The best part about running as a recreational sport is that it is inclusive. That probably explains its popularity the world over. Anybody can run, it’s that simple. And the more runners I meet, I realise how therapeutic it is and how it forces you to take note of yourself. For me, it was as if I connected with myself for the first time when I started running. Even pregnancy had failed to do that for me. However, nowadays it also comes with a lot of noise and commotion. There is pressure of what races are you signing up for, your finish time, how much you are running in a week etc. It feels good initially as a new runner but slowly the pressure builds up. Of course, it’s great if you want to improve continuously and important to strength train to remain injury free but it’s not ok to constantly compare yourself with others. Continue Reading
I had shared some of my fav songs that are a part of my running playlist, in one of my previous articles (read here) and it’s time for part 2. Even though mostly I love listening to pumped up music during my runs, there are days I just want to listen to music which moves me and stirs my soul . I have put together a list of tracks (Hindi and English both) that really do it for me on an emotional level when I run. They are all thought provoking tracks that take your mind on another plane. I would love to explore this further and get some suggestions from you. And maybe a playlist on my MP 3 player while you are at it 🙂 Continue Reading
I started running in the night for various reasons but the biggest being my inability to wake up early mornings. I’m not a morning person and accepting that and adjusting my life accordingly has saved me from a lot of grief. And I can now safely write about what and how I feel about it since it’s been quite a while for me (except my weekend long runs). What helps is that I stay in a safe gated community but if you aren’t then women shouldn’t even think of venturing out alone after dark or for that matter in a group specially in Gurgaon/Delhi.
1) At night there aren’t many distractions unless you choose to listen to music. It leads to more mindful running. You feel the ground more every time you pound your feet. It somehow gives heightened sensation of the body.
2) I’m usually more stressed during morning runs with a to-do-list constantly running on my mind. I now prefer to de-stress with the run and end the day on a good note.
3) I used to snack in the evenings quite a bit. Pakodas/Sandwiches/Mathi etc used to be my accompaniments with tea. I eat healthier snacks now as I know I can’t run with a heavy stomach (at least 2 days in a week).
4) In the mornings I usually find my body very stiff and warm up takes a lot of time which is not at all the case in the evenings as I’m already up and about.
5) Since I’m a bit of an insomniac, I tend to sleep better on days I run in the evenings.
6) It’s just me, the road and my thoughts.
7) It makes summer running more bearable for me.
TIPS FOR RUNNING AFTER DARK
1) Safety comes first. I wouldn’t even recommend men running outside gated communities in India.
2) Run against the traffic.
3) Preferably run without music so that you are more alert.
4) Wear reflective clothing or shoes. It could be a reflective arm band, head band, tee or shoes or buy reflective tape to stick on your gear.
5) Always carry your phone. I usually carry it in my hand for a 5km or wear my running belt.
6) The biggest challenge with night running is dogs. Read here for tips to avoid/handle dogs while on a run. The only thing I haven’t mentioned but someone has suggested in the comments is to carry a small bottle of pepper spray. I know it might sound cruel but I feel one should carry it just in case.
BEFORE YOU GO RUNNING
1) Never make the mistake of eating a big meal. If you do be prepared to abandon the run.
2) Don’t go on empty stomach either. A banana/dates 45 minutes before your run should do the trick.
AFTER YOU RUN
1) Eat something healthy within 30 minutes of finishing your workout – Almonds, walnuts, raisins, egg or another banana.
2) Don’t make the mistake of going overboard with dinner thinking you just worked out so “I deserve it”. Honestly, after working out I tend to make better choices in any case.
The only challenge is one can’t do very long runs at night but my body clock doesn’t seem to have a problem adjusting to once a week early morning run. Whether you would rather run in the morning or at night, as long as you run, and run like you mean it, you will end up a healthier person.
Of all the sports, running is probably the most ideal for the body in terms of the least injuries. If done properly, it uses your entire body evenly and does not put excessive stress on any one part, like say a bowler’s body goes through with respect to his shoulder and back. Yet, injuries is one of the most passionately discussed topic in running circles.
