Featured Comments (0) |

Run and bare it

Capt Seshadri looks at Barefoot world champion athletes who have made barefoot running a trend that has made a powerful comeback.

When it comes to a choice between shoes and no shoes, barefoot runners over the years have given their shod competitors a run for their money. In Rome, in 1960, a long distance runner, finding that the official footwear supplier had run out of shoes of his size and that those supplied to him were too tight for comfort, decided to run the marathon without them. And hit pay dirt. Four years later, in Tokyo, Abebe Bikila, the legendary Ethiopian athlete, successfully defended his title, this time running in shoes, and in the process, set a new world record.

Barely four months ago, on April 28, 2018, the world bid adieu to another barefoot running legend, Michael ‘Bruce’ Tulloh. In the early ‘60s, Bruce was a sensation, regularly winning European and international cross-country championships. Two decades later, his twin teenaged daughters set age records for running. Naturally, they also ran barefoot. Tulloh, who turned later in life to teaching biology, ran a grueling 4,600 km across North America, from LA to NY, in just 64 days. He appeared to have counted his paces since this arduous run was captured in his book titled ‘Four Million Footsteps’.

Bihar, in India, produces sportspersons from as varied disciplines as athletics, hockey and archery, but there is one great long-distance runner who represented the country in the ’76 Montreal Olympics, running the marathon barefoot in a surprising time of 2:15:58. His best marathon effort though was in 1978 in Jalandhar, where he timed 2:12:00, a national record unbroken to this day. In the 42.2 at Montreal, Shivnath Singh was in the van for 32 km, ahead of legends like Bill Rodgers and Lasse Viren. Finally, his finish at # 11 out of 72 participants, was an extremely credible performance at the time for an Indian athlete.

Barefoot running is not the exclusive preserve of the male. As a school student at the age of seven, Tegla Loroupe, born in the rift valley area of Kenya, ran 10 km to school and back every day. This early training led to her winning several half and full marathons while garnering gold in the 10,000 metres in the Goodwill Games in 1994 and 1998. Tegla, after retirement, was selected to champion the cause of ‘refugee athletes’ as the organiser of the Refugee Team for the Rio Olympics in 2016.

One of the most famous barefoot women athletes gained notoriety for a different reason, although subsequent investigations absolved her of all fault. Zola Budd, born in Bloemfontein, South Africa, migrated to England to escape the apartheid ban, driven by the fact that her world record of 15:01:83 in the 5,000 metres at age 17 went unrecognised. A year later, representing Great Britain, Zola erased her record with a performance of 14:48:07. Her claim to infamy came with her multiple collisions with Mary Decker, leaving Mary out of the competition and a tearful Zola finishing seventh.

While 27,000 km of running, including 50 + marathons qualifies Rick Roeber as one of the most prominent barefoot runners of this era, the real ‘godfather’ of the unshod foot is Ken Bob Saxton of Seattle, who has a century and more of marathons under his soles. And, running barefoot for charity, Ms. Rae Heim covered over 3,000 km across America to raise funds to provide shoes to needy children under the banner of Soles4Souls.

Ultimately, it’s a long road to run on. Whether for glory or for a cause.

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.

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How does a Senior runner prepare for a Duathlon

Senior runners are experimenting with all forms of endurance sports and the Duathlon is another amazing event to consider, writes Deepthi Velkur.

Swim-Bike-Run races or the Triathlon are challenging and fun, but what happens if you can’t (or don’t enjoy) swimming?

Does that mean you miss out? Definitely not, the answer lies in Duathlon.

Duathlon is often scoffed at for being triathlon’s poor cousin. However, if like me, you’re addicted to running and cycling but dread that swim leg, then the run-bike-run could be the challenge for you.

The classic duathlon challenge involves a 10K run, 44K bike, and 5K run. There is also the Ultra Duathlon that has a 20K run, 77K bike, and 10K run.

While getting through the initial run and bike challenge seem straightforward enough, it is the last run (5K) that kills you and make your legs feel like jelly, though this can be avoided with proper training.

