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Nine days a week – Part 2

In this concluding piece, Capt Seshadri talks about Meb’s fitness and training mantras. 

Meb Keflezighi is an unusual athlete. Born in Eritea, one of the poorest countries in the African continent, migrated to Italy as a young boy and pursued his education in the United States. And, apart from being a world beating marathoner, is a complete family man, autobiographer, motivational speaker, businessman and above all, a wonderful human being.

Meb the athlete, breaks from tradition, and the shattering of pre-conceived notions of what a runner should be or ought to do, begin with his training. He trains over nine day cycles, vis a vis the usual weekly routine followed by most athletes around the world. He insists that this permits him maximum concentration, interspersed with the right periods of rest and recuperation. Quick, high intensity runs, intervals of rest, distance running and cross training help him build speed, stamina and strength. Core strength, running in rarified atmospheres and a high protein diet topped with large servings of fruit are the secret of his continued success over such a long period of time.

Meb the motivational speaker has, under his belt, over a hundred clinics on running and even on retail programs. He is a voracious orator, holding his audience spellbound with topics as far ranging as diet and nutrition, injury prevention and recovery, while bringing to the fore, his world class experience and diverse and colourful early life as examples.

For older runners, he has certain mantras which are both unique and effective. He believes it is never too late to begin or to continue running. While most coaches talk about age being only a number, Meb advises older runners to recognise their age and the limits it brings along, advocating adjustments, both in training and nutrition and to listen to their body talk. Not about numbers and miles run, but about consistency within boundaries.

Cross training must be an essential part of the daily exercise cycle, combining easy runs with short, harsh sessions on the elliptical. When it comes to nutrition, this running guru recommends a diet that offers a nice balance between weight and energy, while putting in enough calories to recover immediately after a training session. Warming up and warming down, stretching before and after running are a must for those flaccid or tired muscles. And never, ever overdo the schedule. Waiting for a day or two, he believes, is so much better than spending weeks on recovery from injury due to over exertion. So, right training cycles and methods, proper nutrition and listening to one’s body are the final mantras for longevity in running, especially long distance events. With these, age does remain a number.

Meb Keflezighi will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the most talked about and chronicled athletes in distance running history. While training to qualify for the Rio Olympics at age 40, he quipped: “I used to get anxious before races, but at this stage I have nothing more to prove. I was thinking if I make the Olympic team at 40, wonderful; and if not, I’ve been blessed to have the career I’ve had.”

Post retirement, if such a thing is possible for this age-defying athlete, Meb looks forward to an almost full time career in public speaking, to meeting runners from different and diverse backgrounds and to render yeoman service to his foundation that works with kids to promote fitness and well-being.

A truly fitting legacy from a living legend!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Capt Seshadri Sreenivasan is a former armed forces officer with over 30 years experience in marketing. He also a consulting editor with a leading publishing house. He is a co-author of the best selling biography of astronaut Sunita Williams.

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The runner with the strong wrist – Part 1

Meb Keflezighi, a distance runner who has gained fame for his extraordinary spirit on the course. In this two part series Capt Seshadri profiles this prolific runner

In his long career as a distance runner, this athlete has run 28 international marathons and is believed to have signed more than 30,000 autographs!

In a tiny war-torn country in East Africa, once called Eritrea, which fought a cruel war for over 30 years for liberation from Ethiopia, Mebrahtom ‘Meb’ Keflezighi, was one of 10 children whose early childhood memories were more associated with fatal encounters and dismemberment of his friends and neighbours from warring factions. His first brush with distance running probably occurred at age 10 when he saw his first car and took rapidly to his heels, thinking it was a ‘death machine’. He was later to grin and tell the New York Times: “that was one of the races I lost”. In 1989, at age 14, with his parents having migrated to Italy, Meb watched television for the first time and was left wondering how such big people could get into such a small box.

This was the kid who would ultimately transit from such ignorant beginnings in his home country to becoming a much sought after motivational speaker and brand ambassador to some of the world’s best-known corporates. This is the story that should go down in the annals of sporting history as the marathon of life!

Meb’s family moved to San Diego in 1987 where he began running in earnest. From 5 km and 10 km runs in San Diego High School and UCLA, he graduated both in academics and athletics, winning several medals in championships at the State and then the National levels. With the 2004 marathon silver medal under his belt, he ran on to win the 2009 New York Marathon and then the Boston Marathon in 2014, in the process, bringing gold medal glory to America for the first time after 1982. With this Herculean effort, at an age when most runners are reading about marathons than running them, Meb became the sole marathoner in history to win the New York and Boston Marathons as well as an Olympic medal. He was to continue competitive running at the highest level even at age 41, qualifying for the Rio Olympics 2016.

