Motivation Comments (0) |

Best Running Apps

A running app can boost you from the Couch to your first 5k, here is a list of the best apps by Deepthi Velkur

A little extra motivation is required sometimes to get up and start running. It turns out that a little technology is all it takes to boost your fitness drives. These running apps not only track your runs but also motivate and coach you. Whether you’re just starting out as a runner or a seasoned athlete, this list of running apps will assist you with the tools you require to get the most out of your miles.

Human

This running app is best to provide motivation to run and make you more active. This app helps in tracking the time spent in you being active like running, walking, and cycling and also pushes you to reach your “Daily 30,” or 30 minutes of exercise per day. Human compares your data with other nearby users which gives the runner an insight into who’s exercising nearby, so one can see how they rank against their neighbors.

Strava

If you enjoy running in a group, then Strava is the best running app for you. This app is widely popular amongst runners and cyclists. It suits both a causal and a seasoned runner. It comes with an in-depth GPS tracking, works with a variety of GPS devices, and tracks all kinds of metrics and shows your data against other runners in the same route.

MapMyRun

If your unsure of which route to take, this running app gives you innumerable running routes to choose from and there is a comprehensive tracker which records distance, pace, elevation, calories burned, and more for each run. This data integrates with a variety of wearable trackers and the My Fitness Pal app, hence throwing a clear insight into your diet and exercise regime.

Nike + running

This running app was specifically designed for runners to track their runs, photo sharing, and audio coaching. This app goes beyond basic tracking by providing features that assist in motivation and coaching such as cheers from top athletes at the end of a race, built-in photo sharing that overlaps your run stats with a photo from your current route, and top Nike coaches guiding you via audio-based workouts along the way.

Runtastic

This running app keeps your mind occupied while running through the story running feature. You can listen to pod-cast style tracks while running wherein each story is 35-40mins long approximately the time taken for your daily workouts.

Fuel My Run

If you’re a person who runs the half or full marathons, you would require assistance to learn when to start fueling on the run which means ingesting those foil packets of gel. This running app enables you if you’re unsure of when to start taking down your energy chews or gels when to eat, swallow and repeat.

My Run Plan

This app is built for designing a training plan that best suits you. Once you’ve set your running goal and have fed this information, the algorithm will give you a complete guide on how you should train. You can reach out to certified coaches using this app for help with injuries, nutrition and more.

So what’s your favourite running app?

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.

Read more

Motivation Comments (0) |

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.

Read more

Featured Comments (0) |

What began as ‘Fun’ turned to ‘Passion’

Deepthi Velkur talks to Shahana Zuberi who was inspired by a line she read once that said “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you”

Once considered an extreme sport for athletes, the marathon has become a popular phenomenon in the last decade. Without any limits of age and preparation, people gather from all over the world to run a marathon. The most important part of a race is to cross the finish line and that does not depend on how long one takes to complete the race. Shahana Zuberi a doctor in biology from LMU, Munich and a veteran marathoner couldn’t agree with this more.

Shahana took up running for fun 3 years ago and that quickly transformed into a passion. She started her journey as a runner by taking part in different long-distance races such as 10km races and half marathons. While juggling her time between taking care of her little son and managing a Multi Sports activity center for young enthusiasts between the age group 2.5 to 8 years, she never misses out on her own run.

She has taken part in several long-distance races – countless 10k’s and 4 half marathons which included Bangalore Marathon, Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, and Tata Mumbai Marathon. Her personal best timing at 10k was 66:24 mins and half marathon was 2 hours 33 mins. A veteran at the TCS world 10K, she has taken up the challenge to pace 80mins bus as a pacer for the first time. She is part of the 19 member women pacer squadron. This year her goal of being a pacer is to create high energy and motivation among the members of her bus by helping them achieve their best with strength and grace. She also feels running with a pacer is very helpful since the pacers are aware of the route well and strategize\plan the race according to the elevation which helps to keep up with the energy levels until the finish line.

