Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Five reasons to run without Music

Many runners say that music motivates them to run. They have special playlist of their selected motivating songs. You might have various other reasons to run with music. Here are five reasons, why you should NOT run with music especially when participating in some running events / race.
  1. Give the respect to 'excuse me': Recently, I was running at Bangalore Ultra which had very narrow trails at some parts of track. In my second lap, I had a girl running ahead of me and guy walking just ahead of her. When she was very close to guy ahead, she said 'excuse me'. Then almost coming to stop, she repeated second time – 'excuse me'. And third time before she had to move to grasses to cross the guy. Next 'excuse me' was from me and I got no reaction from the guy in his own world. And then I realized that he his ears are plugged and probably getting bombarded with music. I aped the girl and crossed him same way. I doubt if he is even aware that people were asking him for way. When you are going slow, please hear and give respect to those said and unsaid 'excuse me'. Folks will always pass you with a smile with thanks – said or unsaid.
  2. Make new friends – You will never find events other than running, where competitors are more helpful to each other. We don't compete, we celebrate our training with running events. And running is more fun if you have more friends at event. So, why not make more friends on track. Now, nobody is going to even try talking to you if you have ear plugged with music. Well, then unplug and make new friends.
  3. Hear to motivating stories – Each runner has different story of themselves or somebody else how they did previous run, how they overcome last hurdle they faced, how they lost 30 pounds from their body or about a motivating book they read recently. Well, why listen to music for motivation when you have better things to get motivated.
  4. Enjoy the route, track, trail – Lots of run events are conducted in very scenic tracks. And if you are busy with music, you are missing the beautiful tracks. Now, do you want to miss that? Forget the music track, enjoy your running track.
  5. Listen to your body – You want to believe it or not but music does stop you from hearing to your body. Without music you will be in better control of your rythm, breathing and foot steps. You will better know when you must speed up or slow down and not just speed up based on music tempo.
Many running events actually ban use of music players but not all. I believe, we in 'our' own interest should not be listening to music while running. Well, you chose to run an event because you want to enjoy the run. Then, why dilute the enjoyment with music which you could hear at your home too.  Say, no to your iPod or any other music player. Enjoy the Run.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Runkeeper to Dailymile

I started running in January this year. As, I have been always fond of numbers, I wanted to keep track of all my runs. That's when I chose runkeeper for same. They had a no nonsense GPS based iphone application which I could use to track my run. It could automatically upload my runs to their website Runkeeper website also gives some very nice charts and reports which made running more interesting to me.

Then in July, convinced by a friend, I started dual entry of my runs by entering my activities in along with They didn't have a GPS based iphone app. They didn't have charting as good as runkeeper but where they scored over was socialIf you find any problem, please let me know. I will glad to help.  Please feel free to mail me at networking. And that matters a lot in running. We run more when we are in group. We run faster when are in group. Yes, motivating each other is best part of any running community. And enables that through their social networking.

Lately, it was getting difficult for me to use runkeeper application on iphone as iphone battery didn't last more than two hours with GPS enabled. Also, Iphone GPS may be good for basic use but it was not accurate enough. I could often see corners getting cut. Iphone GPS is quite unreliable at times. And lately have been seeing runkeeper crashing regularly. Thats when i decided to invest in Garmin forerunner 305. Although runkeeper and dailymile both had interface to upload activities from Garmin forerunner, I didn't want to continue to making dual entry. I still liked but had no real motivation left for using

So, finally decided to use, I exported all my data from to csv file and then imported to Thanks to for providing APIs to do this easily. Please read here to find more on how to do this.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Running Mantra - Do It Right

Hey, thats great. But please make sure you don't overdo it”. I heard this almost each time I told somebody that I am practicing for long runs. I could never understood that. I need to run more week after week if I have to run long. My obvious replies were “Don't worry. I know what I am doing” or “I am able to do it. It is not overdone”. Now, when I think more, I believe they should have instead told me – Do It Right. Run, please run but do it right way and do it right away.

So, how do we do it right? Here are various aspects about running, I learnt, on my way, some through research and other hard ways.

  1. Breathing – If your high school teacher taught you to breathe through your nose while running, forget it right now. Somebody told me, breathing through nose is like breathing through straw. Air inhaled through nose is insufficient to supply enough oxygen as required for your running. It is important to breathe through your mouth while running. One of my friend complained about head ache and it was corrected when he started breathing through mouth. You should also set rhythm for your breath. An ideal breathe will be one inhale for every two steps and one exhale for next two steps.
  2. Running Gears – Your feet and your legs are most important part of your runs. Isn't it? There are plenty of materials on net to find a good shoes for your foot. Make sure you get a good running shoes. Another important gear is t-shirt. Do you still run in cotton t-shirts for running. Make it a history now. Dry-fit running t-shirt is lighter in weight, helps your body to breathe better, sweat efficiently and doesn't get as heavier when soaked in sweat as it moves moisture away quickly when compared to cotton t-shirt. Similar to dry-fit tee, synthetic-material socks helps in moving moisture away quicker. If you haven't got right gears, make sure you get now.
  3. Hydration – No less important then any of I talked earlier, is keeping yourself hydrated. Not just while running but also when you are not running. You must always drink adequate water / liquid to keep yourself hydrated. While running, you must drink water / energy drink every 15-20 minutes. The key is to kill thirst before it kills you.
  4. Pace – One of the dilemma, I had when I started running, was how fast should I practice. Not that I could keep running at great speed, but how should I decide what is good pace for me which can help me to practice well and I don't burn myself. The rule of thumb to find optimum pace is the maximum pace at which You can talk comfortably. It might be good idea to run with a fellow runner, with whom you can talk on way.
  5. Warm up and Stretching – It is important to warm and cool down after and before running. Warm up gradually raises your heart beat rate to minimize stress when you start running. It also makes your muscle optimally flexible and efficient. Warm up should include a slow pace run and some dynamic exercises. You should cool down by running slow. Running must be followed by static stretching. It is important to not just stretch your legs but also neck, back, arms which are passively part of your running.
  6. Rest days and recovery – As important is running to you, as important should be recovery. Recovery from your previous training is required to adapt to a higher level of training stress and thus make you better runner. Recovery time varies based on training level. For beginners, you must run only 3-4 days a week. One recovery day a week can be used for cross training like cycling or swimming.

