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Three Reasons to Hire a Running Coach

If you have ever wondered whether you should invest in coaching, Radhika Meganathan in the article below will help you take an informed decision.

Running may be one of the cheapest and easily accessible sport ever because apart from good running shoes, there are practically no expenses involved. Plus, what is there to train about it? That’s what most people think, but Jo, coach at The Unit weight training studio in Kotturpuram (Chennai), disagrees. “A running coach will optimize your performance and also help you to avoid injuries. That’s why they can be invaluable,” she says.

Regardless of whether you run as a hobby or a serious passion, if you ever wondered whether you should you invest in a running coach, we present to you three reasons why you should consider hiring one!

When you face a roadblock and need a push in the right direction…

When you are stalled, a coach can absolutely get you on track. Srimathi Vardhan who lives in Manhattan says, “I started running in 2016 and did my first 10k in Chennai when I had been there for my vacation. I trained for it throughout my vacation and finished the race in 56 minutes.  But I didn’t know much about pre- and post-run stretches and ended up hurting myself after my first half marathon in 2017. So I talked to my friend who referred me to this virtual coach, who created a training plan specific to my needs. Using this plan, I trained diligently and achieved several personal best timings in 4 mile, 5 mile, 10k and 13.1 mile races. “

You are an experienced runner and feeling bored or unmotivated…

Sure you have conquered a few marathons and are quite confident of yourself and your stats. Well, you may not know it, but a coach can help you surpass your current record to hitherto unimagined heights! A lot of experienced runners get their advice and tips from running buddies and are part of clubs and quite understandably miss out on having a trained professional oversee their progress. If you have not noticed any new development in your running for a long time, and if you find yourself stuck in a rut, then you should definitely opt for a running coach, one who can help you set new and thrilling goals and help you get there.

You are new to running and you want to put your best foot forward, literally….

We get it, you just started running, you are not sure about your running stats and you want to get miles ahead without any margin for error… or you may not be so sure of your posture or pacing, and you’d like to have some professional help. Whatever your reason is, go for it if you can afford it… and let it be noted that it is practically a win-win situation, and might very well turn out to be a small investment for a long time of running with minimum injuries!

The truth is that when you opt for coaching, there is very little that can go wrong. Coaches are equipped to instruct runners of all levels on managing different training loads and help them avoid common training errors, such as wrong posture, wrong pacing, inadequate recovery time etc. Of course you can learn all these stuff by yourself at some point, sure, but if you can afford it and you have had enough of running without supervision, then you’re better off saving time (and minimizing injury risks) by opting for a running coach.

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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The Simple, Smart and Effective Polar M430

A look at the smart yet simple GPS watch, Polar M430, a favourite for runners, writes Deepthi Velkur. 

GPS watches and running have become quite synonymous in the energy-sapping world of endurance sports. From professional to weekend runners, nearly everyone seems to have one of these watches to track their every move and using this data to train harder and more efficiently.

Rewind a few years and owning a GPS watch seemed like a piece of luxury but the scenario has drastically changed today. Aside from the original Garmin Forerunners, there were hardly any companies dabbling in the world of GPS watches but with more companies launching wearable GPS watches and the abundant choices in the market to suit every budget, it has become rather commonplace to see one of these devices perched on the wrists of runners.

When it comes to GPS running watches, one of the leading contenders in the market is the Polar M430.

At first glance, the M430 does appear a bit intimidating but as you use it, you realize that the M430 is an effective watch for your looking for the best performance tracking and recording device in the market.

When Polar launched the M400 in September 2014, it took the running world by storm and become Europe’s top-selling running watch in 2015-16. Fast forward 3 years hence and you find that Polar has taken the winning formula of the M400, topped it up with additional hardware and feature thus translating into one hell of a quality product.

The main difference between the M400 and M430 is the addition of an optical Heart Rate Monitor (HRM). The heart rate monitor measures your heart rate round the clock every few minutes or continuously during an activity.

Apart from the HRM, let us take a look at some of the features the M430 has to offer.  

The Polar fitness test – The fitness test uses your heart rate and other data to differentiate the optimum rate at which your heart, lungs, and muscles can effectively use oxygen during an activity. Using this, you can set up and monitor a fitness plan.