Last to last year, I went through a phase of injuries (and I keep sharing my learning time & again), that had me crying out in pain while foam rolling, spending a fortune on physiotherapists and had to skip a lot of events. Take for instance, my heel injury, I tried everything, even sat at home for almost 2 months but nothing worked until someone gifted me a pair of new shoes. I had been using Nike Pegasus (and quite liked them) that were less than a year old and seemed in perfect condition. But as I started running in the new shoes, my injury started to fade away. I cursed Nike Pegasus and forgot all about it until someone told me about how worn out shoes can cause the gravest of injuries. I said hold on, there is no way the Pegasus was worn out, not a single tread on it was gone. It was then that it was explained to me that shoes these days look all well and good from the outside for years but the foam inside dies much sooner. This was a part of the discussion I had with the product head of Mino, a tracking chip that can go underneath the insole of your shoe and tell you when your shoes are good, ok or dead through different coloured lights.
Now, I am someone who looks at technology in the way a small child might look at her father’s car – I know I will learn to drive it one day, just not right now. So I straight out told him that it seems a bit farfetched. After all, how can a chip independently tell you if your shoes need to be changed. So he started to explain the technology to me all over again. I am guessing he must have read the blank look on my face well so he gave me a trial chip to test out instead.
This chip was meant to last for an optimal run of 5k. I put it under the insole of my shoe and quite accurately, it showed me a red light (meaning the shoe is dead) at 4.2km. But why didn’t it go red at 5 you might wonder. Because my foot strike and gait isn’t optimal (and trust me, it isn’t for most runners) hence it caved before the 5k mark which is also why my shoes were dead way before I thought they ought to be. The Mino, in essence, tracks your unique weight, gait and the compression you exert on the shoe with each strike to tell you when it is time to change your shoe. You might get 600km out of a brand new shoe whereas, your running buddy might get 450 depending on running style. And it didn’t feel like anything inside my Boston Boost either, not sure about how it would be for a minimalist shoe though.
Seems like a good idea. I think I will take it out for a spin.
Read the review of Boston Boost here.
** This post contains affiliate links. I only link to products that I personally use and like from reputed sellers **
Another review that I picked up from Youtube –
We all fear something. However, most fears are unfounded and irrational and runners’ fears even more so. I thought of some things and I know there are a lot more, so please free to add them in the comment. The strangest, weirdest and most honest fears stand to win adidas goodies 🙂
1) The GPS watch losing signal specially on a day when you know you are running strong and possibly gunning for a PB.
2) Forgetting to apply vaseline on the race day – It’s a valid fear for all men out there. I mean no one wants to be seen with bleeding nipples. Honestly, I get a secret kick out of seeing men suffer because women always fear getting their periods on the race day!
3) Forgetting how to run – I know it sounds strange. How can anyone forget how to run? But when injury forces you to rest for months, this fear creeps in and I’m like did I ever run that much? What if I can’t anymore? How does one run so much?
5) Waking up late on race day – The fear is so genuine that most of us don’t end up sleeping only.
6) Will we ever move on – Most of the times, I think we don’t even know realise but this fear of not making progressing distance or speed wise, is lurking somewhere deep down.
8) Fear of being over taken by the runner you know who has been slower than you are, in the past. Come on let’s accept it, it’s true.
10) FOMO – Fear of missing out. Two good events on the same day in the same city? Damn this social media is making life tougher.
Contest Winning Entry – Congrats Neetul Mohanty 🙂
Her entry –
My sole goal while hitting the last 5 kms of a marathon is to look like a bad-ass heroine of an action thriller where my perfect sprint with “chariots of fire” playing in mind is going to save the world from destruction but that dream is near to impossible. Real picture unfolds a saga of helplessness and agony. I cant feel my hands anymore and my feet is puffed and my face has a silent plead of “help me, I am dying” look and I believe my stomach and lungs are shutting down. I just want to find the finish line before the vultures find me. My dream stride call it perfect sprint is reduced to a wobbly walk on wreckage of two legs and wait what do I see ahead, my biggest fear.My family with cameras flashing on me and loud cheers and claps of “Yo girl, Go Champion”! Freak man, the self proclaimed champion of the family has been caught not just walking but almost stumbling like I am drunk and to tell the story forever are pictures of a ghastly crazy looking woman with sweat patches at the most inappropriate places.Complete freak show.
