Category Archives: Training


Running injuries -THE GLUTE CAVEAT .
Physiology first .

Be strong at the weakest place is known . Why not be strongest at a strong place ??
From a Palaeolithic hunter gatherer millions of years ago to a lifestyle with plenty of sitting hours has affected running in most of the recreational runners .
All know about this new smoking .

Why ?

Gluteus muscles are the most pennated muscle with greatest surface area and mass . The multiple regions and muscular attachments proves multiple and varied roles apart from running .
A close look at a gymnast butt will prove this .
Physiologically the muscle fibres are such that they can work at low speed with high force and low level of force at high speed .
Running is a predominant sagittal plane activity and running needs effective hip extension and Gluteus maximus is the key hip extensor in sagittal plane .


A weak / inhibited GLUTE leads to altered adaptation while running and otherwise .

1. A tilted pelvis – overloads hip joints , tronchanteric bursa , tendon insertions , overactive tensor fascia Lata and piriformis .
2. A knee drift inwards. Overloads tensor fascia , pes anserinus , patellofemoral joint and patellar tendon .
3. A knee drift outwards. Overloads inner and outer tibiofemoral compartments .
4. A sideway shift of the trunk overloads hip joints and vertebral disc space .
5 .A weak GLUTE lets the iliopsoas muscle take over leading to BACKACHES .
6 . It leads to a poor control over Femur bone . Your knee will do only that what your foot allows and the hips can control .( KNEE PAINS )
7 .Weak gluteus decreases proprioception and locks ankles which does not allow Hips to extend fully and you run this as a learned running form ( MUSCLE MOTOR ENGRAM ) leading to ( ANKLE PAIN AND PLANTAR FASCIITIS ) .
8 . A loaded HAMSTRINGS is given .
9 .Weak Glutes tires / pains the opposite shoulder and elbow (EPICONDYLITIS )as a compensatory mechanism .
10 . It loosens up the myo fascial grips around the hips leading to poor recoil and overuse of neck muscles causing post run HEADACHES .

Aren’t my Gluteus muscles ok with years of running ??
Unless tested in hyper extension where they perform the best .


Put up some hip flexors stretches / exercises first post warm up .
All standing exercises as squats , deadlifts , lunges cause extension in one plane of movement . They also add hams in the process and may not load Glutes fully . It doesn’t mean to skip them .

The key is to go supine , prone and quadruped so that hips works up a multiplaner mode . It doubles your Glutes load as confirmed by EMG study .


5 .SINGLE LEG EXERCISES (squats , deadlifts +/- arm row or a press , +/- weights .)

The reasons why the rehab guys put more emphasis on going prone , supine and quadruped .An attention to cross training . Add weights to cycling . A swim that is underwater or a pool exercise lying supine with extended body in water and kicking extended legs behind .
Put these sleeping Giants to do their best .

Emerging triumphant against Asthma


Ever runner on the road has fought some battle, be it obesity, thyroid, cancer or for that matter Asthma.

Asthma is a chronic disease involving the airways in the lungs. These airways are always inflamed in Asthma patients, making it difficult for air to move in and move out of the lungs. This in turn causes symptoms like coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath or chest tightness.

There are various types of asthma and the most common one is the one caused by dust and pollution. Some suffer from exercise induced asthma and others who have a family history of asthma are likely to be prone to developing this condition. For those who suffer from exercise induced asthma, physicians devise effective ways to keep the symptoms under control before and after the activity. Staying active ensures a healthy living and it is believed that this condition should not restrict one to the side lines or keep them from outdoor activities.

The running community prescribes to the above philosophy and refuses to be bogged down by this condition. They have managed to defy this chronic ailment and have gone as far as to add several miles to their credit and bagging medals at several events.

On World Asthma Day, which fell on May 2nd, several runners from varied backgrounds came forward to share their inspiring stories on how running has benefited them and some useful guidelines for other runners who were in the same boat. They hoped to shed the myth that asthma patients were nothing but slaves to medication.


Sopan Upadhyay –Chief Manager of Marketing at IDBI Federal Life Insurance, was 106 kg and diagnosed with Asthma a few years back. The doctor advised him to stay away from the humid and polluted weather of Mumbai city which apparently did not suit him. Says Sopan “I had loads of allergies with regards to dust, perfume fragrance, pollen grains etc.  At times it becomes too difficult to run in extreme conditions. However my regular running has helped me not only lose 15 kg+ weight but also helped me improve my timings of half marathon by 45 mins. Now I can run in most weather conditions and also do it flawlessly. “


Hari Iyer A positive who works with ICICI Bank narrates his experience as well. True to his name, Hari decided to develop a positive approach and has managed to battle his condition which was persisting him since his childhood. He would refrain from activities during his childhood days and proclaimed himself to be a geek. However during college, he decided to join NCC which he said was not a piece of cake by any realms.