Setbacks never bothered him as, during the 2008 US Olympic marathon trials, he broke his hip and could not qualify despite finishing eighth, with the debilitating injury.  During the same race, his misery was compounded by the death of his close friend and running mate, Ryan Shay, who died of coronary failure. He rebounded the very next year, winning the 2009 New York Marathon in a personal best time of 2:09:15. In 2010, his achievements were etched in UCLA memory, with his induction into its Hall of Fame.

Runner, writer, trainer, motivational speaker and more. His autobiography titled “Run to overcome” deals with issues of his early life, his milestones and his achievements. MEB Foundation, an acronym of his name that reads ‘Maintaining Excellent Balance’ promotes the values of healthy living and provides a motivational and inspirational platform for school-going youth. In 2014, Meb Keflezighi’s achievements were aptly recognized with the Jesse Owens Award as the USATF Athlete of the Year.

Forty years and running, when even vehicles made of steel are considered vintage.

Read Nine Days a week for the conclusion of this story

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Capt Seshadri Sreenivasan is a former armed forces officer with over 30 years experience in marketing. He also a consulting editor with a leading publishing house. He is a co-author of the best selling biography of astronaut Sunita Williams.

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Marathons keep Chennaiites on their toes

The track is set, runners are on point and waiting for the flag to go down. As the whistle blows, they get on their feet and get set towards the finishing line, which is 42 km away. Yes, you heard that right. Running a marathon has become a favourite activity. From smaller sprints to running a full marathon, people have been taking it up seriously over the last couple of years. By maintaining consistency, staying fit and eating healthy, some enthusiasts have been running maybe two or more marathons in a year itself. “I started running back in January 2010. The first full marathon that I ran was the Kaveri Trails. I have since run 55 marathons in six different countries including Dubai, Singapore, Malaysia, USA, Sri Lanka and India” says Neville J Bilimoria, a popular marathoner.

Read more at http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2018/mar/21/marathons-keep-chennaiites-on-their-toes-1790133.html

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He’s trying to run world’s fastest marathon — backward

Loren Zitomersky has gotten used to the jokes: “Hey, you’re running the wrong way!”

Slamming straight into trees he didn’t see behind him? Not so much. Also, ouch.

But the Disney movie production lawyer is on a singular quest to break the world record for the fastest marathon ever run backward. Zitomersky, 33, who’s known on social media as “Backwards Guy,” hopes to accomplish the feat at next month’s Boston Marathon to raise money and awareness for an epilepsy cure.

Read more at https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/mad-mad-world/hes-trying-to-run-worlds-fastest-marathon-backward/articleshow/63460784.cms

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Meb is back at the Marathon

Meb Keflezighi, a marathoner who came to symbolize resiliency and the Boston Strong spirit after the Marathon bombing, will be back in Hopkinton this April to run the Boston Marathon again. He’ll be running “on a non-competitive basis” to raise money for the Martin Richard Foundation , named in honor of the youngest victim of the bombing, according to Team MR8.

Keflezighi, the 2004 Olympic silver medalist in the marathon, ran and won Boston in 2014 in honor of the victims. An American man hadn’t won since 1983, and with the race only two weeks before his 39th birthday, he was the oldest winner since at least 1930.

Read more at https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2018/03/26/meb-back-boston-marathon-this-time-for-team/fcpBZNRzdkvZ2vPSOir6TO/story.html

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Natural Ways to Boost Energy

When you are feeling sluggish, its hard to find the motivation to be healthy, so Nandini Reddy has a few suggestions to boost your energy naturally

Microwave meals and binge watching TV seem to be the perfect thing to do when you are feeling sluggish. Honestly that is just going to prolong the feeling rather than help you energize. It happens to all of us where we feel like we are running on empty and there seems to be no end to our to-do list. But there are some amazing ways in which you can recharge your batteries and be back to your energizer bunny personality.

Go to Sleep

Keep your phones and electronics devices outside your room, switch off your Wi-Fi and go to sleep. Melatonin production is important to get a good nights rest and electronic blue screens tend to hinder melatonin production. Get uninterrupted 8 hours of rest and your body will repair itself naturally and leave you feeling fresh in the morning.

Go Green

Have a fresh green salad or a green smoothie or any leafy green vegetables of your choice as a soup. The nutrients from the greens will recharge your body. You can also add a Super Food like Spirulina into your diet. You will notice a marked difference in your energy levels

Get some sun

Sunlight can naturally recharge your body. Sunshine helps in Seratonin production – which happens to be the bodies happy hormones. If you have a job that keeps you inside an air-conditioned office then try and take small breaks every two hours and walk out on to the balcony or the parking lot and it will help stretch out your muscles and get some Vitamin D as well. If you can wake up early and take a slow paced walk to absorb the early morning rays of the sun.

