We’ve told you that running is the best way to lose weight. Many of you have started running. Some are even training for the Delhi Marathon 2009. Sometimes even with all the information, we make some running mistakes, or believe in myths about running. So, we’re going to tell you how to avoid them:
Running on an empty stomach: This can never be good Read more
We have news for you. The registration for Delhi Half Marathon 2009 starts on Aug 27, 2009. We’ve told you all about the Delhi Half Marathon running event. Here is information on last year’s routes for the Delhi Half Marathon 2008.
The official date for the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon is Nov 1, 2009. To train for the Delhi Half Marathon 2009, you need about 2-3 months, depending on your running level and ability.
If you want to start running, or take part in the marathon to lose weight, this is a great opportunity.
- We’ve got simple tips to improve running
- Nutrition tips for long distance runners.
- Know if treadmills are better than running outside.
- Find out places to practice running in Delhi
For basic to advanced training plans for running the Fun Run or the Half Marathon, call Fitho.
Update: Please see this for more information on how to register for Delhi Half Marathon.
Now that you know why you should eat before a workout, we’ll tell you what to eat before exercise and a workout. The basic rule of a pre-workout snack or pre-exercise meal is that it should be easily digestible to provide you sustained energy for your workout. Whether its yoga, or running, or hitting the gym, the right pre-workout snack matters.
What does that mean- easily digestible snack? To be easily digestible, it should be low in fat; because fat slows the digestion process.
To provide sustained energy, it should have a combination of protein and carbohydrates. The protein will feed your muscles through your workout, and the carbohydrates will fuel your workout for energy. To make sure that it is sustained energy, it should not be simple carbohydrates, like sugar. If it is high on simple carbohydrates, then it will make your blood sugar shoot up before your workout, and a resulting sugar crash- as a result, you will feel lethargic even before your workout. Also, consumption of simple carbs promotes fat storage in the body.
When should you eat a pre workout snack? A pre workout snack should be eaten 30-50 minutes before your workout. This will give your body enough time to process the food.
What should you eat for a pre workout snack? There are plenty of snacks that can be eaten before a workout, but here are some of our favourite: oatmeal and milk, whey protein shake and fruits, choco smoothie, strawberry banana smoothie, chicken sandwich.
How much should you eat for a preworkout snack? This can vary based on the intensity of your workout and your body size, but basically, it should supply 150-250 calories. Smaller people should be on the lower end of that scale, and large muscular athletes should be on the higher end. Make sure not too eat too much, or it will literally hold you down. For a strenuous workout like a marathon, we have nutrition tips for marathon runners.
How to keep yourself well hydrated for the workout? Drink 16 ounces of water at least 45-60 minutes before a strenuous workout. That way, it will leave your system before the workout and keep you hydrated. Try to carry a bottle of water, and keep sipping, so it keeps your hydrated.
Now you know about your diet before your exercise session, whether its running, yoga, gym, or any type of workout. See this for more information on pre workout snack for muscle building. Watch out for the next article on what to eat after your exercise, and how soon should you eat after your workout!
There are regular marathons and half marathons, and then there are really cool marathons! Whats a cool marathon? Let’s show you..
Being in India, we’ve got our share of marathons/runs across Indian cities. But there is a hidden gem among them all. The Great Tibetian Marathon. Every July, this marathon is held in the Tibetian plateau of Leh/Ladakh. You literally run on top of the world! Set in the Trans-Himalayan backdrop, this marathon offers a unique and exceptional running experience! If you’re not a marathon runner, you could take part in the 5k, 10k or the half marathon!
Next is truly the coolest .. or rather the coldest marathon- The Polar Circle Marathon. Set in the snowy locales of Greenland, besides being unique, it would be an incredibly tough marathon. Held in October, the average temperature is around -5C/25F. Most of it is run on gravel roads/paths, except the part that’s on the 3 km thick Greenlandic ice cap!
