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Potential of the Running Watch

After spending a pretty penny on getting the best in class running watch, are you really using it to its full potential, asks Nandini Reddy

GPS enabled running or fitness watches are a rage now. Runners have said that they have become better runners after they have started using the latest wearable technology. But after paying the big bucks, do we really use them to their full potential? The truth is that most of us don’t. If you use it right, you have a digital running coach right on your wrist and a quick reference to all the statistics you need to reach your goals.

So here are a few ways in which you can maximize the potential of your running watch.

Know your beats per minute

When you first get your watch. Wear it and lie down and relax. You need to record your resting heart rate. Repeat this process for a week, every alternate day so that you have a good average rate as reference. If you are recording 10 beats higher than your resting average beats per minutes on any given day, after your workout then you are over training and its time to slow down. You need to check you resting heart rate every three months to check if there are any changes in your average. Erratic resting heart rate could indicate deeper problems that might need your physicians advice before continuing on a course of exercise.

Mark your MHR

Most training apps will recommend a specific heart rate zone in which you need to train. But before you get there find your maximum heart rate (MHR). Clock in your maximum heart rate and your watch will automatically find your zones for you. It will mark you up for endurance training, recovery training, aerobic training, etc based on your MHR. For example, your endurance training will be about 65-75% of your MHR and your aerobic training will be 90 – 95% of  your MHR. Remember that before you find your MHR, you need to warm up and run up an incline for at least 2 mins. Then you need to run at your maximum speed on a decline. This gives your watch enough information to plan your zones.

Find your zone

You need to use the watch for the purpose you want to achieve with your running. Once you decide whether you want to burn fat, build endurance or work on your anaerobic threshold; you can find the right heart rate training zone. This will help you match up your training sessions accordingly. Once you have picked your zone, set a beeping alert to indicate to you if you are over training.

Record your training

Most of the running apps data can be further used in other apps to get a better idea of how your training in panning out. Find one which can maintain a diary of your activities and important statistics such as resting heart rate, the days workout, MHR, calories burnt and time spent, among others. This will help you change and improve your training plans as you progress. These records will prove useful when you need to share them with a coach or coordinate with a running partner.

Use the Interval Training feature

Use your watch’s interval training feature to build pace and endurance. This will help if you are training alone. Combine high pace with elevated heart rate training and mix up time duration as you go along. You can also check if your watch allows you to create a bespoke interval training plan.

Watch your steps

Did you know that your watch measures the frequency in which your feet strike the ground? It does that because its a way to measure how efficiently you are running. This is measured as metric known as Strike per Minute (SPM). So if you were Mo Farah you would have an SPM upwards of 180 but if you are like everyone else you would be lower than 150. A good runner will always find a good SPM and will stick to it if he hopes to get maximum performance out of his runs.

Benchmark your performance

Run your route, mark your time and catalogue it. A month later run the same route and compare. Benchmark against yourself and you will see how you are performing. Over a period of time you pace will get better and your SPM will improve as well.

BPM is not the only thing you need to watch on your running watch. Use it the right way and it will become your best buddy.



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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7 Free Apps for the Avid Runner

Here is the low down on the digital helpers who ask for no financial investment, yet give you everything you need to enjoy your run, by Radhika Meganathan

Running Apps are a dime a dozen but if you want to seriously map your progress then it is vital that you choose the right app for yourself. Here is a selection of tried and tested apps used popularly by amateur and seasoned runners to track their runners.

  1. Nike+ RUN

Nike+ does more than a basic app that tracks distance, routes and pace. It also helps you share your runs, add photos, and establish Nike+ Challenges against friends. Latest features include personalised coaching plans based on clocked miles, and a new leaderboard that helps you compete against other Nike+ runners.

Best for: Runners who need a comprehensive, one-stop running app 

  1. Sports Tracker

Sports Tracker is not just a fitness app but is also equipped to support running, cycling, walking, skiing, hiking, mountain biking, or other sports. For runners, this tracker helps you to set weekly goals, compare previous progress date with current stats and has a diary mode through which you can keep track of your training hours, heart rate or speed.

Best for: Runners who also indulge in other sports and want to track their diet

  1. MapMyRun

When you like to run alternating between well-worn and unexplored routes, you need a reliable app that gives you right, accurate results. Using this app, you can map your routes, save favourites and benefit from new route recommendations. The routes that you’ve already mapped will sync up to your smartphone, if you are currently training for a marathon, check out the MapMyRun Trainer app which helps users find training plans for races of distances between 5K and a 50K.

