Articles on long distance running

Pain! What Pain?

Dr. Rajat Chauhan, Physiotherapist
Apologies for missing out my blog last week. As it has already become clear to you, running is my life and getting you to move just that little bit extra is my passion. The twin bombing at the Boston marathon just numbed me. It was too personal. I didn’t know how to react, I still don’t know. A marathon is unlike any other sporting event. I know, you would rather call cricket a sport. All fans of marathon or ultra marathon are those who actually run them. Spectators are there to cheer their friends and family, more than for the pure love for running, whereas in all other sports, fans are sitting on the sidelines, clapping away to their heart’s content.Life is like a marathon, actually more like an ultra-marathon, with no idea about how long and how tough it can be. If you are passionate about life and want to truly live it, you can’t be a mere spectator. You’ve just got to be in the thick of things. Like a marathon or an ultra-marathon, life has a tendency to throw all kinds of stuff at you, pain being one. In my opinion, there is an option, but it’s not to stop. The option you have is to carry on with a smile or a grimace, which to others look like a smile. No matter what, no one else is going to fight your battle or take your pain.The pain you suffer is your problem. Harsh, very harsh, but true. Once you realize that, only then will changes take place in the right direction. Since it’s your problem, you need to take a more proactive role in treating pain and managing it. At times, pain is there to stay. But it’s entirely up to you if you have the desire to suffer as well. Below is an example of die-hard lady who decided not to suffer, even though she had enough pain thrown at her.Couple of days ago, I had the privilege of joining a 70-year-old lady while she was out on her daily 6-km walk. She does all her household chores herself and then goes for her walk. Both of her knees got deformed 24 years ago, courtesy severe osteoarthritis. Over the years, she has repeatedly been advised surgery. Of course she has pain, but she decided not to let it affect her life in any way. Right or not, it was her decision to not go for the surgery. She also decided that she would not stop moving. I found it phenomenal.As shown in the video above, when she walks, she might rock from one side to another like a boat in rough waters in the ocean, but she is very content going on about her life.Besides repeatedly advising surgery, the good doctors also advised her to stop going for morning walks. More than the severe knee pains, being told to stop walking sounded like a death sentence to her. That was the one thing that she really loved in her life. She had dedicated her life to taking care of others around her. When she walked, she had an opportunity to unwind completely. That was her time. She paid no heed to the expert advice. She gradually started working on it, walking a minute at a time. Today, her two sons and their wives don’t live with her. At the tender age of 70, she alone takes care of the household.She also gave me examples of her friends who were operated for knee pain. Some did well, some didn’t. One thing was common among all: The surgeons were nowhere to be found once they had operated upon them. Like the superstar mentioned above, unless you take full responsibility of getting back to normal life, no one else would be interested in helping you out. Even with the best of intentions, everyone else can only do so much, and only for a limited time. There will be enough people out there who’ll keep helping themselves, the way it is currently happening in the health care industry. Almost no one is interested in your long-term benefits.Let there be a big shift from the current approach in managing pain where the almighty doctor is the focus. You know your body unlike any doctor out there. You need to listen to it a little bit more carefully. It’s actually not very demanding. It’s always looking to a find a way for you. You just need to work with it. Never fight it.No matter what, I am a big fan of Lance Armstrong, but it’s folks like this lady, who get no sponsorship neither money nor any press coverage, that I am a far bigger fan of.Now what’s your excuse to waste this one life that you are sure about? Get off your posterior and start moving.Keep miling and smiling.Watch video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wODNA4hr5i8Read more: http://forbesindia.com/blog/author/rajat-chauhan/#ixzz48L35cBes

What Are the Benefits of Marathon Training?