Another place you never thought of running the marathon .. the Great Wall of China. Yes, the Great Wall Marathon. Set on the majestic Great Wall, this marathon runs along the wall. The run and scenery take your breath away. Some part of the marathon is climbing up and down stairs of the wall, making it even tougher. Held in May every year, this would be another cool marathon to do.
Going from moutainous marathons to flat land, is the Big Five Marathon- held among the wildlife of the African Savannah, you get to run right through the habitat of African wildlife. No fences or borders seperate the runners from the wildlife, adding to the adrenaline of the run. Another unique race is spectacular surrounding.
Going from the African Savannah to the ruins of Petra in Jordan, is the Petra Marathon held in September, debuting in 2009. They have a marathon and an ultra half marathon (22.3 km).
Another cool marathon is the Big Sur Marathon. There are probably some more cool marathons out there. If you know of more, do share with us! Some day, we’d like to do all these marathons
1. Hydrate: This cannot be stressed more, but you need to ensure you are well hydrated. Drink 1/2 litre of water before you run. Do this 20 minutes before you actually run, so its not weighing you down.
After you finish your run, get a drink that replenishes you- get a salt and sweet fresh lime soda- gives you electrolytes, vitamins, water and some carbohydrates to help your muscles recover.
More tips below..
2. Sweat wicking clothes: These clothes help keep your skin dry, so its easier to run. Cotton clothing absorbs and holds moisture, so it weighs you down and sticks to your skin. Sweat wicking clothes available in stores- big brands as well as non-branded. Get yourself some!
3. Sunscreen: Wear it and protect yourself from the sun! For the Indian skin, SPF 15 sunscreen lotion should be good.
4. Sports Drinks: For advanced runners- if you’re going to run over 45 minutes, carry a sports drink with you- for replenishing carbs and provide hydration
5. No Brainer: But you should try to run in the evening or early morning. Early morning is a little better, since the ground is a little cooler than the evening.
Need a place to run in Delhi? Here’s a list- Siri Fort Sports Complex Running, Running Track- Jahanpanah City Forest, Running at Lodhi Garden, Hauz Khas Deer Park Running routes. These are all in South Delhi and Central Delhi.
Walking is boring. It takes so long, and we believe that unless you don’t have a physical limitation holding you back from running, you should not be walking. Start running.
There are so many reasons to start running now- we’ve listed a few for you:
Burn calories while you rest: Running raises your metabolic rate, so you burn calories even while you rest. So you burn calories while watching TV, while sleeping, even while taking a shower!
Build great leg muscles: Running can build muscle in your legs- gives you great calves, quads and butt muscles- your way to look good in shorts Also, it increases in your body’s muscle. Muscle burns calories just to maintain itself, so your burn even more calories.
Running can improve posture: When you run correctly, it helps to work the muscles in your lower back and core. As a result, it can improve your general posture, while burning fat. Since many of us have belly fat and fat around the lower back and hips, running can help you lose that also.
Running suppresses appetite- Researchers found that running for over 60 minutes lowers levels of the hormone, Ghrelin (appetite increasing hormone), and increases levels of the hormone Peptide YY (appetite suppressing hormone). So, you probably won’t be scarfing down a huge meal after a good run!
Look hot: With all the fat you lose, the muscle you build, you only get hotter!
Save time: When you run, you do the same amount of work in lesser time. So, you burn calories faster, and you save time to do anything else that you want.
In the previous article, we focussed on the nutrition before a marathon or a long run to help you build your stamina and perform better. Here, we’ll focus on the nutrition during the run.
Don’t laugh at the idea of nutrition during a marathon- its incosequential for a short run, but for long runs like marathons its essential to keep focus on it.
1. Sip water before: Right before the run, you might feel a little thirsty. Sip on some water, but ensure that you don’t drink too much. At the max- half a glass. Else it will sit in your belly and weight you down while you run.
2. Hydration: During the run, at the water stops, keep sipping water. Research your marathon route well so you know where the water stops are, and train your body accordingly. Optimum hydration helps your muscles perform better- with stamina and speed.
