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Never Miss a Monday

 

Monday mornings might seem the toughest, so why not begin them with a refreshing run, writes Deepthi Velkur.

After spending a lazy weekend, waking up on a Monday morning to kick start your workout might seem like the hardest thing in the world. Think again!

The start of the week is probably the best time to recommit yourself to staying fit. Finding that extra motivation is hard to come by for most of us because we make a million excuses in our heads not to lace up our shoes and sweat it out. However, fitting in a workout into your Monday morning schedule will benefit you in more ways than one.

Here’s why it’s worth your effort:

Building momentum for the rest of the week: Starting a Monday with a quick run sets the pace for the rest of the week. There is something about working out on a Monday that makes you feel like your off to the right start. This keeps your motivation high and creates a rhythm for the week ahead.

Happy and relaxed disposition: For millions of people around the world, the start of a week usually means a heavy head and an overall unhappy disposition.

This is where that early morning workout really makes a difference – researchers and scientists worldwide have proven that any form of physical exercise be it working out at a gym, a morning run or walk releases endorphin that gives you that extra dose of happiness and makes you feel more positive (now, who doesn’t like feeling all positive and happy!).

Assists development of self-control: It needs sheer willpower to get out of bed, put on your training gear and start out on your exercise routine after a lazy weekend. Exercising is an excellent way to harness some sort of discipline into your life. Doing exercise tends to release a neurotransmitter, GABA, that keeps you in control of impulses and can slow down your anxious brain activity.

Ward-off anxious thoughts: Most of us might be apprehensive about heading to work and just the thought of the amount of work piled up might make you anxious. Science shows that any form of aerobic exercise lowers your general anxiety levels. Also, any high-intensity workout reduces anxiety sensitivity.

Boosts brainpower: Any form of physical workout has a great potential to improve levels of BDNF(brain-developed neurotropic factor) which helps build healthier nerve cells. A study has shown that a strenuous workout improves memory power and people are in a position to absorb concepts better.

Better Sleep: As much as exercise is important to your overall health, sleep is equally important. A good strenuous workout tires out the muscles and this, in turn, helps you sleep better. As we all probably know by now, proper sleep gives your body time to recover and start afresh the next day.

The benefits of a morning run clearly outrank the biggest challenge – our laziness, so the next time we hit that snooze button, pause a couple of seconds and think of the world of good things that morning run will bring.

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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Should you listen to music during a run?

There is an impact from listening to music during your run, so should you or shouldn’t you, asks Nandini Reddy.

Science supports listening to music while you run. But there are several pros and cons that you need to consider before pumping up the jam. Music can be a huge motivator especially when you need to keep motivation up. But let us consider two kinds of people – those who don’t listen to music and those who do.

Don’t Listen to Music

Runners who used to run with music have now stopped because of the constant irritation and distraction of the headphones. For some people the music works more as a barrier than an enhancement as it diverts their attention from their body. A lot of runners even consider it a safety hazard as we don’t pay attention to the ambient noises that might be important for our safety. Trail runners do not use music and they want to enjoy being part of nature.

Breathing

We need to focus on our breathing while we run. Runners should have a deep breathing technique that involves diaphragmatic breathing. When your mind is distracted by music it is less likely that you will focus on your breathing. That means you switch to breathing from your chest. This sort of shallow breathing limits the delivery and circulation of oxygen.

The pain of Earphones

There are earphones that are particularly built for running. But despite all the design enhancements earphone can be an irritation and a distraction. The time runners spend in adjusting and setting the earphones in a comfortable position distracts them from the task of running.

In Favour of Music

There is a science behind using music to enhance your running performance. Research has shown that music increases concentration and provides ongoing motivation. Runners have also said that it feels like less effort when they run to music. They are also able to maintain a comfortable tempo when the right kind of music is played. Fast paced and motivating music is the key to a positive run.

