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Learn the Secrets of running from Coach Pani

From running apps to training guides, it’s never been easier to get started or take your running to the next level. Maybe its time you start working out with a running coach says Deepthi Velkur

It’s safe to say that running is having its moment in the sun. More and more people have taken up running or participating in running events than ever before.

As the attractiveness of running grows, so does the availability of online resources that help people get started and get better. But, using these resources effectively is quite a daunting task and maybe it’s time to follow the lead of more than six million people who work out with running coaches.

So, what exactly, does a running coach do? And what are they supposed to help with?

To help us understand this better, I spoke with Mr. Kothandapani K.C (or “Coach Pani” as he is fondly called) who is associated with the PaceMakers running group and has been their head coach since 2012. Coach Pani spends his time training long-distance runners for 10k, Half and Full Marathon events and under his leadership and guidance, several of them have been podium finishers at events across the country.

An Indian Air Force veteran with 21 years of service, Coach Pani started off as a middle-distance runner and won several medals at the Air Force Athletic Championships across 800m, 1500m, 3000m steeplechase, 5000m, and the 10000m.  Furthermore, he represented the IAF at the inter-services cross country championship multiple times and later on transitioned into running full marathons and before he left the air force he had to his credit a sub-3-hour finish running at 42.195km.

His list of achievements is quite eye-catching: completing five out of six world marathon majors (exception being London which he will complete in 2019), finished within the Top 4 at the Mumbai marathon (senior’s run) three years in a row (2016 – 18) and took part in all 11 editions of the TCS World 10K run and won on 9 occasions.

Here are a few pieces from the interview:

To start off, how did PaceMakers start and how did you get associated with the group?

In early 2012, a group of Bengaluru-based runners called 12M12M planned on running one marathon a month and trained at the University of Agriculture Sciences (GKVK).

Six months later, the group realized that something wasn’t right as there were several injuries and fatigue was a huge factor. They made the decision to bring in an experienced coach who could help with putting in place a structured training plan.

Considering my training experience with the Nike Run Club (NRC) and my personal running experience with the IAF, the 12M12M group considered me the right man for the job. They approached my friend Thomas Bobby Philip who also trained with me at the NRC and he was instrumental in convincing me to take up the challenge.

That is how I started coaching with them and later on creating the running group – PaceMakers.

So, how long have you been coaching at the PaceMakers and what changes have you brought about?

Well, I have been coaching the PaceMakers since 2012. At the start, I used to train the 12M12M group for two days at GKVK and two days at the Bhagmane Tech Park.

It was designed this way so that people staying close-by could join the group and train with us.

We used to train thrice a week – Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays with Saturdays dedicated for long runs. The training plan which ran from 5 AM to 7:30 AM included one interval run, one tempo/uphill run every alternate week and one long run. On days when we have the long runs, it might go beyond 7:30 AM.

One of the first changes I brought in was to drive punctuality for all sessions. Second, I made a basic change of having runners bring a water bottle only for long runs. Third, I introduced variety such as interval, tempo, Fartlek and uphill runs in the training.

I also ensured that all workouts start with a proper warm up followed by dynamic drills and cooling down with some stretching exercises. This was a critical element as the 12M12M group suffered injuries in the past because of a lack of this.

How many people does your running group have and how do you categorize them?

At present, we are about 100 members and we have runners of all levels – beginners wanting to achieve a personal goal to intermediate runners yearning to take part in short distance competitions to professional runners.

With our intermediate runners, they are taught to take the load of strenuous workouts like interval and endurance runs to build strength and confidence. Once they are comfortable with these workouts and gained experience, they are trained for half and full marathons using longer runs that last for more than three hours.

The workouts obviously differ according to the type of run being prepared for – correct? Can you please elaborate on each of them?

Yes, they do differ. For instance, when training for a 10K run, I concentrate on the intensity of workouts with shorter distances building the anaerobic energy system and at the same time not compromising on the aerobic capacity. For half and full marathon distances, the emphasis is more on building the aerobic energy system without compromising on speed.

Considering the varied group of runners, building customized plans must be challenge. How do you handle this?

Of course, the challenge is very real in dealing with this, but I look at several factors when building a plan. For starters, looking at their current fitness level and past workouts, I group them and create a group training plan – the senior most in the group functions as the leader to bring the group together and complete the workouts. This approach also motivates the slow runners in the group to push themselves to achieve group objectives. Secondly, to achieve individual goals, I set a target for them based on their individual fitness level and use competitions to gauge their performances and make required modifications for further improvement.

