Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Many reasons why Hill running makes you a better runner

#RunningHills can be challenging but they are good in the long run as they strengthen leg muscles and the cardio vascular system improving both speed and stamina.
Below are some of my learnings and a summary from an article in Runners World, summing up why hill running is great and what to focus on while running uphill and downhill.
Hill sessions, unlike gym strength training, gets the muscles in your hips, legs, ankles and feet to work while supporting your full body weight, just as they have to during normal running. In addition, on uphill sections your muscles contract more powerfully than usual because they are forced to overcome gravity to move you up the hill. The result is more power, which in turn leads to longer, faster running strides.
Those who run on hills have also been shown to be less likely to lose fitness when they take time off from training. And many scientists believe that hill training can improve the elasticity of muscles, tendons and ligaments, allowing these tissues to carry out more work with less effort and fatigue.

Going Up
It is the moment all runners dread. You turn the corner and right in front of you is a big, imposing hill. But don’t wince, focus. Shift gears both mentally and physically and prepare. Running hills well is all about rhythm; if you make the proper adjustments and maintain your cadence you’ll smile your way up. Here’s how:
As you start #runninguphill, shorten your stride and reduce the pace.
You are aiming for equal effort going up as well as down, not equal pace.
Your posture should be upright – don’t lean forward or back – your head, shoulders and back should form a straight line over the feet.
Keep your feet low to the ground.
If your breathing begins to quicken it means that you’re either going too fast, over-striding or bounding too far off the ground as you run.
Use a light, ankle-flicking push-off with each step, not an explosive motion, which will waste energy. If the hill is long or the gradient increases, keep shortening your stride to maintain a smooth and efficient breathing pattern. If the gradient decreases, extend your stride again. Try to maintain the same steady effort and breathing throughout.
Accelerate gradually into the downhill.

Coming Down
Sprinting down can cause muscle soreness later, or constantly braking fatigues the quadriceps muscles. Step lightly and don’t reach out with your feet. Slapping can be a sign of weak muscles in the shin area, in which case you need to strengthen them.

Follow these simple tips on your #downhillrun on Sept 25th in Shimla at the #RunningAndLiving 25K
Try to maintain an upright body posture, keeping your torso perpendicular to the horizontal.
Keep your feet close to the ground for maximum control, and land lightly.
As you increase your pace, emphasise quicker turnover rather than longer strides, though your strides can be slightly longer than normal.
The key to efficient downhill running is to stay in control. When you start, keep your stride slightly shortened and let your turnover increase. When you feel in control, gradually lengthen your stride.

We would love to see you soon and get faster and stronger in your runs as you train for, and enjoy some great views of

the mountains and history at Shimla, like no other, at the 8th #Shimla Running And Living 25k runs on Sep 25th.
To find out more and register today, click on
See you soon

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Seven good reasons why trail running on rocky, uneven surfaces is good at this time of year

Our diet may be mostly rice, or mostly wheat or corn based, but it has much else to make it a balanced diet and also a tasty meal, every time.

Road running is more fun than treadmill running, but concrete roads for regular long runs can be tough on our bodies.
City running is interesting and convenient - just step out of home and run, but if you are in crowded locations or higher transport locations the dribble from your nose when wiped against the sleeve of your running tee, leaves a grey streak.
The same 5k around the block or the same spot for the long run sometimes leads to boredom.
Traffic can make your weekday run a bit of a hassle.

That's where it's good to throw in some trail running whenever you can, out in nature, and let your mind, body and soul (and sole for that matter) commune with nature.

1- Uneven surfaces mean varied foot strike lengths and landing points which means pressure points are randomly different rather than measured and in the same spots, leading to pressure builds given out road run foot strike. Many runners use trail running to recuperate from muscular injury because of gait/ running style over a long run, or just to ease into running after a marathon or a half marathon race.

2- Quicker eye and foot coordination which makes us more agile and better tuned to our environs as we jump over a few rocks, or step sideways to avoid a puddle. This keeps us focused on the road ahead and keeps our mind off speed and distance and other mechanical metrics.

3- The air is fresher and cleaner in this suburban or natural location and we fill our lungs with the same as we inhale deeply.

4- The twists and turns in the trails add to the thrill of the route, compared to straight and long roads.

5- Mind, Body and Soul commune with nature - making for a therapeutic experience.

6- While out on a trail go minimal - rid yourself of GPS, stop watches etc and just enjoy the run. Listen to the birds, spot the animals, look at the cloud formations, feel the breeze on your face - the way it was meant to be.

7- No headphones. Focus on the trail, the directions and the environment as you see the butterfly in front of you and hear the frogs croaking in the rain. And automatically start listening to yourself, in a more educated manner

Just go out and find yourself a trail and some friends to run with.
Enjoy your run.

Rahul Verghese