To get the most out of your training please make sure you follow a customized program. Runners who are senior in age need to be cautious and have race-specific training plans. This approach is necessary as over time the wear and tear of the body,  as well as adaption to multiple forms of past training, make the body’s response to new training a lot slower.

As a senior runner, your years of training and racing have helped you understand your body better. Use this knowledge to make amendments and build a good training plan.

Your training plan should include 3 – 4 sessions a week of threshold and muscle training while other days must include strength or cross training. Senior runners should exercise caution when running fast as they are more susceptible to injury due to the loss of muscle and tissue elasticity.

Here are some top training tips when preparing for a duathlon:

Keep it simple: Make sure you have the basics – a bike, water bottle, helmet and a good pair of running shoes. Do make sure they are in good working condition.

Build up your training intensity gradually: Always ensure your training intensity increases gradually because a sudden change can lead to injury. Follow the 80:20 rule – 80% at an easy and conservational pace and 20% at a moderate to high intensity.

Pace yourself: Just like with your training pace yourself through each obstacle – run the first leg at a comfortable place, build intensity with the bike and finish with a flourish in your last run.

Practice transitions: You can lose a lot of time transitioning from your run to a bike to a run again. The key here is repetition. Practice by setting up a mini transition area that is safe and has marked entry and exit lines. Post a warm-up, set a timer each time you run in, change shoes, put on your helmet and run out to mount your bike and again back to the run mode. This helps you to better understand what went well and what changes are needed with respect to your last transition. Aim to get quicker with each session.

Run first, then bike: Incorporate brick sessions as part of the training program – these include a short, sharp run right after your bike ride. This way your legs get used to this transition of getting off a bike and then doing a fast run. Once you’re done with 4-8 weeks of base training, the short bursts off the bike are excellent for building muscle memory ahead of your race day. Try doing a run before a bike ride instead so you know how exactly it would feel to ride after running on race day.

Whether we like it or not our body never ceases to change through aging. You must factor in these changes as you customize your training approach.

That said, make sure you have fun, stay in the moment and enjoy yourself!

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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Strapped for time? Run at night!

If only I had the time to run, seems to be the lament for a lot of us who struggle to fit in running during the day. Well, how about after the day, asks Radhika Meganathan.

Have you ever considered running after the sun had set, with the stars above you keeping company? Poetic, but not practical, you say? Come on! Consider the pros:

  1. Better chance at forming good habits. It’s so easy to hit the couch in the evening, switch on the TV and all good intentions go out of the window. When you opt for a night run, you then automatically fight against lethargy and be proactive, by choosing to run either straight from your work or once you arrive home, before or after dinner.
  2. Better life co-ordination. For some of us, running in the morning is just not done. You might be a night owl, wake up a tad too late and greet a scorching sun. You might have an early shift, by way of work or other life commitments like an early school run. And let’s not forget certain issues of intimacy. “My husband doesn’t run, and we both work, so I really do not want to miss the early morning cuddle time with him,” confesses Sheila*, an ardent runner. Universal Solution? Night runs.
  3. Better mind space. Each day brings new goals and routine obligations, and it can get quite overwhelming when you try to accommodate your passion for running in the early morning chaos (or midday work blues). Naturally, when you choose night runs, the ever-busy day is over and you are free to breathe easy and truly savour your running time. “I always get my run done however late I get back from work. I prepare dinner for kids and go for a run at 8:30pm or even later,” says Srimathy Vardan, investment banker in New York.
  4. Better sleep. Modern day stress, overuse of gadget and bad work-life management have lead to poor sleeping patterns, and seemingly a whopping 50% of people complain of poor sleep in the night. The problem is, if you don’t sleep well, then you don’t perform well the next day. With a night run, your body is pleasantly tired and ready to welcome some deep sleep – an easy, natural and healthy remedy for a complex health issue, a free one at that.

