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Boost your Running Confidence

Having more confidence will change the way you train and run, says Nandini Reddy

Running is a mental game. Not just when you are in a big race but also when you are in training. Countless studies have shown that how you feel will affect your running performance. So if you can train yourself with confidence mantras will you become a better runner? Psychologists seem to believe that you can become a better runner if you can just change the way you think about your training and big race.

Here are a few ways in which you can boost your running confidence

Talk to yourself

Your brain responds to confidence talks. Motivational speakers use this method to inspire audiences and you can do it to yourself as well. If you are feeling a bit low midway during your run then try telling yourself that you will try for another km and then decide if you want to stop and you can keep tricking your brain to sustain you for longer distances that way. Even when you hit the proverbial wall at the last mile of your marathon, self talk is the best way to push yourself to think beyond the pain and exhaustion to cross the finish line.

Stay Confident

It is important to believe that you will achieve your running and training goals. If you start with a defeated attitude then you are less likely to finish you race. Training days are when you need the biggest mental push to get out of bed and do those runs. Being confident that you will clock in those 50kms this week or run 10kms in less that an hour is what will drive you to push your limits. That being said, it is also important not to be over confident. Talk about skills and abilities to reach your best performance instead of bragging about your races. This will help you connect with the right people who will motivate you to do better. Bragging just drives away people.

Visualize your Goal

If you need to make that timing mark to qualify for a big race then visualize yourself achieving that timing goal. For newbie runners visualization of crossing the finish line is a big motivator. Many runners set goals of completing a certain number of kms in a year. Constantly visualizing that goal will help you get out of bed and run everyday and thus improve your running performance.

Believe that you Can

Most new runners or runners who have come back after a long break are unsure of their abilities. The idea is that you need to believe that you have the skills and abilities to become a better runner. Even for a seasoned runner a new track or location can prove challenging. But if you believe that you can reach the finish line then you will easily surmount chaffed skin, screaming knees and dry throats to whiz past the finish line.

Trust your training

You have trained well and the final day is here. Race day brings on a whole new set of insecurities but remember that you need to trust yourself and your training. You have made all the right moves so there really is nothing to fear. You will also be able to navigate the surprises such as a change in weather or change in pace better when you trust yourself.

During every training and race just stay positive because as your race progress and your body starts to feels tired, its your mind that will keep you going.



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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Mind your Running Manners

Have you ever been baffled by the behaviour of a few runners at a marathon, so what qualifies as runners etiquette, asks Nandini Reddy

Many runners are simply unaware of proper etiquette when it comes to running in a large crowd on race day. Irrespective of the size of the marathon, following a code of conduct would help make the run more enjoyable to you and fellow runners. It is also important for your personal safety and the safety of other runners as well.

Here is a simple set of rules that you should consider following at your next race.

Pre- Race

Stand in the right corral – Corrals are assigned based on your pace and race managers assign this based on the details of you have submitted about your previous race. Trying to push you way forward and stand ahead of the line doesn’t help you or the other racers. Your bib will carry the corral number you are assigned to so making a change will cause a confusion before the race starts.

Leave your valuable behind – There are places to drop off your baggage at most big events. But carrying valuables and then troubling race officials is just not done. Tag your bags if you are leaving it in the assigned baggage area. Follow instructions to collect the same to avoid any issues at the finish of the race.

Warm-up – Find a place that is less crowded to do your stretches before the race. Be aware of the people around you  before you stretch and injure someone.

During the Race

Pass on the left – If your race day pace is at its peak and you need to pass runners then ensure you cross runners on their left. The first couple of kilometers on race day will be crowded so be prepared for a slower pace and once the crowd thins you can pick up pace and when you need to pass runners, cross from the left side.

Mid-Race photos – Documenting your big race is a great idea but suddenly stopping dead in your tracks to snap a selfie isn’t. Be aware that there are runners moving at a particular pace behind you and your sudden stop might cause an accident to them. Instead of your coveted photo you might end up with a runner plowing into you and crashing your phone on the road.

