How to Ace the Mumbai Marathon: A Guide for Rookies

Planning to run the marathon for the first time? Here’s an essential guide!

At the 14th edition of Mumbai Marathon (MM) 2017, Mumbai shall bear witness to over 42,000 runners across different race categories. Some will strive to beat their own records. Others will aim for the ultimate glory. And then there will be those who go with bright hopes in their hearts, truckloads of enthusiasm, and pumped up energy levels to run for the marathon for the very first time.

First timers may have a bunch of questions bothering them regarding this great marathon. Does one dive right in at the first go itself, and aim to finish first? But how does one overtake someone in the first place? Should we perhaps just enjoy the race and cherish its moments?

Calm down! We’ve asked veterans and experienced runners to give a few tips and precious words of advice before you position yourself at the starting line.

Manoj Rane
Manoj Rane


Twenty-six-year-old banker Manoj Rane has a personal best time of 1 hour 22 minutes in the half marathon at the MM 2016. Not a bad record at all. Talking about training for first timers, he says, “A first timer should run every day. He or she should make it a point to run at least two to three times a week. Doing strength training twice a week and core training is very crucial in any sort of sports. For your routine exercise, you can do two times of core workout in a week and at least once strength training.” What are a must for each first timer? “Jumping, squats, etc. are a must for any runner or first timer. Training on hill training once a week is necessary as it helps you to breathe properly and forms your running posture as well,” says Manoj.

“Running 10 kilometres at a constant rate also helps one to pace oneself nicely. A long run of about 10 to 15 kilometres every Sunday helps a runner to become a marathoner. The first timers should enjoy the run, and forget about the timing. Instead of focussing on timing, go and enjoy the run and live every moment out there,” adds Manoj.


What sort of diet should a first timer follow? It’s a marathon, after all! “A first timer must follow their normal diet plan,” says Manoj. However, he says, “Control over one’s junk food, skipping heavy meals, and not consuming alcohol is very important. All of this will only bulk you more.

“Following a high-protein diet after a run is strictly recommended. Eggs, fish, chicken, and pasta are good for increasing one’s protein intake. Vegetarians can have cereals, pastas, etc. If you’re a working person and don’t have the time to make adjustments to your diet, you can go for protein bars or shakes. Having protein after a workout or a race is absolutely a must. One can have a banana, fruit, or even peanut butter as well 30 minutes before the race. Don’t forget to carry fruit drinks, Enerzal or any other drink that contains salt and sugar so that your hydration is taken care of,” explains Manoj.

 Rajesh Bhanushali
Rajesh Bhanushali

While Running 

“Don’t start the run very fast,” advises Rajesh Bhanushali, 39, a pace-setter of Bus 2.10. Pace-setters are veteran runners. They are able to set a steady pace through the distance of the marathon, and lead a group of runners, called a ‘Bus’, from the start to the finish. A marathoner since the last nine years, Rajesh suggests preserving the initial energy while starting the run. He also advises sipping water or Enerzal so that your lips are kept moist. “Carry an energy bar if you need some carbohydrates. Or simply carry a date or a pinch of salt with you and have it after every 8 to 10 kilometres.

“While approaching the Sea Link, go slow. One can afford to go slow as the hill approaches and then pick it up at the slope. Once the body is adjusted to one steady rhythm, you can cover up the few extra seconds that were lost. While running the last three to four hundred metres of the marathon, try to finish it off in style as there will be a lot of photographers who will be waiting to photograph you!”

More importantly, enjoy the experience. “Don’t aim for winning the marathon. Just enjoy the marathon; it is one of the best marathons that you will ever participate in. Enjoy your run and finish it off in style,” says Rajesh.

Raghu Peethambaran
Raghu Peethambaran

Explore Mumbai through the Runner’s Eye

Forty-one-year-old IT professional Raghu Peethambaran, who is from Hyderabad, visited Mumbai for the first time as a participant of the MM 2015. Raghu has run in more than 10 cities till date. Talking about his experience, running in Mumbai, he says, “There was this electrifying crowd and a lot of people had come down to cheer us, including street children. The best part about the marathon was the Sea Link. When we approached it, the sun came out and it was the most beautiful thing to experience. It took away a lot of my pain as a runner. As a runner-cum-traveller, I got to see all of the famous places of Mumbai.”