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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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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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Stay Hydrated with the CamelBak Hydration Pack

Hydration packs are a popular gear item for runners today, and the CamelBak Octane is a good product to consider, writes Deepthi Velkur.

Hydration packs are increasingly gaining popularity with people who travel long-distances whether it is to do with hiking, trekking, biking or running. While going on these long distance trips, we tend to apply a lot of pressure on our lower body causing the muscles to tire out quite easily. As a result, not only do we require sufficient calories but ample fluids as well. Proper hydration goes a long way especially when you are covering long distances. Most times, using water bottles are probably not be the best choice when you’re on a bike or running. Its sheer functionality and efficiency might be inconvenient to lug around for several kilometers at a stretch.

Given a choice, would you have not preferred to be hydrated other than a water bottle or something that doesn’t get in your way?

Hydration packs for this very same reason have become quite popular among sports aficionados. They come in varied sizes, shapes, forms and are highly versatile as they make your travel hassle-free. People need to wise in selecting a hydration pack based on how you plan to use it. If it is only to carry fluid, then just a hydration pack works. If you plan to water along with other items such as food, gels and safety equipment, then choosing a running backpack is a better option. To ensure the load is as light as possible, keep the weight of the pack to no more than 20 percent of your body weight. When you choose a hydration pack, you need to look for fluid versatility, weight distribution and something that is compact and form-fitting design.

Here is a perfect hydration pack – CamelBak Octane 10 which is a lightweight multi-sport and multi-task pack that comes with a 10 liter compressible cargo space and 2liter Crux reservoir. This hydration pack is ideal for extra long runs. It is well designed to carry tons of gear which keep the athletes well prepared for any situation they might face on the run.

Some of the features that the hydration pack comes with are:

  • 2L Crux reservoir provides the required hydration and delivers 20% more water per sip.
  • Adjustable chest strap and the integrated baggage compression ensures in maintaining more stability and also comes with a wide adjustment range to suit every individual.
  • 3D Vent mesh is light and well cushioned which maximizes airflow and reduces chafing for a cool and comfortable run.
  • The Stretch-Overflow Pocket helps you to stash away your rain shell or layers which might come handy into the expandable pocket for quick access.
  • Fuel and Gear Storage helps in organizing your run essentials such as gels and drinks and comes with pockets specifically designed for Quick Stow flasks.
  • Pole attachment for easy accessibility and mounting of poles when you need it.

Specifications: 

  • Hydration capacity: 2L\70 fl Oz(2.07ltr)
  • Hydration Type-CRUX reservoir with Quicklink System
  • Gear Capacity- 8L\450 cu in
  • Pack weight- 370g
  • Dimensions: 42 x 30 x 19.5 cm / 16.5 x 11.8 x 7.7 in
  • Fits Torso:43-53 cm/17-21 in

Price

It is available in Black and Atomic Blue and is priced at 15,667 INR and available on www.amazon.in

The Camelbak Octane 10 hydration pack is quite comfortable as it holds enough gear and water to last a day and also very versatile, good-looking and durable.

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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A sock for your run – Rockay Accelerate

A running sock that lives up to the hype, Deepthi Velkur writes about the Rockay Accelerate.

Believe it or not, one of the most exciting things about running beside achieving your personal best or improving your pace and time with each run is the attractive running gear you wear.

For a runner, every piece of clothing or accessory has a purpose to serve – be it for sun protection, prevent chafing, regulating body temperature or just adding style to the overall look.

The most important gear to a runner would probably be the shoes. This is quite unsurprising given that they protect you from rugged terrains and overuse injuries as the feet take the maximum toll during a run and end up carrying your bodyweight.

Besides a good running shoe being at the top of your list, a good pair of socks comes a close second. A good sock has many benefits as it protects your feet from blistering and chafing which even the best shoe will not be able to prevent.

A great amount of technology is used in designing a running sock. Many features such as usage of material, moisture absorption, rubbing against the skin, compression, seams and sock fit are carefully tied together to provide a smooth irritation-free ride.

When looking for a good running sock, here are a few pointers:

Material – It is ideal to pick a moisture absorbing fabric like organic wool. Although wool seems like it would attract more heat which might suffocate your feet, it does the contrary – it helps your feet cool down and breathe. The wool also keeps your feet feeling dry, prevents it from getting blisters and chafing and is suitable for any climate.

Seamless Technology – Apart from the material of the sock, another critical element to consider is how seamless the sock is. Protruding seams make it very uncomfortable and constant rubbing of the seams on your feet will lead to chafing and irritation of the skin. Seams should mostly be seen above your feet, around toes and ankle where more pressure is exerted.

Fit – The socks should fit perfectly with a tight and snug fit and no extra room for bunching around your toes. Walking a bit in your new socks before running can prevent from fluid accumulating in your feet causing swelling and thereby making the sock feel tighter.