I caught up with Shahana to understand what keeps her running.


How long have you been running?

I have been running regularly since last 3 years. I run at least thrice a week and on an average of 35-40 Km per week. I enjoy running and ensure I keep all my long runs, at the pace that it ends strongly. This keeps me motivated and always look forward to my next long run.

What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about running? Specifically running long distances?

Running long distance always gives me a sense of achievement. After running a certain distance, we go into a trance where nothing else matters except reaching the finish line. During the easy long runs, I plan my day and strategize on how I need to finish the race. This makes me well prepared for the run.

Have you calculated how many kms you have accumulated in all your years of running?

In the last two years, I have accumulated a total of 1500 kms.

Which was your most memorable run ever? What was your favorite part?

My best run was Spirit of Wipro, 2016. This was my first run after proper training and I performed better than expected considering it was a very tough terrain.

How do you prevent yourself from getting injured with all the running you do?

It is important to remain injury free to enjoy the runs. I ensure on doing a proper warm up and cool down after the runs. Stretching is very important after run workouts. Don’t go overboard with your running. I run only thrice a week and rest of the days I do strength training. Foam rolling is another way to keep your muscles relaxed.

Being a part of the first all-woman pacer squad in the TCS world 10k marathon, what was your goal?

My goal will be to get my bus on target time to the finish line and keep everyone motivated all through the race.  

How many times have you run the TCS marathon? What brings you to run this marathon every year?

TCS World 10k is a prestigious international event. People from all over India come for open 10K and many elite runners participate in this run. This will be my third time. It has a beautiful route running through the center of the city. It feels pretty much like a city tour.

You being a veteran marathon runner, what health\safety advice would you give a fresher?

Advice will be to start slow and train well. Take care of your food habits. It is important to eat nutritious food and involve strength workout in your training.

When it comes to training, what is your schedule like? How do you break down running and strength training in preparation for a marathon?

I run thrice a week and it comprises of interval runs, tempo and long distance running. The remaining part of the week, I do strength training and any light workout like walking, swimming or cycling.

What is your special diet plan before a run? Care to share a few tips?

Well, at least an hour before the run, you can eat bread and a peanut butter sandwich. I like to eat a banana. Few dates and handful of dry fruits are good too. One should include a lot of proteins and carbohydrate in their diet. A day before the race my standard food is Aloo paratha.

During a run, what do you think about? Are you thinking about the next km, your body, or something that’s inspiring you—what is that?

During the race, I only think about the finish line. But normally as I said before, during easy runs, my mind keeps working wherein I plan my day, work and lots of other thoughts keep racing through my head.

Have you seen yourself evolve over the years of running? How would you say you’ve grown as a runner?

Yes, I have definitely evolved a lot as a runner and also as a person. My pace has improved, able to strategize better before and during the run, there has been a boost in my endurance level due to running consistently. In my personal life, running has helped improve my overall patience and also lead a disciplined life.

Shahana leaves us with these inspiring words, “Keep pushing yourself harder with a never say die attitude and you will see success come your way.”

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.

Read more

Featured Comments (0) |

From Dawn to Dusk

Neville J Bilimoria, athlete extraordinaire and founder of Dawn2Dusk marathon, who recently received “PRIDE OF INDIA” Award from ECL Narasimham, the Governor of Telengana and Andhra Pradesh, speaks to Radhika Meganathan.

“It was an honour to receive the Pride of India award along with 21 other sports personalities including Arjuna Awardees, during the inauguration of Indian Institute of Sports Medicine,” Neville says, who has completed 57 marathons in 7 years with the Tata Mumbai Marathon 2018. His brain child Dawn2Dusk is very popular in Chennai and offers an exciting opportunity for amateur and experienced athletes to train, compete and win.

A national champion in rowing and the only Indian athlete attempting the Chennai-Vijayawada-Chennai race for the 4th time, Neville cites rowing as the foundation for his passion for endurance sports. He cycles every morning from Madhya Kailash area up to ECR toll booth. His running ground is the Adyar boat area, as it offers him the peace and quiet he needs. He mixes up his training with yoga every day as he feels that stretches are most important.  He trains himself.