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
The participation of middle aged people in marathons has increased over the last few decades. Researchers found that preparing for a marathon- reduced heart disease risk factor among men, aged 35 to 65.Studies show that these middle aged marathon runners have much lower heart risks than similar aged non runners.One of the biggest benefits of running is that it's good for your health. Running is an excellent way to strengthen the heart and ensure efficient flow of blood and oxygen throughout the body, which helps decrease your risk of a heart attack.Studies also show that, exercise stimulates enzymes that help move LDL from the blood (and blood-vessel walls) to the liver. From there, cholesterol is converted into bile (for digestion) or excreted. So, the more you exercise, the more LDL your body expels and your blood’s LDL gets lowered, which protects you from heart disease.Exercise increases the size of the protein particles that carry cholesterol through the blood. (The combination of these protein particles and cholesterol are called "lipoproteins;" it's the LDLs that have been linked to heart disease). Some of those particles are small and dense; some are big and fluffy. The small, dense particles are more dangerous than the big, fluffy ones because the smaller ones can squeeze into the linings of the heart and blood vessels and set up shop there. But now it appears that exercise increases the size of the protein particles that carry both good and bad lipoproteins.Running also keeps your blood pressure lower by keeping your cholesterol levels normal in the body.Running not only prevents you from heart related problems but also improves your immune system, so your body functions more effective and efficient at fighting off germs. Also, while running, your body temperature rises which prevents the growth of bacteria, allowing your body to fight infection more effectively.So, participating in a marathon is really beneficial for your heart.

Life Lessons on Winning From Losing

Dr. Rajat Chauhan, Physiotherapist
You’ve got one life. Make it count. Live for yourself, on your terms.Everybody is too focused on the destination, on those sheets of paper, pieces of metal, hollow designations and the concrete boxes we live in. Photo courtesy Priyanka OberoiWhoever told you what truly matters is where you get to in life, lied. The only thing we can be sure of is that we will die. That is why I often tell myself: How you live before you die matters. Where you die does not.When looked at from that perspective, the journey is more important than the destination. When I look around, it pains me. Everybody is too focused on the destination, on those sheets of paper, pieces of metal, hollow designations and the concrete boxes we live in.You’ve got one life. Make it count. Live for yourself, on your terms. Those who matter are the ones who questioned status quo. They push the limits set by society and experts in it. And I have a lot of stories to tell of such people.To begin with, allow me to share this note I received from Mark Wooley, one of the most celebrated ultra marathon runners in Spain after the latest edition of La Ultra, the cruellest run on earth—an event I thought up.Dear Rajat,You really have created the world’s finest masterpiece of ultra running, a canvas 72 hours long and 333km wide in the Indian Himalayas. Upon this canvas are the runners—the artists who paint their art as they make their way over the most beautiful of majestic mountains.But I have a problem. I spilt the paint, I was clumsy and the art I left behind on your perfect canvas is flawed. The paint ran over