PaceMakers are believed to be a group that trains with a purpose of running injury free. How do you go about achieving this?

We follow a few standard rules – before any session, we warm up well by including 20 minutes of slow jogging/running. We then move on to 10-15 minutes of dynamic running drills, followed by 2 to 4 strides of 100 meters.

Post the workout, we do a cool-down run for 10 mins with 2km run as that will bring your body temperature back to normal and also flush out any lactic acid build up in the muscle. We then end the workout session with 20-30 minutes of static strengthening and stretching exercises.

No one can guarantee injury free running considering the several biomechanical factors involved but if you follow this routine for every workout, your running injuries can be minimized.

I also recommend toning down your training after every 3 weeks to let your body recover and avoid overtraining.

The military training you received while serving with the IAF helped you become a middle-distance runner and later on to long distance running. What elements from your service days have you brought into your coaching style?

The first thing I brought in was the discipline to get up early and be on time for the training at 5 AM. Secondly, the camaraderie – spirit of teamwork and finally, the training methods and the knowledge gained during my IAF days.

What motivates you about what you do at PaceMakers?

My group consists of men and women from different walks of life – defense personnel, retired personnel (some older than 70) doctors, engineers, IT professionals, businessmen, and students.

Despite their busy schedule at work and home, they are very passionate about running and wake up early every day to start training. Since I also train with them it motivates them to give their best.

When you have such a lovely family like the PaceMakers and you see their passion, it gives me immense pleasure to be associated with such people and give them back whatever possible I can.

Under your leadership and guidance, the runners have made a mark for themselves in achieving their personal best in various events. How do you feel about that?

When my runners achieve their personal best performance, it gives me immense satisfaction that I was instrumental in bringing about some change in them. I teach them to believe in their self, feel confident and motivate them further to achieve even bigger goals.

What is the one thing you tell your trainees?

Be consistent– not just in running but in whatever you do in life. Do that and the rest will automatically follow.

What are your future plans for this group?

My future plans for the group are to see more and more people take up running or any form of exercise to keep themselves healthy.

I also want to see more people from my group qualify and participate in major marathons around the world such as the Boston, New York, Berlin, London or Tokyo and also take up ultra-running. For me, Boston is very special as it has a rich history of 122 years and for an amateur runner, this is like qualifying for the Olympics.

That was Coach Pani with some very interesting points and the key takeaways from that interview are:

  1. Be disciplined,
  2. Don’t forget your warm up before and cooling down after any workout– the key to preventing injuries and
  3. Be consistent.

A good coach is successful when they accomplish one thing: helping their trainees in achieving their goals. This thought is what drives Coach Pani every day.

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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Walk, don’t run

Running not your cup of tea, try Racewalking instead says Capt Seshadri

The glamour of the marathon has possibly relegated another gruelling track event to a lower position in the pecking order. While ‘pedestrian’ is a word usually associated with slow movement, there is a term not so well known, although the implications are far from slowness: ‘pedestrianism’, or its better-known synonym, racewalking.

This sport reportedly took roots sometime in the mid 1800s with a set of rules that typified and differentiated it from running. In this case, one foot must be in contact with the ground at all times, unlike both feet in the air during the running stride. Finding increasing participation over the decades, racewalking has now evolved into an Olympic and World Championship event, with races ranging across different distances, although the 20km and 50 km are probably the most popular. In some countries, there are even competitions from a short 3,000 metres to as long as 100 km.  In the modern era, the sport has been dominated by walkers from Russia and China, but now facing intense competition from Latin Americans.

The intricacy of racewalking is in the length of the stride and the rhythm, or cadence. While the former is short, in order to keep both feet on the ground, the latter could best compare with the stride of an 800 or 1,500 metre runner. And there is much more to the sport than just these two. Racewalkers typically keep low to the ground and pump their arms with the elbows almost tucked into the hips. This pelvic rotation results in achieving the best momentum, sometimes as close as 15 km per hour, while adhering to the rule of both feet on the ground. Judges rely purely on observation and usually warn participants before disqualifying them for running.

In England, as early as in 1866, the first racewalking championship was won by one John Chambers, judged to have been fair to the ‘heel and toe’ method of contact with the ground. Today, it has developed into a state of art event, with a training regime on par with the toughest long distance runs, having been an integral part of the Olympics since 1904. But it was a century later, in 2003, that the IAAF thought it fit to organise a World Race Walking Challenge, a series of walks held in different venues across the world and culminating in a World Final offering USD 200,000 of prize money.

