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Running Mates: Bose vs. Plantronics

Deepthi Velkur looks at two popular wireless sports headphones to see which one will be a better fit for running.

Running is probably one of the easiest, cheapest and the most accessible form of exercise to keep yourself fit. Incorporating music with running does wonders as it helps you completely zone out and pound the road without as much thought about your aches and pains. A thumping tune of your choice provides an extra boost to your running, so whack on that running playlist with a good pair of wireless sports headphones.

Wireless headphones have come a long way and manufacturers are constantly trying to better the sound quality with a good bass and crisper playback options, battery life and Bluetooth technology.

I will review two of the best wireless headphones for running – Bose SoundSport and the Plantronics BackBeat Fit on various parameters:

Comfort: The Plantronics and Bose SoundSport are lightweight and feel comfortable in the ear for long periods of time. Bose SoundSport come with a short extendable cable that is thin and round which connects the two earpieces while the cable on the Plantronics BackBeat is flat and a bit stiff. The Plantronics comes with eartips equipped with Bluetooth technology and they go around the ear holding it securely in place.

Volume Control: The volume controls for the Bose are present on the cable which is easily visible to the eye while for the Plantronics controls are built into the earpiece which might be inconvenient to operate during your run or a workout session.

Music Playback: The sound output on both headphones are pretty decent but the Bose SoundSport has a slight edge over the Plantronics as they have a great bass with good detail and smoothness to the highs and mids The highs on the Plantronics are not as detailed but have clarity giving you an airy feel to the music. The mids are full and forward making the vocals sound better.

Noise Cancellation: From a safety standpoint the Plantronics is at a better advantage as it allows more surrounding noise to enter the earbud so your well aware of your surroundings and at the same time able to stay tuned to your music. The Bose, in this case, cancels the outside noise completely.

Battery Life: The Plantronics is a definite winner in this category with 8 hours of listening and 6 hours of talk time whereas the Bose has only 6 hours of listening time.

Water/Dust resistance: The Plantronics has a waterproof design and comes with the IP57 rating which can handle heavy rains or can be rinsed off under a tap. It also controls the amount of dust from entering the earbud which might interfere with the functioning of the device. Additionally, they have a nano-coating to protect from excess sweating. The Bose is only sweat-proof with an IPX4 rating.

Connectivity: The Plantronics can be paired with 8 devices at the same time vs the Bose which can be paired only with two devices.

Price: The Plantronics with pretty much the same features is priced at INR 5,999 which is way lower than a Bose SoundSport which is INR 13,275

Both the Bose SoundSport and the Plantronics Backbeat Fit are brilliant wireless workout headphones that suits running or any type of workout. It eventually boils down to price and your personal usage pattern to determine which is best for you.

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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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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Top Habits that Ruin your Ride

You can ruin your cycle quickly if you cannot get rid of these bad cycling habits, says Nandini Reddy.

A great ride is what every cyclist enjoys. But the great ride means maintaining your cycle constantly. There are many bad habits that can ruin your cycle. A good cycle is a great companion but you might be ruining it because of these habits.

Lazy Bike Maintenance – Everything matters in terms of bike maintenance. Tire pressure, greasing your sprockets and tightness of the gears. If you are a regular rider then it is best to have a maintenance check every month. A well-maintained bike and a neglected bike can be the difference between the crash. Find a proper cycle service that understands your kind of bike. Not every mechanic may be appropriate so its best to go with the experts to ensure longer life of your cycle.

Being too competitive – When you are cycling in a group, you always have that one guy who seems to glide through the distance and is always ahead of the pack. I am sure you would have tried to catch up with him constantly. Riding itself is a great challenge and you need to find your own pace. Its fine to be competitive but in a smart way. If you start over-stressing yourself, you might only pay attention to covering the distance and not other factors that might lead to a crash.

Vetting Trails – Trail riding is the hardest on your ride. If you are attempting a new trail and ensure that you have an experienced cyclist with you. If not then do a reconnaissance of the route ahead. If you go in unprepared then you might end up busting your tyres. Also note that you need to have cellular signal if you need to call for help or at least now the closest point from which you can call for help if required.

Inadequate Nutrition – Eating and drinking during a ride is as important as your pedaling. If fatigue sets in, it can lead to cramps and dizziness which means you can crash. You cannot right with a severe headaches so remember to eat well before the ride and also carry along energy boosters.

Riding without a warm-up – Never start fast right away, you need to warm up your body and slowly set into the pace otherwise you may not be able to complete your race. It might seem easy to ride fast in the beginning when you are fresh but you cannot keep up the pace through the course.

Carry spares – It is important to be equipped with spares for mid-course repairs. Learn simple repairs like fixing tyres, it might be the one thing that saves you during a long distance ride. Remember you cannot complete races with wrecked parts.

Remember to double check everything before a ride. You need to enjoy a ride and not feel agitated by it so its best to get rid of all these habits.

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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Recovery Foods for Cyclists

An essential part of your post cycling recovery is eating the right food, so what can you eat asks Nandini Reddy

Glycogen are the stores of energy you burn at the end of your long ride. So the most important recovery is to replenish these glycogen stores. Water, carbohydrates and proteins become the most essential foods to include in your recovery phase. The one thing to remember is that recovery food is not everyday food, these are the foods at give you instant energy and a punch to your flagging system.

The recovery food that you eat has a purpose, you should understand that it is needed for

  • Repairing the muscles with protein
  • Replenish energy stores with carbs
  • Getting your carb:protein ratio spot-on

A few suggestions on how you can recover quickly after a tiring ride beside a long nap include:

  • Chocolate Milkshake – This is the most optimal food and this is about the only time you can have it without guilt. A chocolate milkshake has a carb to protein ration of 4:1 and can immediately replace the used up glycogen aside from hydrating you as well. The immediate energy and endorphin boost from chocolate is also useful. When someone tells you to drink a chocolate milkshake, don’t ask too many questions!
  • Rice – Please indulge in the most simple carbs like rice. Its easy to digest and provides the right kind of energy. The high Glycemic Index of rice makes it the perfect recovery food. Include dal as an accompaniment with the rice to ensure you get the best combination of protein and carbs.
  • Eggs – Eggs provide significant protein and you can even carry boiled eggs with the shell with you during your ride and have it immediately after the ride as a quick recovery food. It is a favoured food for trekkers and other endurance athletes alike.
  • Root Vegetables – All root vegetables are great for carbohydrate loading. You can have it as a dry roasted snack or as a curry with rice. These vegetables are also rich in fibre, beta-carotene, vitamin C, manganese and potassium.
  • Nuts & Nut Butters – Nuts, dry fruits and nut butters are ideal for a post-ride snack. They are high in fats and protein and can help recover the glycogen levels quickly.
  • Whey Fruit Smoothie – Whey is a great recovery food and is a go to food for many cyclists. You can improve the nutritive value of whey by making a smoothie using fruits.

Never scrimp on post recovery calories because you are trying to lose weight. Training days need higher than normal carbs in order to fuel your body to complete the endurance task. You can avoid unnecessary snacking and stick to fresh foods for recovery.

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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