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Should you run with your spouse?

Running as a couple might be an intriguing way to connect, writes Radhika Meganathan

It’s not as radical as it is sounds! Running with your spouse can be a time saver, budget saver and even bring couples together with a common goal. But should you do it? Or is it better to train alone, with no familiar distractions, so to speak?

First let’s look at the advantages, and there are quite a few:

  • Convenience: When you train with your spouse, you have a running buddy who lives with you! It cannot get easier than this.
  • Planning: No more schedule conflicts or communication problem, you can just say, Hi honey, let’s go for a run, and be done with it.
  • Instant support system: You can motivate each other, look out for each other and even share the same coach. Think of the savings, you can even share the transport!

Yes you should!

running partners

Anna Vergese, project manager in the construction industry who recently moved to Sydney from Hyderabad, feels women can benefit from running with men because men are faster (a physiological advantage, nothing more, nothing less) and that a less experienced runner, especially if they are a woman, who wants to improve can actually do so if she is running with her male spouse.

Ideally Anna would like to run/ train with her husband, but with young kids and no support system they have to take turns and run. “The thing is, I like running – whether it is alone, with my husband or a group,” she confesses. “As for a specific preference of what kind of running I prefer, well, it depends on the mood. I all options, though. As for my husband, I think he runs just to humor me!”

It is okay if you don’t want to

Nutrition

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The truth is, there are no should’s or must’s that come into play while toying with the idea of running with your spouse. You choose the option that’s most instinctive for you, and also most beneficial for your present running stats and future goals, without having to sacrifice your preferences. Anna’s husband Alex is frank in his opinion. “I like races/ events with lots of atmosphere and tend to get bored if I have to run alone,” he says. “As for running with my wife, the truth is our paces are so different so I personally find it tough to run in tandem.”

On the other end of the spectrum, a runner who wishes to be anonymous says: “I can’t imagine running with my husband, I’d go crazy. We both are short tempered and we simply cannot work with each other, we need an external person, someone not close to us and thus can be objective and grounded, to keep us going. Plus I do not want my hubby to witness my shortcomings, or gloat over how much faster he is than me. I know that sounds egoistic, but a girl’s gotta have her pride.”

Bottom line, if you have a good communication with your spouse, and if you can respect the other person’s limitations or superiority and frame your own goals accordingly, and can be patient enough to support the other person, you and your spouse can easily create a new avatar for yourselves as runners. Otherwise, your best bet is to enjoy your own company as you collect your running miles!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Radhika Meganathan is a published author who is an advocate for healthy living, she practices sugar-free intermittent fasting, all-terrain rambling and weight training.

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Controversy over Marathons and Hearts

There has been a long debate on how the heart is affected by marathon running, Nandini Reddy talks about the research that allays fears. 

Exercise is suggested as a good way to improve the health of your heart and lungs. But there has always been a debate about how much exercise one should do. Experts cannot agree on what is the right amount of exercise and each of them seems to have a different opinion. Running is one of the easiest exercises to start for people who want to get off the couch and get fit. But there is a divided opinion on how running affects your heart. One group feels running has no lasting effect on a healthy heart but another group things heart damage is linked to running.

What does the research say?

But instead of opinions if we look at research, you will find that when runners finish a marathon there is a certain level of stress that is visible in the heart muscles that is reversed after rest and the effect is only temporary. While runners who train regularly have a lower incidence of this effect, the new runners who attempt to run marathons without proper training seem to show higher levels of such stress.

The research was expanded to see how the heart function is changed for marathon runners. Marathon running is a high endurance activity that keeps the heart in the zone of 60-70% of their maximum heart rate for an extended period of time. This means that the heart needs to work at higher levels for a longer period of time but if the runners is trained their is no lasting effect of the stress the heart takes. If a runner doesn’t rest adequately after a marathon race then the effects of the stress cannot be reversed fully and there might be a last affect on how the heart functions.

So what can you do?

  • Draw up a training plan with a coach
  • Do not attempt a marathon unprepared
  • Take care of your health first, you can always finish the next marathon
  • Adequate rest is important after a training session and a marathon
  • Get regular health checks if you have a weak heart or a history of heart conditions in the family

The Conclusion

People with lower fitness levels should not attempt marathons without proper training. Even if your heart is in good condition, taking on an endurance activity without adequate preparation is not a good idea. With training, coaching and monitored fitness sessions one can run a marathon with ease and recover as well. But running marathons without preparation is never a good idea.