I used to be always stressed a couple of days before the run and even more so the day before. And since I’m not a morning person, my biggest fear has always been about snoozing the alarm and not waking up on time. The other one being what if I have to use the washroom in the middle of the run! However, over time I have learned a few lessons by talking to others and from experiences. You can’t control everything that happens on the day of the run but you can certainly be better prepared.
First things first, stop stressing – We are all recreational runners. While we would like to test ourselves, it’s more important to enjoy the event. 5kms and 10kms are the best community events there can be. You get to spend a morning with strangers cheering you on, feeding you and offering water, and celebrating doing something healthy for yourself. There is nothing called coming last and it’s perfectly ok to walk the entire stretch, from start to finish.
Get ready the night before – Lay out your running gear, attach the running bib and get as much sleep as possible- aim for eight hours. But that hardly ever happens so ensure you get enough sleep through the week.
Don’t do anything new – Don’t try new food, new gear or anything that you haven’t done before. It’s easier said than done. I have ended up wearing new shoes and new tees (event tee) and I have been lucky so far. Wearing something comfortable is the most important thing. Wearing something that makes you feel good is important too 🙂 For women it’s equally important to wear the right sports bra which offers good support and doesn’t chafe the skin (click here for some tips on how to buy the right one).
However, I’m always careful about food. I avoid eating sea food specially and outside in general a couple of days before the run.
Eat something – Have a banana, dates or a slice of toast at least one hour before the run.
Port-a-loo – Most good runs have port-a-loos near the start line and somewhere mid distance. Now you can’t expect them to clean or not stink, as they are being used to by hundreds. So clip your nose and use it if need be. You will get used to it soon enough 🙂
Light meals the day before the run – Don’t go overboard with food specially proteins a day before the run. Eat light, healthy and wholesome food instead.
Playlist – If you are not much of a talker or need something to distract you so that the distance doesn’t bog you down, then a good playlist is important. An armband to keep your phone will be handy. I prefer wireless MP3.
Post the run – Eat something nutritious within 30 minutes of finishing the run. I prefer eggs, nuts and a sandwich. And no, eating chole bhature isn’t going to help.
Be active the next day – As sore as you might feel the day after the race, it’s important to do some easy activity or the other, it could be cycling, just a stroll or a bit of stretching. The movement will increase circulation to your sore muscles and help you bounce back sooner.
Happy Running 🙂
I was recently invited for the launch of adidas pureBOOSTx shoes and I felt totally lost in the midst of models and fashion/lifestyle bloggers but that’s a story for another day. Anyway, apparently it’s the first for women only running shoe in the world. My first thoughts when I saw the shoes were,
“So not me, I’m a runner!!!”
“I love my Boston Boost and I’m loyal”
Basically, I was wary of running in them. I did a 40 minute Bootcamp in the new shoes and even though they felt comfortable, light, flexible and were wide enough for my toes to breathe, I decided to not form any opinion till I get to run in them.
I had shared in my Boston Boost review that I only understand one thing when it comes to running shoes- that I don’t have to think them about while running. I like to run free. And that’s exactly how I felt doing the 10km at adidasuprising just a day later; I was able to soak in the energy of Mumbai and its runners without a bother. I “broke into the shoes” with ease.
I have done a couple of runs in them now but nothing beyond 10km. For now I want to stick to my Boston Boost for long runs and alternate these for my shorter runs (5-10km) and training. I love how light they are, hug my feet and have excellent arch support. I don’t like my shoes with too much cushioning or minimalistic, probably any lesser or more and I wouldn’t have liked it.
