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Before the Goal Marathon

You have trained for your goal marathon, now how about running a dress rehearsal of what you can expect during the big race, asks Nandini Reddy

You have followed the training plan. You have eaten right. All the gear you need for race day is set. You have broken in your shoes and completed training runs that have set your pace. After you have been through this disciplined process, how about running a mock run to ensure that you are really prepared for the big day?

Explore the Course

If the race is in the same city that you live in then try and take a walk or a slow jog along the course. You can familiarize yourself with all the areas that might need a little more effort to complete. You can also note how you need to distribute your energy and effort. Try and run hard on a few stretches to really understand the strain you might be under on the course. Once your body is familiar with the course it will be easier for you to run the course.

Stay with the familiar

If you have been fueling your runs with a particular brand of energy bars or sports drinks then you will need to stick to the same ones during your race. Your body has adapted to these fuel foods and changing them might cause discomfort rather than help you. Remember to carry these along in your running belt during your mock run so that you can get used to the weight of belt. The idea is to decide what will help you run better so instead of loading up things on the main day, you might as well see how much you really need during your mock race day.

Get the right gear

Gear check is the most important one for any runner. Your shoes need to be comfortable from start to finish of the race. All the wearable gear like your watch, water bottle, phone holder and runners belt should not chaff your skin during the run. Clothes have to be breathable and it is important that you do not feel any discomfort while running in them. If you are wearing a sports bra then include it during your mock run and even your earlier training sessions to check for comfort. Do not try new and fresh gear on the big race day.

The idea is to reach your full potential on the big race day so it is important that you understand all the factors that might affect your run. On race day you can now just lace up and present your best self at your goal marathon.

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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A Run for No Food Waste




South Tamil Nadu will celebrate their Republic Day weekend by running for a cause, with the Nellai Marathon in Tirunelveli on January 28th 2018.  

A run that lets you explore the most scenic and beautiful nature trails in the Tirunelveli region. A run that supports the noble cause of ensuring no food waste. A run that is the largest in South Tamil Nadu. All these are the reasons you should not miss the Nellai Marathon this January.

Every year the Nellai Runners, organize The Nellai Marathon that includes a Half-Marathon (21K), 10K and 5K. The number of runners has been growing every year since the first year, which saw 5000 runners. All runners will be given a special Go Dry Tee which is the perfect running gear this year. If you want to train for the marathon there are training runs happening every Wednesday and Saturday. Check the nellaimarathon.com for more details.

Nellai Runners are a group of running, cycling and fitness enthusiasts who love the outdoors and are passionate about the environment. They organize runs to promote healthy living and fitness and actively organize runs with training assistance through the year.

Meet the runners

The Nellai marathon attracts its own set of experienced and amateur runners. This year we will have ultra runner Ahmed Hanifa joining the crowds of enthusiastic runners. Hanifa is a corporate employee who has grown into a passionate ultra runner who can finish a 50km race with ease. His passion has made him push his limits and even run a full ironman triathlon. His love for running different trails has brought him out to the Nellai marathon this year.

This Year’s Cause – No Food Waste

The proceeds from this year’s run will be supporting a very noble cause -No Food Waste, a Non-profit organization (www.nofoodwaste.in). This organization focuses on delivering surplus foods from Weddings, Parties and other events to the hungry and deprived. The organisation exists across many cities in India and will be launching its newest chapter in Tirunelveli.

What you can do in Tirunelveli

When you have the long weekend, use it to explore and stroll down the shores of the Thamaraibarani River or visit the Kalakaddu Sanctuary or go boating at the glorious Manimuthar Dam. You can also enjoy the glorious Kutralam falls, and celebrate finishing your race with a delicious bite of the famous, Tirunelveli Halwa.

Nellai Marathon is a must visit for running enthusiasts for its unique race route and an enthusiastic set of runners who love to keep everyone motivated to start living healthy.