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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Run to de-stress

Did you know that running is the best way to de-stress, asks Deepthi Velkur.

Running has numerous health benefits both physically and psychologically. People who run regularly run tend to lead a healthier life and have a more positive outlook. Being non-sedentary and moving around in open spaces has a fabulous effect on the psyche. Most of us spend our days cooped up in offices with air-conditioning turned on all the time. Getting out in the open and going for a run is a great way to build up your resilience to mental- health issues, the most common being stress. As the author of ‘What I Talk About When I Talk About Running’, Haruki Murakami, says “Most runners run not because they want to live longer but because they want to live life to the fullest.”

Stress can be both acute and chronic in nature and can have negative effects on your body leading to heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, early aging and weakening of the immune system. So here are a few ways to use running as a great way to fight stress:

Pumps up your mood-Running boosts your mood in a big way. Running helps increase the productivity of a chemical in your body to quell pain called endorphins or runner’s high. They help to slow down the aging process, relieve stress and anxiety, and enhance the immune system in general.

Trains your mind– Running trains the mind as much as it trains the body. You learn to focus better and are determined to take on new challenges and overcome any obstacle. With the mental strength and willpower that running brings, it can change a person’s perspective on life, confidence, and clarity of thought.

Synchronizes your body – In order to relieve stress you need to synchronize your body, that means you breathing, heart rate and body reactions should all be in sync. Running is the easiest form of exercise that can bring your body into sync in the shortest time. A body in sync will get rid of stress quicker.

Fight or Flight – Stress activates your survival instinct and it can leave you feeling antsy. The best way to reduce this feeling is by going for a run. Even a jog will do the trick to relax your mind and reduce the stress inducing hormones.

Finding your Flow – Running gives your body a certain rhythmic flow. The repetitive action of pounding the road in measured strides sets a certain flow to your body. This helps in settling your mind and bringing you back to focus on the important and not the stressful activity.

Running Groups – Running in a group helps you interact with people who share the same philosophy of exercise. They also might be experiencing the same stress and can help you release your negativity and stress better. You will also feel less alone while trying to fight your daily battles.

You will be surprised about how much anxiety can be relieved by a comfortable 20 min run. If you don’t believe me, then why don’t you try it for yourself.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Deepthi Velkur is a former sprinter who is trying her hand at various sports today. A tennis fanatic, who believes that sleep should never be compromised.

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Running on Vacation

Running is an active way to relax and recharge while on a vacation and with a little effort you can fit this into your vacation schedule, writes Deepthi Velkur

For most of us,  we remember a vacation by looking at pictures taken, stamped passports or even the odd souvenir that we bring back home. For a runner, however, it invokes memories of a dashing waterfall or maybe the lazy cows at sunrise or the serenity of a deserted beach.

Follow these five tips to run during a vacation and you are guaranteed to keep up with training and even get some insider tips from locals on where to eat, shop and play.

Start your day with a run – Getting your run done first thing in the morning of your vacation is a great way to start the day as it ensures you don’t push it out for later and also helps free up your day. Also, you will be less dodging to do as you avoid the crowds and you can check out the area much before the hoard of tourists arrives.

Research and map your running route – Do a little research on running routes close to your hotel as you will be able to map your run stress-free. Using technology can be a great way of identifying a few local favorites at your vacation spot. If you don’t find the time to do some research, just head out for a run and see where your feet take you. This forces you to pay attention to streets and landmarks and other intimate things that otherwise you might miss.

Packing Right – When packing for a vacation, drawing up a packing list will ensure that you don’t find yourself without your running must-haves. Ensure that you carry running gear that is suited for any weather type to help you avoid missing out on your run.

Stay Safe – This should be your primary objective – avoid narrow and busy roads, neighborhoods that appear unsafe and always carry your phone, money and the hotel business card just in case you do get lost. Also, checking in with the hotel concierge or some friendly locals is a good way to identify if your route is safe.

Let Loose and Explore – A key tip to running on your vacation is “forget about mileage”. The focus should not be on distance, pace and intensity; instead, focus on the sights, sounds and everything exciting the new environment has to offer.

