Gear Comments (0) |

Picking between Nike and Adidas

Deepthi Velkur took to comparing two great running shoes to find out which one works best for you

Finding the best-fitting running shoe among the innumerable choices at our local sports stores isn’t easy at all. To ensure you walk out a happy customer, you need to make sure the shoe fits properly from heel to toe and that it feels comfortable with your regular running stride.

All major sporting goods manufacturers from Nike to Adidas to Puma have spent millions in money and research time perfecting the running shoe and still continue to do so. It took Nike engineers, chemists and designers nearly 2 years before the company could release its Air VaporMax in February 2017. The shoe has an exaggerated bubble on the bottom paired with a sleek Flyknit upper, a combo that Nike claims results in the “most flexible Air Max ever.” How well does the VaporMax deliver on Nike’s promise of the “running on air” sensation from a functional standpoint – we will dive into that a little later in this article.

Adidas on the other hand had introduced its own big innovation in bouncy soles, the Boost cushioning platform and has become one of the company’s signature products – the Ultra Boost line of running shoes features a sock-like knit upper paired with a squishy, springy sole.

The rival shoes are so well-matched that they raise an inevitable conundrum for shoppers: Which one is better?

We set out to answer the question—and created a short checklist that makes a pretty good guide for rating any pair of running sneakers. The criteria include stats that affect performance, such as weight, but also things that matter to the average consumer, like price and the ease of adjusting the laces.

Fit

The Nike VaporMax is extremely lightweight and super flexible that gives you a custom fit feel and does not limit your natural movements. The shoe tends to be a little narrow but run true to size length wise.

The Ultra Boost boasts a Primeknit upper that provides for a customized fit for runners with narrow feet, however there have been concerns that the rigid frame can be a sloppy fit especially during fast paced runs.

Upper Comfort: The Flyknit material used on the VaporMax has more stretch to it which is welcome, given the somewhat constricting shape of the midfoot. This material gives the shoe that extra comfort, making it breathable and light weight. The Adidas primeknit material is flashy and non-abrasive but it is also hot and constricting. Also, the primeknit material gets waterlogged easily.

Stability: Adidas released the Ultra Boost with a staggering 27mm of Boost midsole which is unsupported by any material of a higher durometer. The effect is a slightly sloppy feel and you don’t feel like your feet are completely locked down but overall it does offer a comfortable and softer ride.

Nike on the other hand uses its Flywire system that holds your foot firmly in place and compresses your foot evenly. The traditional midsole is absent and the Flyknit upper sits directly on top of the Air bag.

Traction and Durability: The outsole of the VaporMax uses a durable rubber and also comes with extra rubber around the unit to help support it. The Ultra Boost, on the other hand, comes with a much more conventional sole and can be worn anywhere comfortably. The outsole of the Ultra Boost is made of continental rubber which helps in its durability and traction.

Underfoot Comfort: The VaporMax has a very bouncy ride and it does take some time getting used to. You also get the feeling on walking on stilts given its thick AirMax units. The Ultra Boost on the other hand is smooth and comfortable.

Price: The Ultra Boost is priced at INR 18,999 (https://www.adidas.co.in/) and the VaporMax at INR 18,995 (https://www.nike.com/in/en_gb/). Prices may vary basis the color and the model chosen.

Final thoughts – As much as the VaporMax might win from a style perspective, it probably won’t match up to the performance of the Adidas Ultra Boost. The numerous marathons won by the Boost clearly suggest a more effective performance platform than the Air.

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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Why run the Tata Mumbai Marathon?

Capt Seshadri explores why you should run the most prestigious marathon for Indian runners, the Tata Mumbai Marathon.

The seven islands of Mumbai, when seen as a whole, have a gap in between. Observe closely and you will see the gap as the profile of a runner. This has aptly been captured in the logo of the Tata Mumbai Marathon, an annual event which, like an irresistible magnet, draws 45,000 runners from all over India and from across continents. For those who have already participated, the itch to return is unavoidable; for those who haven’t, here is the bugle call.

On the third Sunday of January every year, the city wakes up to a riot of colours. Women and men, children and senior citizens, and even the disabled, leaning on crutches or being assisted in wheelchairs, all attired in colourful running gear, head to one destination – the Azad Maidan, and with one objective – to celebrate the freedom of running. The local trains and buses are filled with the excited chatter of groups of runners participating in different categories. The intrepid and the experienced will run the full 42 k in anything between 3 and 6 hours. Following them will be the half marathoners, the Open 10 k participants, dream runners covering 6.6 k, the senior citizens running over 4.7 k, and finally, the ‘champions with disabilities’ being cheered unceasingly over 2.1 km. Mumbai comes alive with its trademark spirit.