Click here to register for Nellai Marathon==>>https://goo.gl/gsN8NN

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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Food for Muscles

Strength training and lifting weights is a great way to build muscle strength, but your diet plays a bigger role says Nandini Reddy

Strength training is an essential part of a good runner’s training schedule. Taking care of your muscles means more than just using weights to build muscle. The one factor that needs attention is your diet. Your diet can play the most critical role in ensuring your muscles are healthy and in a state to support your strenuous running schedules. All foods are not equal so its important to pick the right ones to give your muscles the energy boost they need. There are essential rules to remember while choosing food to build muscle.

The Right Amount of Protein

Protein has the essential nutrients that are required to build muscles and also repair them when they are damaged during training. But you also need to understand that protein needs to be eaten in the right quantity. According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, consuming 1.6 gms of protein per kilogram of body weight is ideal for building muscle. Lean meats like eggs, fish and white meat are a great way to add muscle. Supplemental protein shakes break down quickly in your body so they are a great after workout booster.

When do you eat Protein?

Muscles break down whenever you run. Right after a workout your body is better equipped to absorb the nutrition from protein. That doesn’t mean you have to consume something immediately after you workout. You have a 2 hour window within which you can have a meal that will help recover the muscles that have been damaged during the run or workout. While post-workout may be an ideal time to replenish your muscle building proteins, pre-workout meals also have a great impact. Eating a protein rich meal a couple of hours before going in for your workout is also very beneficial. But you need to remember that there is a limit on how much you consume. Eating too much protein in one sitting might only create problems rather than give you a bulky frame. Plan out the protein consumption in advance and spread it out through the day.

Its not all meat

Fueling muscle growth and repair doesn’t mean you have to only indulge in eating meat. There are several vegetables that also help and should be included in your diet. Beetroot, oranges, cantaloupe, panneer, spinach, apples, yogurt and milk are great protein additives to your diet. They give you added nutrients and fuel for muscles to repair better.

No Junk Allowed

Junk is the worst kind of food that one can consume. The extra calories in junk will only make you gain weight. They will not help in muscle development. The goal should always be to eat healthy food. If you need to increase calories to make up for the energy requirements from running, don’t add junk. Eat healthy food otherwise muscle growth will not be adequate and might even be retarded because of lack to the correct nutrition.

Fuel for your runs

Carbohydrates are the most important fuel for your runs. Protein cannot provide adequate energy to keep you going the whole day but carbs can. So along with your protein it is important to give your body the right mix of carbohydrates and fats to prevent deficiencies. Sweet potatoes, brown rice and pumpkins are good carbs to eat along with protein. The carbs get stored as glycogen and will fuel the muscles as they work to help you reach the finish line.

Ensure your calorie intake equals your expenditure. If you lead an active lifestyle then your calorie intake will be higher. If you run and workout daily then you need to fuel these as well. So remember that it is important you give you body adequate protein to build muscles and carbs to fuel those muscles as they work.

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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Indulging your Sweet Tooth

Sugar cravings are a normal and indulging in them won’t ruin the benefits of your running if you know what kind to indulge in, says Nandini Reddy.

Sugar has become the one thing every fitness enthusiast avoids. In the recent years there is more literature and advice on why one should not consume sugar but we need to remember that while added sugars are the enemies we do not have to avoid natural sugars that we get from fruits (fructose) and diary (lactose). If you have a sweet tooth and you don’t know what to eat to satisfy that craving then here are a few suggestions.

Raisins

Raisins contain fast working sugars that can supply instant energy to muscles. So they make for a great additive for runners diets. Raisins are said to be as effective as an energy bar and can help maintain endurance levels of runners. A serving suggestion is to have about a quarter cup of raisins for every hour of exercise.

Chocolates

Chocolate’s main ingredient cocoa is loaded with anti-oxidants. Dark chocolate is the way to go if you want to indulge in chocolates. Dark chocolate helps reduce exercise induced stress in muscles. The other varieties of chocolates do not have such benefits so it is best to stick to dark chocolate. The recommended serving suggest is 40 gms.

Bananas

Bananas have all the right sugars to increase your endurance. When had with water, they increase the endurance of runners and cyclists. It also helps in replenishing lost electrolytes and increases energy with its winning amount of carbohydrates. After a run you can add bananas to smoothies or your oatmeal.