3. Sports Drinks: Electrolyte based drinks like Gatorade are available at water stops. These drinks contain simple sugars and salts, so they provide instant energy as well as hydration. Long duration of exercise depletes the salt compound levels in your body. The electrolyte based drink replenish these replenish these salt compound levels to keep you going for longer. Like water, don’t drink too much, else it will sit in your belly.
4. Energy Gels: For long runs like marathons, your body can require over 5000 calories. Since you can’t eat that many calories in your pre run meal, many long distance runners carry energy gels with them. These energy gels contain electrolytes and simple carbohydrates to provide instant energy. When you feel like your running out of energy, pop open a gel pack. It contains fast dissolving carbohydrates that give you instant energy and keep you going.
After a marathon, your body has taken a pounding so ensure that you provide it with the right nutrition to replenish your muscles. Have some quick dissolving simple carbohydrates like candy bars, or fruits like banana. Low fat food is better, since its promotes faster digestion and quicker absorption of nutrients into your muscles. Ensure you hydrate well and give your body some much needed rest.
There are plenty of marathons and long distance running events (list of running events in India). You might be training for it, or probably know someone who is. As important as training for it is, its equally important to get your nutrition right. Incorrect nutrition can complete destroy your performance.
Here are some nutrition tips that help you build stamina and improve performance.
We’ll break the nutrition down into 2 parts based on its timing- The first one is before the run, and the second is during and after the run. Here we’ll focus on the nutrition before the run. We personally rate the nutrition before the run as the most important, since it lays the foundations for your energy requirements:
1. Dinner: On the night before the big run, have a carbohydrate rich dinner, like pasta or rice. The surplus carbohydrates are stored in your body and are used to supply glycogen to your muscles during the run.
2. Hydration: About 1.5 hours before the run, drink a litre of water. This water will hydrate your body. The timing is important, since it gives your body enough time to process the water out. That way, you’re standing at the start line, not the line for the toilets.
3. Pre Run Breakfast: Breakfast anyway rules as the most important meal of the day. On your run day, its even more important since you need it to fuel you through the run. Eat a good breakfast with lots of slow release carbohydrates, some protein and low fat. Eat this meal atleast 45-60 minutes before the run. An example would be oatmeal with low fat milk and a banana. Fast release carbohydrates (sugary) are not recommended since it can cause a sugar low, and impede performance at the start of the race. Some protein is good to feed your muscles. Fat free is not important, but low fat is- Fat takes longer to digest so it will sit in your belly, make you feel heavy, and affect your performance.
4. Vitamin B: Pop a Vitamin B with your pre marathon breakfast. Your body uses Vitamin B to produce energy. For long runs and workouts, your body needs to produce extra energy and stamina, and a Vitamin B will help with that.
5. Sleep: Last but not the least, get 8-9 hours of sleep before your run. Sleep has lots of benefits. Your body should be completely well rested to perform in a long run.
Wonder if you should start running? The New Scientist magazine reported that a Yale University study showed that endurance athletes, such as long-distance runners, burn up extra calories even when at rest- while your reading a book, watching TV, sleep or just hanging with friends.
Mitochondria is the part of a cell which convert sugar and fat into ATP molecules, which transport energy within cells. The study showed that the mitochondria in the cells of men who run (treadmills or outside) for four or more hours each week, use 54% more fuel than the mitrochondria of non-runners.
When the mitrochondria uses sugar and fat, this helps to clear out cellular fats that may contribute to insulin resistance. This research suggests that, even when at rest, running plays an important role in helping to protect against type 2 diabetes, as well as helping to burn fat.
4 hours a week is not that much. Break it into 6 days- that’s 40 minutes a day, with rest on one day of the week So, get those running shoes out and start running. We’ve got all the tips to start running.
Marathons are now held all over India. Ranging from 5-10 k runs, we have plenty of marathons and even ultra marathons in India- We have large running events in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Pune and Auroville.
Delhi has in Airtel Delhi Half Marathon. In 2008, it was held on Nov 9. There are 5 events-the half marathon, the dream run, the senior citizens event, the veterans run and the wheelchair event.