When it comes to the Tata Mumbai Marathon, or the TMM as it is popularly called, there is no reason to run; only an emotion to experience. Inspired by the London Marathon and with its first edition in 2004, it is today one of the world’s leading marathons, categorised as an IAAF Silver Label Road Race. On this day, elite Olympic and world class runners, business tycoons, celebrities and thousands of amateurs, rub sweaty shoulders to celebrate the spirit of freedom and to contribute to charity. The financial capital of the country opens its treasure chest with a huge heart. As India’s biggest charity platform, this event has, in 11 years, contributed an astounding USD 30 million and more.

This is the day to savour the sights of Mumbai on foot; something that can never be done from a motor vehicle in bustling traffic. The route rolls past the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and the historic Flora Fountain, moves on to the Marine Drive, past Haji Ali and opens out on to the breathtaking view from the Bandra – Worli Sea Link. Crossing the halfway mark, the runners wind past Mahim Church, Jaslok Hospital, the Wankhede Stadium and almost up to Land’s End at Nariman Point. All along the route, cheering Mumbaikars, sacrificing their Sunday morning sleep, line up to encourage the runners, with bands playing popular tunes, folk dances and even an elderly Gujarati gentleman in a beret, playing on his harmonica. This is the true boost to the adrenaline, the real reason to run.

The TMM is probably one of the few marathons in the country that attracts runners and running clubs from every corner of the country. With participants from the deep south of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, from every metro and city in the country and even from far away Assam, it transcends the boundaries of mere running and morphs into a multi-cultural celebration of the spirit of participation.

Can you hear the bugle call?

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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Online vs live coaching – which is better?

A lot of accomplished runners have opted for online coaching. But would that work for everyone? Radhika Meganathan speaks to trainer and marathoner RAGHUL TREKKER about its pros and cons.

If you had thought that ‘live’ is always better than ‘long distance’, think again! Raghul Trekker is in a unique position to speak about the advantages of online coaching, since not only he has a long distance coach who trains him from her home in South Africa, he himself is a long distance coach for over 70 runners spread across the world.

“I met my trainer Lucie Zelenkova, a prolific athlete, in Malaysia in 2015. Since then, she has designed my workout schedule which I follow every day,” says Raghul. They have weekly skype sessions, in which they exchange discussions about his goals and progress reports. His coach sends him regularly customised workouts and diet charts and is available for a call or a skype session I whenever he needs her advice.

After winning Ironman Sri Lanka and other races, Raghul started training aspiring runners. “The website I use is Training Peaks (https://www.trainingpeaks.com) which acts as a platform between users and trainers. The process is very simple. Each runner first has to talk to me by phone so that I understand their goals and expectations, and can make a decision whether I am the right trainer for them. Once I decide to take them on, they will have to create a profile and the training begins.”

Usually runners should have a goal to train for, say, Ironman or an upcoming marathon, because otherwise Raghul cannot draft a fitness schedule to help them become better than their current level. “You can be a newbie or a seasoned athlete, and you can come to me just for a season like 3 months or 6 months training (and many do, which is great, there is no hard and fast rule that you have to train forever!), but you cannot come to me blank. Have a vision and help me help you,” he says.

What are his tips for runners who want to look for the right online coach? “Look up for one who specialises in the event that you’d like to conquer,” says Raghul. “If you are aiming for a triathlon, go for coaches who have experience in that. Make sure your coach is going to design your training schedule specifically for you every week, based on your lifestyle and stats, rather than expecting you to fit yourself in some readymade and generic template. A good coach should be able to know you as a person, not just a runner, and design your workout accordingly.”

Raghul’s customised plans for his runners always include diets, mental preparation tips and terrain tips, among the usual workouts aimed at physical mastery. Some of the things he takes into consideration while designing workouts, are: Current fitness level, past fitness level, past achievements, time they have to commit to workouts every day, every week and their willingness to strive for tougher workouts on an escalating basis. “I log these data regularly, religiously, in every runner’s profile and keep track of their progress. This way, even if the runner has a break and comes back for more training after a few months, or even years, I don’t have any hiccups.”

So, for the million dollar question, what is his opinion about Live vs Long Distance?

“Live coaching can be exciting if you have found a good trainer in your locality, but it is restricted by geographical boundaries,” says Raghul. In live coaching, your trainer cannot be with you all the time, week after week, or oversee your stats and progress every day. Not all trainers are tech savvy and may have to rely on you to feed information and progress reports to them in a tricky verbal or handwritten format, which may or may not be always accurate. And not every town in the world is going to have a great trainer. But almost every town these days does have an internet connection.