Says Hari: “I was always last in the cross country runs. Every day was a struggle, and I use to ask myself whether I would be able to complete this or not. There were moments when I decided to QUIT, but my heart use to say QUTTING is not the option- stand and face the situation. During school days also, I never participated in any sports events due to Asthma. So everything was new to me. Asthma has taught me to be strong. I use to run with my pump in cross country runs. But one thing I have noticed in life, if u have a sheer determination, nothing is impossible. You can overcome everything. I was awarded the best cadet during my college days.”

In his opinion, Asthma is a common disease across the globe, mainly due to the pollution. He feels that an important aspect to control Asthma lies in one’s diet. According to him, runners should be able to identify the food that suits them depending on their body. Some types of food apparently aggravates asthma and advises runners to eliminate those items that act against them. He also advises that asthma patients should eat only 75-80% of the stomach as a fuller stomach tends to cause suffocation, making breathing more difficult.

He said that there was no permanent cure for this chronic condition. Allopathic medication gave only a temporary cure. He strongly recommends Pranayama/breathing exercises early in the morning on empty stomach. Other precautionary measures include covering one’s face while travelling by bike and avoiding heavily crowded areas.

Half of the disease is caused due to unnecessary tension.” He expresses with a smile. “Life is too short to take tensions. Be free, be alive. I had started running marathons from 2011 and have run 7 full marathons and 4 untimed ultras. Now it’s like, if I don’t run I feel suffocation. I still have asthma but I’m not suffering. As it is said, ‘Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional’. “


Anju Gupta Kaudanya, Chairperson & CEO of Novo Medisciences who is a part of Happy Feet Runners-a group at Navi Mumbai says “I have been diagnosed with asthma after years of sinusitis which is very painful. However I just started Running, rather walking and jogging with my Coach Amit Kumar. But I am very slow and really scared what I will do when the monsoons approach. However I have all confidence in my Coach under whom I seek guidance. I currently am off all pumps and steroids since the last one month.”


Renata Pavrey another enthusiastic runner, was diagnosed with asthma since infancy and spent most of her childhood in the gloomy ambience of hospital rooms. She could not participate in sports during her school days. Since dust, pollen and such particles triggered her breathlessness, her family doctor suggested that water sports would help and thereby recommended swimming. However that never happened due to the inability of finding a good instructor which made her eventually resort to Yoga instead. Her college days showcased a lot more activity in comparison to her school days as Renata got into Karate, dance, Muay Thai and Capoeira.

“Running happened a lot later. Since I was already living with asthma, I knew how to work around this.” she says. “With running, I need to avoid dusty routes. If I’m running in the morning I start early before the sweepers begin their day. In the evenings I stick to the park if I see a lot of traffic on the road.

I have pets at home, so the day before an important race/dance show/martial arts event I don’t hang out with them too much to avoid triggering any wheezing. Changes in season also bring on attacks of breathlessness. Here I stick to yoga, Pilates and mat exercises since I tend to get home bound till the episode subsides. Then I’m back to doing whatever I want to do.”


Shiv Iyer, Assistant Manager at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) was diagnosed with asthma due to prolonged sinusitis. Until last few years, he was using a pump to get relief from wheezing bouts. His doctor recommended strengthening his lungs by doing activity that would force the lungs to take control of his breathing.

Says Shiv “I started cycling and in order to put pressure on my lungs, I started doing uphill cycling. I never imagined I could run. Then I ran my first Half Marathon. I could feel my lungs becoming stronger. Even though my sinusitis is still not cured, my wheezing bouts have disappeared and I no longer use pumps. My energy levels have increased. I now cycle (minimum 20k) and run daily (minimum 5 k). My legs may want to give up but my Lungs don’t!!!”


Ameya Patil, 2 times Half Ironman and a runner from Kalyan Dombivali Runners (KDR) group, shares his inputs. “I was diagnosed with asthma from childhood but that never stopped me from being active during my school and college days. Actually the humidity aggravates my problem but I usually take a tablet before commencing my exercises. So far during my events I haven’t encountered any attack as such but I always carry my inhaler with me just in case of an emergency.

People who have asthma can most certainly get into running and other outdoor activities. All they need to do is consult a sports doctor, be under the guidance of proper medical care and after that-sky is their limit!!”


It is said that a doctors words of advice are golden as they offer a scientific and inspirational approach to the whole thing.


Dr Oak is a paediatrician and a comrades finisher. He was diagnosed with asthma since childhood and was allergic to perfume, dust and cold weather. Despite this he would run a lot during his childhood.