Run anywhere – Indoors or outdoors, the integrated GPS tracks your pace, distance, and altitude.

Running program – using the Polar Flow app, you can design a personalized and adaptive training plan.

Running Index – helps you measure how your runs are improving.

Polar Sleep plus – this function provides you with important insights on your sleep patterns and you can use this to develop good sleeping habits and as a result better performance.

GPS – The M430 comes with two GPS tracking options: 1) high accuracy recording mode that pings every second, and 2) low-power mode that pings every 30 seconds.

Final recommendation

The M430 is a brilliant multi-sport watch that performs very well in nearly every category. At INR 30,000, the M430 is a running watch in its purest form at a fairly decent price compared to the competition.

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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The original Anti Chafe Balm

Deepthi Velkur explores a product that tackles chafing, a common runner problem

Chafing is the most common skin problem among long-distance runners and occurs in areas that constantly rub against each other causing friction or is dependent on the type of clothing you wear. Prolonged rubbing can cause your skin to burn and develop a mild red rash that can be extremely painful and distracting while running.The key here is to be pro-active and prevent this chafing by using the right product. The Body Glide anti chafe balm does exactly that offering you a hassle-free run.

The body glide anti chafe balm is said to be ‘magical’ as it forms a satin smooth invisible barrier that helps the skin retain moisture leaving the skin feeling dry, non-messy and resists rubbing that causes chafing.

Product features

  • An all-natural lubricant, made with allergen-free and plant-derived ingredients.
  • Vegan approved and never been tested on animals.
  • Child safe
  • Satin smooth formula that keeps your skin dry and non-messy
  • Rich in Vitamin A, B, E
  • Keeps skin hydrated and retains moisture.
  • Ideal for sensitive, dry and cracked skin
  • Comes in a roll-on stick dispenser for easy application.
  • Lightweight and scent-free
  • A unisex product, available in different sized tubes and has a product exclusively for women.

Why is it good

Here are a few reasons why this balm is a must try –

No.1 choice of athletesThis product is the preferred choice of athletes as it leaves the skin feeling dry when compared to messy wet creams, gels and powders that have a greasy effect and leave you feeling uncomfortable. The dry feeling is due to no petroleum, lanolin or mineral oils being used in its preparation.

Easy and quick application – It can be easily applied in sensitive areas such as inner thighs, neck, under-arms or any place where the skin is rubbed.

Non-messy – The balm does not rub onto your clothes making it messy.

Sweat resistant – The pores are kept free from clogging so the sweat can easily escape helping your skin breathe.

Portability – This tube can be easily carried around and can also be put away in your race bag for later use.

Long-lasting Protection – A super effective and long-lasting balm which can be applied daily even in humid and dry weather conditions for a pain-free active life.

Price

INR 3999 for 70ml(2.5oz) and is available on Amazon India.

Final recommendation

It is a highly recommended for runners. Though it is expensive, it’s long lasting and worth every penny. A quick application is all it takes and lasts you through the entire run preventing your skin from chafing and making the run so much more comfortable.

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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How to fix Heel Pain?

If you have stepped out of bed and experienced a sharp pain in your heels, then you need to learn these remedies, writes Nandini Reddy.

Painful soles and a feeling like a million needles are pricking your heels is the hallmark symptom of heel pain. This is also the first symptom that tells you that the connective tissue in your sole is strained and inflammed and you could be seeing an onset of plantar fasciitis.

Once you experience this heel pain, the recovery period is long and slow. If you are in pain already or if you wish to avoid the injury then there are few cautionary tips for you to follow:

Re-think you training program

If you are experiencing heel pain then you need to inform your running coach or work with a physiotherapist who can alter your program. You will need to make changes in your speed, distance, gear and running terrains. Hilly and uneven terrain should be completely avoided as long as you have the heel pain. Work on getting different footwear that will support your foot.

Balance Rest and Stress

Opt for a running shoe that is a better fit. You will need to find a shoe with better arch support and cushioning on the heel. This will be less stressful on your foot. Get used to the new shoes by walking in them first. Strengthen and repair your damaged tissue and the surrounding muscles that offer support to the foot. Calf strengthening exercises are extremely important and your core stability is also paramount.

