This blog as might be apparent from the title has to do with running, biking and basically other outdoor individualistic sports, sometimes extreme, such as rock climbing . But don't be surprised if you find articles on work, personal life, music and even philosophy, this blog is an exception in this aspect in the blogosphere of running blogs and I am trying to revamp the blog to make it more runner friendly. You might want to look at the sidebar titled 'categorised', which as is obvious, categorizes my posts into different areas of interest.
The other thing that might interest many people is a section on 'running videos' and 'general videos' on the side bar, which I keep updating now and then.
I plan to bring in more posts on running and biking, with some added colour, so as to make them 'complete'. That's about it for now.
As a post-note, I have run a half-marathon, but I am yet to attempt a marathon, which through some concerted effort and time should happen in the future, but that ofcourse is not the culmination of this blog, it would on the contrary be something to jumpstart this blog onto new vistas.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The long and short of it

A standard running program for a marathon or similar distances that's been advocated in many websites like Hal Higdon's,
Cool Running, etc follow one principle: Run hard one day and either rest or run easy the other day.A typical week's run could include one tempo run(pace at just below the lactate threshold), one or two steady paced runs and a long run, run slowly; and the days in between these runs are taken as recovery days.
But the problem with this kind of a training program is that, there is a tendency to run the hard days really hard and get wiped out so that you have to literally drag your a$$ the next day for the easy recovery run. Also the one day's recovery may not be sufficient when hard runs are run with a high intensity, which is the cause of injuries among most runners. While injuries like shin pain or ankle pain go away easily with a day or two's rest, other injuries like runner's knee and achilles heel are long-term injuries that take a lot of time to recover. I have had this problem the last semester, when in training with a friend, the over-enthusiasm of my friend made me run hard every day without taking a break for almost a week and this finally lead to my not being able to set foot in the stadium or the road for almost 2 months.
There is a guy whom I see regulary in the stadium, who runs just 12 laps a day around 5-6 days a week. He does these runs at an even comfortable pace without any sprinting towards the end of the run . These are basically the steady paced runs, but he did it every day. As simple as his running plan may seem, he made major improvements to his speed during the course of two semesters with no hard or intense runs at all.
This is the training philosophy(Long short runs and short long runs) which is also advocated by a great coach Farrell, and which I have currently adopted in which I run 10-12 kms every alternate day at a steady 8min/mile or 5min/km pace through out the run. Over the course of next three months, I expect to increase the number of runs from three to five all the while running the same distance. According to the collapse point theory, as a thumb rule, you could run upto 3 times the average daily run distance, which would mean to run a marathon, I should be averaging 14kms a day or 98kms/week. While this might seem a little too far-fetched right now, in 3-4 months I should be hitting 80-90kms/week, which would be more or less ideal mileage for my first marathon.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Shifting base

Its high time I give a kind of shape or form to the kind of running I am doing these days and the ones I am going to do a few months hence. Most of my runs these days are progression runs in which I start very slow(8-9 kmph) and pick up pace as the run progresses and finish really fast(14-15kmph). These kind of runs are pretty good in the sense that, you dont need an additional warmup before the run as the initial slow pace serves to loosen up the muscles from its residual stiffness coming from the previous runs and also the body gets warmed up(literally), and hence is able to function more efficiently!
Now if I were to be looking at improving my ability at long-distance running, the likes of marathon and beyond, I might need a slight adjustment to the pace of my run and the duration. While most of my runs now hover around the 7-8 km mark done at an average pace of 12kmph or more, I would need to increase the duration of these runs and reduce the pace. So that would mean I would need to run more long runs(10 - 12km) at a slower pace(9 - 12kmph), so that I don't get exhausted at the end of it.
I have been actually stagnant the last three months in that I haven't shifted to these longer slower runs and also that I haven't been running as regularly as I normally do(4-5 days a week).
But I need to be cautious and on my guard constantly when I make a transition from these shorter runs to the medium to - longer runs, lest my body is not up for it as soon as I think it is. Therefore I have deliberately introduced a day's rest in between each of these medium-long runs, which I think should be enough for the body to get rested and be ready for the next run. Given that I start this kind of training
very soon(hopefully), I should be ready to participate in my first marathon(wherever it is) in 4 -5 months time and finish it in a decent time, 3hrs 15mins to 3hrs 30mins, which would be an ideal goal time, given my current fitness level.

I see running as a long-term investment, the fruits of which beccome better as the years roll by. People usually start by shifting from fast-walking to slow jogging, then jogging, then running faster and then taking part in multiple events throughout the year competitively.. I really believe that whatever be the current speed of a runner, given sufficient time(5 - 10 years), he should be able to compete professionally and at the international level, which raises another question: why don't we have marathoners competing at that level, why can't we have runners running times of 2:20:00 or below? The world record is 2:04:55, which no doubt would take a lot of years, nay decades before an Indian can come close to hitting it. But 2:20? I mean, I only know of one runner who can run below that time: K C Ramu(2:19 odd). We should atleast be able to hit international qualifying times for the marathon(America has 2:19 as the qualifying time for its B team for the olympics), what a shame, we can't even come close to that. It is not that Kenyans or another African people have it in their genes and we don't, hell Kenyans practice and train more than most athletes of other countries do. We have had a person named Shivnath Sngh, who ran a 2:12 in the punjab marathon in 1978, so why can't the second most populated country in the world not produce world class marathoners like Singh is beyond me.
Hopefully, with more marathons being held in India, and the number of people participating in this endurance sport increasing leaps and bounds, we should have a lot of people who start training seriously and keep improving their times and after a certain stage, some of these serious runners should take the initiative to go a step further by hiring coaches with experience and then slowly make an entry into the international scene. Whether this would happen, is one thing which we have to wait and watch.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Here are some arbitly strange things that have happened in the vicinity of my conciousness during the past few days:

- I have set or rather a speck of a particle has set a record for the maximum duration
of irritation that has been caused to any of my eyes since my birth - The speck caught me unawares on my return trip from Mahabalipuram and had been probing my eye for more than a week.

- Placements are going on in full swing out here and I get detailed account of people clearing the interviews and getting placed and I don't seem to show even an iota of concern towards securing a slot. I don't believe in fate either.

- I seem to be hitting extremes with unerring accuracy. Case in point: The previous week saw me drawing inspiration from Kumbhakarana which resulted in my sleeping on an average 12 - 14 hrs a day. The other extreme is happening this week, now, even as I blog this post, which is being awake for more than 20 hrs a day. Surely my health is going to take a beating if I continue doing this yin-yang oscillation.

- Breakfast being good for health is a general notion and I am definitely for it but I miss out on it due to a highly cultivated sleeping schedule that ensures that I get up no earlier than the mess closing time, except on days when I turn into an insomniac. I see it as a trade-off between good nights or days sleep and good food(yep continental food is a definite speciality of our mess!!!). As regards adjusting my sleeping schedule, it being ingrained in my system since entering IIT, it would be a herculean task to effect a change and yes I have done that many times
with no success. But there is definitely a charm to being awake all night, you either get up at 3 am or crash at 3am. I do the latter.

Kennenisa Bekele with the WR

Robbie Mcewen and steve o'grady - The 'Nudge'