A list of the pros of running with music

  • Pumps you up for your runs
  • Sets a consistent tempo
  • Runs feel easier
  • Motivated to run more
  • Positive Influence on mood

While we consider the pros we also need to consider the cons

  • Might not help you get the right pace for your race
  • Distraction from headphones
  • Unsafe as it blocks out your surrounding noise
  • Disconnects you from nature
  • Might undermine the benefits of the running experience

Music or no music – whichever you choose just enjoy your run.

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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Dread Running? How do you start?

If you have never run before you probably dread running but there is a way to start, writes Nandini Reddy.

If you ask a seasoned runner how they started running, most will tell you that they just started with much of a preamble. You do not have to be athletic to start running. Most regular runners today probably started running when they were at their most unfit stage. Running is a high intensity activity and you can ease your way into it. It is a great activity if you want to lose weight or like being outdoors for an activity instead of being cooped up in gyms.

Marathons are advertised constantly and you certainly would have a few friends who train consistently for it. But while that might seem daunting if you haven’t run ever in your life you might be surprised that it isn’t so hard. Here are a few things you can do to get started.

Start Slow

First start walking at a brisk pace for at least an hour till you work up a sweat. The idea is to get used to moving around at a brisk pace and getting your muscles working. Trying walking every alternate day to start with and then everyday. That way you body will be better prepared to start running.

From Walking to Running

The transition from walking to running can be done using interval training. You can start with a walk-jog combination and then progress to a jog-run combination. The idea is to gradually build your pace and stamina. A sudden rush of trying to run might wind you and also discourage you from trying but if you work your way up to it then you will be able be more comfortable.

Right Running Gear

The right shoes will make all the difference to your run. You will need to buy the right shoes if you want to pursue running even as a hobby. You get options across various price ranges so you can look for one that suits your current motivation. If you run early in the morning or evenings then you need to ensure that you are wearing bright neon T-shirts for safety reasons. You need not go all out an invest into expensive running gear, just a the basics of shoes and a running belt if you want to carry your phone, keys and water while you run.

Running Plan

Ask a runner friend or a coach to help you come up with a plan. It is always best to work with a plan to ensure that you are on the right track. You cannot always feel like running every morning, so its better to have a dedicated plan that will tell you how much and for how long you need to train.

Schedule a Run

Pick a time of day for your run. Keep it constant so that you are mentally prepared for it. If you want to run early morning then ensure you get to the bed early so that you have more energy to run in the morning. If you want to run after work then pack a bag that you take along and you can complete your run before you get home in the evening. The idea is the ensure that you block out a time in your routine for running.

Nutrition

If you have included a stressful activity like running into your schedule then you also need to fuel your body right to ensure that you have enough energy to complete your runs. Eat proteins and vegetables to ensure that your muscles recover and your gut stays healthy. If you are finding it difficult to identify the right foods then you need to consider visiting a nutritionist who can balance your diet.

Injury – Free

Staying injury free is an important part of running. You shouldn’t overdo running and burn yourself out either. The idea is to run to build your stamina and not destroy your muscles. Only when you are injury free can you continue to run. Running releases endorphins and you will definitely experience a runner’s high when you finish. If you want to keep experiencing these highs then you need to ensure that you take care of your body.

Running is a great activity and considered one of the cheapest ways to stay fit. So get off that couch and give it a try – who knows, you might fall in love with it.

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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Keep your Running Motivation Up

 Keeping up your running motivation is crucial to keep running, writes Nandini Reddy.

The training schedules leading up to the big race are long and tiring. Many runners loose their inspiration and motivation along the way. The novelty of the first few days have worn off and all good intentions go up in smoke. But once your motivation fades what can you do to keep your spirits up and continue running.

Create a personal running habit – Choose one big race that you want to run every year. Keep that as your goal race and work your daily running habit around it. Goal distance or goal time can be set according to your last race performance. Work with that as a singular goal instead of a spreading yourself thin. Display your inspiration to finish the run prominently.