Now that we have convinced you that running is the night is the next best thing, here are some pointers to keep in mind while you burn the not-quite-midnight oil to run:

  • Always keep your phone with you, fully charged and with the latest tracking apps. Investing in a head lamp and clothing with reflective strips or piping is a great idea.
  • Never run in unknown roads; keep to well-lit, well known roads and paths, even if you live in a safe neighbourhood.
  • If you need music while running, opt for a audio book or podcast, since you will still be able to hear outside sounds over your headphones.
  • Do not eat too rich or too much food before your night run. Eat at least two hours before the run, to avoid gastrointestinal issues.
  • If you can postpone dinner until after your run, you will be able to burn some good calories! But if you have type diabetes, you should run after dinner, as studies have shown that it can help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • If you do have dinner two hours before a run, then chances are you may wake up at 3am with a roaring hunger. To prevent this, always have a banana or a protein shake as a post-run, pre-sleep snack before going to bed. Good night and good running!

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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Gear Comments (0) |

The Cooling Towel you Need

Deepthi Velkur talks about the Mission Enduracool Techknit Cooling Towel that has become a constant companion.

It doesn’t matter where you live, some parts of your season are just way hotter than others. It isn’t just the heat but also the high humidity means that running here can be just as challenging. There are several ways you can go about mitigating the effect of the heat during your long runs.

First and foremost is hydration; your body cannot function if you neglect your fluid intake. Second is pacing your run and finally we come down to accessories, things which you can use to reduce the effect of heat on your body and in turn improving your performance.

One of these accessories is cooling towels which is a must-have in your running kit. They are extremely light, compact and convenient to carry around and can keep you cool for several hours at a time.

The Mission EnduraCool Techknit cooling towel is a light-weight, soft and breathable multi-sport towel made from proprietary performance fabric. These new cooling towels beat the heat around you when it is dampened and draped around your head, neck or other hot zones. These colourful towels are quite popular with sporting greats like Serena Williams (tennis), Sergio Garcia (golf), Dwayne Wade (basketball) and of course nearly all world-class marathon runners.

Let’s take a quick look at some features that make this towel a super buy (after 3 months of using it, I love it!).

Proprietary Techknit performance fabric – The thermoregulating technology inside the towel works by absorbing moisture and perspiration in the fabric where the unique fibers circulate water molecules. This in turn regulates the rate of evaporation to create a prolonged cooling effect.

Instant chilling capability – This durable and soft towel is made of evaporative and breathable mesh material that gets activated when it comes in contact with water and will cool to about 30 degrees below your average body temperature lasting up to 2 hours. As long as the towel is damp and has airflow, it will remain cool and keep you comfortable. Additionally, this towel also provides UPF 50 sun protection.

Chemical Free, reusable and machine washableThe towel is made of chemical-free soft mesh material which can be reused any number of times and can be easily washed.        

Price 

This towel is probably one of the best cooling towels available in the market today retailing at INR 2000 (post discount on www.amazon.in). The price tag is definitely a tad expensive but considering the benefits and its longevity, the EnduraCool Techknit cooling tower is a worthwhile investment.

It’s been 3 months since I got myself one of these towels and I use it not just on a run but also on the occasional camping trips around Bangalore where a long day in the sun can get you really edgy. These towels sure are a life-saver and I’m glad I made it an addition to my summer survival tool kit.

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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Training Comments (0) |

Controlling your Running Too Much

Are you monitoring your running to the point where you are becoming obsessive?, asks Nandini Reddy. 

Passionate runners will run because they love the feeling of exhilaration they get when they are running and the sense of achievement they experience after they finish a run. But if you are running by schedule and more for a plan instead of enjoying it then you might be controlling your running a bit too much.

If you want to know if you have become obsessive or a controlling runner then look for these signs.

Your Motivation

Do you feel a sense of joy when you want to run or do you feel like its a task you need to achieve? If you are more motivated by factors like fear of gaining weight or reaching running targets then you are an obsessive runner who has only superficial factors that are motivating you to run and not ones that fuel inner joy. If you find that your alarm and running schedule is what gets you to run everyday then you need to revisit your motivation to run.

