Let’s face it. Even the most experienced runners would have had to deal with huffing and puffing through their very first marathon. Their lungs would’ve been on fire. And passing out would’ve been more than just a passing thought.

It takes time to build endurance. Passion and willpower aside, here are five unusual tricks that can help you inch that much closer to the finish line.

Filename : shutterstock_16.2a047110323.original.jpg - To go with "One-hour therapy session improves sleep for 73 percent of insomniacs in study" (published on 2015-06-01 22:09:28)

1. Sex, then sleep
A good romp under the covers is not only fun, it can also do the double duty of working your core, hips and cardiovascular system, which is great for the heart, brain and hormone production. You know what they say — practise makes perfect. Anytime you indulge in a racy routine, just think of it as training ground for building stamina.

Oh but let’s not forget the other kind of sleeping: a good night’s rest is also crucial to boosting endurance performance. While you can now have guilt-free sex, remember to rest when the body calls for it.

Generic: baby, nutrition, Pouring Milk2. Skip the milk
Yes, milk is a great source of protein, fat and carbohydrates. But gulping down a glass pre-workout is not the best idea there is to boost your chances of completing the race. First, it contains slow-digesting sugars.

The rest of its properties can also cause an upset stomach for some people.

Dealing with that dairy after-taste may also be a tad unpleasant as your breathing becomes heavy during exertion.

That being said, the more active your lifestyle is, the more important it is to up your calcium intake to protect against exercise-related bone loss.

A better option would be to take a daily calcium supplement, like the Blackmores Calcium and Magnesium + D3 200 tablets.

Both calcium and magnesium play important roles in healthy muscle and nerve function, while vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption and utilisation.

FOOD PICKLES3. Drink pickle juice
This may sound icky but the juice from pickles can actually help stave off muscle cramps during running.

Packed with sodium, potassium and magnesium, the neon-coloured liquid has been a favourite remedy of sports medicine professionals for years.

The concoction helps replace salt and fluid lost in sweat and some believe that the acidity of the vinegar is what helps stifle a cramp.

Could be a great alternative if you’re tired of the everyday sports drink, no?

Defending animals

4. Adopt a dog
Indeed, they are a man’s best friend. Recruiting a dog as your running partner is an excellent way to get into top shape and enjoy some company while you’re at it. But before you grab onto any passing pup, do consider if the dog is capable of running with you. Shih-tzus, pugs, extra large dogs or older dogs and puppies may not be the grandest of choices. Siberian huskies, golden retrievers and jack russell terriers might be a better bet.

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5. Massage, massage, massage
If money is not an issue (isn’t it always?), head to a professional masseuse to soothe those aching muscles after a tough training session. For the lot of us, that may not be exactly practical. Thankfully, some simple self-massages with a foam roll or tennis ball can also help. Slapping on some ice water will also speed up the road to recovery and keep you from waking up tight, sore and in a bad mood the next day. A good supplement will also help you bounce back into action in no time at all. To maintain healthy blood flow, try adding a spoonful of Blackmores Magnesium Powder with Amino Acids to cold beverages. The extra magnesium will help relieve muscle cramps and spasms and support energy production during exercise.

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