Plan and Prepare – Keep all your running gear in one place so that it is easy to find. You can also keep another bag in the car to ensure that you never have a excuse not to run. If you are prepared you are more likely to get even a short run for 30 mins in every day.

Don’t Skip a Monday – Starting out a week running sets the tone for the rest of the week. If you finish your run on a Monday you have already started your account for the week and you are more likely to achieve your goal.

Run for Fun – Running a great stress reliever. A few times you can run without looking at your GPS watch or clocking in the time and kms. Enjoy the run without thinking about the training and you will feel a lot more positive about your training.

Run in the Morning – Mornings are a calmer time to run and you are more likely to fit your goals. You will also get the run done for the day and have the rest of the day open without constantly thinking about running.

Take a Training Break – To consistently run you need to take a break from your training. The break can even be a week long. Even in a weekly schedule you need to have recovery days so that you don’t get burned out.

Do other workouts – Add other endurance workouts like swimming, cycling and cross-training, so that you improve your stamina and strength. You will feel better both mentally and physically. You can even try new routes or running options like trail running, stair running or hill running.

Focus on these measures to ensure that you stay motivated.

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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Going the distance with Sagar Baheti

A visual impairment hasn’t slowed down Sagar Baheti’s ambitions to complete the toughest marathon course, writes Deepthi Velkur.

The things we are able to accomplish with a little mind-over-matter is astonishing. Case in point: Sagar Baheti. A 31-year old Bengalurean who runs a successful import and export stone business and in 2017 was the first ever visually impaired runner from India to successfully complete the Boston marathon. In a chat with Sagar recently, I was fascinated by his tale of perseverance, hard work and fortitude. This is what he had to say:

You’ve always been a sporting enthusiast, especially cricket – what brought about the switch to running?

Truth be told, I took to running in 2013 purely because my options were fairly limited given my condition. Cricket has always fascinated me in my early days all the way through to zonal and university levels. After issues with my vision which surfaced 5 years ago, I took up running and as they say, the rest is history.

With the company of a few good friends, I did the midnight run in Bengaluru and that fueled my interest. My first serious run was the Coorg Escapade in 2013 for which I trained a fair bit and the sheer joy of participating in such a run was immense.

What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about running, especially long-distance running?

The feeling of accomplishment is what is most rewarding. When I signed up for the Coorg run (which is a beautiful trail run), it was meant to be a fun weekend activity because I had no idea if I was even capable of finishing it, but at the end of the 12K run, I felt amazing. In many ways the Coorg run was the catalyst for me getting into serious running – I have never looked back since.

You successfully completed the Boston marathon in 2017 – a watershed moment in Indian sport. Can you please describe your feeling at the finish line?

Relief and sense of achievement! There was a lot of build up to the run given that this is one of the most iconic races on the running calendar so as I got to the finish line, I felt a sense of pride in myself for completing the race. Little did I know that I was the first ever visually impaired runner from India to have completed the historic race covering the distance of 42 kms in a little over four hours – it made me glad that I was able to make a mark for myself

Out of curiosity – why the Boston marathon and not someplace else?

Well, after I started running seriously, I covered pretty much every run in India from Bangalore to Mumbai to Delhi and even Ladakh. During this time, I was chatting with a friend in Boston and she suggested I take part in the Boston marathon. Being such a popular race, I was definitely interested so I signed up, managed to qualify for the race and in 2017 successfully completed the run.

One of your goals post the Boston marathon was to raise $10,000 for MABVI – were you successful in raising that funding?

My friend and I have always been involved in fund-raising and she gave me this idea of raising funds for MABVI (Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired) an association based in Boston that she works with closely and I was more than happy to be part of the initiative.

The objective was to serve two purposes – raise funds and create awareness for MABVI. We started off a crowd-funding page highlighting the visually impairment condition and we successfully raised $7,600.

How did you prepare yourself physically and mentally for the Boston marathon? Is it a similar training program to your other runs?