Relieve your Symptoms

Use a foot roller or a tennis ball and move your foot over it to relieve the muscle pain. You can also use a frozen water bottle to relieve the pain. These are for temporary relief of symptoms only. There are massage therapies available to manage the pain as well. These may not resolve the problem but are useful for temporary relief.

Don’t stop moving

Resting and not moving will not improve your problem. Aerobic exercise is the best way to take care of an inflammation. If you find it difficult to run then opt for an elliptical machine or running in a swimming pool. Essentially opt for a low-impact exercise that doesn’t put pressure on your foot.

Suggested Exercises

Calf raises are the best exercise to do to repair your heels. This exercise improves tissue quality and stretches out the stressed tissue bringing relief. This also works on the surrounding muscles and strengthens them as well. This can be done several times through the day.

The most important thing to remember is that recovering from heel pain needs patience.

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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The Conqueror of the Everest -Part 2

In the concluding part, Deepa Bhat talks to Deepthi Velkur about how she prepared for the big day. 

Continuing the conversation with Deepa Bhat, the first Indian woman to complete the Everest Ultra Marathon.

Acclimatization to such high altitudes is key – how did you prepare yourself for this?

The trek was  well planned out, with enough rest days for us to acclimatize to the harsh weather conditions and have some short training runs too to get a feel of how the actual run would be like. In the mountains, the rule is ‘Climb High and Sleep Low’. Hydrate well, sleep better, believe in yourself and altitudes will embrace you.

What type of running gear would you suggest is appropriate to run in such high altitudes?

Layering helps in altitudes. I use a hydration vest and carry my water (3 liters and energy bars, salt tablets). I train the same way too, to minimize the surprises on race day.

Personal safety must be a top priority while running any high altitude terrain. What steps did you take to ensure your safety?

As for this race, until the 23k mark was a familiar route which is the one that we trekked up. Post that we had a Nepali guide who runs along with us to ensure we are on track. I carried along medical supplies, like band-aid and spray, a rain cover, a survival blanket and a night lamp. Taking the soft shell (jacket) was a completely last minute decision and did me good as it kept me safe through the night. In Ultra-running, one cannot calculate everything as there are new learning always.

Not only does physical fitness matter but one needs to be mentally geared up to take on this grueling challenge. How did you prepare yourself?

No matter how hard you train you body, mental training is just as important. If your mind isn’t prepared for what lies ahead, your body won’t be either. During one of my early Ultra running days, my body began experiencing wave after wave of fatigue, my mind quickly followed. Once I fell into this hole, it was tough for me to get back. A minute feels like an hour, a kilometer felt like a ten. I am thankful that I learned how to tackle that early on.

Someone once said I am not ‘Focused and doing too many things.’ Maybe, but I am determined. Confidence and determination have taken me far in life, especially when I am out on the trails. When my body is on the verge of shutting down during a challenging race, my mind is the only thing that keeps me going. ‘Get better than what you were yesterday’ is my only motivation, be it work, home or on trails.

Completing this race at 1:00 am in the darkness of the night has taught me a lot, which I am going to carry with me till the end.

What was the role of your guide and how did he motivate you to stay on track during the entire course?

My guide through this trek was a 17-year-old Nepali guide, reminded me so much of my son Dhruv as both are of the same age. He could speak only Nepali and I couldn’t speak a word of the language. It was going to be one hell of an experience I thought, once he joined me at the 23k mark.

I stuck close to him, watching where he was placing his feet and did exactly that. Sometimes it is best to follow your guide when you are 11hrs into the race and way too tired to even think. Since these guides traverse these paths so often and familiar with the course as well. A couple of coffees and noodle soup at night is all we had but that was the energy booster that got us across the finish line.

My guide was a very quiet and simple lad untouched by technology having a cheerful face and a constant smile who kept motivating me that I could and I must reach the finish line.

Did having a running buddy help you get through this challenging race? What were the most crucial plans Taher and you put in place?

Each one runs their own race. Each of us looks at the race, strategize very differently but all with the same goal – reaching the Finish Line!

The day before the race must have been one of the toughest moments of your life – please tell us what went through your mind?