Mind the Water stops – If you want to stop for water then move towards the side and slow your pace. If you want to skip the water station then stay towards the middle of the race so that you avoid running into the racers who are slowing down for a drink of water.

Do not litter – Ensure you dispose the water cups, electrolyte bottles and other waste in the assigned disposal areas. Be an environmentally conscious runner and carry your own bottle. If you have to still grab some water at the stations then ensure you dump the cups in the bins and not along the race route.

Be course familiar – All races release the race routes ahead of the big day. Try and get familiar with the start and finish points, turns in the race and a few landmarks that might help you track your progress. Many runners have missed crucial race markers and timing mats at key races and eventually lost making the cut because of this oversight.

Conscious Groups – Many runners are part of running clubs and most of them tend to run together even during a big race. Groups need to remember that they occupy the least amount of space along the course. There are other runners trying to get past who have a better pace and blocking their path isn’t good race day behaviour.

After the race

Cross the finish line – Don’t stop at the finish line to catch you breath. Remember that there are runner behind you equally eager to cross the finish line. You might end up tripping a runner or getting plowed down to the ground by incoming runners. Cross the finish line and slow your pace and stop on the side at a safe distance.

Be orderly – Everyone is exhausted at the end of a big race. Remember to collect your medals. Do not cut the queues for using the bathrooms or collecting your snack/meal.

Always listen to the race marshals. They have more information about the course than you do and if there is a change or emergency they are the people who have the right information to assist you. Enjoy your race day by being aware of your own running space and that of others.



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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Rules for losing weight for Runners

Stress, eating on the go, pregnancy and age-related metabolic slowdown can gradually pile on extra pounds, so as a runner how can you lose this weight, asks Nandini Reddy.

Many of us take up running as exercise format to lose weight. But is it really that simple that you run everyday and the pounds just melt away? Maybe not. It takes a bit more that just regular running to regain a body that you once had or a body that you always desired.

Running is a fabulous form of exercise to lose weight, if it’s done right! You might have heard of people losing 20 kgs from running for a year and if you want similar results then here are a few simple strategies that you can adopt.

Understand Calories

While you are trying to lose weight, remember that you also need enough calories to fuel your run. To lose weight you must reduce calories but not so much that you feel starved and fatigued. If you cannot do it on your own then get help from a professional to calculate how many calories you would need everyday. The idea is to burn fat and keep it off. If you lose weight too quickly by reducing calories below a reasonable amount then you will gain it all back very quickly. For women, you might experience menstrual irregularities and poor bone health if you do not have a nutrition rich diet that has the right calorific value.

Be Realistic

Understand your body type as it is crucial for deciding how much weight you really need to lose. For example, a standard chart might indicate that you need to weight 60kgs but owing to your bone structure and body frame size the ideal weight for you might be 70kgs and below that might mean damage to your bones. You have to judge if you are large, medium or small in terms of your frame before you set your goal weight. Get an expert to help you instead of just using generalized online calculators to determine the same. Your age also plays a major role. You cannot lose 10kgs when your are 40 years old in the same manner that you lost them when you were in your 20s.

Fuel Right

A balanced diet that fills your energy stores with the right amount of carbohydrates, fat and protein is important. Check for nutrient deficiencies that might be inhibiting your weight loss. Stay away from processed and refined foods. Remember to make breakfast your highest calorie meal and eat a light dinner and hydrate with plenty of water and not energy drinks. Protein bars and health drinks have a certain amount of sugar. Remember to read the labels before blindly assuming that they would be great meal replacements.

Lift Weights

Resistance training or body weight training will help you lose weight faster. Remember that your metabolism increases if your muscle mass increases. Your bones will also get stronger so overall as a runner you will benefit from adding weights to your weekly routine.

Run Further

Its rather simple, actually – the more you run, the more you burn! If you are running 5kms every morning increase it gradually every week. A study conducted on 120,000 runners showed that those who ran more kms in a week lost more weight, considering all other factors remained the same.

Find a Buddy

You need the motivation sometimes to get out of bed. On all those days that you want to stay in bed, your buddy will pull you out to finish your planned exercise. Remember to choose a person who is leaner and a better runner than you because they are less likely to give up on you.