There are heaps of benefits to run on a vacation but please ensure you follow the tips and add to your holiday experience.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Deepthi Velkur is a former sprinter who is trying her hand at various sports today. A tennis fanatic, who believes that sleep should never be compromised.

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Worst Mistakes to make during a Ride

Be it an amateur or a seasoned cyclist, there is a lot to bear in mind before you start out on your cycle ride, writes Deepthi Velkur.

While riding a cycle might seem simple, it can get complicated and dangerous as you cover more distance\terrains on the ride. Here are a few simple fixes to make your ride safe and enjoyable.

Saddle height

To get the right placement of the saddle during a cycle ride, ensure the saddle is at your hip crest. Adjust the seat accordingly to keep it pointing straight and not tilted up or down. While on the saddle, you should comfortably reach the handlebars and toes touching the ground on both sides.

Carry spares or tools

Before you take off on a cycle ride, it’s essential to do a pre-ride inspection and carry along minimum equipment such as Tyre levers, mini pump, spare tubes, patches(instant stick on type), and multi-tool with chain link extractor.

Fueling your ride

Do not wait until a point where your body is completely drained of energy. Drink every 20mins or so throughout the cycle ride to ensure your constantly fueled. Don’t eat\ drink too much as you end up feeling sick. Plan well ahead to have food\drink in reserve and fuel yourself regularly so you don’t run the risk of bonking.

Over gearing

Gears improve the efficiency of power over different terrains. Maintain a cadence of 70-90rpm on flat roads. Shift to easier gears for climbs and harder gears for going downhill. Riding in a higher gear with low cadence uses fast twitch muscles that make your muscle fibre tire out easily. If your off on a long cycle ride, using a lower gear with higher cadence activates the lower twitch muscles which is more beneficial and promotes greater endurance.

Riding too far, too soon

Aiming high is good but knowing your ability and riding within those limits is important. Don’t blow your confidence by riding too much too soon. Steady and consistent training is where you find yourself progressing forward than hammering it from the start.

Poor bike maintenance

Doing regular checks on the cycle is a good practice. Pay attention to brakes, handlebars, gears, and tyres. Regular cleaning of the bike and lubricating of the chain is a must. Also, servicing at regular intervals keeps the bike in excellent condition.

Suitable Clothing

Before you start your cycle ride, check the weather forecast for the entire duration of your ride. In cold weather conditions, layering up helps you to stay warm. Dress light with just a pair of shorts and a shirt in humid\warm conditions. Do carry a windproof\waterproof layer at all times as it will come of use in hilly terrains with a drastic change in elevation and rain storms.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Deepthi Velkur is a former sprinter who is trying her hand at various sports today. A tennis fanatic, who believes that sleep should never be compromised.

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Hydration & Running

Runner need to watch their hydration, writes Deepthi Velkur

Drinking enough water is of paramount importance not only during summer months but all year round for runners.  When you run your body heat rises, and this saps the water content in your body through excessive sweating. Hydrating the body well with fluids is essential before, during and post a run as lack of proper hydration leads to dehydration (fatigue, headache, muscle cramping ), exhaustion and heat stroke.

So how much water do you need? There is no definitive answer as different people require different levels of hydration during a run as some people tend to sweat more than others. Temperature and climatic conditions also play a major part for runners. A good balance of water and sodium levels help ward off fatigue and enhance your running performance.

Pre-Hydrate to run fast

Keeping yourself well hydrated a few days prior to the run is essential. A good indication to know your well hydrated is when the urine is pale yellow in color. Avoid diuretics such as tea, coffee, and alcoholic beverages as they dehydrate you quickly. It is good to hydrate yourself well before bedtime if you need to race the next morning. Drinking 500ml of water and adding one ORS\sports tablet to it, boosts your sodium levels. This should be had an hour or two before you start your run.

Hydration during the run

A simple strategy to keep in mind while running is to drink when you feel thirsty. Strenuous running generates 20 times more heat and it is important to dispel this heat to regulate and stabilize the body temperature. Hydrate with 100-200ml of water every 15 minutes. For longer runs, substitute with a sports drink to replace lost sodium and other minerals(electrolytes).

Sweat Test

Weigh yourself pre and post-run and assess the weight loss as this determines the current intake of water. If the weight loss is 2% of your body weight, that’s a sign your water intake should be more on your next run.