Racewalking employs more muscle groups than regular walking, which means you have a higher exercise intensity, similar to that in running. It is a vigorous-intensity activity while normal brisk walking is a moderate-intensity activity. Your heart and lungs will be working much harder. Maria Michta-Coffey, a Polish origin American, and the fastest US woman racewalker sums it up nicely: “Most people who’ve ever seen racewalking in action assume it’s ‘just walking.’ But there is much more to the event. And no—even if it appears a racewalker is running, he or she is not. For us, racewalking is technical because there are rules, so it’s slower than running. (But) You’re still pushing your body to the limit and maximizing efficiency as best as possible.”

For the statisticians, the Olympics, has three racewalking events: a men’s and women’s 20 km and a men’s 50 km. While the men’s 50 km was introduced in 1932, the shorter version came about in 1956. The women’s event started as a 10 km race in 1992 at Barcelona, and the 20 km was introduced as late as in 2000 at Sydney. London 2012 saw all the racewalking records shattered, by Chen Ding of China in the men’s 20 km, Jarred Talent in the 50 km and Elena Lashmanova among the women, setting a world record in racewalking in the Olympics for the first time ever.

So, if you don’t feel up to running, racewalk. You might just surprise yourself at the effort.

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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Running clubs in Namma Bengaluru!

Running alone has its perks but the quickest and fun way to improve as a runner is to join a running club says Deepthi Velkur

Running is that alone time we need, isn’t it? It’s the ultimate “me” time when you can get away from it all, reflect on life’s important matters, or even push your body to the absolute limit in splendid solitude.

So why on earth would you want to ruin all that by joining a running club and have other people chattering in your ear during a steady run? Also, aren’t running clubs meant for those who take running seriously?

Well, actually, no. Choosing to join a club is one of the best decisions a runner can make, no matter the level. You often see a big improvement in your performance and, more importantly, it provides for enduring memories, experiences and friendships.

We all choose to run for different reasons – some to stay reasonably fit, some to lose weight and others to become competitive runners who want to win races. No matter the reason, being a member of a club can help make your runs even better.

Motivation can be a challenge for some of us when we look out of the window and see a cold, rainy morning but knowing that there will be others to share that experience can often be the difference between you going back to bed and heading out the door.

Over the past few years, Bengaluru has developed a thriving running scene and with running groups in almost every locality, it has never been easier for us to join one.

Famed for its pleasant weather, Bengaluru also boasts some scenic routes and parks that can make any runner happy. Cubbon Park, Lal Bagh, Nandi Hills, GKVK campus, Kanteerava Stadium are a few of the iconic running tracks around the city.

Most people run in smaller groups during the week and weekends are reserved for a bit of strength training and long group runs. Running groups start training very early in the day and last for about 2 – 2.5 hrs and on the long run days might be longer.

Out of the 25 running clubs active in Bengaluru today, let us discover a little more about a few clubs:

Runner’s for Life were the pioneers of the running movement in India and they believe in the philosophy of taking running to places it has never been before. The Fuller Life started by Arvind Krishnan is the parent group of RFL. They started out as a google group of runners’ back in 2005. The group meets once every fortnight. They organize three major running events across the city like the Bangalore Ultra, Kaveri Trail Marathon, and Puma Urban Stampede. They were also the first to launch the country’s first duathlon in 2009. The team grew to a few hundred and so did the scope of their events and the connection they built with the running community. They continue to show efforts in supporting the running community in as many ways as possible.

Soles of Bangalore are the most diverse and active group of amateur and like-minded runners who train in and around HSR Layout, Sarjapur road and Bellandur. Santhosh Jayakumar who is one of the co-founders of the group says running is looked as more of an activity to stay healthy and fit. They help organize group running events in the city on Sundays and events/seminars for amateur runners as well. The group strives to remain inclusive and has grown to about 60+ runners both beginners and experienced runners alike who engage and share their experiences for the joy of running. The group also provides training for people attempting to run marathons, injury prevention methods, organize talks on nutrition and many more.

Jayanagar Jaguars (fondly called JJ’s)is one of the oldest and largest running groups in Bengaluru who believe in their mission to deliver a structured and an affordable training program for all be it a beginner, experienced marathoner or ultra-runners. They uniformly follow the structured training program which focuses on building strength, fitness, and stamina across all their 10 locations. Over the years, more than 3000 runners are benefited through this program crafted carefully by their experienced head coach Pramod Deshpande and the same is implemented by designated captains for each group across their locations. Some of their training programs include training for half and ultra-marathons, TWTK (10weeks to 10k) to run the TCK10k, fitness through running for people who want to stay fit through running and many more.

