Training up for a marathon during Ramadan

During the blessed month of Ramadan, Muslims all over the world abstain from food, drink, and other physical needs during the daylight hours. As a time to purify the soul, refocus attention on God, and practice self-sacrifice, Ramadan is much more than just not eating and drinking.

While it is well understood that running will take a backseat for many during this spiritual period, there are those who continue training for their year-end marathons mainly the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2011.

A research article was publish in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2011) has to say about coping strategies among Muslim athletes during Ramadan fasting.

In their study, 65 Malaysian athletes from several sporting disciplines were being put to the test with physical and mental challenging activity while they were fasting, the result was that the test athletes was found to be using a combination of task-focused and emotion-focused strategies to help them cope with the stresses of training during this period. These strategies fall under five broad dimensions; namely training modification, dietary habits, psychological, self control, rest and recovery. Here’s a snippet of some strategies, indicated in the study, which may be useful to you.

Training Load: Modify training load to suit current needs and situation.

Time of Training: Training should be done during the coolest part of the day, preferably indoors.

Focus of Training: The focus should be on intensity, i.e. quality, and not quantity.

Consumption of Fluid and Food: To deal with the acute lack of food and fluid, consume additional intake of fluid and food during the permissible period.

Rest: Extended rest has been a preventative coping strategy among the athletes. Be deliberate in reducing or omitting other non-essential physical activities so as to conserve acute energy levels.

Other strategies: Organize informal group gatherings among fasting athletes to provide social support as a coping measure.

(Runfools, 2011)

Although not having to eat between dawn to dust, this should not hinders or restrict one training schedule.  December is just around the corner which means the Standard Chartered Marathon is coming as well.

Running a marathon is not something to be done lightly or without adequate preparation. It requires seriousness and dedication.

For those who have complete a marathon in the past they are aware that it is hard for someone to not run for a month and a month of inactivity will seriously decrease their performance. Below are my suggestion of a training schedule I follow during fasting month

Day Training Activity Remarks
Monday Short Run 5km Night Run (Hill) Morning Run before 0500
Tuesday Stairs Climb 2 sets 13 storey

(1 set- Down Up Down)

Wednesday

Rest Day

Thursday Interval Speed Training 3 set of ( 2x 200m) After terawih 2130 onwards
Friday Other Training Rock Climbing or Gym
Saturday Long Run 1hr Night Run (10-12km)
Sunday

Rest Day

  • The training routine do not have to be very long, all it takes is intensity, minimizing on rest and doing training like Interval training and stairs climb will also help in improving one speed through the short burst of energy, Running uphill will also help in improving one running form and speed. Interval Training – 3 sets of 2 x 200m, 200m Sprint followed by 200 walk. Rest and repeat process for next 2 sets

  • It’s always good to include a rest day for a recovery as not to add too much stress on the joints which could result in injuries

  • Cross training such as Rock climbing, soccer or even basketball as this will add spice to your weekly workout and also help one train other part of the body. This will also help increase one stamina.

  • Most importantly, always hydrate yourself

With that in mind, I believe the key in deciding how to approach running during this period would ultimately be to listen to your own body and if that means substituting running with other forms of physical activity, like short walks, stairs climbing or even rock climbing then go ahead and do it. One motivation quote which I always remind myself when I feeling sluggish and that is “ Someone  busier than you is still running right now”

On a final note, My Running Addiction would like to wish all Muslims a great month of Ramadan and may this fasting month brings you joy and prosperity and also brings you that much closer to achieving our goals.

Cheers!(:


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