the edges and that just won’t do. Art is meant to be perfect and anything less just isn’t art. It is a mess. I will have to start this painting again.Your good friend, MarkHe missed the 72-hour cut-off time by 54 minutes. He finished 222km at La Ultra in 2012 and then came back to attempt 333km in 2014 and 2015. Last year, he was leading until 318km. Then he suddenly collapsed. He couldn’t move. He just had to cover 15km in four hours.Think of this man as a gladiator who has been beaten not once, but twice. He wasn’t furious. Instead, the gladiator relooks the opponent with respect, and says he’s going to come back and give it a shot when he is better prepared. Our system calls such people losers. I think of them as high performers.A 22-year-old wild-card entry into the event, Parvez Malik, a ragpicker, comes to mind. He had not run ever till six months before this gruelling event.He took to it when he was part of the crew at the Garhwal Runs where he was practically thrown out of the car to walk along with the last participant. What started as a walk morphed into a run until he did 51km because it was a lot of fun.I offered to prepare him for 111km at the La Ultra. One day, he could be on cloud nine for having run 93km and the next day, I’d ground him because he couldn’t manage 90 minutes. This happened because I’d increase the pace to levels he couldn’t manage for too long. This was important in training for a run like La Ultra. Lows follow, much like in life, soon after the highs. He had to learn how to prepare for them.Eventually, he not only finished running 111km, but blew away seasoned runners with a good finish time.True champions and leaders can come from practically any background.To get back to my original point, the journey is more important than the destination alone. Sean Maley from the UK, who eventually came first at La Ultra, followed a simple strategy. He had plans A, B and C, but knew that he couldn’t plan for too far ahead. He was just prepared to dig deep and take it as it came. As Mike Tyson once put it: “Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth.”For the same reason, Maley took the course one bit at a time and relooked at it when he was close to what he had in mind or breached the limit in his head or reached there. He eventually broke the 333km barrier by making it a series of challenges.Darek (Dariusz) Zwyciezca from Poland, another veteran runner, met with an accident at age 8 and was in a coma for two months. He had to relearn how to talk, walk, read and write. Experts didn’t think he would ever walk again. He first picked up cycling and then running. Today, he runs the most difficult of ultra marathons in the world—not to win, but simply to finish, because society gave him no chance of even walking again. For him, it’s about pushing his boundaries further.High achievers set their own goals when there is nowhere else to get to. The 52-year-old Hungarian Szónyi Ferenc struggled to get past the 333km mark. But even before the pain evaporated, he suggested we plan a 555km run the next time around. That’s exactly what champions are made of. They keep pushing their limits.Let’s be very clear, an event like La Ultra attracts triple Type A personalities who happen to be very grounded as well. They are simply amazing human beings. To play a long innings as high performers in life, these qualities are very important. Any less, you either never get there or don’t last long enough.Rajat Chauhan is the founder of Back 2 Fitness chain of clinics. He is an ultra runner who thought up La Ultra, a 333km run in the Himalayas at over 17,400ft in three days.This article was originally published here.