Sleeping at the base camp is a privilege, that a regular trekker cannot enjoy. They just visit the EBC, take pictures, soak in and return to Gorakshep. Running the Extreme Ultramarathon gives you the opportunity of staying two nights right at the end of the notorious Kumbhu glacier at the end of the icefall.

The morning of 28th May, a day before the race is something that gives me shivers even today. Woke up early to feel the chill air, brushed my teeth with warm water (I always keep a bottle of hot water in my sleeping bag every night) and suddenly started feeling super cold. Rushed into the tent to pull out a warmy to put into my gloves. Minutes later, outside my tent, all I could see was darkness, everything around me had turned black. Before I knew, I was unconscious. Although I could hear everyone around me calling for help, trying to talk to me but was in no state to respond. My oxygen levels dropped to 37 and pressure was low as well. ‘Will I be airlifted, does my marathon end here?’ the only thoughts that ran through my mind. I had suffered from hypothermia.

Thanks to my teammates, emergency care doctors I was back on my feet and by 9:30 am geared up for the mock race in a saree. 30 countries 150 runners, the atmosphere was surreal. One needs to be there to experience the celebration.

What would you take away post this achievement and would you encourage other runners to take on this challenge?

There is a lot that this race has taught me, some good life lessons, that no book, blog or just about anything could have. That’s a secret, I want to keep… shhhh!

To another runner, ‘Run a trail to discover yourself’.

What tips do you have for other extreme marathon runners?

Read my blog and come with me for a run 😉

  • Put your finger on a race – tell yourself, why do you want to do it and how determined are you to take on the challenge.
  • Work religiously on the training plan – there are no shortcuts. What you put in is what you get.
  • Keep your family involved as running an ultra is a family event. You will be spending so much time outside of your home that without them it is not possible.
  • Stay positive – If not for you, no one can run the race for you.

What did you look forward to the most at the finish line?

We don’t conquer the mountains, no one can. Yes, it does humble you as a person of how small and insignificant you are as the finish line is just the beginning…

“You must go on adventures to know where you truly belong!” , says Deepa.

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 Conqueror of the Everest – Part 1

In a two-part series, Deepthi Velkur connects with the Indian Woman who completed the Everest Marathon, Deepa Bhat.

Not so long ago, the start line for an ultra-marathon was only headed by the elite runners. When we speak of it today, there are hundreds of regular runners flocking to take part in a variety of endurance race challenges much beyond the 42k distance. They want to push their boundaries and achieve a dream that was reserved for the elite athletes in the yesteryear’s. Today, Bengaluru’s Deepa Bhat is one such aspiring Indian woman.

Deepa Bhat, is a 41 year old Ultrarunner, Triathlete, Scuba Diver, High altitude trekker, Creative chef, and a mother of two teenage boys. Building a career in the e-learning space, Deepa is also a running coach at the Cult Fitness centre, Bengaluru.

Running gives her the much cherished ‘Me time’, a feeling of bliss and helps keep her focused to achieve her goals year after year. Meticulously planning to balance all aspects of her life-family, career, and fitness have helped her strive and become one of the top runners in the country. This year she became the first Indian woman to have completed the world’s highest running event-The Everest Ultra marathon along with Taher Merchant. Having completed the 72k Kardungla challenge together last year, they decided to take on the challenge of participating in next high altitude race- The Everest Marathon.

We speak to her to find out more about how she conquered her dream of running The Everest Ultra -Marathon.

To conquer Mt. Everest is a dream for most people, to conquer it running is beyond our wildest dreams. What pushed you to take on this challenge(The Everest Ultra Marathon) and what was it like to be on top of the world?

I feel I have a strong connection with the mountains. Something about working hard towards accomplishing a goal and being in the wilderness, surrounded by breathtaking nature just appeals to me. I felt it for the first time when I was just 20 years old, my first High altitude climb to Sar Pass Trek in Himachal Pradesh. The force only got stronger from there on. Having completed the 72k Kardungla Challenge in Ladakh last year and being a podium finisher there, achieving the next high altitude run -The Everest Ultra Marathon became my goal. With sub-zero temperatures and snow in the evening, made it hard but went through the night without a break to finish the circuit in 19hours 50mins and 40sec.