“If you are disciplined and have clear goals you can be your own trainer. The beauty of training in endurance sports like cycling or running is that you don’t really need to financially invest in it continuously,” he opines. “If your focus is complete, you will automatically take the pains to keep you updated in what’s needed for you to keep your body in optimum condition. This way, you become the inspiration for everyone around you, including strangers.”

Neville does not eat any special diet but has only one rule that he follows diligently when it comes to food – not to overeat during the days he does not train. “It’s easy to overeat during endurance training, and you don’t want that because it interferes with your performance. That’s why it’s important to hydrate well before any training,” he says. “I make sure I drink up to 3-4 litres of water every day. If your body is well hydrated, it will have no space to overeat!”

While many know Neville as an avid marathoner and founder of Dawn2Dusk, few are aware that he is a senior partner and managing director at an organization that provides immigration services to Indians wanting to move or work abroad. We ask him how he manages to balance a challenging full-time career and a training routine that demands him to be consistent, and he answers: “Time management, pure and simple.”

That’s his first and foremost advice for young and mature beginners who want to take up endurance sports like running or cycling. “You must have good time management skills if you want to train in any passion, be it sports or any other discipline, otherwise life has a way of interfering in your plans and swallowing it all up!” he says. “Here’s a tip – pretend that each minute of your time is money, then you will be pushed to spending it wisely on the right stuff.”

Apart from local and national events, Neville participates in one international race every year, and has been supported by Vummidi Bangaru Jewellers, as the Endurance Ultra athlete for running and cycling. “In addition to organizing organizes the D2D Chennai Marathon, I also take part in the race, running 6 hours and cycling 6 hours. Dawn2Dusk donates its proceeds to a different charity every year and in 2018, the proceeds from the marathon will be donated to the children’s wing at the Adyar Cancer Institute,” he informs.

When asked about the injury risks an athlete faces, he said: “Truth is, any sport has its own risk, sometimes it’s external factors, sometimes your own body may betray you. But if you want to conquer a sport, you just have to do it, without worrying about the risks. Let’s not forget, you can get injured while training in the safety of your home! Just take the usual precautions while training and participating in any sport and live life to your fullest potential.”

While he encourages everyone to take up a sport as a secondary passion in their lives, Neville believes women are more focused and strong in their pursuits. “From what I have seen while mentoring and training young athletes, women certainly aim higher, work as hard and achieve more when it comes to targets,” he says. Who is your best supporter, we ask and Neville answers in a grateful manner. “My best supporter is and always has been my wife. Without her help, I wouldn’t have had the bandwidth to indulge in my passion for sports.”

Neville mentors young and aspiring athletes, and he can be contacted through his website http://nevilleendeavours.com and http://d2dchennaimarathon.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.

Read more

Featured Comments (5) |

Taming the Beast

Marathoner, Tarun Walecha, takes another look at the grit, determination and madness it takes to finish marathons.

All that can go wrong at a marathon which I didn’t know about…

A year before when I wrote the prelude to this blog, I had thought to myself that I have learnt all I needed to, made my set of mistakes, even wrote a blog about the same which was well appreciated, and now it would be my year of redemption. As it turns out, I was certainly being overly ambitious.

Having finished five full marathons so far, somehow, I still feel I’m yet to run my first. Last week I was at the starting line again, but this time I was better equipped, better trained, (at least, I thought so) and little bit more confident for sure. I say a little bit because this time I was aiming higher and didn’t want to be complacent. I had ticked all the boxes from the learning last year, be that diet, training schedule, staying injury free and included newer aspects like on course nutrition, flexibility etc.