Importance of Running

Passionate runners always want to run because it is an activity that they want to indulge in by choice. If you are feeling compelled to do a run and are trying hard to include running into your schedule then you are forcing yourself to do something that you are not naturally attuned to do. You are trying to prove a point to an external factor instead for your own benefit. While some form of exercise or activity should be part of your life, it doesn’t mean you need to take up one that lets you talk about it on social media and declare the number of finish lines you have crossed.

Core identity

A lot of people call themselves runners today. There are numerous opportunities for people to try their hand at running a marathon today or join a running group. But many of them get carried away to a point where they believe that being a runner is their core identity. This means you are getting obsessive with your running habit. Running needs to be a part of your life but making it your core identity doesn’t make any sense.

Feeling angry or sad

Any form of exercise releases endorphins and makes you feel happier. If you are feeling angry about not hitting goals and are constantly stressing about achieving a target then running is controlling you instead of you controlling your runs. There is a psychological gain to exercise and being obsessive doesn’t help. Over-training can lead to burnout both mentally and physically.

Ultimately running should be an experience that enhances your life. It is good to be dedicated to an activity but its never pleasurable if it becomes obsessive.

 

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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Age no bar. Determination compulsory.

This mom and son running duo will give you serious fitness and parenting goals, writes Capt Seshadri.

While it is quite customary to hear of couples running together, or even families running for fun, it must be quite a rarity to see a centenarian mom and her septuagenarian son in competitive athletics, that too in World Masters competitions across the globe.

If ninety three is a ripe old age to start an athletics career, Mann Kaur epitomises it. Having watched her 71 year old son Gurdev Singh run a race at Patiala, sometime in 2007, Kaur was inspired to start running, ‘just for the heck of it’. If genius were truly 1% inspiration, this nonagenarian genius proved that it is also 99% perspiration, by beginning her training in real earnest. Preparing for the Chandigarh Masters Athletic Meet, she sprinted 50 m five times and each of 100 m and 200 m at least once each, every alternate day. That was to prove more than sufficient for the ‘Miracle Mom from Chandigarh’. In 2007, at the very same meet, she won her first medal. There was no looking back at the track.

Mom Kaur and son Gurdev have participated in several Masters Athletics meets around the world. In 2017, in Auckland, where over 18,000 competitors from over a hundred countries participated in 28 disciplines in these quadrennial games, Mann and Gurdev once again covered themselves in glory. While the ‘younger’ Gurdev won silver in the long jump, bronze in the 100 m and was placed 4th in the 200 m, golden girl Mann Kaur finished first in all her three events – the 100 and 200 m and the shot put, in the process earning her 17th international gold medal.

The dashing duo was well prepared for the World Championships at Rugao, China, but were sorely disappointed at not being granted visas. They were supremely confident of more medals and more glory for India. Sadly however, that was not to be. A consolation of sorts came by with Mann Kaur being featured as one among just six nominees worldwide, for the Laureus World Sports Awards in 2017. This award is an annual feature, often considered the ‘Oscar’ of sports, to honour sporting individuals and teams for consistent achievements throughout the year. Kaur, although unlucky to have lost out to Usain Bolt, can count her name against sporting luminaries like Tiger Woods and Roger Federer.

In Canada, where she is now settled, Mann Kaur is to be bestowed a lifetime achievement award. Her happiness is in getting to travel across the globe at her advanced age.” Kaur attributes her longevity and athletic prowess to her healthy lifestyle of clean living and a diet of boiled vegetables and wheat bread. “If you take junk food, then how can you run? I avoid fried food”, is her mantra. This simple centenarian world beater, who has even run a non-stop 3 km race in Mohali, near her home town of Chandigarh, along with legendary centenarian marathoner Fauja Singh, has this to say: “I will continue to run and take part in competitions as long as I can. It gives me a lot of happiness when I run. I believe that age is no bar to chase and realise your dreams.”

Age is no bar indeed. All you need is a road to run on.