The Boston marathon was bigger than anything I have done before so I really wanted to be well prepared. Overall, I stuck with my training routine that I followed for my runs in India but put more focus on mental strength as the pressure on this run was higher. The circuit itself is considered to be of medium-toughness given the gradient levels and course challenges, so my training program was slightly modified to suit this.

It must have been extremely tough for you and your parents when you were diagnosed with Stargardt’s disease – what drove you on to achieve what you have today? 

Yes it was a tough time – being diagnosed with such a condition really sets you back in your ways because it forces you to make lifestyle changes and increase your dependency on others. I consider myself very fortunate to have family and friends who were very supportive and have helped me along the way. This support is what has driven me to where I am today and helped me in setting goals that put me in the right path to achieve them.

Running a business is not a small task – how do you find the time to train and stay in shape?

The first year post my diagnosis was slow as I had to figure new ways of doing simple things such as reading and writing. With the love and support from family and friends plus using aids such as voice and magnifiers, I got through the tough phase and focused on getting physically active. This support has given me the time I need to train and stay in shape.

For your next run – where and when. Is that all planned out?

As is life, there is always a bit of drama! During a business trip in Spain last year, I went skydiving and ended up having a crash. I suffered a serious cervical spine injury that required emergency surgery and follow-up corrective surgery as well. What followed was a 4-month rehab program that slowly got me to my feet and back into running.

I did run the Mumbai marathon  in Jan 2018 to get my confidence back but my body wasn’t ready yet. During this time, I met a friend who trains with Bengaluru-based running club- Jayanagar Jaguars who encouraged me to join the group. At that point, I thought running as a group will give me more motivation than training alone. There, I met some good runners who understood my needs and now we run as a group. I am back into full-fledged training as I prepare for my next run – the 50k Malnad Ultra run on October 13th and 14th, 2018.
Apart from running, what other sporting activity has kept you busy?

I have always being a cycling enthusiast and though I cannot cycle long distances yet, I am hopeful  to do so once my shoulders and neck feel strong enough. One of my best cycling memories is the 2015 Tour of Nilgiris which is a 850km circuit spready across 7 days. I did the same tour the following year as well.

As with anything these days, I can’t help but think of what Sagar’s experience can teach us all. Very briefly, we will achieve only through practice and hard work.

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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It’s never too late to start running!

Deepthi Velkur catches up with senior runner, Rajendra Kumar from Bengaluru on how he fell in love with running. 

Running is not a sport reserved only for the young and elite but rather an all-inclusive lifetime sport that challenges you from the moment you start  and all you have to do to get started is have the will to put one foot in front of the other for miles.

The growing phenomenon of senior citizens taking to running is evidence enough that it’s never too late to start running and talking to them you will see that they have all good things to say about how they’ve improved their physical and mental health.

One such gentleman I spoke to is Y.S. Rajendra Kumar, a retired Assistant General Manager who was with State Bank of India for nearly four decades.  An inspiring individual to youngsters and old people alike, he took to running at the age of 74 years in the year 2014. I was curious to know from him, how running became a passion at the age of 74. These are the excerpts of our conversation.

What motivated you to take up running at an age where most people put their legs up and relax?

Prior to me taking up running, I have always kept myself physically active over the years by doing yoga as well as taking long daily walks with my wife to the temple. In one of my discussions at home, my son suggested that I take up running and join his club “Jayanagar Jaguars”. The thought appealed to me; I started in 2014 and here I am 4 years later still enjoying every run.

Can you tell us from your experience what kind of changes running has brought into your life?

Before I took to running, the winter season was quite challenging for me. I used to suffer from a cold and chest congestion but that has now completely vanished since I started running. The bigger impact that running has brought to me is a more pleasant psychological change and cheerful attitude that I can attribute to my experience in running alongside the youngsters in the group.

To encourage more senior citizens to run, how should they start their process?