Last - Minute Marathon Advice

Dr. Rajat Chauhan, Physiotherapist
Registered for a marathon, but haven’t trained enough for it? Don’t sweat.Your plan should be to walk-run-walk the entire distance, and focus on breathing. If you plan to take part but are not sure how to tackle these last few days, some of the points mentioned here can help you make sensible decisions, so that you not only run this Sunday but continue to do so happily for a long time.Walk-run-walkIf you have registered for the Great Delhi Run (6km) but haven’t trained enough for it, please don’t sweat too much. Most of you can cover that distance in around 1 hour. The ADHM is like a big running festival. Go out there to have fun and pick up this good habit for life.For those of you who have run a bit but not the whole 6km during practice, and are not sure if you can run that distance, relax! Your plan should be to walk-run-walk the whole distance from the word go. Start off with a 3- to 5-minute brisk walk as this will help you warm up well and prepare your body better for running. Now run at a comfortable pace that you are used to for 2-3 minutes. Start walking again before you begin to feel breathless. Use your walking to recover from the previous running interval and be prepared for the next running interval.Going all the wayIf you haven’t trained for two-three months and this is your first half marathon (21.097km), you need to be aware that you are low on training. This is not to discourage you. But please don’t do your long runs any more. You should be tapering down and concentrating on staying injury-free.I have pain but this run is too important for meIf you have practised a lot, or for some other reason you desperately need to run, there is a very simple logic. You can run this year’s ADHM, and never again. Or you can be smart about it and rest for now, recover from injury and then get back to running when you are fitter. This way you can run forever.I haven’t run the race distanceIt’s too late now to cover distances that you should have done over the last few weeks, if not months. Usually, two-three months are needed to train for a half marathon. Doing excess distance is the major cause of injuries in the last couple of weeks. If you have decided to run, just go in with a strategy rather than making a stupid mistake that leaves you with a permanent injury.I can’t run non-stop for 21 kmEven though you should have practised this earlier, it’s still not too late to adopt a walk-run-walk strategy, as suggested for the 6km participants. You start this from early on in the run, when you are fresh. Run for 15 minutes and then take a walking break for 2 minutes. This way you will stay fresh for longer. Your times will be better than if you try to run till you can’t run any more. Practise this a couple of times over the next few days.I’m getting out of breath too soon into the runFrom the word go, you need to start focusing on your breathing. If you wait till you feel tired or breathless, it’s already too late to fix anything. Focus on taking long breaths in, hold for 1-2 seconds, and breathe out slowly. This will help you stay fresh for longer.I have painKnee pain is the commonest pain that runners complain of in the last couple of weeks before a race. Both too much and too little training play a major role in these injuries. Sometimes, trying to do too much to cover for too little training earlier can also lead to last-minute injuries.If the pain has been getting worse over the last few days, you definitely need to consult a sports medicine doctor.Eating while runningIf you expect the run to take under 2 hours, it’s not very important, but if you are expecting to take more than 3 hours, you will definitely need to plan for it. Energy bars, jelly bars and sweets work well. But never try anything in the actual race if you haven’t done it during practice. If you haven’t ever eaten while running, please practise over the next few days, even if it’s only for short runs. Take a bite of the energy bar every 4-5km. It will help you last longer than you normally would.My nipples hurt and