Supportive features – A good sock controls pain and swelling by providing compression in areas such as under the arch as it provides stability for the foot tendons and distributes pressure keeping the fascia loose and prevent inflammation.

The Rockay Accelerate Running shoes comes with all the features that a good sock needs to have – premium quality merino organic wool, anti-blister proof, a tight and snug fit with a compression arch, optimal temperature adjustment feature and sweat absorption helping your feet breathe easy and leaving it feeling dry.

Price

The long-lasting socks come in six different colors and sizes ranging from XS to XL and are priced at INR 1095 with it being available at www.amazon.com.

While a tad expensive, these socks are worth every penny as they keep your feet well protected and helps you finish your run without any swelling or broken skin.

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 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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Why run the Tata Mumbai Marathon?

Capt Seshadri explores why you should run the most prestigious marathon for Indian runners, the Tata Mumbai Marathon.

The seven islands of Mumbai, when seen as a whole, have a gap in between. Observe closely and you will see the gap as the profile of a runner. This has aptly been captured in the logo of the Tata Mumbai Marathon, an annual event which, like an irresistible magnet, draws 45,000 runners from all over India and from across continents. For those who have already participated, the itch to return is unavoidable; for those who haven’t, here is the bugle call.

On the third Sunday of January every year, the city wakes up to a riot of colours. Women and men, children and senior citizens, and even the disabled, leaning on crutches or being assisted in wheelchairs, all attired in colourful running gear, head to one destination – the Azad Maidan, and with one objective – to celebrate the freedom of running. The local trains and buses are filled with the excited chatter of groups of runners participating in different categories. The intrepid and the experienced will run the full 42 k in anything between 3 and 6 hours. Following them will be the half marathoners, the Open 10 k participants, dream runners covering 6.6 k, the senior citizens running over 4.7 k, and finally, the ‘champions with disabilities’ being cheered unceasingly over 2.1 km. Mumbai comes alive with its trademark spirit.

When it comes to the Tata Mumbai Marathon, or the TMM as it is popularly called, there is no reason to run; only an emotion to experience. Inspired by the London Marathon and with its first edition in 2004, it is today one of the world’s leading marathons, categorised as an IAAF Silver Label Road Race. On this day, elite Olympic and world class runners, business tycoons, celebrities and thousands of amateurs, rub sweaty shoulders to celebrate the spirit of freedom and to contribute to charity. The financial capital of the country opens its treasure chest with a huge heart. As India’s biggest charity platform, this event has, in 11 years, contributed an astounding USD 30 million and more.

This is the day to savour the sights of Mumbai on foot; something that can never be done from a motor vehicle in bustling traffic. The route rolls past the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and the historic Flora Fountain, moves on to the Marine Drive, past Haji Ali and opens out on to the breathtaking view from the Bandra – Worli Sea Link. Crossing the halfway mark, the runners wind past Mahim Church, Jaslok Hospital, the Wankhede Stadium and almost up to Land’s End at Nariman Point. All along the route, cheering Mumbaikars, sacrificing their Sunday morning sleep, line up to encourage the runners, with bands playing popular tunes, folk dances and even an elderly Gujarati gentleman in a beret, playing on his harmonica. This is the true boost to the adrenaline, the real reason to run.

The TMM is probably one of the few marathons in the country that attracts runners and running clubs from every corner of the country. With participants from the deep south of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, from every metro and city in the country and even from far away Assam, it transcends the boundaries of mere running and morphs into a multi-cultural celebration of the spirit of participation.

Can you hear the bugle call?

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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Online vs live coaching – which is better?

A lot of accomplished runners have opted for online coaching. But would that work for everyone? Radhika Meganathan speaks to trainer and marathoner RAGHUL TREKKER about its pros and cons.

If you had thought that ‘live’ is always better than ‘long distance’, think again! Raghul Trekker is in a unique position to speak about the advantages of online coaching, since not only he has a long distance coach who trains him from her home in South Africa, he himself is a long distance coach for over 70 runners spread across the world.

“I met my trainer Lucie Zelenkova, a prolific athlete, in Malaysia in 2015. Since then, she has designed my workout schedule which I follow every day,” says Raghul. They have weekly skype sessions, in which they exchange discussions about his goals and progress reports. His coach sends him regularly customised workouts and diet charts and is available for a call or a skype session I whenever he needs her advice.

After winning Ironman Sri Lanka and other races, Raghul started training aspiring runners. “The website I use is Training Peaks (https://www.trainingpeaks.com) which acts as a platform between users and trainers. The process is very simple. Each runner first has to talk to me by phone so that I understand their goals and expectations, and can make a decision whether I am the right trainer for them. Once I decide to take them on, they will have to create a profile and the training begins.”

Usually runners should have a goal to train for, say, Ironman or an upcoming marathon, because otherwise Raghul cannot draft a fitness schedule to help them become better than their current level. “You can be a newbie or a seasoned athlete, and you can come to me just for a season like 3 months or 6 months training (and many do, which is great, there is no hard and fast rule that you have to train forever!), but you cannot come to me blank. Have a vision and help me help you,” he says.