The bigger goal

If its just weight loss you might give up eventually when you see a few kilos have been knocked off. Pick a race you want to qualify for or a time that you want to beat or even a number of kms you want to clock in a year. The goal will constantly inspire you to keep moving and clocking those kilometres.

If you can follow these rules then you should be leaner and faster before the end of the year.



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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How to Run with your Dog

Looking for a fun, all-weather running buddy? Your dog can be your enthusiastic training partner, writes Radhika Meganathan

You need the practice every day, your dog needs the exercise regularly…. Running with your dog is, however you look at it, a win-win solution! Still, there are some things that need to be considered before you start running with your pooch. One such factor is that not all dogs are cut out for running long distance. That said, most dogs can be taught to be great training partners. Here are some tips for you if you have decided to run with your dog:

  1. First, check your dog. Though all dogs love to run, you must check if your beloved canine is suitable for you to run long distance. How’s your dog’s heath and build? Older dogs may have joint issues while dogs with short legs may not be able to keep up with your pace. Running is an high impact exercise, and your vet MUST approve your dog for running.
  2. Consider your dog’s breed and temperament. Dogs with squishy faces may get breathing trouble if made to run long distance, while dogs with long legs may end up with arthritis. Sporting and herding breeds are the most likely to run the longest distances, but surprisingly, small dogs can be extremely good runners, as they weigh less and feel less stress on their joints.
  3. Check your training: Teach your dog essential commands like ‘Sit’ or ‘Leave it’. A long leash is a must, since it gives you the control over your dog and avoid dangers like your dog running into traffic or chasing a wayward squirrel. Ideally, their nose should be in level with your knee when you both walk and run. If you don’t have the time or bandwidth to train your dog, an obedience class or dog trainer is a great investment.
  4. Figure out a place: If You have a park near your home, that’s a good place to run – just make sure your dog is disciplined enough to not run into other people! Not all parks allow dogs, so it is good idea to find a place where you and your pooch can run. In fact, trail running is best for a dog’s joints, not to mention yours and there is plenty of natural scenery and smells around to keep both of you interested.
  5. Work out a routine: A dog is said to be man’s best friend because they are a lot similar too! Just like how a human cannot go from sedentary to 5k in a jiffy, a dog cannot start running from Day 1. So, you have to find a basic training plan that is beginner-friendly and then build it up from there. And just like how heat affects humans, it affects dogs more, as they have fur coats and do not sweat. Take frequent water breaks and run in the shade. Avoid hot blacktop, asphalt, or sand, which can burn dogs’ paws.
  6. Monitor and maintain. Once you start running with your dog, there are some things to keep in mind. Stay vigilant for signs of unease, weakness, drooling, vomiting or exertion in your dog, during and after your run. Should your dog stop in the middle of a run and wants to rest, let him. If there is any adverse sign – for example, he looks worried or avoids you as you approach him with his running leash, leave him home and restart after a break.

Though it may take some extra work, it’s worth running with your dog because of the obvious pros. End of the day, a dog can be your running partner without having to worry about safety and reliability, and work towards not just training but also all-around fitness and fun.



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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How to be a Guide or a Guided Runner

For those who are wondering how a visually challenged person can run a marathon, here is the answer: they do so by having a guide runner, explains Radhika Meganathan

In April 2017, Bangalore-based businessman Sagar Baheti completed the 121st Boston Marathon race and became the first visually impaired Indian to do so.

Supported by the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the 31-year-old Baheti was already an accomplished sportsman in India when he travelled to USA to specifically participate in what’s known as one of toughest marathons in the world. As he crossed the finish line, onlookers cheered equally for his old college friend and Boston resident Devika Narain Aerts, who ran beside him.

But she was not a fellow competitor. She was his guide runner, someone who donates their time, talent and running spirit so that a visually impaired person can also participate in a race.