Pomegranate Juice

If you want to recover quickly after an exercise session then you don’t have to drink artificial energy drinks, instead opt for pomegranate juice. It increases the potassium in the body and also is a great anti-oxidant. If you training light then 1/2 a cup of juice will do but if you are training rigorously then 1-2 cups per day is recommended.

Baked Apples

A baked apple is a great source of fiber and a single apple can provide 5 gms of fiber along with a 105 calories if left unsweetened. If you would like a little texture then you can add almonds or walnuts. Baked apples provide more protein than a raw apple.

Yogurt Parfait

Yogurt with fruits makes for a great energy snack after a strenuous run. This has the benefits of protein, multi-vitamins and minerals and the satisfaction of eating something sweet. The pro-biotic in yogurt helps keep you gut healthy as well. Ensure you eat only unsweetened yogurt and add fresh fruits to it to get the best benefits. A 1/2 cup of yogurt after a big run is a great way to recover.

Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter is full of fat, protein and fiber. It releases energy in a slow and sustained manner thus making it a great food for runners. A spoonful of peanut butter before you start a run can be a great way to keep your energy level at the optimum levels.

Never keep you diet entirely sugar free. This increases the chances of you eating unhealthy sugar. You will also feel an over lack of energy if you remove sugar completely from your diet. So its better to indulge your sweet tooth the natural way!

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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From Marathon to Triathlon

The first recorded triathlon was held in California on September 1974. Since then, it has become a popular sporting challenge around the world. Radhika Meganathan tells how a runner can seamlessly transition into training for a triathlon.

A Triathlon is about mastering three races in one event – running, swimming and cycling. The standard distance in triathlon, also used in the Olympics, is a 1500 metre swim, 40 kilometre bike, and 10 kilometre run. If you are already a runner looking to train for a triathlon, you will have the following questions: How do I train? Where do I start first? What if I don’t know how to swim or bike? Read on for answers.

SWIMMING
If you don’t know swimming, your training period for the triathlon just got longer. No worries, you got this. Many people have learned swimming late in their life and have mastered it as a skill and as a sport, so there is no reason why you can’t, too. Since you are going to be training in a professional level, don’t ask for lessons from your best friend! It is advisable to learn swimming from a coach or a registered swimming school in your locality. You need someone to look at your progress, and give you feedback on your form and the correct stroke mechanics.

If you are already a swimmer, now is the time to start practising in open water. Some things that you need to take in consideration are: wave condition, weather, navigation, water temperature, any wild life in the vicinity (and the water!). A wet suit is a good investment if you tend to feel the cold more, though of course you can rent them on a need basis too. If you’re doubtful about swimming in open water, then your best bet is to compete in a race that offers a pool swim. These races are beginner-friendly, and can be a perfect starter practice before you think about doing wilder triathlons.

CYCLING
Again, if you are not familiar with cycling, your training period gets even longer, but definitely it’s doable. In this case, you can ask your best friend to teach you how to cycle. Once you master the basics of balance and riding a bike, just hop on one (you don’t need to invest in a fancy bike) and practice every day. Since speed is one of the goals, you will need a helmet for safety and protection (yours and others!). Buy one that’s structurally sound and fits properly in your head.

Often, runners have difficulty adapting to the equipment of cycling. The inclination to “run” on the bike must be cured! You don’t want to wear out your legs before you get to the running part of the triathlon. The secret is to learn the art of using one set of muscles on the bike and another set for your running.

RUNNING
Yes, this is the part of the triathlon that you already are familiar with. Don’t get over confident though, you still need to practice! Run every day as per your usual routine. Three weeks to a month before D-Day, have dress rehearsals which will help you understand how Race Day is going to be. During the race simulation, concentrate on your pacing strategies and wear the entire gear what you plan to wear for the actual event.

