DRHM – BEHIND THE SCENES

Soon after the announcement of the event date and the constitution of the Race Management Team is when the Team gets down to work. The success of an event being totally dependant on satiating the expectations of runners (voice of and runners’ delight being our motto), the first step is to assimilate the reviews and feedback of the past event, focussing both on suggestions and negative feedbacks. Prioritising these and considering them at the planning stage is therefore essential. Identifying all tasks and ascribing costs to them provide foundation for planning..

This humongous work can never be done by a small group of core members and that’s where the formation of committees with assigned leaders and nominated chapter members is essential. This enables tapping the internal resources and garnering their talents for the success of the event.

The next step is to reach out to the sponsors, not just the patrons of the past and but also the prospective ones. This gives us the confidence to go to the drawing board. Needless to mention, the budget evolves then on to determine the donor pass rate. The projected surplus is then allocated to the cause supported in fiscal terms.

Selection of the registration partner is the next step. Much work gets into this as it must address the ease of registrants, reliability, security and confidentiality of database.

Soon after the announcement of event date and the selection of the registration partner, the contacts of corporates and groups are contacted by mail introducing them to the event through an event brochure. Creative Team puts in its best of the efforts to meet the challenges and requirements for publicity.

As our objective is to promote health and fitness through running, imparting free training to the beginners takes precedence. This involves identification of new centres, appointment of coaches, developing a training plan and ensuring coordination through the Chapters for successful implementation.

Redressal and prompt response to mails from registrants is sine qua non signifying our care for the runners. The Turn Around Time (TAT) is set at maximum 3 hours for any mail to be responded and this is no mean task!!

Once the registration is opened, monitoring the progress and analysis of data is crucial to introduce corrective actions and implementing new measures to shore up the registration. Data analysis is the most complex in terms of the variables that need to be considered while deriving the action plans for shoring up the registrations for the event. This is a dynamic activity that calls for course correction and interventions to sustain and gain the momentum of registrations.

Simultaneously, the obligation to the sponsors towards their visibility and support to the event is not lost of sight of. Here again the Creatives Team lends able support as also the Newsletter Team who don’t lose an opportunity to have them placed in their issues.

Parallel actions are drawn for the event day activities that calls for approval of various authorities and tying up with the event partners that engages the whole team in action.

It goes without saying that we also have our own vocation and professional engagements while not losing focus on the event. This calls for hard work and most importantly dedication and commitment to balance passion and profession.

We await to have the fruits of our efforts after 23rd July when feedback and opinions pour in; regardless of the outcome, we remain focussed on what we can give to the runners.

Seeking your support and cooperation for yet another successful DRHM and moving up the ladder of excellence.

Happy running and wishing you a great experience at the event.

Harriette Thompson is the oldest woman to complete a marathon. A cancer survivor finished the race at the age of 92.

Advent of Technology in Running

The irrefutable truth of today’s world is the extent and impact of technology in our everyday lives. Anything and everything we look at, around us, one cannot help but admire the level of penetration that technology has achieved over the last few decades.

Like other sectors, Running as a sport too, is being heavily transformed owing to technological innovations. When I started running, in all honesty I never imagined so many different gadgets that could track a run. What is considered to be mankind’s most primitive mobility mode (running) - it just is absolutely amazing to see the way technology is impacting it today.

A very common running gadget is the GPS watch, which many of us use on a daily basis. While a GPS watch primarily helps people size up distance, time and location, there are many other subtle aspects of running that this gizmo has helped immensely. Lap Pace, Current Pace, Setting up Pace governors are some of the advanced uses of a GPS watch. A Heart rate monitor usually found in hospitals, is today just a simple wrap-around-your-wrist. In fact the latest trend is even better – the use of optical sensors, aiding better comfort and convenience. GPS and HR in the hands of a capable athlete is sure to boost his performance to the next level.

Apart from this, multitude of other devices like Foot pods (to track Cadence), Power Meter (Cycling), the technology involved in designing shoes and attire have been immense. Shoes, born from a simple need to protect the feet, today has taken onto itself new roles to aid the runner. Shoes for Trail, Shoes for Tracks, Shoes for Distance runners and each one of them come with their own Value adds. The foam used in cushioning which can give “energy return”, the upper layer materials which allow for faster cooling, are some of the by-products of technological advancement. Not long ago did Nike launch a shoe that has tracking mechanism built in. Every other shoe manufacturer today has made technology their friend to build in newer value props that appeal to the serious and amateur runner.

Today it is hard to imagine organizing a marathon without timing chips. Think of the advanced analytics and prediction modelling built-in to predict race completion timings during the run. Think about the ‘live track’ feature which allows our friends and families to track our run from any part of the world! From running attire to Run Tracking to Run Metrics, technology has truly transformed many aspects of running which in turn make capable athletes push beyond known boundaries.

However, not every turn of technology is a run-in-the-park. While the advantages and benefits surely help, there are serious questions on its genuine role in meaningful performance-enhancement. While the purists feel, running, a natural sport should never be complicated with so much of technological intrusion, even the tech freaks sometimes are found wanting for answers. There are many instances of a faster finish time when run without the aid of a Smart watch (call it a Garmin/TomTom/Fitbit what have you) – which challenges the very use of a GPS tracker. Here is where many would agree that running is more mental than physical. The burden of tracking the pace, lap after lap, ensuring the HR is in control and ensuring optimum cadence, (and the list is endless) just adds to the mental stress of the runner. A stress-free mind can immensely help in boosting race timings as it contributes to a cool and composed stride without the avoidable distractions lent by a gadget.