Unlike last time where I was aiming to finish the run on a moderate pace, this time I was greedy. I had trained harder and had all the reasons to back myself, one of my longest run on Dec 31 which came after 6 days of consecutive half marathon runs under my initiative, ‘Share and Care’ was comfortable and surprisingly speedy. The 28K run on Trail-A-Thon, which I ran a controlled pace but yet was my fastest so far on the course too. I believed that the glory beckoned me and nothing could go wrong, so so I thought.

 

The race day twists and turns…

On the morning of February 25, a 4:30 start meant I didn’t have much time to sleep the night before. I therefore took it easy the previous day in anticipation and was up at 2:30 am without feeling sleep deprived. As I walked toward the stadium from the parking lot, my mind was only filled with positive thoughts and trust in myself, just a hint of anxiety, nothing nerve wrecking. After a quick chat-up with everyone around, handshakes and wishes exchanged; it was going as per the familiar course. So much that an unannounced staggered start didn’t flutter me a bit, and at 4:35 we trotted across the timing mat.

As I started off, I had the plan distinctively clear in my mind, pace chart, nutrition chart, hydration – all ticking off in my mind. Normally, I run as per my effort and only check later how am I doing and it wasn’t going to be any different this time as well. Moving along I felt comfortable, staying focused on myself I could sense I’m doing well. At 10K mark when I checked, I was 1 min 32 sec ahead of my target time. I felt good as there were no signs of over exertion, stride was good and breathing was in control. I decided to hold on to the effort till my next target. As expected at 20K I was 3 min and 40 sec ahead, which was invigorating as I felt no sign of fatigue or mental exhaustion. When I turned around for my second loop, I didn’t want to let go and wanted to seize the advantage. Trotting along, at 30K mark I was doing well, heart rate in check, pace was descent and now I was 4 min and 9 sec ahead of scheduled time.

Quickly running through calculations in back of my mind like always, I ascertained that even if I was to run the rest of the race at 6:00 min pace I would be home with a Sub 4 finish, and I was immensely thrilled with that outcome.

But the best laid plans always come to naught…

As I reached the 32k mark, I started feeling sluggish. My pace had dropped to 5:55. Going back to my calculations, and accommodating for tiring body I told myself to stick to sub 6 pace. As I moved along I felt my stride getting shorter and every KM mark I could see the pace sliding down. At 38K mark when my Garmin showed 6:19 lap pace with a total time 3:34:53, my mind quickly computed that my desired calculation of Sub 4 wasn’t possible now. With 4.2KM of minimum distance to be run, I would have had to really push myself against the odds. Suddenly the hamstring niggle which surfaced slightly earlier filled my legs with lead and my left leg refused to move. I decided to give it a break and stretch a little before moving on, but as luck would have, I found it tough to get back in rhythm. Was it my body which was breaking, or did my mind gave up on me, I’m yet to figure that out. Slowly I watched each runner whom I had left behind passing by, some acknowledged and egged me but I could only cheer them back and asked to them to move on. This was my battle, and I had to fight it on my terms. I hopped along for next 4k, and somehow gathered strength to run for the last half a km to keep my head high. Timing clock at the finishers gate showed that I was nearly 11 min over 4 hrs as I crossed over and moved towards the holding area. Friends, other finishers, each one of them welcomed me with high fives, hugs and smiles, but somehow I in my heart carried a shade of disappointment.

Will I ever understand how to conquer it?

The race was over, I did fairly well as per many, timing wasn’t that bad either, but what left me unhappy was those last 4 kilometer. I wasn’t supposed to struggle, I was there to run. So what went wrong, that is my biggest mystery. Did I not train enough, or did I give up on myself too soon? In the days to come, pondering over each of the issue, I tried to pinpoint at various probabilities, and evaluated them against myself.