A triathlon is comprised of all aerobic and high-cardio activities, so you may also look into eating the right way to train for it. Diet is crucial in maintaining your fitness while training and during the race, so consult your trainer or a nutritionist.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

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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Pacing Strategy – TWCM Dec ‘17

With nearly 22000 runners participating, in the TWCM, it is time to take a quick dive into the planning of your race.

The race is going to be a lot technical with North East monsoon blowing heavy winds. Hopefully, the below helps you plan your pacing strategy.

The first 5 km of the race is the same for each race category.

The first 2 km is towards the north of the city (towards Madhya Kailash). The wind is going to be at its best. If you are at the middle of the pack, you might find some advantage closely running behind others. If you are at the front, it is best not to fight the wind, only to find yourself burnt out half way through the course.

2nd km to 5th km: you are going to enjoy the course mainly because of the wind. By this time, even if you were behind the lead pack, the crowd would be scattered by then and you can peacefully run through. Remember to run this part faster by some 15-20 second than your target pace in min/km.

10 km Course

5th km to 7th km: the winds are going to be fairly neutral, however you will get an advantage of 5-10 s/km while running west (towards Velachery) and a disadvantage of 5-10 s/km while running east (towards Holiday Inn).

7th to 9th km: you should have the best split of your race. The adrenaline should be high as you get closer to the finish line. The last km of the race is going to be against winds. However, the final km is going to be in a narrow stretch with the buildings obscuring the gust to an extent.

HM course

5th to 8th km: the winds are going to be fairly neutral, however you will get an advantage of 5-10 s/km while running west (towards Velachery) and a disadvantage of 5-10 s/km while running east (towards Holiday Inn). It will be ideal to stick around your target race pace during this 3 km stretch.

8th to 12th km: you are going to have the best split of your race. If you don’t utilize the tail winds (winds that push you from behind) in this stretch, you are going to miss your PB. Just enjoy running this part of the course but don’t forget to consume your gel and electrolyte.

12th to 18th km: you are going to run through the Pallikaranai marsh land, a stenchful area. Don’t forget to cover your face using a cloth. If possible wear your coolers, you are not going to like the insect attack. This part of the course can mentally affect your race.

If you can endure the stench for the first 5 min, you will get accustomed to it in the rest of this stretch. The wind is going to be similar to the 5th to 8th km stretch although the advantage (towards Pallikaranai) and disadvantage (towards Thoraipakkam) will be around 10 s/km.

The last 3 km are going to be against head wind. You would probably be running 15-20 s/km slower than your target pace but don’t fret because you would have gained a lot in the initial part of your race if you were smart enough to utilize it.

 

FM course

From 5th to 7th km: the winds are going to be fairly neutral, however you will get an advantage of 5 s/km. The 8th km is going to be fast for you with tail winds and the 9th km will suck a lot of energy from you. From 9th km to 11th km, you will have to conserve some energy by slowing down 5 s/km.

From 11th to 15th and 21st to 27th, these stretches constituting 10 km are going to very fast with good tail winds. Not to forget your hydration and energy gels or ultra-butter.

You guys are going to run twice through the Pallikaranai Marsh lands, which will constitute 12 km totally. Throughout this stretch you might need to cover your face and wear coolers to escape the insect attack.

From 15th to 18th km and 33rd to 36th km, you might get a slight advantage of 5 to 10 s/km but similarly you will have the same as disadvantage on 18th km to 21st km and 36th to 39th km stretches.

The toughest time of your race is going to be between 27th & 33rd km and between 39th km & finish where the head winds are going to drain you of energy from your already tired body. Use all the aid stations and stock yourself up with some energy gels or ultra-butter.

Plan your hydration and energy intake well in advance. A well-planned pace and hydration strategy is a half-completed race. All the best for the weekend. Bring your Personal Best.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Raghul Trekker is the Head Coach at Tri Crash ‘n’ Burn. A 4-time Ironman coaching more than 100 athletes for the last 3 years. Tri Crash ‘n’ Burn is a team of more than 60 triathletes and runners constantly pushing the limits to better their personal best. You can check out more about them at tricrashnburn.com

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Goal Setting and Mental Preparation for New Runners

Are you a debut marathoner? Your success is mostly determined by two crucial factors, says Radhika Meganathan, to set you up for your first marathon

In a research conducted by Staffordshire University (UK) on 700 ultra-marathoners, study results revealed that mental strength accounted for 14% of their success rate. It’s a fairly huge percentage to depend on to get you through the last few miles. Fortunately, the mind can be trained just like the body. however, as the mind is not a muscle, you need to employ a different technique to help it understand and embrace a debut marathon running training.