Pacemakers are a group of 100 spirited and strong-willed long-distance runners both novice and experienced who coach under the leadership and guidance of their Coach Pani- an Ex-IAF athlete. He has many commendable achievements to his credit in various competitive races covering varied distances. The primary objective of this group is to train runners to better their performance and run injury-free by applying the right principles of training. They design a structured program for each athlete keeping in mind their current fitness levels and individual goals. The programs are designed to balance the intensity and volume of workouts which gradually reaches its peak before any event. The group trains at Kanteerva Stadium three times a week in interval training, tempo runs, Fartlek runs. The runners are also required to do strength and cross training workouts independently. The long-run workouts are usually reserved for Saturdays which happen at GKVK.

Runner’s High is a community who want to make running and fitness sports accessible to all irrespective of their background and reach their individual potential in the truest sense. They offer training and coaching to walkers and runners whether novice or advanced. Their training programmes are designed by a team of experienced coaches and sports medicine specialists who are themselves runners of great repute. They also organize various running events in the city. Members who train with them, supporters, patrons and the education efforts the team is involved with form the crux of the Runners High community.

While running clubs and running with others do have their merits, some of us like having that bit of time and space where we don’t have to talk (or listen), where we can go any route or direction we want. Go on that solo run once in a while to give you that sense of freedom.

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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Keep those legs pumping

Running isn’t just for the young ,today we have 80 year old setting new records  so how do you keep running at any age asks Nandini Reddy.

This erstwhile young man’s game has now become a playground of grit and mental strength for senior runners. However, as we age, there are a few things we need to keep in mind if you want to keep your legs pumping.

Just pounding the pavement isn’t easy on your body. You need to first keep in mind that as a senior runners you need to adhere to certain precautions and limits. These are not to discourage you as a runner but to keep you running longer.

Understand your Limits 

You may have been an aggressive runner when you were younger. Your training schedules might have rivaled elite runners but as an older runner you need to be a little smarter when it comes to knowing your limits. It is as important to be aware of when to back off as it is to understand how hard to push. Taking an easy day doesn’t make you a bad runner  it will help you become a smarter one.

Always run hot 

A cold body is prone to injury. Racing out of the corral without a warm-up is no longer an option. You should never do that. Warming up properly is even more important than it once was. You can opt for body weight moves like lunges, squats and dynamic stretches before you start running. You don’t have the burst out when you start. A slow jog or brisk walk that leads to a run is way smarter than a sprint burst. Ramp up your pace as you cover more distance. You can always gain back time in the second half of the race.

Pace it right 

Many senior runners will notice that their pace has changed over the years  As you get older you need to re-evaluate your pace. Set new goals that match where you are now, and be realistic with your expectations.

Walk Run is a good thing

If you are trying our running only now then you should consider the walk – run routine.Even runners who feel a little more fatigued than they’d prefer can get major benefits from simply walking or using a walk/run combination. If you are coming back to running after a break then it’s better to start slow and then move to running.

You are important

Watch what you eat because nutrition is extremely important for runners. If you want to become a serious runner then you need to eat like one. Whole and nutritious food with plenty of proteins and vegetables is essential. If you have aches and pains, then immediately check with sports therapists or a doctor. Never ignore slight nagging pain either.

Focus on Mobility

A lot of older people lose mobility and experience stiffness in their knees and hips. Strength training along with mobility work is important to ensure the body is well-oiled. You can split your training days into running days and days for strength and mobility work.

Schedule rest and recovery

Plenty of runners avoid major injury because they were smart enough to take a day off. You need to pencil in a test day into your schedule. If you need to be active then choose a light workout like a walk or yoga. The idea is to keep it easy and simple.

Remember that being smart about your running when you are a senior runner is extremely important.

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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Health Benefits of Regular cycling

They say you can never forget to ride a cycle, so maybe now is the time to hop on and see the benefits that regular cycling has on your overall health says Deepthi Velkur

We often hear people making excuses for not finding time to indulge in some form of physical activity or they find themselves too tired to move a muscle after a hard day’s work, but, we often forget the benefits of performing a regular physical activity. Doing something physical keeps us active and reduces the risk of developing a serious health condition associated with our sedentary lifestyles. There are many ways to improve our lifestyle, but nothing can beat cycling.