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.

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Tension free with TriggerPoint Foam Roller

The TriggerPoint GRID X Foam Roller is the best in the market if you are looking for something to aid your running recovery, writes Nandini Reddy.

Mobility is one of the most important components of fitness and recovery for runners needs the extra assistance and foam rollers are the go to product. TriggerPoint’s new Grid X upgrade for it foam roller is a hollow core foam roller that definitely gets the job done. The high quality of the GRID has helped make it a #1 tool of physical therapists, massage therapists, athletic trainers and professional athletes. The GRID is meant to be used for rolling your tight muscles, knots & kinks to eliminate / reduce soreness and increase range of motion by achieving greater mobility.

The Grid X Roller

The new version of the roller delivers a basic design which is hollow inside and bumpy outside. The new roller is an upgrade from the original roller as its twice as firm and defined for athletes who want to target dense muscle tissues.

The GRID roller has 3 different surfaces for you to utilize:

  1. The Flat Surface – Simulating the palms of the hands of a massage therapist.
  2. The Long Tubular Surface – For a deep tissue massage.
  3. The Small And Firm Surface – This is the surface that is the most aggressive and reaches the deepest into your tissue.

The TriggerPoint roller is known for its durability due to its rigid core.

  • This roller rolls better without slipping from underneath you
  • It is compact and travel-friendly
  • It is sturdy
  • Its design allows a finger-like feel
  • Perfect for deep tissue relief

The GRID comes in a variety of models – which vary in size – and also comes in a number of different colors. The way to differentiate between different firmnesses with GRID rollers is to look at the color of the inner core. GRID rollers with black cores are the standard, moderate firmness. The GRID X is extra-firm, and features a red core.

Sizes 

The products are available in three different sizes and two densities. Regular density models include:

  1. The original 13-inch GRID
  2. The 26-inch GRID 2.0
  3. And the 4-inch travel-friendly GRID Mini.
  4. The 13-inch GRID X features extra dense foam for working the tightest muscles.

Price

Its priced at Rs 2516.40 after a 20% price drop on Amazon.in. Its higher priced than the other rollers in the market.

Its constructed to be tough and sturdy. It is also the perfect roller for deep tissue muscle relief.

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 Body Happy

While you clock the kms on your running there are few things you need to do to ensure your body stays happy through your training programme, writes Nandini Reddy.

You are doing everything right – strength training, recovery, nutrition and running kms. All these are strengthening your body but yet your body might be breaking down from all the stress. You need to maintain your body so that you can keep running and prevent injury. In order to keep your body in top form, experts believe you nee to follow a few of these tips:

Get a Foam Roller 

Foam rolling reduces tension in your muscles and aids in muscle recovery. The increased blood flow from foam rolling also assists in injury prevention. Ideally foam rolling should be done pre and post a workout. The pre-workout will help get the blood flowing and the post-workout will help release the tension in your muscles. This also aids in muscle recovery.

Start liking Water

Water is your friend. You can slowly work your way up to drinking more water during your training. You can also opt for high water content vegetables as part of your diet to ensure that you meet your daily water demands. These can help with extra hydration through the day.

Sleep is great

You muscles need to repair themselves while you sleep so if you are not getting enough sleep then you are doing your body a disservice. Sleep is the time during which the body repairs and the micro-tears in your muscles heal. It also helps boost your immune system and regulate your metabolism that can improve your endurance. The idea is to get enough rest to ensure that your body heals itself and is better prepared for the next day’s tough run.

Work on Wall Sit-ups

You need to start opting for a few exercises that take the stress off your knees and ankles and yet work out your leg muscles. Wall-sit ups are the best option to ensure that you body gets its best workout without over-stressing your knees and ankles. This is a form of strengthening that will also help you during hill runs.

Stretch your back

You need to take care of your back with strengthening exercises and stretches. Also along with the back – the glutes needs to be worked out as they support the muscles in your legs while you run. If you glutes are weak then you might have injuries such as injured arches that might lead to plantar fasciitis.

