Motivation Comments Off on Can a Sprinter run a Marathon? |

Can a Sprinter run a Marathon?

Deepthi Velkur explores the difference between running a fast sprint and enduring a marathon. 

All running is not equal. Sprinting and marathon running are two very different sports. Sprinters run the 100m, 200m and 400m and long distance running includes the 5km, 10km, half and full marathons. To become a sprinter or a long distance runner, different muscle groups need to be trained in the body and there is a clear distinction between their physical appearances. A sprinter’s body is built for speed and power while the marathoner is built for long and slow endurance. There are other differences that need to be understood to know why a sprinter cannot immediately transition to running marathons and why a marathoner might not enjoy sprinting.

A few of the differences include:

Muscle Structure 

A distance runner has long lean muscles that are elongated which come from longer strides while sprinters have compacted muscles concentration used to increase speed, strength, and power.

A sprinter has highly developed fast twitch muscles, their reflexes are quick and react instantaneously. Neurons fire rapidly throughout the body causing the muscles to contract and relax. This sort of quick exchange of energy can be maintained only for a short distance. It is an anaerobic exercise(large amounts of oxygen) for high-intensity activity and the amount of ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) produced in the body increases the lactic acid release which tends to settle in the muscles  as there isn’t enough time to flush it out of the body.

Long distance runner enhances their slow twitch muscles which are key to endurance. They are fired more slowly thus steadily allowing the body to maintain the volume of running. These types of runners are able to have fewer breaks in-between sets, prolonging the development of lactic acid build up. Distance runners also have lactic acid build up, but it takes longer.

Heart Rate

Heart rate is one of the best indicators of exercise intensity between sprinting and running a marathon. Using high intensity during a sprint, your heart rate can reach up to 80 to 90 percent of your maximum and can be sustained only for a short time frame.

For a marathoner, the heart rate is typically between 60 to 70 percent. Some of the elite or experienced marathon runners, increase the intensity level and sustain it at 70 to 80 percent of maximum heart rate.

Training

Sprinters have a higher heart rate for a short period of time and have bulkier muscles as their body can withstand intensive short workouts though they need a long recovery time in-between sets. A sprinter trying to run 800m from 400m distance will have more of using the constricted muscle groups. If a sprinter trains long and hard enough, they can move up to the middle distance running(800m to 1500m) and eventually long distance races. The body needs to adapt itself to relearn and readjust the muscle movement and motions.

Marathoners focus on developing cardio-respiratory fitness, muscular endurance and stamina for running long distances at a set pace and the body are used to various surfaces so the joints are able to withstand more impact at a constant rate.  A distance runner moving down to a shorter race such as the 1500m will have elongated muscles. These runners will have to work to train their muscles to fire quickly and more rapid.

Running a 10km or a marathon for a sprinter seems like a herculean task to achieve but with their perseverance and dedication, a sprinter can run a marathon.

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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Motivation Comments (3) |

Natural Ways to Boost Energy

When you are feeling sluggish, its hard to find the motivation to be healthy, so Nandini Reddy has a few suggestions to boost your energy naturally

Microwave meals and binge watching TV seem to be the perfect thing to do when you are feeling sluggish. Honestly that is just going to prolong the feeling rather than help you energize. It happens to all of us where we feel like we are running on empty and there seems to be no end to our to-do list. But there are some amazing ways in which you can recharge your batteries and be back to your energizer bunny personality.

Go to Sleep

Keep your phones and electronics devices outside your room, switch off your Wi-Fi and go to sleep. Melatonin production is important to get a good nights rest and electronic blue screens tend to hinder melatonin production. Get uninterrupted 8 hours of rest and your body will repair itself naturally and leave you feeling fresh in the morning.