“That way, I’d say online coaching is great because one, you get to train under some truly exceptional athletes in the world even if they don’t live in your neck of the woods, and that can be a tremendous confidence booster, not mention a rare and fantastic opportunity. Two, all the stats are recorded, updated and stored online in each runner’s profile and I will have that information in my finger tips to help my students without having to rely on memory or having to start from scratch,” Raghul delivers the verdict.

If you’d like to be trained by Raghul, you can contact him through the website of his fitness studio, TRI CRASH ‘n’ BURN, at http://www.tricrashnburn.com

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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How to fix Heel Pain?

If you have stepped out of bed and experienced a sharp pain in your heels, then you need to learn these remedies, writes Nandini Reddy.

Painful soles and a feeling like a million needles are pricking your heels is the hallmark symptom of heel pain. This is also the first symptom that tells you that the connective tissue in your sole is strained and inflammed and you could be seeing an onset of plantar fasciitis.

Once you experience this heel pain, the recovery period is long and slow. If you are in pain already or if you wish to avoid the injury then there are few cautionary tips for you to follow:

Re-think you training program

If you are experiencing heel pain then you need to inform your running coach or work with a physiotherapist who can alter your program. You will need to make changes in your speed, distance, gear and running terrains. Hilly and uneven terrain should be completely avoided as long as you have the heel pain. Work on getting different footwear that will support your foot.

Balance Rest and Stress

Opt for a running shoe that is a better fit. You will need to find a shoe with better arch support and cushioning on the heel. This will be less stressful on your foot. Get used to the new shoes by walking in them first. Strengthen and repair your damaged tissue and the surrounding muscles that offer support to the foot. Calf strengthening exercises are extremely important and your core stability is also paramount.

Relieve your Symptoms

Use a foot roller or a tennis ball and move your foot over it to relieve the muscle pain. You can also use a frozen water bottle to relieve the pain. These are for temporary relief of symptoms only. There are massage therapies available to manage the pain as well. These may not resolve the problem but are useful for temporary relief.

Don’t stop moving

Resting and not moving will not improve your problem. Aerobic exercise is the best way to take care of an inflammation. If you find it difficult to run then opt for an elliptical machine or running in a swimming pool. Essentially opt for a low-impact exercise that doesn’t put pressure on your foot.

Suggested Exercises

Calf raises are the best exercise to do to repair your heels. This exercise improves tissue quality and stretches out the stressed tissue bringing relief. This also works on the surrounding muscles and strengthens them as well. This can be done several times through the day.

The most important thing to remember is that recovering from heel pain needs patience.

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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Why do my Knees hurt when I Run?

The stress of running can cause irritation in the kneecaps and escalate to knee pain, so how can you counter that ask Nandini Reddy.

Running is a stressful activity for your legs. Ankles, knees and soles are the worst hit in terms of stress related injuries. Knees are the weight bearing joints of the body and help us keep our balance. Knee pain is very common for runners and generally a bit of rest can alleviate knee pain. But if a simple remedy doesn’t help then you need to get into the depths of why your knee hurts and possible causes and remedies that may need longer rest.

Understanding Knee Pain

Running is a high impact sport where knees are concerned. Soreness, inflammation and strains are common for all runners. Nearly 50% of runners face knee injuries in some form or the other. The knee is a difficult spot that is held together by four ligaments. If you do not have adequate strength then the pressure of your run falls mostly on your knees. The most important areas to strengthen to avoid knee pain are your core, glutes and hips.

If your knee wobbles when you run or if you get prolonged pain after your run then it means that your hips, core and glute muscles are not strong enough. A strong pelvis will ensure proper heel strike and will help you maintain proper form. Wrong stride strikes will result from weak hips that will not maintain form and thus finally hitting the knee with twice the impact causing high stress on the ligaments.

For the period of recover opt for low impact exercises like swimming and yoga. Squats or partial squats are a way to strengthen your knees. You can start slow and build up to a regular schedule of squats. In addition watch your stride length and pace and ensure that you are careful about getting it right until your knee doesn’t feel stressed.

How to treat it?

Ice it – If you knee is swollen after a run, ice it for 20-30 mins every 4 hours over the next 2-3 days or until the swelling completely comes down and the pain has disappeared

Bandage it – Elastic wrap bands are a great way to support the knee and prevent it from bending the wrong way. The extra support will help reduce over-usage of the knee and bring down the pain.

Elevate it – Raise your leg up using a pillow. The elevation will help drain the lactic acid accumulated and allow for fresh oxygenated blood flow to the knee, thus reducing the pain.