bleed during long runsThis is a problem faced by runners of both sexes, but is not spoken about enough. It happens because the T-shirt rubs against the skin. Before long runs, generously apply lubricants like a moisturizer or cream over nipples, armpits, the groin area and toes.Wearing a new T-shirt on race dayNever a good idea. The shoes, socks, T-shirts, shorts, etc., that you will use for race day should be ones that you have been using during your practice runs. Even if you have a team or company T-shirt that has just come in the nick of time, and you must wear it, it should only be worn on top of another T-shirt that you are used to.Rajat Chauhan is an ultra marathon runner and a doctor specializing in sports and exercise medicine and musculoskeletal medicine, and founder of Back 2 Fitness. He is also associate editor, British Journal Of Sports Medicine.This article was originally published here

Are You Prepared to Run a Marathon?

Ms. Nisha Singh, Dietitian/Nutritionist
You have been training for months, clocking in countless miles on your shoes, counting each calorie in-take; eating religiously – “Green is God” and drinking all kinds of energy-filling, toxin-freeing juices to get this marathon right. Finally, it’s here.Are you all set to runa marathon? Have you made sure you have done everything, and did it right? Findthese helpful tips to get this run right!Full on Carbo dietStart your carbo diet48 hours before your marathon. Research shows, 22 grams of carbohydrate perhour is best to achieve a performance benefit. This cannot be done in onenight, so start your diet early by consuming carbs loaded foods like:●     Bagels●     Banana●     Yogurt●     Oatmeal●     Orange Juice●     Sports Drink●     Granola Bars●     Baked Potato●     Chocolate Milk●     Rice & BeansWith sufficient Carbsin your body, muscle glycogen stores enough energy for you to run, jog, run,walk, jog, run and finish.Sleep like there’s no tomorrowIf you’re too nervousabout the race, get 8-10 hours’ sleep for 3 nights in a row. With adequate sleep, your body is all ready to endure the upcoming miles.Research shows that,few hours’ sleep loss, is a few miles short. We wouldn’t want that now, do we? Get your pyjamas on, and off to bed.Get your gear onThere’s nothing worsethan standing in the start line and realizing you missed out on your knee beltor some other gear. To avoid this horrendous experience, get your gears inorder the night before. Everything you need would be:●     Music player●     Running shoes●     Banana●     Sipper with waterand/or electrolyte●     Dry fit socks●     Dry fit outfit●     Calf Support belt ifneeded●     Speed tracker●     Sunscreen lotion●     A cap if you’re lookingat a sunny day●     Of course, a good sportsmanshipMake sure you get everything you need and keep it in place the night before.Eat. Run. EatEat your pre-race meal, about 100 grams of carbs and 3 hours beforehand. Nutrition will make it orbreak it for you in the 1st mile. Make sure you don’t fill up just before your run. Try a banana and an electrolyte to keep you going.Jog, Stretch, LungeArrive early at the venue with your gear on. Start your warm ups, so that your body is pre-energized for the long miles to come. These should help you:●     10 sets of sit-ups●     Jogging 200 mts and back●     Bending and stretching your body sideways●     Deep breaths while you exerciseRefill EnergyDuring the run, when you feel like you’re drained, make sure you sip on electrolyte or water, even a banana would do. They help in instantly revitalizing your body with more energy.Try to remember:●     Never use new clothes for a run – friction causes rashes and burns●     Never use a new shoefor a run – worn out shoes moulds to your feet giving you high level ofc omfort.●     Don’t eat 30 min before a race – Food will not be broken down to provide energy, instead makes you feel full.●     Avoid alcohol the night before – it causes dehydration, in turn draining you physically.And finally, don’t run to win; run to enjoy. After all, we are hundreds of people running on the same path for the same cause.