Go Green

Have a fresh green salad or a green smoothie or any leafy green vegetables of your choice as a soup. The nutrients from the greens will recharge your body. You can also add a Super Food like Spirulina into your diet. You will notice a marked difference in your energy levels

Get some sun

Sunlight can naturally recharge your body. Sunshine helps in Seratonin production – which happens to be the bodies happy hormones. If you have a job that keeps you inside an air-conditioned office then try and take small breaks every two hours and walk out on to the balcony or the parking lot and it will help stretch out your muscles and get some Vitamin D as well. If you can wake up early and take a slow paced walk to absorb the early morning rays of the sun.

Eat well

One of the biggest reasons you might find yourself sluggish could be because of the lack of nutrients like Vitamin B and enough fibre and complex carbohydrates. You need to add eggs, oats, brown rice and sweet potato to your diet to ensure that you never run low on energy because of the wrong kind of food.

Snack a little

Use the mid-morning and late afternoon to grab an energizing snack. It could be a cup of chickpeas, millet based granola bars or fresh berries. The idea is to ensure that you energy meter doesn’t dip low and drive you into a lethargic pace. These small snack refuels will certainly help keep you energized.

The timing, combination and consistency of doing these things will keep your energy levels up. So remember to work the into your daily routine and diet.

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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Nutrition Comments Off on Fat loading or Carb loading? |

Fat loading or Carb loading?

It’s a matter of storing glycogen in your muscles before the big event, but if you are wondering which is best option for you, then read on as Radhika Meganathan discusses both approaches here. 

Every runner knows about and dreads hitting the “wall”, which happens when your body is depleted of energy, and energy comes from burning fuel, usually in the form of glycogen. To “load’ is to help your body fill up on its glycogen so that it can use it up for energy and keep you going as you are doing a long distance sport (anything that’s over 2 hours in duration). But what exactly should you load your body with – carbs or fat? Does it even matter?

Before answering this question, let’s first take a look at why glycogen plays a crucial role in the pre-race diet of a runner.

Why is glycogen important?

Let’s say you eat a delicious plate of biriyani or penne pasta. Once all those carbohydrates enter your system, most of it gets stored as glycogen in your muscles and liver. It’s like keeping money in a savings account; your body dips into it and you burn and lose energy during a race. So, the idea is to save enough glycogen to last an entire race. So now you have a free pass to eat whatever you want before the race, with no worries about dieting! All within certain reason, of course, as explained in the next part of this article.

What is Carb-Loading?

Simply put, you eat carbs before a race, ideally 3-4 days before the big day. This does not mean you just keep stuffing yourself without any limit. Eat to your satisfaction, not to the point of discomfort. The recommended range is to eat 7-10 grams of carb per kg of your body weight for 3 days before the race. Pasta, rice, bread, pancakes/waffles, chappathi, bananas, baked potatoes (without skin), oatmeal are in the recommended list Vegetables and fruits have carbs too but is best to keep them to a minimum, as they have fibre and too much fibre before a race can derail you with stomach issues!

What is Fat Loading?

Now, glycogen is not the only source of energy your body has access to, it’s just the most easily digestible one! During a marathon, you burn both glycogen and fat. But the body has to work harder to convert fat into fuel, which is why it prefers to burn carbs than fat. Fat encompasses everything from meat to dairy to nutty oils – think bacon fried in butter or eggs sautéed in coconut oil. The one thing that is NOT present in fat loading is carbs, so all grains, fruits and sugars are out of this diet.

Carb Loading vs Fat Loading: Which is best?

There is no right answer to this question, as it is entirely a matter of what you want to do and which option is most suited to your body. From an economic perspective, foods used in carb loading are cheaper and easier to prepare. That said, a diabetic runner will certainly not take to carb-loading in a healthy way, and can benefit from fat loading which has almost zero carb content. If you are not insulin resistant, or if you are following a keto diet, you can certainly opt for fat loading about 9-10 days before the race.

Recent scientific studies have revealed that a fat-heavy diet can work for runners, as it teaches your muscles to be fat burners. So when you are trained to use fat as fuel during a race, glycogen storage is saved up for later use, resulting in an actual delay of “hitting the wall” – this means it can even be avoided completely. It does take a few weeks for your body to adapt to fat loading, so make sure you don’t experiment too close to the D-Day!

 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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