What other Ultra races have you run in the past where you have made it to the podium?

A few of the ultra races that I have run and achieved a podium finish include:

  • 2nd runner-up at Khardungla challenge-72k
  • Winner at stadium run, Bangalore-86km
  • Winner at Jawadhu hills ultra-marathon-75km
  • 1st runner-up at the Half Iron Man-1.9k swim, 90k cycle and 21k run
  • 2nd runner-up at the Spirit of Wipro challenge-10k
  • 1st runner-up at the IDBI spice coast-42.2k

What were your goals before the start of the race and how thrilled were you on achieving them?

Unlike other ultras, where one drives to the start line with fresh legs, I had to trek for 11 days from Lukla (2860m) to the Everest Base camp(5364m). That meant 4-6 hours of walking on any given day over various terrains, including steep hills, high suspension bridges, and rocky paths. The trail is as tough and challenging as they come. Despite the trek being so tiring and difficult, my mission was bigger than just reaching the EBC. My mantra was to take one day at a time because overthinking can dilute the joy. The Everest Extreme Ultra Marathon wasn’t just another adventure race. Honestly, the magnitude of the achievement has sunk in only after all the love I received once I was back home.

What inhibitions or roadblocks did you face within yourself and from people back home before starting out on this adventure?

There were no roadblocks that i faced from anyone. Though I must agree, it involved a lot of planning, working from home and of course, I had to figure out the finances too. At times, people around me had more confidence in me than I had in myself and I’m truly blessed for that. Whenever I prepare for a race, be it a 10k or an Ultra, I do not have an iota of a doubt if I should or shouldn’t take part in the race. I do my research, train well, and prepare both mind and body for the big day. On the race day, I never forget to thank God for bringing me to the start line. During the race, I listen to my body (never push beyond what I can), because races will come and go, but I am precious.

Please tell us more about the Ultra Marathon?

Sir Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa summited the Everest on May 29, 1953. A competition is held every year on the same day and this started from the year 2013 to commemorate the event. The Extreme Ultra-Everest marathon is considered the world’s highest running event, which also includes half and full marathons. The Extreme Ultra starts at EBC and goes through five Himalayan passes.

There were around 200 runners and high altitude trekkers from 30 different countries across the world. I chose to run the 60k of ultra-running bliss. The undulating terrain, the rarefied air, cold winds, the moraines, steep inclines just make this race all the more challenging. The day temperatures were -1degrees while the night seemed like -30degrees. A mock race is organized a day before the actual race to check if the entire path is clear for runners.

In the next part we will learn about how Deepa equipped herself to run this challenging course. 

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 First 2 hours after a Marathon

What to do and not to do right after finishing a marathon, writes Nandini Reddy.

Celebrate because you just finished a marathon, one of the best endurance challenges. Once you cross the finish line there are a few essential things you need to do in order to ensure that you do not hate yourself for running the marathon. It is best to have a game plan for recovery ready so that you are not regretting running the race tomorrow.

Don’t collapse to the floor

It might seem like an appealing idea to just drop to ground once you are across the finish line because legs must already be feeling like lead. But if you do not do that you will be doing yourself an enormous favour. When you just sit down or lie down once the race finishes you risk stiffening or pulling your muscle. As tempting as it might be, try and resist the urge until you have finished stretching. The best way to recover is slowly waking around the finisher’s holding area as it helps clear the excessive lactic acid that has build up in your muscles during the race.

Also since your body was working in the maximum heart rate zone, its never a good idea to abruptly stop because this will cause blood pooling in your legs and your blood pressure is also likely to drop. You will most likely feel dizzy or light-headed.

Drink, Drink, Drink – only Water

The moment you finish the race, your top priority should be to re-hydrate yourself. You can use running salts tablets also an active way to recover along with water. The amount of fluid you need depends on the length of the race, the weather conditions and how much fluid you drank during the race. If you want to know if you are hydrated well then just go for the old urine colour test. If your urine is dark yellow then you are dehydrated.

Stretch it out

Do static stretches that focus on your quads, hamstrings and calf muscles. Hold the stretches for 6 long inhales and exhales. These stretches will promote better blood flow and help recover your muscles quickly. You are less likely to experience DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) if you stretch well.