Why Running Is Good for Women

Dr. Rajat Chauhan, Physiotherapist
Manavi Siddhanti with Dr Rajat ChauhanLATE NIGHTS at work, household chores or lack of motivation-we have all been there. Combine that with aches and pains, obesity, diabetes or even poor heart health and taking out time to run and be consistent with it, sometimes doesn't even make it to our bucket list. But with multiplying lifestyle diseases in India, it's about time we bring a little change to our lives and start running. In a bid to stay healthy and in shape, Prevention and Rajat Chauhan, ultramarathoner, Sports-Exercise Medicine and Musculo-Skeletal Medicine physician, MBBS, MSc Sports-Exercise medicine, have come together this year to train Prevention readers for Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, 2013. While they start their training, here's the lowdown on what you can do. And if you're already thinking of an excuse, we've busted them.Excuse 1: Your joints hurt and you might think you'll wear them out by running. On the contrary, a study conducted at University of California found that sports such as running and walking strengthen your hips and knees by depositing more cartilage in these areas.Excuse 2: You are diabetic and worried about a sudden drop in blood sugar by exercising. If you're diabetic, increased physical activity and exercises are mandatory for you. It increases the rate of glucose in the blood to be taken up by muscle cells, effectively lowering your blood glucose. It also improves insulin sensitivity. In fact, latest guides recommend 60 minutes of dedicated exercise time daily, along with additional physical activity (daily chores).Excuse 3: You are comfortable with your sedentary lifestyle. Hear this: after heart disease and cancer, a sedentary lifestyle is the biggest cause of death amongst Americans. Lack of physical activityexacerbates 35 known conditions including breast cancer, colon cancer, congestive heart failure, depression, heart attack, hypertension, obesity and osteoporosis. In fact, Prof Frank Booth from the University of Missouri has coined a term for this SeDS or sedentary death syndromeExcuse 4: You're overweight or obese, which makes running difficult. But not exercising or running, means carrying extra weight which causes wear and tear of the joints and puts pressure on your hips, back and kidneys. A Gallup Organization survey of over 1 million Americans found obesity was associated with a greater risk of experiencing daily pain. To break this vicious cycle, train with a professional.Excuse 5: You've never run before. Unlike swimming, karate, martial arts or cycling for that matter, running is not a skill that needs to be learnt. Start out with walking, progress to brisk walking and then running. All you need is a good pair of shoes and the zest to run. Remember, it doesn't matter how fast you go, as long as you keep going.Step Smart To Slim FasterWant to boost your burn? Perfect your form because using proper alignment helps you walk faster. Here are some simple tips to follow.1 Keep your gaze focussed directly ahead, not down at your feet. 2 Stand tall, head straight and chin up; avoid leaning forward. 3 Roll your shoulders back and down, not scrunched up by your ears. 4 Make a relaxed fist, as though cupping a fragile potato chip. 5 Tighten your abs, pulling belly button toward spine. 6 Bend your arms; naturally swing them forward and back without crossing the center of your body. 7 With each step, land on your mid-foot and push off with your toes.The Bare MinimumYou'd be training every day, so… Get comfortable fitness wear. Look for sweatproof, breathable fabrics, they are available easily. Do some research and try out different pairs of running shoes before buying one. Look for a pair that provides forefoot flexibility, cushioning, proper heel support and is lightweight. Keep a sipper with you in times of training to be well hydrated before, during and after a run.4 Try an online app to help you track speed, distance and timing. Try ITune's Half Marathon: 21 K runner training and Nike Training Club.Moves To Help You Walk FasterPower up your walking muscles and tone trouble spots with these super simple exercises. Do 2 or 3 sets.SQUAT Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding 1 dumb-bell in each hand. Bend knees slowly and lower body into a squat, keeping knees behind toes. Come up slow as well. Repeat for 30 to 60 seconds.MODIFIED PLANK Start with belly on mat, elbows under shoulders. Tightening abs, lift torso off floor, supporting weight on forearms and knees. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.KNEE PUSH-UP Start with knees bent, palms under shoulders, head in line with hips. Slowly lower body till almost touching floor; then slowly push back up. Repeat for 30 to 60 seconds.Nutrition and HydrationTo improve endurance and stamina, aim for 7 to 9 servings of veggies and fruits, 3 servings of low-fat dairy (milk/curd/paneer), 2 to 3 servings pulses or chicken, fish, lean meat with a handful of nuts every day. Consume salt in moderation and sugar as per calorie requirements.1. Cut down on carbs that form your regular diet like bread, roti, rice, potatoes. Professor Timothy Noakes, sports physiologist and medical director for Comrades Ultra marathon had popularised carb-loading in his book, Lore Of Running. In his new book, Challenging Beliefs: Memoirs of a Career, openly apologises to the running community for the information he shared about carbohydrates. The gist: an unrestricted intake of especially refined and hence addictive, carbohydrates fuels an overconsumption of calories. Instead of high-carb diets, an increase in protein combined with low carbs help cut hunger pangs down.2. It's important to hydrate before, during and after a session. Have about half a litre before you start running, keep sipping during the run and have 1 litre or more after the run. Avoid aerated or caffeinated drinks during the run since they can hinder your performance. The day you train, it is very important to consume a protein drink like soya milk within half an hour of exercise. While training, take care of your water consumption. Rather than plain water, have an electrolyte drink instead.3. Indulge in protein-rich foods, espcially for strength training and to avoid muscle loss. Non-vegetarians can have chicken, fish, eggs; vegetarians should load up on cottage cheese, lentils and tofu.4. Fish oil, Omega 3, calcium and vitamin supplements may help boost your performance, but check with your GP before popping these.5. The day before the big day, focus on having an early dinner which is high on carbs and is rich in fats. Go on, conquer!

Safe Long Cut Is Better Than Risky Shortcuts in Diet Exercise Sex Etc Says Dr Vaibhav Lunkad