  1. Inadequate training: Going by my training year before where I struggled with niggles now and then, I induced more strength workout in my schedule. One of the reason my hamstring started jarring could yet be due to relatively lesser strength training.
  2. Aggressive target: From my target last year to finish a moderate paced FM to running an aggressive Sub 4, might sound a big leap but my training runs backed me up and somewhere I was hopeful of cracking it.
  3. Over-Nutrition on the course : I had planned to take gels in a tapering pattern of 9k, 8k, 8k, 7k, 7k considering the higher needs as one tires out. Energy boost after first one lured me to change it to 7k from second gel onward. At 30K I did feel nauseated and over fed, so much that I couldn’t have my fifth gel.
  4. Lack of salt intake: Gel at shorter intervals meant lesser time in between, and the first causality of time management was salt caps which I didn’t have after my first 2, and in all had only 3.
  5. Less water consumption: Though my earlier experiences had alarmed me about this, having trained in pleasant weather failed me on understanding my body’s water requirement on the race day.
  6. Rise in temperature: It was an odd situation, adding to the above point, the entire training was done in winters with running the race in spring. The week before the race saw a sudden rise in temperature which showed the damage it can do to your hydro-logical balance.
  7. Running faster than the plan: Since I’ve always run by the effort, on the race day I landed up running a shade faster than the planned pace, was it my undoing? Can’t say yet as my heart rate remained in the control zone and barely touched Zone 5.
  8. Lack of focus: That’s something that may not be the root cause , but can certainly be a reason to deflate the overall effort. To be in ‘the zone’ for 42 km, is something that still has a long way to go, perhaps.
  9. Lack of flexibility: This was another aspect which I targeted after last year’s debacle, worked extensively and consciously, but the awareness only highlighted gray areas; certainly more work needed.
  10. Lack of guidance /knowledge: How much is enough??? I certainly can never judge.

Mind over body…

While this can be your strength, but can work against you as well. For everything that you may cover, this could be a blanket loss. If I did not falter on any of the above, then it has to be this. Was this the reason that I stumbled? Did that one look at my watch at 38K which showed 3:34:53 blow it up? One little back hand calculation and I knew I had practically lost my chance for a Sub 4, and suddenly it didn’t matter anymore.

The mystery that I wished to unravel this time, to decode what it takes to run a marathon, still remains a mystery. After 34 Half marathons, many more equivalent distance runs and 5 attempts at FM, I still have to know what it takes. Lest I forget, I need to reiterate to myself, it is not just two half marathons, it is not just another long run. I don’t know what it is yet, but I will soon.

The beast still stares at me, with a little smirk on its face, but I know we are friendlier now and it’s just a matter of time.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

An architect by profession, Tarun Walecha enjoys amateur photography, travelling and is a sports enthusiast. He has been a sportsperson all his life and discovered running at the age of 40 and has since become his fitness mantra. In his 7 year running career he has completed 30 Half Marathons, 4 Full Marathon, and 5 Trail/Ultra Runs. He is also a Pinkathon ambassador and has founded the running group, RunXtreme.

Read more

Motivation Comments (0) |

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.

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.

Read more

Featured Comments (0) |

The 4 minute magician

Remembering the legendary 4 minute mile runner, Sir Roger Bannister, Capt Seshadri writes a small tribute to the magical athlete.

RIP Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister, CH, CBE

(23 March 1929 – 3 March 2018)

In today’s extremely competitive sporting world, where records are shattered by the hour, where equipment, gear, facilities, training and diet are dictated by precise science and technology, one record, set nearly six and a half decades ago, still holds relevance and reverence. The four minute mile.

This story, of a doctor and academician with remarkable athletic prowess, begins in 1946 when, at the age of 17, Roger Bannister ran a mile in 4:24:6. An athlete who had started without spikes, had never run on a track and had trained only thrice a week and that too in half hour sessions. Moving forward to 1950, he improved his mile timing to 4:13 and also competed in the 880 yard and 800 metre races, but finishing behind the winner. The young Roger soon realised that if he were to win, he would have to take his training more seriously.

Under the tutelage of coach Franz Stampfl, he combined interval training with block periodisation, fell running and anaerobics. However, being a medical student, his busy schedule at class left him little time for training, very often restricted to 30 to 40 minutes a day, using his lunch break to run. Still, this focus paid rich dividends with a win in a mile race on July 14, 1951 at the AAA Championships in White City, where he raced away towards the tape, watched and cheered by a crowd of 47,000, finishing in 4:07:8.