Get rid of the sweaty clothes

Your clothes will be soaked in sweat post the race. If you have someone meeting you at the finish line, ask them to carry a t-shirt for you. The cold sweat evapourating off your body might reduce your body temperature quickly and cause you to catch chill. Apart from that you might not make for great company in your sweaty clothes.

Use compression socks

Compression socks might look dorky but they are great for preventing blood pooling in your legs. Wear the socks up to the knees and you can keep them on for the rest of the day. Take them off while going to bed at night.  They are great to prevent swelling and reduce lactic acid built-up.

Don’t load the fats

While you run your stomach is the last place that gets blood supply as its not working at the time, so avoid fatty food that needs more effort to digest right after the race. The key for recovery is to get carbs into your body within 60 mins of finishing the race. You can try liquid carbs like a chocolate milkshake or a fruit juice instead of trying to chow down a sandwich. Also within two hours of finishing the race you need to have protein. It may be in the form of a whey protein drink instead of a steak.

Ice Bath

Once you are back home, give yourself a cold or ice water bath depending on the weather you were running in. You can add epsom salts and soak you feet to relieve the stress. This will help relax your muscles and prevent any further damage.

Listen to your body over the next few days and do not stress or strain it. Take light walks to ensure that you keep moving and don’t dedicate yourself to the couch but high intensity exercises can be avoided.

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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Better your Run Timing

Whatever distance you are running, as a runner you always want to better your time, writes Deepthi Velkur.

Short or long distance runners always focus on improving time to give their performance an extra edge. You can better your running time with simple changes listed here and thus make your runs more gratifying with a reduced risk of injury.

Tweak your running technique

Changes in your running style make a world of difference to your efficiency, timing and injury risk. Follow simple techniques like running tall with the body leaning slightly forward, striking the ground between your heel and forefoot, swinging arms back and forth at a 90-degree angle, loosening up your shoulders and holding up your chest to maximize the oxygen intake.

Stride Turnover

Increase your cadence with shorter strides. Try and land 180 times a minute with your feet landing below your body. If your falling behind, strive on improving your cadence by 5% each time till you reach the target of 180.

Speed bursts Incorporate speed drills into your routine such as fartlek, interval and tempo workouts. Alternating between fast and slow runs and variations in the distance covered with each run aids in strengthening your muscles and improve your running time and efficiency. Plan one long run per week at a pace up to 75 percent of your race pace. Mix it up by adding short, fast runs, done at race speed, and intervals during the week. A hill workout also builds strength and endurance thereby increasing your timing.

Get Uncomfortable Do not be scared of getting uncomfortable. When you are first picking up your pace your whole body will burn and your lungs will be screaming for you to stop. You will have more lactic acid build up and might feel fatigued. It may be a strange feeling to experience but as you practice the stress of the sensation will be replaced by happiness.

Strength Training Once or twice a week of strength training that includes exercises like burpees, squats, single-leg dead-lifts, lunges, and planks. Body weight exercises, involving 10-20 reps per set, are effective, but 4-6 reps per set with heavy weights are better for improving speed.

Watch your diet Running helps burn calories and it is essential to follow a good nutritious diet that includes complex carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables, good fats and protein. This assists in increasing glycogen stores and builds muscle mass that will help you pick up your running pace.

Good running shoes Getting too much out of your running shoe is not advisable as they begin to lose their cushioning and stability, affecting both your gait and cause injury. It is recommended to change your running shoes every 400 to 800 km depending on the surface you run and wear and tear of the shoe.

Adequate rest Rest is critical to your recovery and prevention of injury. Taking a complete day off in the week helps your muscles to build and repair themselves.  Running with strained muscles means that you will not be able to push your body beyond a limit and you might also tire faster.

Hill Training Running on slopes is a great way to build strength. Find a fairly steep climb that will give you at least a 50 -100 m uninterrupted stretch. Run hard and fast uphill and walk down slowly. Repeat at least 5 times to start with and then increase the repetitions and number of days.

It is possible to shave off the seconds, and eventually the minutes from your finish timing. Train smart and run hard and you should definitely better your race timings.

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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