And since this is not a technical review, I’m attaching a couple of links at the end of the article where you can read more.
And who said floral can’t be badass?
Verdict – pureBOOSTx is a serious running shoe in a very good looking avatar. It looks equally cool with dresses as it does with the running gear.
Word of caution – Since the shoes is a snug fit, you might need to consider a size bigger. However, I’m wearing the same size as my other running shoe and it’s fine.
pureBOOSTx was given to me to review. However, all opinions are my own.
I run or bake when I’m stressed. And since I haven’t been running this month, I’m back to baking quite a bit. And Apple walnut cake is something I love in winters. It is loaded with apple chunks, raisins, walnuts and cinnamon powder. The batter is thick, easy to make and barely covers all the apple chunks which have gone into it. I love it with a cup of black coffee or tea. And yes I like to believe that it makes for an excellent snack for runners. (Sorry about the picture quality, all clicked with my basic phone).
Apples – 450 gms (net weight)
Flour – 195gm
Sugar – 150 gm (granulate it post measuring)
Butter – 85 gm (use a pinch of salt in case of non-salted butter)
Eggs – 2 (room temperature)
Baking powder – 11/2 teaspoon
Vanilla Essence – 1/2 teaspoon
Cinnamon Powder – 1 teaspoon
Raisins – 50gms
Walnuts – 75gms
Place walnuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes at 180 degrees C or until lightly brown and fragrant. Remove from oven and coarsely chop.
- Mix the flour, baking powder, granulated sugar and cinnamon powder.
- Add eggs, and melted butter to the flour mixture and whisk well (I did it with the hand blender).
- Peel the apples and cut into bite size pieces (size of 2 square lego pieces size!)
- Add the apples and dry fruits. Mix well.
- Pour the mixture in a greased pan lined with butter paper.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes (mine was done in about 50 minutes) at 180 degrees C in a 8 inch square baking pan.
The batter is really thick. You will have to use a spatula to spread it evenly. Keep all the ingredients ready before you cut the apple. You can squeeze a lime so that the apple pieces don’t get brown.
Disclaimer – This is not my recipe. I had got it from the internet 3-4 years back.
Last Sunday I had the honor of meeting Nitendra Rawat, who has created a course record (by an Indian) at SCMM this year with a timing of 2:15:48. And after reading quite a few articles on him, I went with an expectation of meeting someone a bit cocky and smug. But I was so wrong. At the shoe store where I accompanied him, the store assistant started showing off his knowledge about heel drop and mid foot landing, unaware of the fact that he was talking to the best Indian elite runner. Nitin didn’t utter a word or get worked up, just tried his shoes and moved on to buy them. His shoes usually last up to two weeks due to the intensity of training, about 270km of running per week. That’s him confident, emphatic yet humble. He answered all my questions without any hint of superiority.
While most articles I read mentioned how he has broken the course record, qualified for Olympics, his Oakleys and ponytail, not much was said about the lack of facilities at the National Camp. Case in point, the three Olympic qualifiers don’t even have a dedicated physiotherapist! Even though the ASI, Pune is a state of the art institute with all facilities, these athletes have to train at the National Camp for most part of the year.
There has also not been a word about his nutrition needs either. If only this one aspect is taken care of, it alone can shave off a couple of minutes from the overall marathon time – as per a renowned sports doctor. Imagine then, what he could do if all the international standard facilities, training and nutrition were available to him. Imagine if the media had concentrated on this, how much more attention these causes would have received – Just like his adidas sponsorship. When the media reported that Nitin had to pay for shoes out of his own pocket, adidas picked it up and offered him a sponsorship.I asked him what about adidas excites you and he said “with proper sponsorship, I will get the exposure of running in other countries, which also means I can choose more favorable marathons. And right now my target is to break the national record of 2:12 which hasn’t been broken since 1978.”
But we can’t blame the media alone, can we? This is the kind of information we want to consume.