Mumbai has the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon.
Chennai also has a running culture. Check out more on the Chennai Marathon
Hyderabad has its share of running culture with 10k mini marathon and half marathon events. More at Hyderabad10K website
Bangalore has an ultra marathon (52 km)! Its the only one that we know of in India. They’ve already done 2 ultra marathons in 2007 and 2008.
Pune has its Pune International Marathon
Kolkata has the Airtel Kolkata Marathon. They have 3 events- Marathon (42 km), Ladies Run (10.2 km) and a Fun Run (4.2 km). Here are routes for 2007- Marathon, Ladies Run, SAIL Celebrity Fun Run. Apparently, there was one in 2008, but no central website for it.
Auroville started its marathon in 2008. Check out the Auroville Marathon site here.
Last but not the least, in the Great Tibetian Marathon. This marathon every year in the summer, on the plateau of Leh Ladakh. With the low oxygen levels, we rate this as the toughest marathon in India, and the coolest marathon in India, in more ways than one Running in the Himalayas would be such a unique experience!
Kudos to all these people making efforts to growing a running culture to India! Are there any others that we’ve missed? Any runs in your city? Please comment to let us know and we’ll add it to the list.
For the running uninitiated, here is a distance definition of various runs:
Marathon- Its a total distance of 26.2 miles (approx 42 kms)
Half Marathon- Very intuitively, it is 13.1 milees (approx 21 kms)
Ultra Marathon- Anything covering a distance of more than a marathon is an ultra marathon.
For tips to start running, or to run better, check out our series of articles on running tips
So, here’s the second part of the series, where we compare exercising on machines, or out in the open. In Treadmills vs Outside Running Part 1, we considered 3 points between treadmills and running outside. At the end of the 3 points, treadmills were winning 2:1 against running outside. Let’s continue to find out, which is better?
4. Speed Change-Sprints/Intervals: Sprints and Interval Training are the fastest way to burn fat, but intervals on the treadmills can be painful, since you have to keep pressing those buttons at the end of every interval, to change your speed. Its kind of annoying than just using your legs to slow down, where you would actually use more muscle in running on the ground, to increase or decrease your speed. In fact using your legs to increase or decrease your speed actually helps to work more muscle. Its even more annoying to simulate sprints on a treadmill. So, this one goes to running outside. We’re even, at 2:2
5. Environment/Access to Space: This one is a toss up. If you live in a nice clean area, with lots of parking or running space, its great to run outside. But treadmills are great if you live in a polluted location, a dirty area, unfriendly weather like rain, snow or heat; or just don’t have running space!
6. Impact on joints: Depending on what kind of ground you run on, the impact varies. Running on a soft surface reduces impact on your joints, whereas pounding your joints on the concrete sidewalks increases that impact. Most gym treadmills have impact factors that are somewhere in the middle- not as reduced as soft surfaces, and not as hard as concrete. So, this factor is also a draw between machines and the real thing. (A great zero impact cardiovascular exercise is swimming)
Similar factors would affect whether you want to use the cycling machines in the gym, or cycle outside, or deciding between a stair climber machine or actually running on stairs, or between a rowing machine and rowing in a lake. Because of equipment expense and access to water bodies, actually rowing is a tough one, but its a fantastic workout.
We’re partial to running outside, since we like to feel our shoes on the ground. But neither won this battle. It really comes down to what the situation is.
But the answer to the ultimate cardio question – Is is better to run on a treadmill or to run outside, on the ground? , is ultimate one -It depends
Is it better to run on a treadmill or outside, on the ground? We’ve got an answer to the eternal cardio question.
Can a machine really simulate the motion, and exertion of the real movement? Or to take it further- can it be better that the real movement? So, lets compare running on treadmills and running on the ground, out in the open. There are a lot of factors that need to considered. For each factor, we’ll find out is machine better or vice versa. So, lets find out:
1. Speed control: Controlling your speed is key to running consistently for a distance or time. For starting runners, this is a tough one. When you’re new to running, controlling your speed is difficult. Most people run in short bursts, so keeping a consistent speed can be challenging. With a treadmill, you can set the speed and let things roll. So, treadmills help you develop speed control. Thats one up for the treadmill.