The 1952 Olympics were a disappointment; in fact, Roger actually contemplated giving up. A new thought then occurred; that of completing the mile in under 4 minutes. While many were dreaming about this and several runners were making unsuccessful attempts, some even reaching as close as 4:02, Bannister intensified his training schedule by including hard intervals.

It was a cloudy day on the 6th of May, 1954, with a forecast of rain and a wind driving across at 40 kmph. This practising doctor, who had been working at the hospital all morning, was seriously considering dropping out of the race that was to happen between the British AAA and Oxford University at the Iffey Road track in Oxford. A track that was soon destined to be recorded in the annals of running history. While the wind finally dropped to a mere breeze, the 3,000 spectators lined the track with bated breath. Roger, having completed his assigned duties at the hospital, picked up his spikes and rubbed graphite on the soles to prevent accumulation of ash from the cinder track. Taking the train from Paddington, he arrived at Oxford, nervous and full of trepidation.

The race finally boiled down to six competitors. BBC Radio provided a live broadcast, anchored by ‘Chariots of Fire’ famed Harold Abrahams. The starting whistle blew sharp at 6:00 pm and the race was on. The first lap was taken in 58 seconds and the lead runner went past the half mile mark in 1:58. With 275 yards to go Roger, realising that his dream was within reach, put in a tremendous kick that saw him running the final lap in under 59 seconds. The roar of the crowd drowned out the announcer’s voice after the words: ladies and gentlemen, first, number 41, RG Bannister with a new meet and track record. A new English native, British National, All-comers, European, British Empire and World record of 3 minutes… the rest was lost in the cheering. The mile had been run in 3:59:4.

On the 50th anniversary of that glorious achievement, the now knighted Sir Roger, in an interview, conceded that the sub 4 minute run was not the most important achievement of his life. Bannister, the neurologist, saw his life’s work with patients in the world of medicine as having given him far greater satisfaction. As the first Chairman of the Sports Council, he used his influence to usher in funding for sports centres and facilities, and as a doctor he was responsible to initiate testing for the use of anabolic steroids and performance enhancing drugs. Roger Bannister was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2011. And on March 3, 2018, the world bid goodbye to this extraordinary athlete and compassionate healer.

Six feet below, but forever under four minutes.

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.

Read more

Featured Comments (1) |

Tri crash and burn!

Radhika Meganathan interviews IRONMAN Raghul Trekker, who recently completed the IronMan Challenge in Sri Lanka

A triathlon is an endurance competition that consists of three continuous disciplines. Its most popular form involves swimming, cycling, and running, to be completed in succession within a set time frame. We  talk to RAGHUL TREKKER who recently conquered the Colombo Ironman and is the force behind the scientific training for triathlon aspirants at his fitness studio, TRI CRASH ‘n’ BURN.

THE BUG

How did you get into fitness? I was born and brought up in Chennai, but studied marine engineering in Pune (Incidentally, the idea for the original Ironman Triathlon was suggested by US Navy Commander John Collins!). In my college, it was mandatory to run every morning except on Sundays. It was only for the first three semesters, but that set the pace for my attachment with fitness and exercise. I already was a swimmer and cyclist, so the stage was already set for me.

From the IT industry to triathlons…how did that happen? When I returned to Chennai from Pune after graduation, I joined Polaris. As you probably know, IT jobs are mostly sedentary. I started to actively look for exercising opportunities when I came across Chennai Trekkers Club. CTC introduced me to triathlons and that was it, it all clicked. They conduct triathlons twice a year in and around Chennai, and I trained and participated in all of them. I eventually learned about Ironman and other global races and started travelling and participating in them. Malaysia in 2014 and 2015, Australia and Netherlands in 2017, Columbo in Feb 2018 and I am going to China and South Africa shortly.