Also, I feel as a part of the running community we need to give much deserved attention and love to our athletes.
You can like his FB page at https://www.facebook.com/nitinrawat2012/?pnref=story
Read further if you are interested in a bit of trivia, his diet and training regimen.
A bit of trivia
Nitin came to know that he could run well when he joined the army when at the age of 19 and started representing his regiment in various cross country events. But he didn’t take his talent too seriously till he got posted to LoC in 2006 and didn’t like being there one bit. That’s when he began training a bit seriously for mid distances and cross country at the Army Sports Institute, Pune. The turning point for him was when he won the national medal for cross country in 2011. But he knew he wasn’t fast enough, so he decided to give longer distances a shot, SCMM being only his second full marathon at the age of 29!
He runs 6 days a week at the National Camp with about 5-6 hours of training (split into two) every day. Wednesdays are meant for circuit training and he does strength training 2 days a week. He doesn’t do weight training at all. A lot of his strength training involves the exercises he learned when he went to run a marathon at South Korea.
Pre run – 3 slices bread, 1 banana and green tea
Breakfast – Daliya, bread and 2 egg whites
Lunch – A bowl of dal, a bowl of sabzi, I roti and 2 spoons of rice, lots of salad and green tea
Before training (evening) – lots of fruits
Dinner – A bowl boiled chicken (no salt), 1 bowl dal, 1 roti and lot of green salad.
*No butter/ghee and sugar
I have been running for a few years now. When I look back, it’s tough to believe how clueless I was about everything running. I used to run in “lifestyle” shoes, wear regular cotton shorts, a regular bra and called my first 5km a “marathon”. (don’t believe me? check my FB post!)
Here are some things I thought can help you if you are new to running –
1) You can start running whenever you want to, it doesn’t require any skill or technique, at least not in the beginning and if you are only doing it to maintain basic fitness levels.
2) Find running buddies – Running in groups or with friends makes it easier and definitely more fun. But do run alone at times (only if you are running in a safe place), it’s meditative.
3) Running gear – Buy some bright and good fitting running gear. It always peps you up.
4) Invest in the right stuff – Invest in a good sports bra and the right pair of running shoes. Trust me it’s an investment.
5) Run-Walk-Run is perfectly normal and at times desirable. It’s not something to be ashamed of.
6) Register for a 5km/10km, 3-4 months in advance as it will motivate you to keep at it.
7) One doesn’t necessarily have to graduate to a half marathon. Don’t feel the pressure of doing one. There are enough and more exciting 5km and 10km events. And that’s enough to maintain basic fitness levels.
8) Remember no one looks like a “runner”. One doesn’t have to look like one to run. Shed your inhibitions. Stop thinking about how you look while running. Trust me all non-runners will be in awe of the fact that you had the courage to get started.
9) Be shameless in flaunting that you ran a certain distance. How many people can say they ran a 5/10/15/21km? Remember you earned your bragging rights.
10) Create an awesome playlist of your favourite songs to carry along with you on the run. But at times listen to the sound of your foot pounding the ground, it’s beautiful. (But get rid of the head phones if you are running in a secluded place or where there is too much traffic. You need to be alert).
11) There is nothing called a “fast” runner. You will always be faster than someone and slower than someone.
12) One doesn’t need to run everyday. I run only 3 times a week even when training for a half/full marathon. But I do yoga and bit of strength training whenever time permits.
13) Eat a banana/dates 45 minutes before a run. Drink electral/ORS on hot days.
14) There are days when you will be super charged and there will be days when you feel completely sluggish. Run anyways.
15) Respect your body. If pain persists for more than 2 days, it needs your attention.
As you begin your journey, you will learn a lot about yourself and your body on the run. It will make you curious and you will wonder why you were not doing it all this while but it’s never too late. Attaching a video of a nun who started running at the age of 48 and is the oldest person to have completed a Ironman (run/bike/swim) within 16 hours.
You might also like https://momontherun.in/thisgirlcan-so-can-we/