Cycling is a low-impact exercise which is healthy, fun and enjoyable for people of all age groups. It makes for a fun group activity to do with friends and family and really helps spend quality time with them.

Taking your bicycle to work (big dependency on traffic and weather here!) or even to the store close by is an excellent way of building a regular exercise routine into your daily routine and it helps the environment too!

Riding a bicycle every day can turn the wheel of our lives for the better. How you ask? Read on to know more:

Improves your cardiovascular function: Cycling being an aerobic activity makes your heart, lungs and blood vessels to work out as well. Regular cycling helps bring down your blood pressure, lowers your calorie count limiting your chance of being overweight and increases the heart rate thereby pumping blood to the rest of the body.

Promotes weight-loss and tones the muscle:Cycling is an effective routine to do if you want to lose weight. It helps burn calories and works on multiple muscle groups such as quads, hamstrings, calves, biceps, glutes, shoulders, and back muscles. The number of calories you burn during a cycling activity ranges from 400 – 1000/per hour depending on the intensity with which you ride. So, in addition to losing fat, you will also tone your muscles.

Improved Posture:When we cycle, we end up doing a lot of balancing without even being aware of it. This balancing act helps improve our posture, develop better full -body coordination and strengthens our upper body muscles.

Reduced Stress: Any form of physical exercise brings down your stress and so does cycling. It keeps your mind healthy, helps to introspect your problems with a calm mind and you feel less helpless in dealing with your problems.

Improved mental well-being: Any aerobic activity releases endorphins and the adrenaline rush uplifts your mood making you have a happier outlook on life, boosts confidence that comes from accomplishing new goals you set for yourself.

You sleep better: Cycling boosts your sleep quality and is especially effective for those suffering from insomnia. Try riding a bike in the evenings as this is known to help you sleep better. However, you can also ride in the morning as it will keep you active through the day and help you fall asleep quicker at night.

Kind to the environment: Riding a cycle doesn’t require you to burn fuel – you protect the environment by decreasing pollution and lowering the demand for fuel. World over, several countries are encouraging their citizens to ride to and from work or school. It is definitely a healthy and sustainable option.

As a child, most of us would get out on our cycles and feel the road flying beneath our wheels; it reminds us of a feeling of freedom and release. That doesn’t get old. It’s still there. Riding around corners and whizzing past with the wind in your face makes you feel like a kid again.

So, there you have it – researchers have me convinced that cycling will add days to my life, and the child inside me has learned that it adds life to my days. Both are valuable lessons.

So, let’s all keep moving and keep discovering.

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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What to eat when training for a marathon

Wondering what to eat during your marathon training cycle? Getting your training diet spot on will help you go that extra mile says our Guest Columnist, Shailja Sridhar.

The commitment needed to train for a marathon usually means that you will be running a lot more regularly and the mileage increasing with each run. It also means that you need extra rest and nutrition to recover from all that training you undergo.

Achieving your Ideal Race weight

Most often, you are not at an ideal racing weight and it becomes all the more important to watch what you eat and how much you consume during the training cycle so you get that optimum balance and do not gain weight.

Losing too much weight has an adverse effect on your ability to manage your training runs. It is good to have a fair idea of the weight you want to lose and build a training plan and the nutrition required to achieve your goal. At first, check your current weight and calculate the ideal racing weight you want to be at. This helps in tracking how many calories you burn during your workouts to get a daily minimum calorie count. One should realize that creating too much of a calorie deficit can harm the performance and recovery.

Fulfilling your nutrition needs during training

There are some general guidelines you need to keep in mind during the training cycle to ensure you fulfill your nutrition needs and also feel energized for the training sessions. Now is the best time to try out different foods and other supplements to understand how your body adapts to new foods and plan accordingly for the race day.

A high protein breakfast with some carbs on the days of training would be a good start. That third slice of toast might be good on the long run days but should be avoided as part of your regular diet as carbohydrates tend to get stored as fat in our body if not utilized properly.

There are various sources of protein which could be a part of your diet. Eggs, amaranth, peanuts and oats are all good sources of protein. Adding a handful of nuts and seeds (like chia, hemp, sunflower or flax) to the bowl of oats or amaranth porridge is a good way to increase the protein intake. The best way is to closely watch your diet and plan the meals right from the start of your training cycle so it becomes a becomes a habit eventually.