I would think that there are 2 primary steps that need to be in place:

  • Following a structured training program and
  • The able guidance of a coach providing them with the required direction to follow the training program.

There is a growing number of senior people who are running marathons around the world. What is your take on this growing phenomenon?

With the amount of information available online and the increased awareness among seniors on the benefits of running, this phenomenon does not surprise me. I welcome it and think that we as a society should be more open and encouraging to senior people taking to running.

In terms of your runs so far, how many 10k’s and half marathons have you completed?

Since my first competitive run in December 2014, I have completed ten 10K runs and six half-marathons until now. I am also proud of the fact that I have been able to achieve a podium finish in 2 of the runs –Ajmera Thump 10K (3rd place) with a timing of 1:13:47 in December, 2014 and TCS World10K (3rd place) with a timing of 1:05:58 in May, 2017. Some of other running courses I have completed are: Scotia Bank Calgary Run (Canada)10K, Spirit Of Wipro 10K, SCMM Half Marathon, Bengaluru 10K Challenge, Bengaluru Half Marathon, Chamundi Hill Challenge Mysuru 10K, Celebration Mysore Half Marathon and the Tata Mumbai Marathon.

That’s quite an impressive list and hopefully this will encourage other senior citizens to take up running as well. In your group of runners, is there a large percentage of people over the age of 60?

Not quite – in a group of over 600 signed runners, training across ten locations in Bengaluru, we are four runners above the age of 60 years.We are hopeful that other senior citizens will soon take to running as the benefits definitely outweigh the initial challenges that they will face.

In terms of your training sessions, can you give us some insight into your weekly running schedule?

We are currently in the middle of getting ready for our next half-marathon and our training schedule includes running 3 times a week with a mileage of 25K – 30K per week. Also, there are specific drills and exercises that we go through under the guidance of our very experienced coach, Pramod Deshpande and this helps us get stronger and stay injury-free.

To complement your training schedule have you made any dietary changes since you took to running?

Yes; I have made some dietary changes to boost strength and stay healthy. I have increased my intake of fresh fruits and vegetables while avoiding fried, oily foods and minimizing my intake of sweets. Maintaining a balanced and healthy diet is paramount to supplement my training and overall running activity.

I have also learnt that your entire family is into running. That is quite an achievement, how did that happen?

Yes, it is true that as a family we all love running. It all started out with my daughter-in-law, Padmashree; she has long been into running and over time introduced my son Darshan to the sport. With the growing enthusiasm of seeing my daughter-in-law and son involved, my grandson Tanmai soon joined the running group.

During mid-September 2014 at the age of 74, my son suggested that I join him as well. While it did appeal to me, I was hesitant at first but decided to give it a shot. In the beginning, I found it a little difficult to run. However, I persisted and my continued efforts with proper guidance and encouragement enabled me to develop a passion for running.

Today, as a family we collectively participate in certain important running events through the year.

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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Should you run with your spouse?

Running as a couple might be an intriguing way to connect, writes Radhika Meganathan

It’s not as radical as it is sounds! Running with your spouse can be a time saver, budget saver and even bring couples together with a common goal. But should you do it? Or is it better to train alone, with no familiar distractions, so to speak?

First let’s look at the advantages, and there are quite a few:

  • Convenience: When you train with your spouse, you have a running buddy who lives with you! It cannot get easier than this.
  • Planning: No more schedule conflicts or communication problem, you can just say, Hi honey, let’s go for a run, and be done with it.
  • Instant support system: You can motivate each other, look out for each other and even share the same coach. Think of the savings, you can even share the transport!

Yes you should!

running partners

Anna Vergese, project manager in the construction industry who recently moved to Sydney from Hyderabad, feels women can benefit from running with men because men are faster (a physiological advantage, nothing more, nothing less) and that a less experienced runner, especially if they are a woman, who wants to improve can actually do so if she is running with her male spouse.