Mind over Matter

Most importantly be conscious of your water consumption and never to over hydrate. Forcing yourself to drink more fluids, makes you feel uneasy while running. Over-hydration can also lead to gastrointestinal distress and in some extreme cases water intoxication or hyponatremia. So it’s true when they say you can’t have too much of anything, not even water.

Re-hydrate after running

Hydrating post a run is of equal importance as much as it is before and during a run. Replenishing your body with fluids like 500ml of water or sports drink is crucial as most of the runners tend to skip which leads to dehydration.

For runners, proper hydration during a run makes a vast difference to fluid levels in the body thereby improving efficiency and overall performance.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Deepthi Velkur is a former sprinter who is trying her hand at various sports today. A tennis fanatic, who believes that sleep should never be compromised.

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The day before a marathon

The best way to prepare for race day is by putting your feet up, writes Deepthi Velkur.

Running a marathon is an endurance game and requires extensive training, focus, and dedication. To be able to tackle one requires you to break it down into a three-fold process. First, make a commitment to enter and give your best to the marathon. Second, dedicate time and effort to the training involved for the grueling challenge ahead and finally enjoy the most worthwhile and gratifying phase of the marathon – the event itself.

As you get closer to race day, it is natural to have some rattling nerves and mounting questions but if you want to calm yourself down and aim to achieve your personal best, it is important to give yourself that special care during the last 24 hours before the marathon.

Follow these simple tips to better prepare yourself on the day before a marathon:

  • Hydrate well and eat clean – Fueling your body with good food and ensuring you drink a lot of water a day before the marathon is recommended. Sipping on water through the day and having a sports drink or electrolyte supplement also helps in boosting electrolyte levels in the body. Boost your food intake by eating lean protein like paneer, beans, lentils, nuts, chicken or fish and adding carbohydrate to each meal in the form of vegetables, fruits, pasta, bread or rice. Stick to foods that work well for you and do not try anything new before or on the race day.
  • Layout your running clothes and gear – Keep it all handy to avoid a last-minute rush. Some essential items to keep in mind before a marathon or to carry to the race include – race bib, GPS watch or wristwatch, comfortable running outfit, cap, shoes, socks, energy gels, sunscreen and petroleum gels to avoid chafing.
  • Keep calm and relax – Stay off your feet as much as possible. Watch a movie for extra motivation or listen to music as this is a good way to ease your mind. You can try doing a 15-20 min run on the treadmill or a short run of 3 to 4kms to loosen up your legs at best.
  • Think positive – While you have prepared well for the grueling task of running the marathon, keeping your mind sharp and staying positive is extremely crucial. The mind gives up before your body does so ward off any negativity by surrounding yourself with positive people.
  • Map your run- Familiarizing yourself with the course map and the actual course itself a day before the marathon aids in building your race strategy. Set a realistic goal and stick to it. Do check for weather conditions a day before or on the race day as this helps you prepare yourself mentally as well as physically for the race.
  •  Early rising- Keep an alarm so you’re up early and have ample time for yourself to get ready.

The above steps go a long way in ensuring your race day readiness and calming those nerves. After the marathon, it is important to savor your success, think about what worked and what didn’t and this will help you plan better for your next race.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Deepthi Velkur is a former sprinter who is trying her hand at various sports today. A tennis fanatic, who believes that sleep should never be compromised.

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When to replace your Running Shoes

A good pair of shoes can make all the difference to your run, writes Deepthi Velkur

Running is a simple sport – irrespective of the distance being run all you need are the right clothes and a good pair of running shoes. But how long do running shoes last? It’s an age-old question and unfortunately, no universal answer exists apart from the standard of 480 – 800 kms which for someone running 24 kms per week means changing your shoes every 5-6 months.

So how do you know if your running shoes need replacing? Start with looking for obvious signs of wear and tear but most importantly listen to your body.

Treads appear worse for wear and the shock absorption is shot

Start by looking at the out-sole – over time you will notice that the tread starts giving way. This is your first clue. Moving on to your mid-sole, look for signs of scrunching. If you press the center of the shoe and you find it is not “springy”, it is a clear indicator that the cushioning is done for. A washed-out running shoe like this can cause foot instability leading to ankle and knee issues.