If you are vision impaired and want to run:

  • Welcome to the world of running! A new and invigorating experience awaits you, especially if you have already found a guide runner. Your guide runner will help you get trained in different routes, terrains and techniques, starting from basic to advanced, as per your learning curve.
  • There has to be absolute trust between you and your guide runner and that’s possible only with a lot of open communication, patience and perseverance.If you feel unwell or feel the run is too fast or tiring, immediately notify your runner.
  • If you have complete vision loss, initially the training may make you nauseous or disoriented. This will completely go away as your limbs and mind gets accustomed to running.
  • If it’s the first time for your guide runner, let them know very clearly about your preferred pace, needs and expectations. You both are a team now and will need to educate each other in order to function as a single entity runner!
  • Looking for a guide runner? Ask your friends and family first; someone might be very invested in training with you. Other places to look for are: local gyms and running programs, along with ads and posts on social media in relevant forums. Resources such as and will help you get more information regarding guide runners.

If you’d like to become a guide runner:

  • Are you having doubts whether you can really do this? Don’t worry, this fear is normal! Everyone starts as a beginner and it’s good to be cautious than sorry. As a preparatory step before doing it for real, consider shadowing an experienced guide and learning from them.
  • Any successful partnership requires open communication, and this one, in particular, needs truckloads of it. Communicate your concerns and doubts honestly with your visually impaired partner, so that you can work together in drafting the best running schedule for both of you.
  • If this is your first time as a guide runner, go easy with the pacing, distance and time-measured goals. As you get to know your partner better, you both will work out a good rhythm.
  • During training and even during the race, if you feel the other person is getting distracted or demotivated, keep talking with them. Your positive energy and support will be invaluable to your visually impaired partner.
  • Finally, kudos for doing this wonderful thing and helping a runner who might not be able to run otherwise. For a through tutorial on how to perform your best as a guide runner, visit

Just remember this – in a race, the visually impaired runner must cross the finishing line. If the guide runner crosses the line first, both runners will be disqualified!



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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Ignore the Snooze button

Becoming a morning runner isn’t for everyone, so how do you avoid the snooze button, asks Nandini Reddy

The early morning opportunity to run is considered to be the best time to run by most runners. But are you one of those people who just cannot seem to drag yourself out of bed even after setting 5 blaring alarms. Wondering if you would ever be able to shake the night owl reputation?

If you want to do it, then try here are a few ways in which you can beat back your natural inclination to hit the snooze button.

Take it slow

It won’t happen overnight. You cannot become a morning runner just in a day. If your final goal is to run during the pre-dawn period then first start by getting up at least an hour earlier than normal. Once you are comfortable with this you can progress towards the pre-dawn goal.

Sleep Sleep Sleep

If you want to get up in the morning then you need to get enough sleep. Trying to become a morning runner by getting only 4 hours of shut eye won’t help you one bit. If you get at least 6-7 hours of sleep then you are less likely to hit that snooze button and you won’t be groggy and will be more energetic when you get up early in the morning.

Prep the night before

This will quicken your morning process. Layout your clothes and gear. You can even set you running playlist to go. Fumbling in the dark to gather you things in the morning will end up irritating your partner and giving you a few stumbed toes. This also saves you time in the morning.

Warm Up

When you get up, your body is cold and your muscles will be stiff. So it is very important to warm-up and ensure your muscles are all ready to support your run. Running without a warm-up increases the risk of injury.

Partner Up

If you think you are likely to skip you morning runs because the temptation to hit the snooze button is too heavy then for the first few weeks till your system finds its flow – find a friend who can run with you. If not for yourself, at least you would be up out of fear of disappointing your friend.

Know the weather

It is important to stay warm during pre-dawn runs. Dawn can be chilly as it would have the lowest temperatures of the day. Try and wear clothing that will suitably protect you from the chill and morning dew.


Try and avoid sugary morning meals. Go for a savory  breakfast instead. Even if you need to grab a snack before your morning run, try and pre-prep a small salad of vegetables. The sugary snack will cause an imbalance in your hormones making you more lethargic.

Remember your goals and motivate yourself to ensure that you wake up and create a new habit. Wake up and feel alive.



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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Is Running Good for Children?