Ideally Anna would like to run/ train with her husband, but with young kids and no support system they have to take turns and run. “The thing is, I like running – whether it is alone, with my husband or a group,” she confesses. “As for a specific preference of what kind of running I prefer, well, it depends on the mood. I all options, though. As for my husband, I think he runs just to humor me!”

It is okay if you don’t want to

Nutrition

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The truth is, there are no should’s or must’s that come into play while toying with the idea of running with your spouse. You choose the option that’s most instinctive for you, and also most beneficial for your present running stats and future goals, without having to sacrifice your preferences. Anna’s husband Alex is frank in his opinion. “I like races/ events with lots of atmosphere and tend to get bored if I have to run alone,” he says. “As for running with my wife, the truth is our paces are so different so I personally find it tough to run in tandem.”

On the other end of the spectrum, a runner who wishes to be anonymous says: “I can’t imagine running with my husband, I’d go crazy. We both are short tempered and we simply cannot work with each other, we need an external person, someone not close to us and thus can be objective and grounded, to keep us going. Plus I do not want my hubby to witness my shortcomings, or gloat over how much faster he is than me. I know that sounds egoistic, but a girl’s gotta have her pride.”

Bottom line, if you have a good communication with your spouse, and if you can respect the other person’s limitations or superiority and frame your own goals accordingly, and can be patient enough to support the other person, you and your spouse can easily create a new avatar for yourselves as runners. Otherwise, your best bet is to enjoy your own company as you collect your running miles!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Radhika Meganathan is a published author who is an advocate for healthy living, she practices sugar-free intermittent fasting, all-terrain rambling and weight training.

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Running on Vacation

Running is an active way to relax and recharge while on a vacation and with a little effort you can fit this into your vacation schedule, writes Deepthi Velkur

For most of us,  we remember a vacation by looking at pictures taken, stamped passports or even the odd souvenir that we bring back home. For a runner, however, it invokes memories of a dashing waterfall or maybe the lazy cows at sunrise or the serenity of a deserted beach.

Follow these five tips to run during a vacation and you are guaranteed to keep up with training and even get some insider tips from locals on where to eat, shop and play.

Start your day with a run – Getting your run done first thing in the morning of your vacation is a great way to start the day as it ensures you don’t push it out for later and also helps free up your day. Also, you will be less dodging to do as you avoid the crowds and you can check out the area much before the hoard of tourists arrives.

Research and map your running route – Do a little research on running routes close to your hotel as you will be able to map your run stress-free. Using technology can be a great way of identifying a few local favorites at your vacation spot. If you don’t find the time to do some research, just head out for a run and see where your feet take you. This forces you to pay attention to streets and landmarks and other intimate things that otherwise you might miss.

Packing Right – When packing for a vacation, drawing up a packing list will ensure that you don’t find yourself without your running must-haves. Ensure that you carry running gear that is suited for any weather type to help you avoid missing out on your run.

Stay Safe – This should be your primary objective – avoid narrow and busy roads, neighborhoods that appear unsafe and always carry your phone, money and the hotel business card just in case you do get lost. Also, checking in with the hotel concierge or some friendly locals is a good way to identify if your route is safe.

Let Loose and Explore – A key tip to running on your vacation is “forget about mileage”. The focus should not be on distance, pace and intensity; instead, focus on the sights, sounds and everything exciting the new environment has to offer.

There are heaps of benefits to run on a vacation but please ensure you follow the tips and add to your holiday experience.

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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The Accidental Cyclist

Our Guest Columnist, Super Randonneur Satheesh Tawker talks about his motivation to keep bettering the quality of every ride.

My entry into cycling was accidental. I had gone to my cousin’s home and saw my nephew’s cycle gathering dust and casually asked him if I could borrow it. He immediately obliged and there started my cycling journey. Cycling is something that I feel gives me my space and “me” time during the solo rides that I do. The other motivation is that I like to test myself on my endurance levels with each event and see how far I can go. This has pushed me to better myself as a cyclist with each challenge I take up. Recently I completed my second 200 km and 300 km events, having done similar events in 2017. Each ride is different when it comes to experience and to put it simply I would call each ride nothing short of awesome.