Watch out for those niggling aches and pains

A quality pair of running shoes should leave you feeling as good as when you started with no lasting pain. If you start to experience soreness or pain in your feet, lower back and joints especially the knees, it is a sign that your running shoes are wearing out. A little twinge at the bottom of a foot could be your body’s way of telling you that your shoe is past its prime.

The mileage keeps adding up

A running shoes longevity varies between people depending on several individual factors. Seasoned runners need to replace their running shoes more often than a causal runner as the mileage covered is much higher.

Running shoes take quite a beating as we put four times our body weight and strike the ground nearly 1500 times in 10 minutes running. It is a good idea to keep a tab on the kms being run and this will give you a fair idea of when to replace your running shoes.

The terrain makes a difference

One of the biggest factors that determine if your running shoes need a replacement is a terrain you run on. If you run in tough trail conditions for example then clearly you will need to replace them faster than for someone running on a treadmill.

Looking out for these warning signs and replacing your running shoes regularly will keep you comfortable, healthy and extend your running life.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Deepthi Velkur is a former sprinter who is trying her hand at various sports today. A tennis fanatic, who believes that sleep should never be compromised.

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Five Tips to Run on a Vacation

Should you really run on a vacation? Well, yes! says Radhika Meganathan 

Running in a new place is highly recommended because one, the new scenery and running conditions give you a fresh change of scenery and challenge. Two, you want to keep breaks and time-offs from your running routine for unavoidable emergencies where it is genuinely difficult to run, and folks, a vacation is NOT an emergency. They are almost always running friendly, if you just prepare yourself a bit.

So pack your favourite running shoes, your all-weather track suit (or a spare T-shirt and shorts!) and get ready to stretch your legs in a new, exciting location. I caugh up with Srimathy Vardhan, who works at Deustche Bank, Wall Street, New York to share a few tips on how she manages to squeeze a run into her travel:

  1. Choose a hotel with a gym: A tread-mill work out is better than no work out (especially if the weather outside is in the extremes), so if it falls within your budget, opt for accommodation with a fitness center. “I am doubly excited when the hotel has a gym,” says Srimathy Vardhan. “I usually look for it when I book my trips. If there is no gym, then I will run outdoors but weather is not a deterrent for a runner unless there is a calamity.”
  2. Research ahead: Google or call your accommodation provider to get details of the trails and parks near your place of stay, so that you can plan your daily running. This step is also a good chance to identify and avoid potentially unsafe places. Minimise your chances of getting lost by downloading map of the area on your phone. Always, before running, check if your GPS is functioning.
  3. Get up early: Yes, this is a bummer, but if you don’t want your sightseeing or family time to get disturbed, you need to plan your running schedule. “Being a working mom of two young kids, I find running to be the best way to fine tune my thoughts and relax my mind. I am currently training for my marathon in October. Last week I was on holiday and I woke up early at 4:30am to run, because doing so boosts my confidence and helps me to stay focused on my training plan,” says Srimathy.
  4. Eat mindfully: While food is an exciting part of any vacation, too much of it can interfere with your goal-oriented running regimen such as for a marathon or weight loss. Consuming excess carbs, sugary treats or alcohol food also makes you sluggish, so try not to go overboard. Most hotel buffet/dinners offer huge spreads, so opt for a light lunch, such as soup or fruit. Stick to drinking a minimum of 3L of water a day, especially if you are vacationing in a hot and humid place.
  5. Consider cross training: If you know beforehand that running every day is going to be difficult in an upcoming holiday, pack a travel-size foam roller and use it for core strengthening exercises, and proceed ahead to cross train on the days when you definitely cannot run. Choose whatever is available, swimming or canoeing or biking. Just stay on the fitness wagon, instead of completely falling off it!

But what if there is no gym, the roads are slippery and it rains heavily? What if you are walking all day exploring a city or a national park, and the last thing you want to do is run?

The solution is very simple. Plan a longer or more challenging running schedule for a few weeks before your intended vacation time. Then you can consider your vacation as the required recovery time to give your body some rest, and spend your holiday truly relaxing and bonding with your near and dear. Bon voyage!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Radhika Meganathan is a published author who is an advocate for healthy living, she practices sugar-free intermittent fasting, all-terrain rambling and weight training.

 

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