Was any triathlon a breeze? There are no easy triathlons! It all involves consistent training and dedication, but I get what you mean. I have to say so far Malaysia was the toughest, because of its hilly and unpredictable terrain. Colombo, relatively, was easier – I finished the 90 km cycling in 2 hrs 32 min, the swimming in 36 minutes 55 sec and the running in 1 hr 48 min 40 sec.

TRIATHLONS FULL TIME

So what triggered you to become a full time triathlete? In 2015, it came to a point where I clearly preferred to race and train than work inside an office. So I took the plunge to follow my passion. It was not an easy decision, but then I have never been the kind of person who will agonize or waver indefinitely. At some point, if you have a passion and vision, you have to make a choice. Once you make it, then you have to do everything necessary – from monetary investment to setting self-paced goals and networking hard – in order to meet your goals.

So how do you train? In general, when it comes to training for a triathlon, consistency is key. You don’t have to train every single day, but you do have to train consistently, say, three or four days a week, and you need to have your own customized schedule to follow. Emergencies happen, you can miss one or two workouts, but you need to be disciplined enough to get back on track in no time.

Do you have a trainer? Everyone needs a trainer! I met my trainer Lucie Zelenkova in Malaysia in 2015. She is a prolific triathlete based in South Africa and she has designed my workout schedule which I follow every day. Yes, it’s possible to have a long-distance coach! We have weekly skype sessions and she sends me workouts and diet charts and is there for me whenever I need her advice.

The question everyone wants an answer to – what do you eat? I eat normal Indian food. But where I differ is in my plating, I don’t fill it with a mountain of white rice! I make sure I eat a well-balanced meal of equal amounts of veggies, protein and carbs in the form of millets. In my opinion, you don’t need to be on any special diet to train for a triathlon. You just need to make healthy food choices and eat good food in the right quantity. Don’t eat junk food, don’t eat too much or too little, and you will do perfectly fine.

Global races are expensive, do you have sponsors? I still fondly remember the time when my past employer Polaris sponsored me to participate my first Ironman triathlon in Malaysia. This year, Running Lab is my sponsor for all my sporting equipment and attire needs. Otherwise, I have to sponsor myself for all other expenses, like travel and accommodation. But that’s how it is. You need to invest in yourself when you are competing in a global scale sport. The more you do, the more chances you have in networking and meeting potential sponsors, runners, trainers. And the experience and exposure is fantastic, so it’s all worth it.

Tri.Crash.Burn is Born

In 2015, 25 Dream Runners asked to train under me and I did it in the mornings and weekends while still working a full time job. I loved the experience and it inspired me to start Try Crash Burn, offering customized and scientific coaching for runners and triathletes. I concentrate only on training for triathlons.

So if I wanted to train for a triathlon can I join?  Yes, but you have to be ready to be trained. For example, I cannot teach you to swim or cycle. You already have to be a swimmer and a cyclist when you sign up for my training. If you are differently-abled, I’d be happy to train you if you have already found your guide runner.

What is the time line for training for a triathlon? If you already know cycling and swimming, then 6 months of intense training is the bare minimum. But one year is a more sustainable and comfortable pace, which you should take if you are not on some unreasonable deadline to participate in a triathlon. In Chennai, the running scene is vibrant, but not many are cyclists and about 98% are non-swimmers. So that’s an unequal balance, and it’s largely a standard status for an Indian triathlete aspirant. First step is to identify which discipline is your weakest and then start training in it.

What advice do you have to those aspiring to be triathletes? Don’t over train, and don’t under train. I don’t recommend any one to train on their own for a triathlon, as risk of injury is higher and you cannot self-correct any errors. If you are serious about being a triathlete, find a qualified trainer who is in sync with your fitness level and goals, and you will be able to achieve your targets in no time.

Raghul Trekker can be contacted at http://www.tricrashnburn.com. His FB page is https://www.facebook.com/tricrashnburn

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.

Read more

Motivation Comments (0) |

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.

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.

Read more