He took up long distance running from 2004. Initially he would carry a pump but said that it was of no use. Instead he would take a small dose of medicine before and after the run which would help in relieving his chest from the congestion. During his mileages he would carry a couple of his tablets with him which he takes the minute he encounters wheezing.

“There is no permanent cure”, he says. “One needs to anticipate and fight. Most of the elite runners are asthma patients. In fact there are many people who have scaled Mt Everest and high altitude places despite suffering from asthma. So this condition should not stop anyone from indulging in outdoor activities. “

Should you run when you are sick?

We runners hate missing our workouts. More often than not we try to make-up a missed workout or do the next run even harder.

However there are days when we fall sick. This brings up a lot of questions.  Should I still train or attempt that race? Will I lose my fitness if I don’t run? Should I take some medication and continue with my run?

In many cases a serious runner would think of more reasons to run than not too. And sometimes a bad decision results in disaster.

A general rule followed in case of sickness is called the “neck rule”. Symptoms below the neck like chest cold, bronchial infection, body aches means you should avoid training. While a running nose, sneezing do not pose a significant risk. Of course a fever means no running at all.

For more please refer to this link.



RPE is the best subjective estimate of ongoing exercise across all population .
Instruments donot calculate ,decipher or guide as our brain does to all the sensory inputs it receives from musculoskeletal,gastrointestinal, endocrinal , respiratory and metabolic pathways . It measures the FEEL … A combination of what the above systems are going through with the central motor commands on the feedbacks .

It benefits recreational runners as it’s free,easy to follow and practice on the run without stopping .it cross checks with heart rate (HR ) when all of us calculate 220- age , a vague , theoretical formula which donot correlate well with age .
For those who doubt which they shouldn’t … A meta analysis of 64 studies show a strong correlation with physiological variables like HR ,lactate ,%vo2 Max .
It correlates the best with ventilation and respiratory rate , the most reliable reflection of aerobic exercise intensity .it can be used while progession of exercises, to monitor, to perform aerobic or resistance training efficiently .

RPE is a 20 category scale but 0- 10 is used . Also known as Borg scale .the popular talk test is pure physiology .
Though till date no perfect one scale exist to help endurance athletes

RPE in my opinion is better placed because
: the studies conducted had max number of participants.
:it has linear correlation with multiple physiological parameters
:not always can you measure HR
:runners on medication… Hormonal , anti diabetic or anti hypertensive alter metabolic and
Cardiovascular responses should follow RPE diligently.
:True MHR till date is not accurately defined , diminishes with age ,varies with intensity ,
Weather and terrain .

If RPE is higher and heart rate in training zone ………. You are overtraining

If RPE and HR are lower than usual training zone …….your adaptation are improving .

If RPE and HR are lower on increasing cadence ……. Your running economy is improving .

If RPE is oddly higher for training zone ……..your body is warning you to stop .

If RPE is less for the training zone …………….your body is ready to push-up efforts .
Devices fail here .

Runners with positive history of hypertension,coronary artery disease , smoker , type A personality ,overweight ,with work stress .etc
Follow RPE …. There is no conflict of interest with running devices .

Dr Arvind Gupta .

Race strategy- Checklist to Help You Run a Faster Race

My 11 Point Checklist to Help You Run a Faster Race- Heath Matthews


This article is a collection of points I have developed using my personal experience in both competitive and social running over the last 27 years. It is by no means exhaustive and I am sure your personal checklist may be different. I hope that by looking into my approach to a race you are able to gain something from it and perhaps add a point or two to your list and therefore run that little bit faster in your next race. As always I am always very keen to learn from others so if you have any suggestions or advice you would like to send to me please feel free to do so at heath(dot)matthews at

1. Get plenty of Sleep

It’s really important to be in peak condition on race day. One of the best ways to ensure you are fully recovered is to sleep on it. The experts will say that about 8 hours of sleep a night is optimum for adults. In my experience that magical number is much more difficult to pin down. My favourite saying is that “bodies don’t read textbooks”. By this I mean that 8 hrs may be too much or too little for you as an individual. To figure out how much sleep you need you should start by sleeping for 3 nights in a row for the same number of hours. I would suggest starting at 9hrs and decreasing by 30mins every 3 nights. Do this until you start to feel noticeably more rejuvenated and refreshed in the morning. To complete your experiment keep reducing your sleep by 30 minutes every 3 nights until you feel rather tired and exhausted. If this is the case then you have figured out what amount of time you need to sleep. This is not an exact number but more of a bandwidth of time. An example is that you may find that 6.5 to 7.5hrs is enough for you. More or less may make you feel a like tired and sleepy.

2. Wake up with enough time to wake up!

Your body needs time to wake up and get ready to exercise. Give it time to digest your pre-race meal, go to the toilet and loosen up prior to the race.