Dr. Vaibhav Lunkad, Sexologist
Safe Long cut is better than Risky Shortcuts in Diet Exercise Activities Friendship Sex etc says Dr Vaibhav LunkadIt is a normal psychology of "Hurry Worry Curry" in all things from childhood which "Causes Casualties which you have to keep Correcting" whole life. Isn't it true that we have to "repeat revise re-do restrain remind relocate" so many things because of not doing it Fully Unhurtingly Care-fully Knowingly the first time itself.It's so important to create HI-story by understanding that H is honesty and I is integrity which if together in anything they can create a story of HI-STORY.So now that you have readied your mind to create history in Diet Exercise Activities Friendships Sex(D.E.A.F.S.) etc and usually people turn deaf when advised let's change for the better by 180 by taking a SAFE LONG CUT THAN RISKY SHORTCUTS.SAFE LONG CUT means doing a thing steadily with enjoyment and "without getting bored or tired" as the process or journey should be enjoyed and not the end or start.So sex or diet or any activity for that matter like having a cup of tea or sex WHICH should be done slowly steadily enjoying every small bit of the process as that creates satiety and a satisfaction or you are prone to become  A FOODIE OR HAVE AN EXTRAMARITAL AFFAIR which is dangerous as they are RISKY SHORTCUTS.RISKY SHORTCUTS can give fun BUT AT A HIGH RISK RISKY SHORTCUTS can give satisfaction BUT AT A HIGH RISK RISKY SHORTCUTS can give friendship BUT AT A HIGH RISK RISKY SHORTCUTS can give "ALL" BUT AT A HIGH RISK After seeing the History of happy successful people it is important to remember that NO RISKY SHORTCUTS but only SAFE LONG-CUTS are the best techniques for being an ACHIEVER in diet exercise activities friendship sex etc.Yet if you differ or even like please respond to me on vaibhavlunkad@yahoo.com 

8 Tips for Good Running Form

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Do you run or jog? Doesn't matter if its outdoors or on the treadmill, we've given you plenty of tips on running. Today, we'll tell about some finer points on how to improve your running form. These tips will not only help you run more efficiently, but also run faster, with less effort, improve muscle performance and reduce your risk of injury. It might even help you get a six pack.Landing: You should try to land mid-foot, not on your heel. Landing on your heel can slow down your running and jar the body. Landing on mid foot provides better cushioning.Lift, than Push: Pick up your feet rather than pushing the ground away, which can tire muscles quickly.Short is Good: Keep your stride short. It exerts less impact on your knee, as well as exerting less energy for each stride.Abs & Core: Engage your lower abs. To do this, feel them about two inches below your belly button, and pull them toward your spine. Lift your ribcage up and forward to support your torso.Relax: Yes, relax your hands. Imagine loosely holding a table tennis ball in your hands.Swing Correctly: Swing your arms forward and back, not across the body, and make sure your elbows are at 90 degrees.Stay Low: Let your shoulders fall. As you run longer and harder, your shoulders tend to rise up with the increasing stress. So exhale deeply, and keep them down. It will help you run longer and faster.Look Ahead: Look straight ahead, not at the ground. Looking down closes your throat and makes breathing more difficult.Implement these tips, and you will certainly see an improvement in your performance.

7 Tips to Prevent Running/ Jogging Injuries

Dr. Kambhampati B S Srinivas, Orthopedist
Running is one of the commonest forms of exercise. It is important to know the safe condition and technique of running to prevent injuries. Injuries may involve your knee joint, lower leg, foot and ankle, pelvis and hip, heat exhaustion and skin. The following 5 tips may be useful to avoid injuries during running.1. Prepare yourself for the run by properly hydrating yourself before the run, running the distance you are used to (you need to train your body well in advance if you plan to run a marathon), knowing the terrain you run (preferably flat), using comfortable attire and shoes (preferably high ankle shoes) to protect your feet. 2.Plan your run and avoid it during very high or very low temperatures/ rains/ night time to prevent falls frostbites and exhaustion. It will be useful to take a bottle of water preferably enriched with electrolytes to re-hydrate yourself during the run especially for long distance runs.3. Your posture and running technique are crucial. If you are in doubt of your technique, discuss with a trainer about the correct technique of running. If you have any alignment problems with your limbs, they can cause problems in the future especially if you are planning long distance runs on a regular basis. Know your limitations and stop when you have reached your limits and don't push yourself too hard.4. Stretching for 5 minutes before the run is important to prevent muscle strains.5. Running with a partner and with a mobile phone is advisable especially if you have medical problems. Always discuss with your doctor whether you are fit for running exercises if you have back/ medical problems. 6.Avoid running in polluted areas/ rush hour traffic roads. Plan your runs in parks/ gardens where one can expect clean air.7. Orthotic shoe inserts may be useful for those with foot deformities like flat feet. If you are likely to hurt your body by running, it's best to accept running is not your thing and try another form of exercise like swimming or cycling.