 

It can be very tempting to indulge in junk food cravings especially after a run but one should realize that it is not really a good idea to do that very often. You don’t really burn that many calories while running because your body gets efficient over time.

An average runner burns about 100 calories per mile of running and it does not depend on the speed of the run. It can vary a little depending on the current weight but not too much. The empty calories in junk food will neither help in recovery nor will they be good for you in the long run.

Timing your food intake

Another essential part of training is to time your food intake and most people tend to ignore it. There is a 30-minute window after a workout when your body is very receptive to replenishment of its glycogen reserves and consuming some simple carbs and proteins will aid recovery for your next workout. The electrolytes we lose during the workout also need to be replaced else you end up getting a headache or experience excessive fatigue. I have often suffered dehydration headaches as I failed to replenish my body with lost electrolytes post my workout session. You experience this more in cooler climates where you don’t feel the exhaustion after a run or aware of the extent of the loss.

A healthy diet with lots of green vegetables and fruits is necessary for our long-term goals. We need good fats and enough protein to aid muscle recovery and carbs to fuel our long runs.

The use of commercial products is not necessary but certainly more convenient to manage the post workout nutrition and recovery. There are various options available with varying levels of protein and carbs but choosing one that suits your needs is important. It is always good to be picky when choosing supplements. We should always be picky about things we are putting in our bodies. Eating high-quality real food is essential and do not only rely on sports nutrition supplements to fulfill your dietary requirements. Nuts, seeds, grains, fruits, and veggies are better for us as they are a part of a complete wholesome meal plan which keeps us feeling full for longer and reduces hunger pangs and food cravings.

My personal diet plan

Fruits with seeds and strawberry yogurt

Mixed Greens tossed with apples, nuts, olives with lemon honey dressing

 

Chicken, veggies, greens and millets.

 

 

 

My food habits are not the best but I try to eat clean most of the time. My breakfast is usually two or three egg omelette with some peanut butter toast or a ragi dosa with chutney and fruits. Oats/lentils savoury pancakes is another regular favourite breakfast item. Sometimes I like a nice hot oats porridge with nuts, berries and pomegranate seeds to sweeten it. I eat a huge bowl of seasonal fruits with my breakfast without fail. Hot cooked breakfast is usually a given for me.

I have a few different recipes of salads that I make regularly for my between the meals snack and they contain a good mixture of soaked, occasionally sprouted and boiled lentils, and lots of fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds to add taste. I am constantly hungry and it is important to fill myself with something that I like which satisfies my hunger cravings and provides the nutrition I need. Carrot and cucumber sticks are another regular snack with some dip or hummus or cream cheese if want to indulgence a little.

Half my plate is usually veggies or salad during mealtimes and it wasn’t easy when I started but it has become a habit with time. Veggies, salads, lentils, soup and some meat occasionally are my main meals while training for a marathon.

Few pointers to keep in mind while training for a marathon:

  • Make a plan for nutrition along with the training plan and stick to it. Please remember that good nutritious meals are an essential part of training.
  • Check your weight regularly and keep track of the changes. Get a blood test done to ensure that there are no deficiencies.
  • Fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, lentils, and grains usually have everything we need to fulfill our body’s requirements.
  • Use sports nutrition during the training to get the body used to it for the race day. Good idea to experiment in the training stages so that there are no nasty surprises later.
  • Protein and carbs are essential for recovery and the ratio depends on the weight and the goals of training. High protein diet is good for muscle recovery but a good store for carbohydrates is necessary for the endurance runs.
  • Junk food has to be strictly controlled and monitored. An occasional treat is acceptable but as long as the calories are taken into account when planning your meals.
  • Use sports drinks and electrolyte-rich drinks after a workout to recover quickly for the next day. There are lots of options available in the market and it is good to check the nutritional information on the label in detail before consuming them.

Fuelling options a day before and on race day

I usually have a very sensitive stomach so I keep it very simple before the marathon. I try to stay extra hydrated for a few days before the run. Heavy breakfast on the day before the race, a carb-rich lunch (usually bland pasta) and a light dinner consisting of soup and a light salad or just a dinner roll work best for me. Not everyone is the same and I have runner friends who eat a proper carb-rich meal for dinner too and manage pretty well. Marathon day breakfast is a bagel or toast with some peanut butter and some black coffee. I carry a banana to the start line to eat about half an hour before the run starts.

Wholesome natural meals are always a good idea and mindfulness helps in several ways. The rules of good nutrition remain the same for everyone and it makes a big difference in the way your body responds to the increased training load. Having a constant check on your weight and paying attention to your meals helps us see those changes you want to see in your body.