2. Real motion: I’ve yet to come across a treadmill that feels the same as running outside. They might be close, but running out in the open is an experience that is hard to simulate- the exertion, the feel of the ground, and the exact muscle work. To simulate the exertion of running on ground, its recommended to keep the treadmill at a 1% incline. So, this factor one goes to running outside. Between the treadmill and running outside, we’re at 1:1
3. Simulating new geography: If you live in a flat area, and want to train for hills, the best way is to run on a treadmill at a hill incline. Or vice versa, if you’re in a hilly area, its hard to simulate flat runs. So, treadmills wins this factor hands down. Running incline is challenging, so at the same speed, you burn more calories.
So currently, treadmills are winning the competition and 2 points, against 1 for running outside. In Part 2 of treadmill vs outside running, we’ll analyze some more factors to decide the winner.
In the mean time, we’ve got running tips to get started for you.
This year Ethiopian runners won the event, for both men and women. The top 10 finishers for both men and women were dominated by international runners from Kenya and Ethiopia. Wonder why they produce the best long distance runners in the world? Read on to find out.
1. Deriba Merga (ETH) 59:15 (new event record)
2. Wilson Kipsang (Ken) 59:16
3. Wilson Chebet (KEN) 59:34
4. Regassa Tilahun (Jr/ETH) 1:00:28
5. Tadesse Tola (ETH) 1:00:45
6. Dieudonne Disi (RWA) 1:00:47
7. Kiplimo Kimutai (KEN) 1:00:58
8. Joseph Maregu (KEN) 1:01:03
9. Eshetu Wondimu (ETH) 1:01:04
10. William Chebon Chebor (KEN) 1:01:17
1. Asefelech Mergia (ETH) 1:08:17
2. Genet Getanah (ETH) 1:08:18
3. Peninah Arusei (KEN) 1:08:20
4. Atsede Habtamu (ETH) 1:09:37
5. Ashim Kasim (ETH) 1:10:19
6. Tiki Gelana (ETH) 1:10:22
7. Pauline Njeri (KEN) 1:10:23
8. Mare Dibaba (ETH) 1:10:28
9. Pauline Wangui (KEN) 1:10:36
10. Tigist Tufa (ETH) 1:10:41
Best Indians runners:
1. Sandeep Kumar 1:04:48
2. Kashinath Aswale 1:04:52
3. Deep Chand 1:04:56
4. Irrappa Akki 1:05:07
5. Surendra Singh 1:05:28
6. Lengoi Binning 1:05:28
1. Kavita Raut 1:17: 12
2. Preethi L Rao 1:17:20
3. Sudha Singh 1:17:39
4. Vivek Suba 1:18:02
5. Kiran Tiwari 1:21:51
6. Manjusha C. A. 1:23:21
World over, Kenyan runners have dominated the long distance running scene. Wonder why? There are a number of theories on this. The vast majority of Kenya’s brightest running stars were born and raised at high altitude. Running at higher elevations builds greater lung capacity, because athletes grow accustomed to the thinner air. Many of the finest runners, for example, hail from the hilly region surrounding Eldoret, about 7,000 to 8,000 feet above sea level. This area also possesses a fairly mild climate that allows for year-round running. If altitude alone determined distance-running success, of course, then Nepalese marathoners would dominate. So, perhaps a more important factor is the nation’s running culture, particularly among the Kalenjin tribe. Though Kalenjins represent just 12 percent of Kenya’s population, they comprise about three-quarters of the nation’s elite runners.
Besides the culture of this particular tribe, there is another factor- there are two kinds of muscle fibers in the body- fast twitch and slow twitch. Fast twitch muscles are the ones that are used for short bursts of powerful movements. Slow twitch muscles are the ones that are used for exertion over long sustained time periods. East Africans are born with a 70-75 percent of slow twitch muscle fibers.