So, the new running mantra - Do it Right!!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Five Hundred Kilometers Logged

It was four clock in morning when my alarm woke me up. I was actually waiting for it to wake me up. And every time when I wait for alarm to wake me, I know how passionately, I am waiting for my run. Twenty Kms was all I wanted to run this morning. I had never run that distance till now. I was certainly excited about it. I knew I can do it. And what could have been better choice than running in RFL (Runners For Life) long run at Bellandur It is always exciting and encouraging to run with group of highly motivated runners. And RFL long runs always have that.

Oh my god, I could hear the rain beating outside the windows. It wasn’t that heavy. But certainly enough to kill my plans to travel to running destination. I was not ready to give up. I got into my running gears. At five o clock, I walked outside apartment to see if I can ride my avenger in the rain. And then I gave up. I meant I gave up on traveling to Sarjapur road. Definitely, didn’t give up today’s run. At 6:30, after rain stopped, I decided to start my run. Run like I will never get to run again. Rain discouraged, clouds were demotivating. Sun came out of clouds for small time when I was totally dipped in sweat. GPS fell apart as it does often in cloudy weather. I ended running 18.85 KM, little less than what I planned. Thanks to Saurabh Kumar to give company at the end of run. When I ended I was filled with satisfaction – Runner’s satisfaction. Those endrophins produced must be responsible for part of that satisfaction. There was another reason too. I completed my 500 Kms of recorded running today. And I am proud that I did it.
I started running this January. My growing tummy was major reason. Another reason was dream to run a marathon. And I thought that it will be a dream forever. I was never in sports. In school, I could hardly run. I remember I used to finish my 100 meters in 19-20 seconds. And even failed in P.E. Exam. I always used my flat foot as excuse for that. At under-graduation level, I tried running, but that was far too rare than often. In spite of it, I was never overweight except once before this. (I will thanks my beautiful genes for this.) Being overweight at this time was very scary for me. I couldn’t have imagined myself with that fat binded body. I decided to take on running.
My pursuit of running in January didn’t last very long. Just few runs on consecutive days, including a six KM RFL run (which I called long run at that time) and totaling less than 22 KMs, were enough to cause knee injury. I wasn’t discouraged with that. Certainly, there must be some mistake. Well, if millions of people can run across the world, why can’t I. I was not ready to use my old excuse this time. It took me almost month and half to recover from injury and I spent time to read more and more about running. Thanks that I am born in this age of free and were awesome resource. And discussions in forum were informational and inspiring. I knew that these people in RFL forum are real people around me in Bangalore. And I have to be like them.
I restarted my running journey in March end. I had all rules set this time. I am going to run not more than four days a week. I will listen to my body. I will give enough time for recovery when required. I will try different running workouts like interval training, easy run, long run, speed work and not just keep pushing me to run more every run. And certainly, I will do good stretching after run. And this time, I was able to keep running injury free.
I was liking running. I was enjoying running. But I needed more people to run with me. Certainly, It is not boring for me to run alone as it gives me enough time with myself. But I believed, it might be more encouraging to run with a group of runners. Also, I wanted to be bombarded with advices from experienced runners. I had known about Nike Run Club from RFL website. They organize running and stretching exercises every Saturday in Kanteerava Stadium. I had doubts about going approximately 10 Kms to seek runners. Only when I attended session once, I realize that this was what I needed. In fact, club has what every beginner requires – Star coach and Supportive runners.
I was soon able to run longer, better and definitely injury free. I finished my first 10 K run in May. And now I am preparing for my first half marathon run – Kaveri Trail Marathon in September. Today, I finished running my first 500 Kilometers, spread mainly over last fifteen weeks. I will like to thanks few of those who helped me in reaching milestone. Firstly, I will like to thank my companion on all runs –, an iphone / android based on application, which helps me in keeping track of all my runs. They have been doing awesome work in making app better and improving user experience. I will like to thank Runners for life for conducting those nice runs and hosting the website and forum which helped me in my learning about running. I will thank Nike Run Club for organizing training session. Recommended for both beginners and experienced. And I will like to thank all my friends on,, and in non digital world for all their encouragements.