Eat well

One of the biggest reasons you might find yourself sluggish could be because of the lack of nutrients like Vitamin B and enough fibre and complex carbohydrates. You need to add eggs, oats, brown rice and sweet potato to your diet to ensure that you never run low on energy because of the wrong kind of food.

Snack a little

Use the mid-morning and late afternoon to grab an energizing snack. It could be a cup of chickpeas, millet based granola bars or fresh berries. The idea is to ensure that you energy meter doesn’t dip low and drive you into a lethargic pace. These small snack refuels will certainly help keep you energized.

The timing, combination and consistency of doing these things will keep your energy levels up. So remember to work the into your daily routine and diet.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

An irregular runner who has run in dry, wet, high altitude and humid conditions. Loves to write a little more than run so now is the managing editor of Finisher Magazine.

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Dealing with ‘Mom Guilt’

The real issue preventing mom’s from running isn’t fitness or time, its Mother’s Guilt, says Nandini Reddy

Mothers tend to plan their days around their children. It doesn’t matter if you are a working mother or a stay-at-home mother, you will be burdened with mom-guilt every time you take time out to yourself. If you were to poll a 100 mothers who were runners and have stopped or slowed down now, most of them would tell you they stopped because they felt guilty about taking time off for themselves.

So what prevents you from taking the time?

If you really want to find alone time to run then early mornings are the best. The family is asleep and you have enough time to train. But there is also the issue of safety and getting enough hours of sleep. While the struggle is real there are options. If you want to start running, try running in your apartment building. Running in circles may be better than not running at all. After you gain confidence then you can hit the road if you live in a safe neighbourhood or alternatively drive to a location that has a good population of runners. You can also consider running on a treadmill on days that you cannot get outside to run. But its important to ensure that your guilt doesn’t become your excuse to stop running.

Plan ahead with your partner

If you are serious about using running as your fitness regime then you need to get your family involved. Lay out a schedule and ensure that your partner is aware of it so that he can step in when you need the time to run. New moms can use the babies sleep timing to sneak in a run. Ensure that you family or partner are around to watch the baby for an hour and prep whatever they need to handle the situation while you run to your happy place.

Use the weekends

Weekends can be used for evening runs. You can also involve your kids in an interval style so that you can get enough exercise and your children will enjoy it as well. You can also train for longer hours and let you children sleep in. The idea here is to enjoy yourself and not keep thinking that your house is burning down without you.

Embrace your runner persona

I heard someone say that you become a better runner when you become a mother and a better mother when you become a runner. It is important that you embrace different aspects of your personality. You need to accept that you are a mother and a runner and neither roles needs to be compromised. You will be happier and more prepared to take on challenges when you embrace the different parts of your life instead of ignoring one for the other.

Taking time to run is not selfish. All moms deserve to have time to dedicate to their fitness.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

An irregular runner who has run in dry, wet, high altitude and humid conditions. Loves to write a little more than run so now is the managing editor of Finisher Magazine.

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Woman ran London Marathon 15 months after open-heart surgery

There’s no better way to test-drive a heart than to run a marathon. Anna Borghesani, a 41-year-old scientist and part-time fitness instructor from the United Kingdom ran the 2014 London Marathon just 15 months after open-heart surgery.

Immediately upon entering this world, doctors didn’t think Borghesani, who was born in Italy, would survive. Because she had pulmonary stenosis, a congenital heart defect , she didn’t even have the strength to cry as a baby. So, she had her first open-heart surgery at three years old to enlarge the narrowed pulmonary valve.

Read more – https://purpose2play.com/2018/03/22/woman-ran-london-marathon-15-months-after-open-heart-surgery/

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90 ‘just a number’ for marathon record-setting B.C. senior

B.J. McHugh might be 90, but that doesn’t mean her best days are behind her. In fact, it’s other runners her age who are eating her dust, as the Vancouver resident continues to break long-distance running records around the world.

McHugh owns several 10-kilometre, half-marathon and marathon records for seniors, including her latest: the fastest marathon time by a runner over 90. McHugh smashed the record by two hours at the Honolulu Marathon in December, with a time of 6:47:31.

But despite laying claim to that title, she’s not letting the new record go to her head.

Read more: https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/90-just-a-number-for-marathon-record-setting-b-c-senior-1.3853762

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