What are his tips for runners who want to look for the right online coach? “Look up for one who specialises in the event that you’d like to conquer,” says Raghul. “If you are aiming for a triathlon, go for coaches who have experience in that. Make sure your coach is going to design your training schedule specifically for you every week, based on your lifestyle and stats, rather than expecting you to fit yourself in some readymade and generic template. A good coach should be able to know you as a person, not just a runner, and design your workout accordingly.”

Raghul’s customised plans for his runners always include diets, mental preparation tips and terrain tips, among the usual workouts aimed at physical mastery. Some of the things he takes into consideration while designing workouts, are: Current fitness level, past fitness level, past achievements, time they have to commit to workouts every day, every week and their willingness to strive for tougher workouts on an escalating basis. “I log these data regularly, religiously, in every runner’s profile and keep track of their progress. This way, even if the runner has a break and comes back for more training after a few months, or even years, I don’t have any hiccups.”

So, for the million dollar question, what is his opinion about Live vs Long Distance?

“Live coaching can be exciting if you have found a good trainer in your locality, but it is restricted by geographical boundaries,” says Raghul. In live coaching, your trainer cannot be with you all the time, week after week, or oversee your stats and progress every day. Not all trainers are tech savvy and may have to rely on you to feed information and progress reports to them in a tricky verbal or handwritten format, which may or may not be always accurate. And not every town in the world is going to have a great trainer. But almost every town these days does have an internet connection.

“That way, I’d say online coaching is great because one, you get to train under some truly exceptional athletes in the world even if they don’t live in your neck of the woods, and that can be a tremendous confidence booster, not mention a rare and fantastic opportunity. Two, all the stats are recorded, updated and stored online in each runner’s profile and I will have that information in my finger tips to help my students without having to rely on memory or having to start from scratch,” Raghul delivers the verdict.

If you’d like to be trained by Raghul, you can contact him through the website of his fitness studio, TRI CRASH ‘n’ BURN, at http://www.tricrashnburn.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

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

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Running: An enduring act of empowerment

Our guest columnist, Anjana Mohan talks about how running is a tool of empowerment for women.

Empowerment means the ability to make decisions for yourself; to own your choices regarding how you act, dress, conduct yourself, hold your body or define your role in society. Running is a sport that offers empowerment at multiple levels, addressing every one of these choices.

Although societal limitations affect both genders (men are emasculated when they show emotion, for example) women face significantly robust, damaging, internalized and intersectional limitations on a massive scale that manifests in some form in every run.

Women are celebrated as caregivers who create and sustain domestic spaces for their families. A runner takes time for herself regularly and justifies the time away from these demands by actively practicing the belief that she is worth it. Women’s bodies are sexualized and critiqued. Even when allowed fitness, Indian women are expected to keep their moving muscles indoors or safely hidden behind flowing fabric. The outdoor runner takes conscious charge of her own body. With her every appearance in dry-fit leggings, sports bra, or salwar kameez, she creates subtle changes in her own mind and those in her network.

Competition is considered un-ladylike, and femininity associated with grace, poise, and self-control. The runner must engage with her body beyond these expectations. Her determination must manifest in her muscles. The athlete’s sense of internal competition must be cultivated rather than surrendered to graciousness. In her sport, she can be human first: free from femininity, free to sweat, free to grimace, free to cry from the dopamine delight of her own fatigue.

Every run is a rebellion, every step an act of micro-activism, setting new norms for herself and everyone she encounters. Her training is far beyond the miles on her feet. She nurtures and develops her own dignity when she learns to ignore the oglers. She owns her choice on keeping or removing her mangal sutra to avoid a sweat rash. She determines her destiny in deciding to wear shorts despite unwaxed legs. She elevates her own worth in being willing to ask for help packing lunch boxes after her workout.

Men who run alongside women unconsciously offer their own freedoms. Is she running for a personal best or the Ladhak half, they inquire. She was running just to be fit or escape her chores, but new realms of possibilities open. “Improvement in time”, she owns her answer. Neither her smaller lungs, smaller heart, lower hemoglobin count or VO2Max, less efficient hip width, muscle density or muscle building capacity nor shorter stride length matter. She and her male running buddies are on equal footing with respect to the mental capacity they must manifest to conquer endurance.

The woman runner is re-shaping what it means to be a woman. In every decision associated with the sport, she changes herself and society along with her.  Somewhere between the start and the finish line we stop celebrating a woman’s superior ability to conform to society’s stereotypes and celebrate instead her ability to break them.

GUEST COLUMNIST

 

Anjana started running in the U.S. in 2007 and has helped mentor many from couch to half marathon. She is passionate about empowering women through running and now runs in Bangalore with Jayanagar Jaguars

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