PREPARING YOUR GOALS
If you are excited about running your first marathon, consider setting ‘SMART‘ goals:
Specific – Rather attempting to win, aim to complete a 2 km run within 15 minutes by the end of this month.
Measurable – Use apps and equipment like stopwatch or a GPS unit to measure your progress.
Achievable – Instead of, say, a tough trail run, start with your local half marathon and take it from there. You don’t want to burn out too early.
Realistic – Both sport and endurance need realistic time to develop and excel. Have sensible goals like improving your running time by minutes,
Time – Set a proper time limit for your goals. ‘When I do this marathon, my running time must have improved by 10 minutes’ is a great time goal.

PREPARING YOUR MIND
As Ken Larscheid, owner of Running Lab quotes in Detroit Free Press, the race doesn’t really start until the last two miles, and that is when the mental strength comes into play. Here are some tips to get your mind revved for the race ahead:

1. Get your inner dialogue right: The voice inside our head determines our determination in holding on till the end. For a debut runner, this means being positive not just on race day, but throughout the training period.

2. Address your fears: Fear is good, because it cautions you in advance. If you are scared about anything, just air it out with your trainer. Talk to experienced marathoners and get their insider tips on what their most concerns were and how they tackled them.

3. Familiarise with The Wall: Most fear the wall or “bonking”, with good reason. Your training will give you the confidence and ability to face any bad patch, so just make sure you are pro-active in addressing all possible slip ups that can occur during a debut marathon run.

4. Have your own ritual: Try developing your own ‘mantra’, i.e., finding your unique way to block your mind against a negative mood – a special song, or use counting, just anything, really, to pull your focus away from bad thoughts.

5. Be in the present: You need to be in the present to train well, because only stress lives in the future and you want to avoid that. When you focus on the now. Winning is about performance, not destination, so train in the present, because that’s the only thing that is in your control.

Remember, if this is your first marathon, just finishing it from start to end is a worthy goal by itself. For now, concentrate on building your experience and endurance, and your speed and techniques will automatically improve over the course of time.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

 

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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The North Face Endurance Run

Running is a lifestyle change, marathon runner Vidya Mahalaxmi talks to Nandini Reddy about her finishing The North Face Endurance Challenge this weekend.
The Run 
The North Face Endurance Challenge Championship course engages runners with both scenic views and drastic elevation change. You won’t want to miss out on this trail running event that draws participants ranging from first time racers to elite runners.The North Face Endurance Challenge returns to the Bay Area. Located in the visually stunning Marin Headlands. The run has a 50 Mile, 50K, Full Marathon and Half Marathon, the Marathon Relay, 10K, 5K and a kids run. The total time allotted for completion of the 50 mile run is 14 hours. The weather, in San Francisco during November, is perfect for the run.
The First Bug 
For Bangalore girl, Vidya Mahalaxmi, running has today become a lifestyle. It may have started as a fitness regime after giving birth to her first child, twelve years ago but today it has become a few miles every day. “Running marathons/ half marathons, was never on the cards for me. Growing up, I was told, I had flat feet and running wasn’t going to be easy. I used to swim. But never attempted to run,” reminisces Vidya.
“About eighteen months ago, I started working for Tarlton Properties,Inc., in Construction. My C.E.O., John Tarlton, has been more than an inspiration for me. He is my mentor. He has taken part in RAAM( Race Across America). He biked from the West Coast to the East, in eleven days. He encouraged me to take part in my first Half Marathon, The North Face Endurance Challenge – 2016. Since then, I have taken park in several races, by myself, and also as a pacer with him, in a few races. ( Santa Barbara Endurance Run and Lake Tahoe Ultra Marathon), ” says Vidya.
The Challenge of the Race
This year she ran the Half Marathon at the North Face Endurance Challenge -2017. “Just like other races, before race day, I try to run any where from 10 to 15 miles. The last week, I start to taper, and carb-load,” says Vidya. This race, in particular was interesting in so many ways. The trail, has the most breath-taking views of San Francisco. It is also extremely challenging, with all the elevations with stretches where runners literally bear-crawl. “I overcame a weakness of running in elevation in this race. My favourite part of the race though was running down-hill,” shares Vidya.