If your kid loves to run, or if you want to encourage your child to be a runner, read on to know about safe running practices for kids, says Radhika Meganathan

There is no doubt that regular exercise and an active lifestyle is good for kids. It’s easier for them to learn good habits when they are young, and what’s more, kids are natural runners. Running fortifies bones, musculo-lumbar co-ordination, and toughens muscles and tendons. Most importantly, it is fun. So little wonder that your little one loves to run!

Still, we should not forget that children’s bodies are not fully developed and they need special attention if they want to indulge in running as a dedicated sport. The Journal of Athletic Training mentions in one of its articles that:

  1. Children absorb the impact of running less effectively than adults. Less absorption means bigger impact to bones, joints, and soft tissue – all pointing to higher risk of injury.
  2. Kids bodies’ have not learned to acclimatize or climate control, so they won’t take to running in extreme heat or cold as well as adults do.
  3. Kids lumbar and hand-eye co-ordination is not as well developed as adults, especially in the beginning of their running phase.

So – should you train the little champ in your life? Or is it too risky? If your kid is already an enthusiastic runner, how much training is good for them? And what if they lose interest as they reach teenage or adulthood?

In general, medical opinion seems to be that runners under the age of 16 should not participate in any event longer than a 10K. That actually leaves plenty of distance for those little feet to cover! When young kids are concerned, the focus should be on enjoyment, rather than rigor or intensity. Here are some tips to get your kid run without missing all the fun:

  1. Get your child involved in running-related games, rather that straight line running. Opt for speed training, which will help them well into adulthood.
  2. Vary the running. Get your kid to sprint, hurdle, do track work and even cross country! This way, they will develop as an all-round runner.
  3. One size does not fit all. Some kids are active in the day, some in the evening, some can get going for hours while some get tired very easily. Figure out what works for your kid and let them practice around that.
  4. Kids being kids, might not remember to do the right warming up exercises, or drink enough water during running. Make sure they get trained in these pre- and post-run techniques as well.
  5. If there is a running club in their school, get your kid enrolled in the program. Your kid will get to run with his friends, under the supervision of the school coach who will make sure your kid follow the right running routines.

In case you really find a winning spark in your kid and they are also equally passionate about running, the best way forward would be to let them train under a qualified Athletics coach.

Can your child race?

For most marathons, the minimum age is usually between 16 -18. If your kid is younger, the you can include them in the fun runs or family run categories that range from 1km to 5km. There is also the option of introducing them to marathons through kid events like – Kidathons. If your child is just starting off but if a decent runner then use this reference guidelines to plan your races.

Under 4 years old – 400 m

Age 5-6 – 800 m

Age 7-8 – 1-3 km

Age 9-15 – 3- 5 km

Age 16+ – 5- 10km

Do not worry that your kid might lose interest later in running. The main objective now must be to imbibe in your kid the habit of physical activity a regular routine, giving them a solid foundation that they carry it well into their adult life.



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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Overdoing Health Tracking

Wearable devices, fitness apps and a dozen more ways in which you can monitor your health, but when does it all become too much, ask Nandini Reddy.

So did you strap on your wearable device the moment you jumped out of bed? Logging in hours slept, monitoring water intake, counting steps, tracking heart rate, calculating calories and walking the extra mile to meal goals sets. Ever since wearable devices became a fitness trend. All of us have been guilty of doing this – even me! But when does it become too much?

I am not against the FitBits and Garmins of the world and I do know that they are a great way to track your health but when tracking becomes obsessions and if you are getting more upset than happy using the device then it cannot be a good thing right?

The Dark Side of Health Trackers

Have you ever run a marathon and used a different app to track your run. I did that once and noticed that even though both of us started and stopped at the same point, I had run 9.7kms and my friend had run 10.2kms. My app didn’t congratulate me on reaching the 10k mark and felt more than a little deflated. But it didn’t make sense because we had run the same track and in the same time and yet we didn’t achieve the same encouragement from the health apps.

