, I fell short of fully adhering to my personal commitment, crossing the finish line 17 minutes later than the initial goal I had set for myself. A goal of four hours and fifty minutes.
In my inaugural marathon, I faced challenges due to inadequate training, starting at my usual pace and running out of energy by the 22-kilometer mark. The experience became less enjoyable as I resorted to a combination of walking and running to complete the race. Frustration and self-doubt set in, leading me to question the benefits of participating. Despite these obstacles, I managed to finish in six hours and eleven minutes. For a detailed account, you can read the full narration on HERE
Training for Tata Mumbai Marathon 2024 was way better than my previous marathon. My running club trainer Shayne used to always tell me to hit long mileage, however I had a couple of planned travels and started my long runs from mid September onwards. One of my friends and pro runners, Sanjay help me with some of his experiences as he has done many marathons. He was preparing for Tata Mumbai Marathon as well. I followed his regime and worked and tried to prepare better for the maraton. I was also controlling my diet to train better for the Tata Mumbai Marathon.
Pre Race Day
In preparation for the race, I followed my usual pre-race routine. I dedicated the entire day to rest, ensuring hydration and passing the time by watching a web series. I meticulously organized my gear and readied my backpack, which included spare clothes and sandals. To fuel up with carbohydrates, I had pasta for dinner, finishing by 6:45 pm. Anticipating an early start, I retired to bed at 8:45 pm, setting an alarm for 2:00 am to get up and prepare for the race.
The D-Day – Tata Mumbai Marathon
Rising at 2:00 am, the initial plan was to commute by car. My friend Nirav graciously picked me up, and we collected other friends along the way. The goal was to reach our destination by 4:15 am, ensuring sufficient time for preparations and bag check-ins. Following the check-in, we engaged in thorough stretching and warm-up exercises before making our way towards the start line.
Despite my bib being designated for Lane ‘D,’ upon entering, I observed disorganisation in the management by Tata Mumbai Marathon. All lanes seemed to merge into a massive crowd, and I proceeded along with the flow towards the start line.
Facing the daunting challenge of running 42 kilometers felt like a mammoth task, and doubt crept into my mind, questioning whether this would be my day or not.
Taking a deep breath, I initiated my run by activating the watch tracker. Recalling the advice from seasoned runners, I began with a quick pace, leveraging the energy. However, I consciously eased into a slower pace for the initial 2 to 3 kilometers to warm up. Eventually, I settled into my intended pace range of 6.30/km to 6.40/km.
Feeling strong as I ran, I approached the challenging Peddar Road climb, opting to reduce my pace to navigate it steadily. Upon cresting the climb, I capitalized on the favorable descent, picking up speed to nearly 6:00/km. Once the descent concluded, I reverted to my comfortable pace of 6:30/km.
Maintaining a strong pace according to my plan, I proceeded steadily until the 28th kilometer, where suddenly, I hit a wall. My speed declined as I contemplated the remaining distance and whether I could still finish within my targeted time of 4 hours and 50 minutes. Subsequently, I resorted to walking for short intervals after every kilometer. However, recalling the advice of experienced runners to persistently run rather than walk, I made efforts to resume running whenever possible, even if at a slower pace.
Between kilometers 33 and 38, my pace slowed significantly to between 8:00/km and 8:30/km, exacerbated by cramps in my left quad. When cramps struck, I alternated between walking and running, resuming my pace once the discomfort subsided. Upon reaching the 38th kilometer, after hydrating adequately, I adjusted my running pace to prevent further cramping. Maintaining a slower pace proved effective in staving off cramps, allowing me to run smoothly again from the 39th kilometer all the way to the finish line, gradually picking up pace.
As I approached the finish line at the 42nd kilometers and realised I had just 500 meters left, I summoned all my remaining energy and sprinted with determination, as if there were no tomorrow. Crossing the finish line in my customary fashion brought a profound sense of achievement and satisfaction. In that moment, all the challenges I faced during the race faded away, replaced by the singular focus on reaching my goal. The immediate reward awaited: collecting a well-deserved medal, symbolising the culmination of my marathon journey.
After completing my run, I took a moment to rest on the side path, applying ice packs to alleviate any soreness. I then proceeded to massage my hamstring, glutes, and back for a few minutes to aid in recovery. Following this brief self-care session, I made my way to the medal area. There, I encountered a couple of my friends, and together we collected our medals before taking some time to relax and bask in the post-race atmosphere.
Conclusion – Tata Mumbai Marathon
Despite encountering challenges and setbacks during the marathon, the journey culminated in a rewarding finish. From the initial doubts at the starting line to the exhilarating sprint towards the finish, every step was a testament to determination and resilience. Despite moments of fatigue and cramping, the support of fellow runners and the camaraderie shared along the course kept me going. As I sat post-run, reflecting on the accomplishment with friends and cooling down with ice packs, the sense of achievement and satisfaction was palpable. Ultimately, crossing the finish line and receiving the well-deserved medal marked not just the end of a physical endeavor, but a triumph of spirit and perseverance.
This marathon experience was a significant improvement over the previous year, yet it highlighted once again the importance of adequate training. The shortcomings in my training became evident after the 28th kilometer, underscoring the need for a well-structured regimen. A comprehensive 20-week training program is essential for preparing both the body and mind for the demands of a marathon. Consistently following such a regimen not only enhances performance but also ensures a more enjoyable and manageable marathon experience.
These FAQs cover some of the basics of marathon running, but remember that individual experiences may vary, and it’s essential to listen to your body and seek advice from experienced runners or coaches as needed.
How long is a marathon?
A marathon is a long-distance running event with a standardized distance of 42.195 kilometers (26.219 miles).
How long does it take to train for a marathon?
Most marathon training plans range from 12 to 20 weeks, depending on the individual’s fitness level and experience.
What should I eat before a marathon?
It’s essential to consume a balanced meal rich in carbohydrates the night before the race. This might include pasta, rice, bread, or other easily digestible foods. On race morning, a light meal or snack high in carbohydrates and low in fat and fiber is recommended, such as a banana or energy bar.
How should I pace myself during a marathon?
It’s crucial to start at a conservative pace that you can maintain throughout the race. Many runners aim for negative splits, where they run the second half of the race faster than the first half. Listening to your body and adjusting your pace accordingly is key.
What should I drink during a marathon?
Staying hydrated is essential during a marathon. Water and sports drinks are commonly provided at aid stations along the course. It’s essential to drink water regularly throughout the race and consider consuming sports drinks or electrolyte supplements to replace lost fluids and maintain electrolyte balance.
How do I prevent chafing and blisters during a marathon?
To prevent chafing, it’s crucial to wear moisture-wicking clothing and apply lubricant, such as petroleum jelly or anti-chafing balm, to areas prone to friction. To prevent blisters, wear moisture-wicking socks and properly fitted running shoes, and consider using blister prevention products or moleskin patches on areas prone to rubbing.
What should I do if I hit “the wall” during a marathon?
“Hitting the wall” refers to a point in the race where you feel depleted of energy and struggle to maintain your pace. To overcome this, try consuming energy gels, sports drinks, or other sources of quick carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores. Additionally, slowing down your pace and focusing on small, manageable goals can help you push through the tough mental and physical challenge.
How can I recover after a marathon?
Proper recovery is essential after a marathon to aid in muscle repair and replenish energy stores. This includes hydrating with water and electrolyte-rich beverages, consuming a balanced meal or snack with carbohydrates and protein, gentle stretching or foam rolling to alleviate muscle soreness, and getting adequate rest and sleep.