It is always good to start slow and make gradual changes to move towards the kind of diet you need and soon eating healthier meals becomes a habit. Try not to compare with others because each person is different and there is no single ideal diet you could follow. It might seem difficult to keep track of so many things at first and follow the training plan but it gets a lot easier with practice.

GUEST COLUMNIST

 

Shailja is a mother of 2 kids and a part time model for a sustainable brand close to her heart called www.kinche.com. She’s either running after the kids or running to stay sane.

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Training On The Go

How do you train for a race if you’re always on the go? Here are some hotel room workouts that do not require any equipment and will keep you on track, by Protima Tiwary.

Fitness isn’t a seasonal hobby, it is not something you can put away when you’re traveling, or taking a vacation or neck deep in work. Fitness is a lifestyle that trains your mind to accept commitment and discipline before laziness and excuses, it shows you the way towards great physical, mental and emotional health. Being fit isn’t only about looking good. It’s about the focus to be committed towards your fitness routine.

So how does one stick to a regime when they’re stressed with deadlines, or traveling, or on vacation? How does one stick to a plan when they realise their makeshift gym has dumbbells that weigh *gulp* not more than 10kgs?

Athletes all over the world are faced with this dilemma, and it’s after years of trying and testing exercises and fitness regimes, the experts have come up with a list of basic exercises that are all that an athlete needs when he is traveling. If a hotel room is all that you’ve got, here is how you make use of it to give you the best possible workout. You don’t need TRX bands or dumbbells- these bodyweight exercises will see you through.

Jumping Jacks

Easy, light and super convenient, 100 of these should be enough to get your heart pumping. This is just the beginning. Don’t forget to turn off the fan, you might hit your head if you jump up too high!

Burpees

If you’re an athlete, at some point in your training career you might have done these as a punishment. Yes, burpees are those dreaded exercises that have the best of us huffing and puffing by the end of round 1. Guess what? It is now time to embrace them with open arms because burpees are one of the best ways to kickstart your body and get yourselves warmed up!

Squats                 

Once your body is warmed up, nothing better to get your core and glutes activated than with some squats. Open up your leg muscles and get the blood flowing to your quads and inner thighs with different variations of squats – regular squats, wide legged squats and sumo squats.

If you have weights in the room, nothing like it. Maybe hold your traveling bag and do some front squats?

Bulgarian Split Squats

Are you missing leg day at the gym? No need to fret, because you can get in a leg workout in a hotel room, without using any machines! Place one foot on the chair, and go down in a squat. Hold a bag or a lightweight to increase resistance. You will feel the burn on your quads soon, and end up having a killer indoor leg workout!

Push Up

Get your upper body ready with some basic push-ups. Best part? You can always try variations to improve your upper body strength, even on normal training days! Got the hang of the regular push up? How about trying the diamond push up next? Or how about adding a bag on your back and then going in for a quick set? Have you tried the decline push ups yet? Keep your legs on the chair and try your luck!

Tricep Dips

Get creative with furniture! You might not always get a cable or dumbbells to do any tricep curls or overhead extensions, but you can always use that chair at the study table or kitchenette to do those Tricep dips and get your tricep muscles popping.

Plank

Easiest exercise to do practically anywhere and one of the most effective exercises that get major muscle groups activated and working. Your core is of utmost importance no matter what sport you play. Nothing better to train your core than to get a few minutes of planks daily, isn’t it?

De-stress with hotel room yoga

Cool down after a rough day and killer workout with some of your favorite stretches, right in your hotel room! Legs up the wall pose, hip flexor stretch, downward dog, cat-cow pose, spinal twists are all stretches that will help you relax at the end of the workout.

 How many reps should I be doing?

The answer to this depends on your fitness levels. If you want a good strength training and cardio workout, experts recommend going in for a large number of repetitions. If you’re just about starting your fitness routine and do not wish to miss a workout, you can go easy on the reps.

Full body workouts are usually possible without any equipment, even on days when you’re traveling. Don’t let that worry you- ask your trainer to design specific routines based on these simple exercises, and you’ll see how you can enjoy a workout as good as one in the gym.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

An Army kid who wishes to travel the world one wellness vacation at a time, Protima Tiwary is a freelance content writer by day and Dumbbells and Drama, a fitness blogger by night. High on love and life, she is mildly obsessed about traveling and to-do lists and loves her long gym sessions like a fat kid loves cake.