The next victim of tracking was my sleep. I was so intent on getting the right curve and the congratulatory note for achieving the right amount of sleep that I couldn’t have slept worse. The stress of sleeping right overwhelmed me and if I slept deep woke up refreshed with 5 hours before, now I was feeling worse for the wear with 7 hours of shut eye.

Heart rate tracking became another obsession ever since I read that interval training can work wonders when you want to lose weight. But that meant constantly interrupting a perfectly good workout to check if my heart rate hit the goal mark.

How do you use them better?

Health tracking is not all bad if you know how to use them properly. They do help you get fit if you use them right. So instead of letting it rule you, make it a way to change habits.

  • Forget the calorie counting – Trackers have approximated calories and most may not store all the food options that you consume based on your local preferences.Also they never take into count that with regular movement you will be losing calories but they never get accounted for. So instead of counting calories set nutrition goals that you want to meet in terms of protein, carbs and fibre for the day.
  • Adjust daily goals –Do not use the preset goals. Your lifestyle may require different goals. Compare each week to see if you have found the right mix. It may take a while before you finalized on the set of daily goals that works for you, until then its perfectly find to make tweaks and adjustments.
  • Focus on movement – Avoiding being sedentary is more important than counting steps. Most of us have desk jobs that require us to sit for hours. So try and make it a habit to do desk stretches or just stand up and take a walk to water cooler every hour. The idea is to move for 5 mins every hour and your health tracker can be set to prompt you to do the same.
  • Work with small challenges – The fitness tracker should be used to create new habits that are good for your fitness regime. If you want to really make a change then instead of concentrating on recording everything try and set challenges for yourself. It may be about walking or running 10k three times a week. You can even set targets like the number of floors you will walk up every day.
  • Find a friend – Health apps generally allow you to train and track progress with friends. When you know others are watching your progress you tend to be less lazy. It also works as encouragement when they congratulate you when you achieve set goals.

Health trackers themselves are improving so it all works to syncing the device to your fitness requirements instead of the other way round



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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Reasons to join a Running Group

There are running groups on every street today and irrespective of your running goals, here’s why you need to consider joining a running group, writes Nandini Reddy. 

There are running groups for every type of runner today. There are the ones are specific to your place of residence and there are the ones that are specific to type of training you want to do. There are even groups of runners who train together for the purpose of achieving goal times in particular races. So whatever running goals you might have, there will be a running group out there for you.

Solo running may seem convenient. You plan your runs around your schedule, commitments and moods while running groups have their own schedules. While it might seem difficult to follow, it will the most disciplined manner in which you can improve your running form, timing and pace. Running groups combine running and hanging out with friends. So while flying solo might have been the way you started, it just maybe time to join a running group this year.

Here a few compelling reasons why you should consider signing up with a running group

Explore a New World

When you run solo you follow known routes and run at a pace that you are comfortable with and you might even that special playlist lined up. Group running gives you partners with whom you can converse about a variety of topics. Also you are more likely to explore new routes thus making your runs more interesting.

Get Faster

Running with others automatically helps you work on your pace. You might just be getting faster and not even realizing it. There is plenty of research that suggests that runners who train with groups tend to be faster than runners who train solo. Group influence always tends to spur you try a bit harder, move faster and even get over roadblocks that you might have faced as a solo runner.

No excuses 

If you are planning to just turn off the alarm and go back to bed, its easy to do as a solo runner but when you are in a group and you know they are waiting for you – then you are most likely to not miss training days. When you train as group, you are more likely to actually follow a training plan.

Perfect for newbies

Most running groups offer coaching for newbie runners. You will get to meet experienced runners who can correct and coach you as you run along with them. You will get tips on nutrition and even strength training because most serious runners always follow a strict fitness regime.

Help you reach a goal

If you are hoping to reach a goal timing, pace or complete a difficult trail run course then a running group can help you achieve that. Having a group to train with will ensure you stay motivated for the training period and that you also stick you a training plan.

The idea of joining a running club can be intimidating. There will be a lot of questions running through your mind but you should know that running groups always welcome new runners with high enthusiasm. So don’t let fear get in the way of you starting a new experience.



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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