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.
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.
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 article is the last of the series of 3 articles for tips on running.
Tips to run Better- 1 had tip 1,2 and 3 were around the basics of nutrition and clothing for running. Tips to run Better 2 has tips 4-8 were around helping you run faster, further and more efficiently. Here we present to you our round of running tips:
9. Warm Up before the Race: Before your race, warm your muscles up a little. Run a quarter mile, about 10-15 minutes before your long run. Stretch your muscles lightly to ensure that they’re flexible after the warm up run. Then, relax your body and your mind before the run.
10. Don’t run in new shoes: Running your race in new shoes can destroy your race. If you need new running shoes, buy them at least 3 weeks before the race day and train in them. That way, your feet get used to them and the shoes open up. Besides, if there are any issues with the shoes, then you know early on and can switch out to another pair of shoes.
11. Stretch post run: Between stretching before and after your workout, stretching after your workout is better. As we mentioned in part 2, your muscles tighten up while you run, so ensure you stretch each body part after your run. This helps them to recover better since stretched muscles help loosen up muscle fibers, allowing better delivery of nutrients to the muscle fiber for repair and growth. When you stretch your body, hold each stretch for 30-60 seconds. Stretching post run also reduces soreness in muscles.
12. Time to run: Many people wonder which is the best time to run or workout- whether its morning or evening? Its best when you feel best about it. Its about when you’ve got the time to do it.
Use these tips to run and I’m sure you’ll notice a difference in your run performance!
Continuing for our previous article about Tips to Run Better- Part 1, here is the second list of tips. In the first article, we addressed some basic tips around hydration, food and clothing. This time, we’re getting into more:
4. Run relaxed: Sounds like an oxymoron, but this is actually key to your performance for a long run. As our bodies get tired, our muscles naturally try to tighten up since our body is getting tired and is trying to conserve energy by compressing your body. Clearly, you have a lot of energy stores that the brain is just trying to hoard for the future. So, as you start feeling your muscles tighten, try to relax them a little. Feeling your shoulders bunch up and your back hunch. Consciously, try to keep your back straight and shoulders low. This takes some practice, but will help you run not just further, but definitely faster.
5. Run through the initial hesitation: Some days even though you’re all set to run, it seems like your feet are just dragging when you start. Just run through it for the first mile. Once you’re in the mode of running, you’ll be more energized and won’t feel like your feet are dragging.
6. Distract yourself: I know for all the focus that running requires, I’m asking you to distract yourself. Not exactly, but this is a psychological trick that works wonders. When you start pushing yourself in your runs, you’ll find that it becomes exponentially harder with the distance thats more than your regular distance- your muscles feel tight, legs might be hurting, you’re probably thirsty, out of energy, maybe some uphill track- its like the world is conspiring against your running. At this point, distract yourself from the pain- if you’re running outside, check out the scenery, try to feel the light breee against your skin, or maybe look for a hottie to check out while you run. If you’re in the gym, do some people watching and distract yourself. Play your favourite tracks that pep you, at this point. I have a playlist of songs like this in my iPod. I switch over to them when I’m running low. Studies have shown that runners with music run faster and further!
7. Trick yourself into running more: When you’re feeling the pain and all you want to do it stop- at this point, make short term distance goals. Tell yourself that you’ll run another 0.5 km and stop. When you get there, try to do it for another 0.5 km. Basically, trick yourself into running and you’ll see the magic work
8. Don’t bounce: Have you ever seen those people that bounce with every step they run? That’s not efficient. When you’re running, you want to use your muscle efficiently, so don’t bounce. Use your mucles to move you forward, not up and down. Its recommended that when you run, your head should not bounce more than 2 inches up and down. To do this, try not to take long steps. Take medium steps, land easy on the ball of your feet, not the heels. This also helps to reduce injury since it reduces impact on your joints. When you’re on a treadmill, a good way to reduce bounce is to try to make less noise with each step!
We have some more tips coming out in the Tips to run better- 3 – the last part of this series of tips on running.
Running Tips, Run better- Part 1
Loads of people are training for the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon. But here is some information that will help you run better. When most people who don’t run hear the term ‘running better’, they look skeptical, assuming that running is a very natural movement and that it should be quite easy. But you’ll be surprised to know how small running tips and changes can make a big difference not just to your speed, but also prevent injuries. These tips make an even bigger difference when you’re training for an event. These tips will help improve running speed, running distance and reduce running injuries. In part 1, here are some basic but essential running tips to get you started.
1. Get energy: Running requires energy and for you to run well, you need to have energy stored in your body. So, ensure you feed yourself correctly before a run. If you run on an empty stomach, you’re body will look for energy stores within itself to get that energy. Its options are fat and muscle. First it goes after the muscle. So, by running on an empty stomach, you might be forcing your energy to cannibalize its own muscle, which clearly will not help you run faster. Now, about what you should eat- If you haven’t eaten anything and need some quick energy right before the run, eat some boiled sugar candy, jaggery or a glucose based drink. If you have say 30 minutes before your run, eat some slow burning carbohydrates like oatmeal, dalia, muesli with low fat milk or any other such breakfast cereal. Don’t overeat as it will make you feel heavy. Avoid a high fat snack right before or after the run, since fat slows absorption of nutrients into the body and before a run, you want relatively quicker absorption. So, get your nutrition right and see yourself bursting with energy
2. Hydrate well- When your body is not well hydrated, it affects your performance. To hydrate yourself well, drink water 30 minutes before your workout, the best health drink ever. Right before your run if you’re thirsty, have a glass of water, but if you drink too much, then it might sit in your belly while your running- not too much fun! And in a country like India where its so hot, its even more important to hydrate yourself properly before a run. If you need water while your running, you can run with a small bottle of water and keep sipping as you need. As you build up your running ability, your need to sip water while you run will reduce. If you can’t carry a bottle with you, then place it somewhere on your running track.
3. Wear the right clothing: As irrelevant as it seems, this can make a huge difference. Wear running shorts that are light- preferably made of material wicks sweat away from the skin. Cargo/khakhi shorts are a strict no. On top, avoid cotton tshirts for two reasons- one they can cause chaffing from all the rubbing against your skin. Nipple chaffing is a common problem among male runners who don’t wear the correct clothing. And the other reason is that cotton absorbs sweats and holds it, so it adds to the weight of the clothing. Also, it sticks to your skin. Psychologically and physically, it can affect your performance. For women, wearing a sports bra is essentail. It will make your run so much better. Ladies, invest in a few good sports bras and you’ll notice all the difference. Also, get running socks- they’re the absorbent kinds. Do not wear dress socks! Running socks help your feet get a better grip within the shoes and absorb the sweat, so no smelly feet
Now, that we’re done with the basic running tips, watch out for more running tips!