Relearn Running

Dr. Rajat Chauhan, Physiotherapist
Photographs by Pradeep Gaur/MintShoes are simply a tool—they don’t do a thing unless you start moving in them. If you know how to run well, you’ll do amazing things, but if you don’t, you’ll get injured.The running craze has hit India recently, but in the US and UK, running became a passion for people in the 1970s. Simultaneously, the soles of running shoes started getting thicker and more cushioned. There are running shoes today that have soles as thick as 65mm.It was Born To Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, And The Greatest Race The World Has Never Seen, a 2009 book by award-winning writer Christopher McDougall, which made a case for barefoot running. He was opposed to the idea of thick-soled running shoes. It helped the sales of minimalist shoes, Vibram FiveFingers shoes to be specific, go through the roof. These shoes have the five toes in separate compartments and the sole thickness is as little as 5mm.The idea behind barefoot running is to be more grounded, literally, and connect again with our natural surroundings. The soles of the feet have the most nerve endings in the body. But from the time we are very young, we are taught to put a barrier in between our feet and the earth, that is, wear socks and shoes.Walking on grass: Most of us are no longer comfortable even walking barefoot on grass. This would be a good starting point. Walk barefoot on grass for 5-10 minutes every day.Foot shortening manoeuvre: Put your bare foot flat on the ground. Curl your toes so that your foot shortens. Hold it in a shortened position for 2-3 seconds, then go back to the starting position. Do 25 repetitions, four times a day. Within a month you'll notice your foot arches becoming stronger.Skipping action: With or without a skipping rope, do the skipping action for 5-10 minutes to start with. This helps you sensitize landing on the toes. You simply can't land on your heels when you skip.The companies that manufacture running shoes make all kinds of claims, ranging from “they make you run faster” to “they tone your buttocks”. These claims have landed the companies in trouble because they were proved to be incorrect. In recent years, shoes with minimal cushioning (Vibram) and traditional well-cushioned shoes (Skechers USA, Inc. and Reebok International) have faced class-action lawsuits in the US, with settlements ranging from $3.75-40 million (about Rs. 22-240 crore.)In my opinion, just finding fault with the companies is not fair. If you really want to improve your running, then work on your technique—and that is possible if you let your bare feet touch the surface.Some people will argue that they have been wearing running shoes for decades. But just because you have been doing something for a while does not make it right.Our running gait isn’t natural now since most of us have been sitting on our butts since the age of 3 or 4, and have deactivated the magnificent gluteus maximus (butt muscle), which has now been shown to exist only to make you run.The cushioned soles of running shoes can be compared to car bumpers. You tend to be a little less careful when the car has bumpers. If you remove them, you will be more careful when you drive.It’s the same when you run barefoot using the natural running technique (see images)—you tend to land softly and this puts less pressure on your ankles, knees, hips and back. If you wear heavily cushioned soles, however, you will be less careful about how you land. If you are a reckless driver, no amount of technology will be able to hide your flaws. The same applies to running shoes.We all need to go back to the basics and learn the natural style of running. If you run barefoot only as a drill, it’ll make you a better runner, no matter which running shoes you wear.A word of caution though. Initially, barefoot running can cause shin pain as the calves get overworked. In a short period, though, the calves will become accustomed.Rajat Chauhan is an ultra marathon runner and a doctor specializing in sports and exercise medicine and musculoskeletal medicine, and founder of Back 2 Fitness. He is also associate editor, British Journal Of Sports Medicine.http://www.livemint.com/Search/Link/Author/Rajat%20Chauhan