Strengthen it – Check with a physiotherapist about strengthening movements and stretches that you can do to relieve the pain.

If these techniques do not work then you need to consult a doctor to explore what the extent of injury and see how this needs to be resolved using medical treatment under the supervision of a doctor.

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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The Comrades of 2018

He just concluded Comrades Marathon had a lot of surprises this year, writes Nandini Reddy

The 89km Comrades Marathon is the world’s largest and oldest ultra marathon race. The event sees 20,000 runners from 60 countries competing to win the coveted race. The allowed time to finish the race is 11-12 hours and every year at least half the number or more tend to finish the race in the allotted time. Runners who apply for this race have to finish a full marathon within 5 hours to qualify. The race was run for the first time in May 1921. This year’s race’s official distance is 90.18 kms.

This is also an inclusive sport that sees many specially-abled athletes compete. This year, we saw amputee runner Xolani Luvuno pursuing his dream of competing in the Comrades with the help of crutches.  He was given 5 hours extra to complete the course.

The Comrades Marathon of 2018 saw the South African’s dominating the leader boards. Comrade marathon saw South African’s finishing in the top positions with timings of 5:26:34 hours by Bongmusa Mthembu in the first spot in the men’s category and Ann Asworth (6:10:44mins) in the women’s category. Mthembu won his 3rd race this day. Ashworth reclaimed the crown for South Africa this year.

What it takes to cross the finish line?

This world race has a lot of preparation behind the marvelous feats of the runners. It firstly required a lot of stamina to cross the finish line and can be daunting as the hours progress.

  1. Apply Vaseline all over your body to prevent chaffing
  2. Nutrition en-route is important so carry your own supplies
  3. Ensure your shoes are comfortable to prevent toe injuries
  4. Right clothes to prevent rubbing and rashes
  5. Take a bathroom break at regular intervals

Unscrupulous athletes are present in every marathon but if you decide to run the wrong way then you are likely to be served a ban.Entering the race with unverified qualifying times and lying about the qualifying times is the definite way to get yourself banned for life. Improving your seeding through false timings won’t get you very far but every year the Comrade organisers face these situations.

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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Share the Road

Cyclists and Runners constantly face the problem of vehicles disregarding their space, so how do we learn to share the road asks Nandini Reddy.

Civic agencies around the world have demarcated roads with special lanes for cyclists and runners. If you are in Chennai you would have seen the green square and boards urging you to give room to the cyclists. The world standard for motorists is to maintain 400m distance from cyclists when they spot them on the road but how many of us really respect that rule or show consideration to runners and cyclists who are cruising along the roads.

While the worldwide Share the Road campaign has entered its 10th year, in India we still struggle to make people understand why runners and cyclists deserve their big of space on the road. If you have ever tried you have been most probably met with remarks about why runners should stick to parks or cyclists should be on trails. But as a motorist you are responsible for sharing your space with to others on the road.

Why walk, run or cycle?

All over the world people are choosing to walk or cycle to their destinations. Here are a few reasons why?

  • Most use them as a short distance transport till they can reach the public transport hubs.
  • They seem to be faster mode in densely clogged roads
  • More environment friendly
  • Healthier mode of transport
  • Cheaper and more economical mode of transport

If we see walkers, runners of cyclists on the road it is the responsibility of the motorist also to ensure their safety.

How can we Share the Road?

If you want to Share the Road then you need a change of attitude towards pedestrians, runners and cyclists first, so in order to achieve the change we need to

  • Treat cyclists as we do other vehicle drivers
  • Be aware that there are specialized lanes for their safety
  • Do not pass too closely to them
  • Check all your mirrors before turning so that you do not hit cyclists
  • Slow down when they are moving across the road

In general the idea is to be aware and cautious that there are all forms of traffic human and vehicular on the road and they all have equal rights.

Responsibility of Runners and Cyclists

As much as the onus is on the motorists to ensure that they give adequate respect to the space of cyclists and runners, equal caution must be exercised by them also. As a runner or cyclists you need to

  • Respect traffic signals and road marking
  • Be attentive while on the road
  • Do not listen to music on high volume
  • Cyclists should not ride on pavements
  • Cross the roads at designation spaces and when it is safe

The idea is to build a vibrant community that is active and in order to do so it is important that we include all forms of transportation and vehicles.

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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Stress Fractures: A runner’s nightmare

Stress fractures can put a serious dent in your passion for running, so what can you do to avoid them, writes Nandini Reddy

Have you ever felt extreme pain in your feet that you had to stop running? It is not a slight discomfort in the shin or a sore muscle, this sort of pain doesn’t let you run even after the usual stretching and short period of rest. This sort of injury may be a stress fracture and you might need to see your medical practitioner immediately. This injury is by far the most frustrating injury for any passionate runner. This is not a soft tissue injury that will repair itself with a week of rest. You need at least 6-8 weeks of rest and there have been even cases that required assisted walking with crutches.