Training for a ride

Having started in such a casual manner, I have never formally trained or followed a specific schedule to get better at my passion. I have always worked out to stay fit, first at The Unit and now with the Quad. Being fit and strong overall has helped with cycling as well. Nutrition is something that I have started focusing on in the last two months with a specific focus on the quantity of food I eat and the balance between proteins and carbs in every meal. My nutritionist gets a daily food log of everything I eat – down to the last morsel and suggests changes to the same. Being conscious has helped me drop about 6 kgs in the last two months with little effort. Before that I was a believer in the statement that I have worked out today so I am entitled to eat what I want. I don’t think I will propagate that philosophy anymore.

On becoming a Super Randonneur

Recently, I have earned the title of Super Randonneur. This title is bestowed to a rider who completes a series of brevets ( 200, 300, 400, and 600 KM) in the same year. Each ride has a specific time frame for completion and the rider has to complete the ride within this stipulated time. There are various control points during each ride and rider has to reach all control points within the stipulated time frames.

I became aware of such a challenge only after a year of cycling. When I learnt the details I was excited and wanted to get that title. I rode regularly and covered at least 40 to 50 km on alternate days and a minimum 100km on weekends. Fitness levels were taken care of as I used to workout in a boot camp three days a week. I also took training at ProBikers for basic repairs such as changing tyres and tubes of my cycle and addressing minor issues that could happen during the ride. The clincher was me being able to find a riding partner who matched my wavelength and my pace and we have partnered for all the rides. We used to do a recce of the route a week before to figure out places to eat, rest, etc and planned the ride well in advance, taking into account the chances of unforeseen incidents that could occur. It would suffice to say it was a lot of planning, a perfect riding partner, sleep management, mind over body, hydration, nutrition and enjoying the ride, that mattered more than the outcome of the race. This attitude helped me become a Super Randonneur today.

My next Big Challenge
My target for this year is to complete a 1000km ride.  The mind over body and sleep management part will definitely play a big role . In all probability its unlikely I will not find a partner for the ride and that would mean riding alone for the entire stretch which will be tough. So currently I am doing a lot of solo riding to get used to that possibility. Hopefully, should be able to make it .

What keeps me going?

I believe that nothing is impossible. When I did my first ride never did I imagine I would come so far in my cycling journey! Ability to manage challenges on your own , learning that beyond a point it’s mind over body, learning to trust yourself, being aware of your limits, trusting your ride partner, taking it one km at a time and to keep pushing no matter what are some of the lessons I have learnt which is applicable even in my day to day life. The family, especially the wife reacted really bad to my cycling. She was convinced that endurance was not my game and I should stick to 100km max. I had to get a full physical done ,multiple cardiologist opinions to certify that I am fit, in order to get her approval for my 600km last year. Despite that she was present at the halfway point to see for herself whether I was fine . She still disapproves of my long rides but with less force than what it was before.

I had tried my hand at running and did a 10km run but running does not give me a high as cycling does . But then have my eyes set on a full marathon in the next one year. I enjoy scuba diving if you would call that an endurance sport and have dived in many locations across the world with my son.

A word for Newbie Riders

For a Newbie I would advise them to take it in stages starting with small rides and gradually increasing the distance and getting to understand how their body responds to various ride conditions and speeds. A good night’s sleep is a must. They would also need to focus on their fitness levels if they plan to do consistent long rides. I have always tried to be helpful to other riders in the group and have always helped and guided anyone who asks for it. There are professional coaches for riders who want to up their game.

Being consistent is the most important thing for riding and if you are consistent then nothing can stop you from achieving the impossible.

GUEST COLUMNIST

 

A banker by profession who recently quit the corporate world to appreciate life a bit more.Scuba diving and the outdoors are where he feels at home if he isn’t cycling.

 

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