The idea is that your body needs respect and love while you train to run your best race so take care and ensure that your body is always happy.

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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Training Comments (0) |

How many Kms should you run a week?

If you are training for a 10k, half marathon or full marathon, there is a minimum number of kms that you need to run every week, writes Nandini Reddy.

Preparing your body before the big race is important to ensure that you have the ability to endure the stress of the race. We always tend to run faster and harder on race day so how can we prepare ourselves to run by working up a good training plan. But many runners in training encounter harsh training plans that have unrealistic distances that they need to run.

But a standard training plan may not work for every one because each person’s strength and endurance level is different. One plan cannot fit everyone so it is important to assess yourself personally and see how you can train to achieve you goal while keeping your own strengths and limitations in mind.

How much should you run?

A standard understanding of training and kms per week for running various race distances is

  • 5k – New Runner (20-25 kms)/ Seasoned Runner (30-40kms)
  • 10k – New Runner (30-35 kms)/ Seasoned Runner (45-60kms)
  • 21k – New Runner (40-45 kms)/ Seasoned Runner (65-75kms)
  • 42k – New Runner (40-50kms)/ Seasoned Runner (80-90 kms)

A few training tips you can follow to determine the right running distance per week for you –

Run more if you are running longer  When you are training for a marathon your weekly training kms target should match the distance you intend to run. You need to achieve your weekly distance in three ways – long run days, fast run days and rest days. The ultimate goal to achieve the distance you intend to achieve in a week but most importantly you need to remember that the pace of your run should be slow to start with and should then progress to higher speeds. So mix up longer and shorter run to achieve the distance. If on any day you feel too tired then don’t push yourself and use that as rest and recovery day. But even if you feel well, it is important to have rest days to ensure that you are in peak health.

Higher goals means more running – Do you want to just finish the race or finish it in a particular time and at a particular pace? If you have higher goals than just finishing the race then you need to alter your weekly distance run to achieve them. You will need to worry about your endurance, sustainability and energy utilization when you want to achieve specific performance goals. The idea is to ensure that you body is able to sustain the elongated periods of running. So the longer your run, the stronger you will get to handle the longer running distances.

Pace is equally important – Running at the same pace all the time is not a good training plan. Interval training and tempo training are great ways to ensure that you experiment with different pace. The body’s running efficiency will improve during these training runs. This will make you a better runner and adapt your body to move comfortably at different paces. This will also help when you are trying to clear the last few miles and your body and muscles are already tired. You will know how to alter your pace to reduce the fatigue effect and complete the race in your goal performance parameters.

Take it slow when you run more – You may have started your first week in training with just 10kms. But as you get stronger your distances will increase. But that doesn’t mean that you run faster to gain distance. Each week you can aim to increase your distance by 10-15%. The body needs to adapt to these extra kms so it is important that you take it slow. Worry more about the quality of your run instead of just the quantity. Your body is under stress from the changes in distance and you need to be aware that you need to take it slow so that it can adapt.

Your body needs attention – Running comes with some discomfort and part of the challenge is to push your body to a new territory of fitness that it has not been in before. But remember that your body will tell you if something is not right. If you feel a sharp pain or a persistent pain then its time to stop and address it. Never run through these pains as it can lead to injury. Your body needs to heal so a rest day is equally important for your training plan. You need to give your body time to adapt to the new running regime and you can do it more efficiently if you pay more attention to the signs your body might be giving you.

Stay injury-free – In order to finish a race you need to be healthy and injury free. If you have over done your training and have ended up being injured, what’s the use of all the training. You need to be aware of your limits and learn to work to peak your performance without breaking your body. If you are running a longer race give priority to sustenance rather than speed. For shorter races you can focus on speed. But whichever way you go remember that you cannot injure yourself.

The real test of your training is on race day and you need to be at the starting line feeling strong and healthy to take on the challenge of the run ahead of you. If you are not training for a race them 10-15 kms are week is a perfect distance to just stay in shape.

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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