At the end of the day, victory goes beyond your genes. Its a lot of hard work and training that goes into it. But when you reach the level of elite athletes, genetic differences can give you the edge.
Either way, we need to find those genes that can help Indians excel in sport
We took part in the Great Delhi Run in the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 2008 on Sunday, Nov 9, 2008 in New Delhi. Was that an experience!
We’ve participated in multiple runs and athletic events across the world. If we were to sum up our experience at this event, it was less of an athletic event, and more of a branding event for Airtel. To let it lose, it was a sham of an athletic event. Lets see why:
Advertising, everywhere: Since they advertised so aggressively for it, they were probably trying to recover some money- in the process, the event was overloaded with corporate advertisement. There were people carrying huge Airtel hoardings, blocking the whole route, so if you were behind them, there was no way to cross them. DHL was advertising some ‘jumbo box‘ of there’s, so they had a bunch of people taking up the route again.
Like this, there were multiple companies trying to advertise- huge hoardings, noisy slogans, very intrusive and in your face advertising. So, if you were at the event for anything besides a leisurely walk, it was a disaster. We were planning to run in the Great Delhi Run, and it was a frustrating experience.
Event Organization: The organization was bad. First, we could not locate the starting area. Then, there weren’t enough organizers to answer questions, or enough directions pointing you to the Start. Once you cross the start line, there were thousands of people taking part so it took a while to start running. We got to the event at 9.20 a.m for a 9.30 start time. We could only cross the start line at 9.58 a.m! The passage ways were so narrow for the number of people participating, that there was no chance of moving fast.
Volunteers: The volunteers for the event were trying to cheer on, but some of them were so enthusiastic in their cheering, that they were on the running route, which was anyway crowded with participants and advertisers!
Distance Markers: The distance markers were not visible with the crowd. In fact, even after running it, we’re not sure of the distance we ran. We estimate it at 6-6.5 km.
More Issues: Then there were water stops, handing out water bottles. Some of them were so enthusiastic, that they were in the middle of the track. The streets were strewn with plastic bottles. To clean them up, poor kids were running across the track while the event was on. Then, there were cops in the middle of the route trying to keep it secure, but also coming in the way of runners. So, it was less of a run, and more of an obstacle course.
Post Run Issues: Post the run, the food lines were incredibly long, so many people left without getting any food after the run. We couldn’t find any buses to take you back to the parking lots, so we had to cab it.
The only upside was that there were people on the side who had come to watch and cheer people on!
Learnings from the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon event:
If you plan to participate in the Delhi Half Marathon event in 2009, please learn from our experience and take this tips:
- Get there at least 1.5 hours before time, to ensure you have time to park, commute to the event, find the start line, and get there early enough, so you’re not stuck behind the advertisers, and slogan shouters. Since you will get there early, carry some food and drink with you, to ensure you have enough energy and are properly hydrated.
- Take part in the half marathon instead of the Dream Run (or the Great Delhi Run), if you want to really participate and be able to run.
And last but not the least, don’t have any expectations from the event.
Do you want to start running? But don’t know how. Maybe you need motivation, maybe you need company, maybe you just need the right information! We have information to get you started- Tips to Run Better- Part 1, Tips to Run Better- Part 2, Tips to Run Better- Part 3. If you need a proper running plan to get you started, call Fitho.
Studies have shown that people who workout with partners, have a higher probability of sticking to their workouts and produce better fitness results. Both the competitiveness and company help with motivation. If you want to start running and are looking for company, ‘Running and Living’ is here to help you. They’ve helped to organize running clubs in your vicinity. Check with them for one or more of these running clubs in your vicinity and get in touch, plan runs together, get solutions to your running problems and stay in touch. If you are a running regular, but don’t have a club near you, then email them if you want to set one up and they’ll help to get it going.
Running and Living also organizes runs in Delhi. So, spread the word, and get your friends, colleagues and neighbours to join in- to run or to cheer.