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The Right Running Support

Deepthi tries the Under Armour Eclipse Non-Wired Sports Bra to understand if it makes for comfortable running gear.

When it comes to running for women, there are two must-have pieces of gear that every woman must invest in – good running shoes and a sports bra. Now, I have covered running shoes in several of my previous articles, in this edition I would like to talk about sports bras.

So, is wearing a sports bra while running really important? The short answer, YES! Any form of physical activity makes your breasts bounce but a repetitive and continuous activity can result in pain, soreness and make your breasts sag. The breasts are supported by two weak structures – Cooper’s ligaments and the skin itself. They have no muscles and are not connected to any other part and move independently of the rest of the body.

It is important that every woman, no matter what size she is, should wear a sports bra while running. Sports Bras are designed to give you the added support, limit movement when exercising especially running and also to prevent breast pain.

Finding a right sports bra that provides plenty of support during a run isn’t only about comfort, but it can make or break your workout routine. A sports bra that has poor fitting leads to painful chafing and will not provide you with the high-level support you need while kicking it hard at the gym or on the road. Because sizing systems vary and everybody is different, finding a supportive and comfortable sports bra that fits requires some trial and error.

You need to choose a bra that works just as hard as you but at the same time looks good too. You also need to keep in mind the type of activity and your chest size before going ahead and buying a bra. This is where the Under Armour eclipse non-wired sports bra comes in to do the job beautifully.

This bra uses the compression technology that gives you a close, second-skin fit and medium-impact support that lets you focus on your running and not worry about hurting yourself.

Product Features

  • Fabric is made of Nylon and Elastane
  • The bra has pockets for removable padding that add modesty and shape
  • Super-breathable SpeedForm power mesh lining
  • Unique open back with criss-cross straps
  • Studio Lux fabric provides unyielding support with a super soft luxurious feel
  • Clean, bandeau-inspired front with soft, breathable cups for extra structure and coverage
  • The material used helps in wicking away sweat leaving you feeling dry and light
  • 100% Imported, 90 days product warranty against manufacturing defects
  • Available exclusively on Amazon

Price

This product is available in different sizes and colours and is priced anywhere between INR 2299 – INR 5386 depending on the size chosen.

It is definitely worth every penny and a must try for all women. It is of excellent quality, provides great support for high impact workouts, sweat resistant and breathable making you feel strong from the inside. The adjustable straps ensure that my shoulders don’t get dug in and ache on longer runs.

If you run without a bra, or just use a standard t-shirt bra you are more at risk of developing back and breast pain as a result of this. Sports bras are specially designed to support your breasts ALL the way around, making sure they are secure and allowing the skin to breathe.

No matter what type of exercise you do, buying a good quality sports bra is the same as buying good quality sneakers, it will support your body and enhance your workout routine!

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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Run to Finish

The right mental boost can get you across every finish line, writes Nandini Reddy.

Being in a corral full of enthusiastic runners with the announcer calling time and music blaring and flags swinging, it’s only natural that you get pumped up and rush right out at a faster pace than you planned earlier. The swift start can hold for a while but you will tire out and eventually miss your goal time or even give up before the finish line. So is there a more efficient way to run?

Yes, there is. Instead of bursting out of the gates you should run conservatively. Save your energy for the end and the last few miles will not seem as impossible as they do. So here is what you need to do in order to finish strong.

Set the Pace

The idea is to start at an easy pace and then speed up. As a rough guideline start at a pace that is 30 seconds slower than usual and then build up to your goal time. The longer the distance the more time you can reduce from your initial distance. As you slowly increase the speed your confidence builds. Going out too fast may cause you will hit fatigue fast as well.

Turn it Up

Break the distance into parts. Set a particular pace target for each part. The idea is the run the last few km at an even pace. Splitting the running distance is a great way to approach the course and finishing each section will boost your confidence level and take you across the final finish line with ease.

Push the Boundaries

Practice the splits during your training runs. You can always make up the lost seconds in the first few split parts towards the end. Gaining a couple of seconds in the last few km will put you back on track to finish in your goal timing. For example, if you are 25 seconds off during the first km then you need to make up by 2 seconds for every mile after to compensate.

Run Better

You should ideally be able to talk comfortably when you are running. That is the right pace you need to be running at. If you are running out of breath or unable to talk comfortably then your pace is all wrong.

Gradually build your confidence during the training runs and be more prudent about how you use your energy.

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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