There are plenty of marathons this time of the year, and there are many who look forward
to running in one. However many drop the idea on health grounds, arthritis being one of
the most common conditions in India.
While arthritis can vary in its presentation and intensity, it can be broadly differentiated
as inflammatory and degenerative, depending on the changes occurring in the joints.
Depending on your arthritis type the approach to a marathon may differ slightly, but the
key to running remains same.
Mix it up – daily runs do a lot of damage to arthritic joints since they don’t get enough
time to recover. Alternating running and cross training is an effective way to give your
joints adequate rest, while strengthening your accessory muscles to support your joints
Follow a low inflammatory diet – incorporating fruits, nuts, and fish in your diet while
avoiding processed food at the same time can do wonders in decreasing the intensity of
inflammation and may even slow down degenerative changes in your joints.
Extended warm up – in case of arthritis, a longer warm up not only helps preparing your
muscles better, but also increases blood flow to the joints, delaying inflammatory
Train on softer tracks – running on grass or treadmill subjects less stress to your joints
compared to running on the road. When running on softer tracks , every step is different,
which mixes up the wear pattern and can alleviate flare-ups due to the repetitive nature of
Modify your routine – given the condition of your joints, always be flexible. Don’t have
fixed training goals as your joints may not be able to bear the strain as much as you may
want them to. Heed to your bodies signals, alternate between running and walking.
Taking shorter strides is another effective way of running better.
While these may help you to train better and run longer, it is crucial to remember that
every case is different. It is absolutely essential to consult your doctor regularly. Training
regimes should be tailor made after you undergo a thorough medical examination.
Arthritis is an irreversible condition, so always proceed with extra caution.