Best for: Runners who want to discover new routes

  1. Couch to 5k

There are many versions of this legendary training program for beginner runners, and for a good reason – it’s such a simple yet effective plan to get you from sedentary to marathon that most amateurs prefer starting from here. The app gives you pre-planned schedules with all the walks and runs you need to train yourself to breaking that a 5km threshold.

Best for: Newbie runners and couch potatoes

  1. RockMyRun

Let’s admit, music is a god-sent gift for runners! RockMyRun is a music app that works with the world’s best DJs to create mixes and playlists that react to your body.  You can track your workout as you listen to the best music for your pace, rhythm and mood.

Best for: Runners who love to pace their runs with music

     6.  Treadmill Trails

So you don’t run outside. That’s no reason to miss out on beautiful scenery! Thanks to this app which has 22 great trail videos, with two new ones added every month, you can now feast on terrific trail scenery while pounding the treadmill. The videos are made with a Steadicam for a smooth run, walk or ride and their narration and soundtracks eliminate the need for separate music.

Best for: Indoor runners who miss the scenery

  1. bSafe

Safety comes first, especially when you are an adventurous runner who likes discovering new routes. In emergency situations, this app enables you to you to signal for help without delay. It has a one-button set up that, when clicked, turns your phone into a siren, alerting authorities. It also records video of your current situation and informs your contacts of your GPS location.

Best for: Anybody who wants to be prepared for emergencies while indulging in their passion

So which app is your favourite?




A published author and an avid rambler, Radhika Meganathan is a recent keto convert who may or may not be having a complicated relationship with bacon and butter.

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Pick the right Kicks

Running shoes play a very heavy role in your comfort and keeping you injury free when you are running long distances on roads and trails, here Nandini Reddy talks about what you need to consider when you are picking a running shoe. 

The most important gear for a runner are his shoes. The right kind of shoes can make running an absolute pleasure and prevent injury. The most important things to remember while buying a shoe are the fit, feel, running track and time of day. Does the list sound a bit perplexing? It might but they are the best criteria.

The Fit

You need to ensure that your shoe fits from heel to toe. Consider all the aspects – the toe width, heel cushioning, arch support, snug instep and room if your feet swell during a run. If you feel any irritation while you are in the store than be assured that while running the irritation will be amplified. There should be no points of discomfort in the shoes. Even if the lacing area is feeling tight then check if you need to change the lacing style. You should be able to wiggle your toes inside the shoe. This extra room is important when your feet swell during the last leg of the run. The wiggle room also protects your toes from front foot injuries.

The Feel

The first thing you need to check even before you put on the shoe is its flex point. A good shoe will bend and flex along the same line as the foot. An improper flex will give you injuries like arch pain or calf strain. So when you try on the shoe don’t just walk around, flex you foot so that you can feel the shoe arching. Most shoe stores will let you run around a bit while you try the shoes. If there is a store treadmill you can ask them to use that to test the shoes. The idea is to try and find one that matches your stride and running style.

The Running Track 

Road running is the most common running today and runners need to be aware about that when they are buying their shoes. Road running shoes come in a variety of options, depending on the intensity of the run. If you are a casual, amateur runner who runs for 30 mins a session a couple of times a week then the shoes choice is a simple one. If you are a marathoner on roads, then you need a more resilient shoe that will last through training and the stress of a marathon. If you run on trails then ensure you get a pair of shoes with more cushioning to take care of bumps your feet will be subjected to along the trail. Most stores have specialty running staff who can help you find the right one based on your requirement.

Time of Day

The real size of your feet should be measured after a long day of work when your feet are fully stressed. Measure your shoe size in the evening at the store and then try the shoes on. These shoes might feel slightly roomy in the morning but as you run and your feet swell, they will offer a better fit. If you buy a shoe in the morning, you might end up with a smaller size and as you are likely to get blisters and shoe bites as you run.

The most unimportant factor is how the shoe looks. Don’t buy a shoe because it will look good in a photograph because you might end up never running in it.



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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The Life Of A Marathon Runner!

I was absolutely a normal person in mid-30s, just like anyone else, and one fine day I happened to read this post of my friend Neville j Bilimoria and it changed my life.

‘Run for your neighbourhood’ challenge! Continue Reading

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Which is the best running shoe?

One common question in the minds of a majority of runners is “Which is the best running shoe?” With so many brands and models in the market, making a decision becomes tough. The purpose of this article is to bust a few myths and suggest a few parameters that could be looked into before zeroing in on the right pair.

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