After every Race

A post run analysis of her performance is a must for Vidya who is always looking to improve with every race. “I learn something new, after every race. What gear and accessories to wear, what snacks help with your muscle cramps, and how to carry as much water, in the most minimal way, ” notes Vidya.

“Running has changed my perspective of life. I was divorced three years ago, after being married for 11 years, with two kids. My kids are so proud of their mother and running has played a big role in that aspect. Finishing the race, gives me confidence, that can’t be expressed in words,” concludes Vidya Mahalaxmi the newest member of the every growing running community across the world.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

IMG_20171011_095150

 

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 train for Trail Run

If you love running and nature, chances are that you may love trail running too. Radhika Meganathan explores the process of training for a trail run.

Perhaps the only thing that might top runner’s high is runner’s high at an altitude! Trail running involves running on natural terrain, usually on mountainous hiking trails, and offers many benefits such as less impact on the body, increased variety, and the filling of your senses with natural beauty. From the book The Ultimate Guide to Trail Running, to be qualified as a “trail” it should possess:

  1. Natural elements and obstacles (such as winding woods, trees, waterways etc.)
  2. significant ascents and descents (i.e. elevation gain/loss)
  3. Scenic beauty.

So, even a paved car track can be known as a trail if it is located on a beautiful hilly terrain! Nevertheless, a nature trail is completely different from, say, your friendly neighbourhood park, so here is a primer on what you need to know about Train Running 101.

Understand your trail

Firstly, one size does not fit all when it comes to trails. Your training plan should consider altitude, overall elevation change, and course the nature of the trail itself. Is it rocky, mossy, clay soil? Hilly, or flat? Sharp turns or loose gravel? Did you come across it during a holiday (or hear about it from someone) and plan to go there soon? Or, are you lucky enough to live near a nature trail, in which case you can train real time, regularly? Knowing your goals and accessibility options beforehand will tremendously help you in getting a trail-running plan drafted.

Reset your expectations

When you transition from running on flat, concrete surface to dirt and grass, it changes the way you pace and balance yourself, and gives you a set of new challenges. Your trail path will be uneven, gravelly and sticky alternatively, and make you twist and turn more frequently than ever. To prepare to handle all this and avoid injuring yourself, it is essential to train the right way. Both attitude and altitude adjustment is required! Your pace will slow down, so don’t expect to have the same speed as before. Patience and a willingness to relearn is key.

Get appropriate gear

If you plan to run on trails regularly, getting a trail running kit is essential. When you run through non-urban spaces (or middle of the forests!), you don’t want to be stuck without a torch or food, so you may need to consider investing in a bag to carry water, food, or extra layers. Though you can use normal sports shoes to run on a trail, it may be a better idea to invest in special trail running shoes, whose treads offer better grip, safeguard you more effectively from slippery surfaces and have more features to protect you against elements such as rocks and roots.

Self-styled or trail training lessons

There are thousands of trail runners all over the world who run without any professional help, as even the freshest novice can start running after doing proper research and investing in the right gear/footwear. But still, if your trail is not a walk in the park (pun intended) or if you have any physical or mental restrictions that may prevent you from successfully completing a trail run, it may be a good idea to get some expert training, at least in the initial stage.

You can request a consultation at your local gym, or connect with local hiking/mountaineering organisations where you can meet with fellow runners and compare notes and more. You may even sign up with a running buddy or learn about a hitherto unexplored trail for your debut run!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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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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