THERE is a running event every weekend next month, a sign that more and more people are hooked - whether to keep fit, lose weight or as a way to bond with friends and family.
Here are some pointers to help you have a smoother, more enjoyable run.
1. Check your shoes. If they are in bad condition, get a new pair and 'break' them in with a couple of long-distance runs.
2. Drink up! Make sure you're well-hydrated in the days leading up to the race.
3. If possible, take a drive along the race route. It's also a good idea to walk the route, to get a feel of it.
4. Remember that weather plays a major role during any run. Wear proper gear and use sun-block, even if the weather looks gloomy.
5. Don't have a heavy meal on the day before the race. Have a carbohydrate-rich meal as opposed to one that is high in fat.
6. Abstain from alcohol in the days leading to the race.
7. Do not attempt to change your sleep pattern. You will be excited, so rest early and relax.
Day of the run
1. Eat a high-carbohydrate breakfast at least three hours before the race. Alternatively, take liquid meal supplements so you can run light.
2. A warm-up session is crucial, do some light on-the-spot running or jogging and continue with stretches, paying more attention to your calves, hamstrings and lower back. This will prevent cramps and discomfort during running.
3. If you feel any discomfort 10-20 minutes into the run, consider walking for a few minutes or taking deep breaths until you feel ready to continue.
4. Don't try to rush during the first leg of the race. Conserve your energy for later when you need it.
5. Start rehydrating with water before you feel thirsty - it takes your body a while before it lets you know that it needs water, so don't let it get to that stage!
6. Don't guzzle too much water at once as it will only make you feel full and disrupt your rhythm.
7. Alternate running with walking. This will prevent your muscles from tightening and give you a breather, too.
1. As tired as you may be, don't lie down or sit immediately after the race is over. This can lead to muscle cramps or fainting spells.
2. Lightly jog on the spot or better yet, walk around and talk to other runners. You may make some new friends! 3. Change into dry clothes and slip into your most comfortable footwear.
4. Apply ice to any sore areas. Otherwise, stop over at the nearest first-aid tent for some rubs.
5. Have a drink of water or something that is rich in electrolytes, such as coconut water, tomato or orange juice.
6. Have a well-balanced meal as soon as possible. If possible, include protein shake to help your body recover faster.
7. Avoid soaking in a warm bath on the day of the marathon as it may lead to swelling. Wait until the next day to reward yourself with this.