Understanding the stress fracture

Runners can get a stress fracture in a wide variety of region such as the shin bone, the thigh bone, ankles and calf bone. The intensity of the fracture can be low or high. If it is a low risk fracture, then it would heal on its own. This type of fracture usually occurs at the shin or ankle. If you have a high-risk fracture, then a longer period of rest is required. Returning to running is a slower and more cautious process. The areas of these fracture need extra care and heal slowly. But for runners the chances of getting a high-risk fracture are fairly low.

The important thing to keep in mind though is to be aware of the symptoms. A stress fracture typically feels like a localized burning pain on the bone. If you apply pressure on the area, it will hurt and as you run the pain will increase. The muscle around the bone where the stress fracture occurs can feel tight also. You should see an orthopedist if you suspect a stress fracture.

How can you avoid Stress Fractures?

It is important to maintain a good training schedule. If you over train or if your running form is incorrect then you are likely to get a stress fracture. One of the best approaches is to ensure that you do not experience stress fractures is to have your training schedule wetted by a coach. You have to give yourself recovery days. If you experience the first symptoms of a stress fracture, it is best to take some time off and re-organise your training schedule. You can reduce your training schedule by 10 -20 % until you recover fully and then slowly build your mileage on recovery.

If your running form is incorrect for example your stride frequency is off point, then increase your chance of developing a stress fracture. You need to maintain a stride frequency of 180 strides/minute. If you feel pain that you suspect might be stress fracture, then you need to reduce the stride frequency.

Returning to running after recovery

Once you have recovered, you should try and get back with short sessions. You can start with interval training runs in a walk and run combination. Then you can progress to slow jogging and build your distance before you start running again.

Be aware about pains that linger and do not reduce even after proper rest. Return to your doctor if the pain returns.

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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Is there a good time to run?

Every runner has their own time preferences during the day for their training runs, but which time is ideal for running – morning, afternoon or evening?, asks Nandini Reddy

Have you felt that you run your best in the mornings? Or do you feel more energetic when you run in the evenings? Whether you are a newbie runner, running club member or elite marathon runner, you will have a personal preference for the time you run. One early morning runner said that running in the evening improved his timing? So does that mean there is actually a good time during the day to run? Are their scientific reasons for why we run better at a particular time?

One of the biggest scientific finding is that runner perform better when their body temperature is higher. Generally early mornings are the times of lowest body temperatures. So you need a longer warm up routine to read a good body temperature to have a good running performance. By evening, your natural body temperature is higher so many runners find themselves running better during the evenings. Also the lungs are at their best during the evenings thus you might be able to reach better times and run longer too.

If we consider the morning, afternoon and evening times, there are a few factors we can study in order to better understand how our body works at different times of day and what might be best suited for running.

Body Functions

Bodily functions are the worst early in the mornings. Muscles are stiff and body temperature is low. Also you haven’t eaten in 8-10 hours, so even the energy stores will be low. Mid-morning, after you have had a breakfast is technically a better time for your body because you are the most energetic at this time. Although for people who work this time might not work at all. But this time is best to try the more strenuous trail runs or hill runs. Also testosterone is highest during this time and its a vital hormone for muscle building. The afternoon times are when we are lowest on our vitality. The body functions go into a lull at this time making it a less preferred time to run. The lunch time runners might disagree though. By late afternoon your body temperature picks up and your muscles are most supple, making it the best time to run. Many runners have been known to achieve their personal bests during their evening runs.

Chances of Injury

The chances of injury are the highest when the body temperature is low. So early mornings needs a good warm up routine if you wish to avoid injury. Running cold is the worst thing any runner can do. This worsens your running performance and increases your chances of injury. Also when the body is feeling tired or low on energy don’t try to push and run. You will end up hurting yourself. Generally the highest injury times are early mornings and noon.

Psychological factors

While there may be a lot of science on the physical factors that you should consider while choosing the best time to run, sometimes the biggest determining factor will be your mind. If you have busy work days then you might find it easier to run in the early mornings. But many of us aren’t early risers so the evening might be a referred time to run. We may even want a mid day boost and running is the best way to boost your energy, so the lunchtime runners would argue that they prefer running at that time.

While physically you may be able to adapt to any time of the day, psychologically a time preference seems to dominate when we choose to run. If you have a regular choice then try a couple of days at an alternative time just to check how your performance is affected.

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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