x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Never too late for Dubai Marathon tips

Runners who are off work today for the public holiday should take advantage and remember to hydrate, eat well and, above all, rest.

DUBAI // Tomorrow, before sunrise, up to 18,500 spandex-clad people will gather in Downtown Dubai to take part in the annual Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, the 10-kilometre events and the 3km fun run.

Despite having spent much time preparing for their runs, a bit of last-minute advice never goes amiss, said Florentina Enea, a personal trainer at Abu Dhabi Country Club.

Ms Enea said runners should remember to hydrate, eat well, and above all rest.

Carbohydrates the day before the race are essential but only certain kinds of food will aid a runner, said the Romanian, who has worked in the UAE for 12 years.

"Brown pasta, brown rice, potatoes - these kind of carbs will give them energy. Of course, these meals should include green vegetables. They also need lean protein."

Runners should also avoid salt and fish the night before, said Ahmad Al Kamali, president of the UAE Athletics Federation.

They should also get up more than an hour before the race to eat a light breakfast and fully wake up.

On the Dubai Marathon website, participants are urged to give themselves enough time to allow breakfast to digest.

Coffee is a diuretic, meaning it causes increased urination, and should therefore be drunk in moderation.

"An example for breakfast would be skimmed milk with oats, honey and blueberries or raspberries. Add some nuts and you will be full of energy," said Ms Enea.

During the race, runners should take a drink from every stand they pass, Mr Al Kamali said.

"Drink water in these coming days and … don't leave any station without taking water," he said. "Take the water at every single station and, if you have a chance to take a sponge to cool your face with water, take it - but don't drink from it."

Mr Al Kamali, who launched the Dubai Marathon in 1997 with just 50 participants, has run 40 marathons throughout his career. The Emirati is also the founder of the Dubai Women's Run.

One of the most important lessons he has picked up is the importance of pacing yourself, he said.

"Take it easy from the beginning. Don't go crazy," Mr Al Kamali said. "Try sometimes, when you see along the route someone running at the same level, to keep the same pace as them.

"When you keep up with them, you'll forget about the boring stretches and the timing."

It is also important to look after your body once the marathon has ended, he said.

"After the race, immediately try to take in as much water as possible. Take your shoes off as well. We have a lot of massage stations, between 20 and 30, just to help relax the big leg muscles.

"Then when you go home, try to put about half a kilo of salt into the bath and keep your legs in there for about 15 minutes, to relieve them."

A total of 2,500 people are expected to participate in the marathon; 10,500 in the women's and men's 10km; and 5,500 in the 3km.

zalhassani@thenational.ae