The most common allegation from the purists (and rightly so) is that many runners tend to get obsessed with data  tracking and metrics, so much so that they lose track of the objective of a run. The feel or in running parlance, Rated Perceived Exertion (RPE) is something many coaches consider as the most important aspect in training. There are instances where the Data and Metrics seem impeccable, but real world performance turns out below par. These clearly indicate that not everything can be quantified in running. Few Kenyan training academies still use conventional way of tracking to train their athletes.

Here are a few maverick rules that help you get over the obsession with gadgets while running, and tell me the difference after you’re back from a run without any of those trappings of technology.

  • Chuck your GPS and hit the tracks. There is no need to time it, there is no need to measure it and there is no need to post it on your social network.
  • Run Alone. Running alone always elevates you to a different level of composure. You need not worry why your partner’s pace shows 6:31 while yours show 6:40 when you are both running alongside each other.
  • Leave the Music behind. It is perfectly fine to run listening to the natural sounds around you. Sometimes, the rhythm of your heart and the cadence of your foot strikes would be all the music you'll love to hear.

Technology always seeks to give the user control, however one should understand that not everything is controllable. And anything that exercises extreme controls kills the charm along with the natural feel. While the advantages of embracing technology are too good to ignore, it is also imperative to ensure the ultimate purpose of your running is not lost. It could be anything - fitness, fun, performance, passion - as long as technology doesn't kill the joy of running, it is perfectly fine!

Interestingly, women were not allowed to run marathons till 1972. However until then, several enthusiastic female runners would sneak in with their male counterparts just to experience the thrill of running the race.

A YOUNG MIND’S PERSPECTIVE TO RUNNING

When we look back and think about why we started running, I’m sure we can agree that it was to lose weight or because someone forced us to do so. Running is inexpensive and almost everyone takes to running as a baby step to be fit. That is the initial phase. After months or years of running, we reach a plateau, where the reason shifts from mere fitness/weightloss to something more. It could be the rush of endorphins, the break from reality, a time to reflect or just to do something you’ve grown to love. Each of us have our own reasons. Moreover, running helps us meet people with so many different personalities, but the same ‘I can do it and so can you’ attitude. We constantly motivate one another to finish what we started, be it a simple cheer from across the road or being accompanied for the entire run. Conversations during a run are so varied, that it usually ends up giving us perspective, to an unresolved dilemma inside our heads or maybe even an obstacle that we are yet to face. These reasons help us bounce back and when we begin a run, there is no looking back until we finish.

As youngsters, we are constantly flooded with opinions, advise and criticism. There is so much pressure to socialize, we barely get time for ourselves. We seldom get opportunities, or the time rather, to introspect. There is an unfulfilled desire to just let go and spend time with ourselves. So, to us, running is more than just a form of exercise. It helps us stay balanced, keep our emotions in check and gives us confidence. It is an escape to an alternate zone, where all our worries are temporarily out of the picture. Like I said before, as runners, we motivate one another, stating that the finish is just around the corner and that a sumptuous breakfast at Sangeetha is waiting. And with the completion of every run, we feel we can tackle almost anything. Be it a solo run or a run with friends, with every new route and every new run, a memory is formed. A memory, that constantly pushes us to be a better version of ourselves.

Ranulph Fiennes ran 7 marathons in 7 days across 7 continents. He did this after his bypass surgery

Training too hard or hardly training?

Runner friendly doc

Just a little over a month to go for us to be on top of our game for race day.

This is the time we are running hard, running well and running long. Generally all of us are caught between thinking we haven't done enough and figuring out how to fit in some more. Therein lies the trap to something you never think about-overtraining.

Nobody really understands or picks up that they are overtraining till something breaks down or they fall ill. Runners, in general, are extremely motivated and disciplined people. They tend to ignore all the warning signs and proceed to train when they should back off. There is a very fine line between training hard and overtraining.

The body consolidates all the gains of running stronger, longer and faster while we sleep and recover. Any lack of sleep, excessive stress and poor nutrition doesn't allow the body to recover and the gains are not consolidated. We however take on a cumulative fatigue which adds up slowly over weeks and leads to injury or motivational breakdown.

The symptoms of overtraining include generalised tiredness, difficulty in getting out of bed, inability to hold paces that were easier before, susceptibility to colds and minor infections, loss of motivation, paradoxical weight gain, poor restless sleep, missing menstrual periods in women and beginning to look at running as a chore rather than a joy. It is an intensely stressful situation and runners usually handle it by trying to run through it. Nothing could be more harmful.

The two most important parts of treating this are recognising it and then believing that resting will actually make you stronger. Once recognised, a day or two of absolute rest, followed by a massage and some less intense, more fun crosstraining with a slow reintroduction of running. It is important to stress on recovery, sleep and nutrition in this period. Resting heart rate is a good indicator of whether you got enough sleep and a persistent increase over a few days may suggest overtraining.

On the other end of the spectrum is the runner who turns up a month before the event, dials up the mileage and rues the fact that his pace has not improved in spite of having put on a few extra kgs and no training. He then promptly disappears for a few more days and then comes back again with the same set of monologues.

Train hard, not too hard, not hardly!