3. Pre-Race Meal

It’s important to eat the right food prior to your race. DO NOT do anything new in the 3 days prior to the race!!! It’s important to experiment and find what works best for you both during training and racing but this must be done weeks prior to the big day! Do not shoot yourself in the foot eating something that doesn’t agree with your digestive system just because you’ve been told that it’s good for carbo-loading.

Try to eat medium to high glycaemic index foods in the three days prior to the race. Again, nothing new in your diet just more frequent eating of the high energy foods.

On race day you should eat a light and easy to digest prerace meal. Don’t panic and try to cram extra energy into your body. Chances are excessive food and liquid will just bloat you and cause discomfort in your bowel during the race. Often it will cause a cramp or stitch which can be disastrous to your race as you would need to slow right down to let it settle.

I often will have mostly liquids with fruit and sweets. These foods are easy to digest, high on the glycaemic index and I know they won’t make me bloated or uncomfortable.

4. Warm Up

I recommend warming up at home because at the venue it can be too crowed and rushed. Allow enough time at home (after you have eaten) to warm up. Start off with some light cardio for 10 minutes. Build a light sweat so you know your body temperature has increased and your soft tissues like muscles and tendons will be more receptive to stretching and mobilisation. If you need to go downstairs onto the road to do this then go for it. A short jog around the block would be great! Once your cardio is over go back upstairs or find a comfortable place to start your stretching routine. Again nothing new, just the routine you have refined over the months of training and that opens up your body best and gets it going. This should be mostly dynamic is nature working through the full range of motion and less static holds and sustained over pressure. Don’t worry about cooling down after your stretching and prior to your race starting. The joints and muscles will be sufficiently mobilised for you to start your race feeling comfortable and able to get into your stride quickly and comfortably. The aim of your warm up is to get you into your stride as quickly as possible in the race so you don’t waste time running at a slower pace and gently working yourself up to your race pace as you warm up.

5. At the venue

Try to get there early to get a good spot. It’s not always possible to get to the front of the line but being as close to the front as possible does help you in that you will have less people to run around once you start.

If the race is a smaller one and the runners are fewer in number, you might want to consider letting everyone else go ahead and then starting last. Your race only officially starts when your timing chip crosses the mat so the gun at the start of the race is not that important. You have your own watch anyway so you can start it whenever you cross the line.

6. Racing Line

The fastest time between two points is often the shortest distance between them. For this reason don’t waste time by running further. When you are running plot a straight line from where you are to the apex of the bend in the road in front of you. Run straight to that point. This will save you bobbing and weaving down the road adding a few extra meters to your run here and there. I find I can add as much as 150m to a half marathon distance by not running a good racing line. That can be as much as 20 to 30 seconds extra time which can be the difference between my new personal best and not. The shortest distance is a straight line. Avoid extra meters by running in curves and bends.

Be careful at the start not to get boxed in behind slow runners. Pick your lines so you can settle into your race pace as quickly as possible and avoid losing time and energy. I find running along the side of the road is best in races with large numbers of runners. Getting boxed in at a slower pace is one of the most disastrous things when it comes to trying to run a fast time.

7. Race Pace

I believe a steady state running technique is the best. Use a smart phone running app or a Garmin GPS watch to run at the pace you know will get you the time you want. The majority of the training programs I give to runners are based on this principle. Too often inexperienced runners will blow their legs too early in a race by running faster than they have trained to do. This often happens because of excitement and poor understanding of how to pace yourself properly. Having an app or a watch that gives you real time data on your pace every kilometre is a huge help!

Another popular running technique is to run at 5 -10 seconds below your race pace for the first third of the run. This is increased to race pace in the middle third and accelerated to 5 – 10 seconds faster in the final third. This approach in okay but I feel that it may be used by runners who have not warmed up correctly and who need that first third of the race to do so. You really need to know your body very well with this technique so you know when to shift gears. It is very effective if done properly but I find it goes wrong more often than it works in my personal experience.

8. Fuelling Strategy

Don’t rely on the race organisers to decide your fuelling strategy by the placement of their water stations to tell you when to drink or eat. Know your fuelling strategy weeks in advance of your race. This needs to be established in your training runs. It may be influenced by the seasons as colder seasons may need less hydration for example but know your fuelling strategy well.

My strategy is the following:
o Pre-race meal about two hours before the race.
o Sip on energy drink slowly during the next two hours.
o GU Gel 20mins before start. This is to replace the energy spent running around before the race and burned through nervousness. By taking it 20 minutes before the race I aim for it to be in my system by the start of the race and therefore I don’t start in a negative energy balance.
o GU Gel just before start. This should be available for my muscles about 20 to 30 minutes later.
o GU at 7km and 14km using the same reasoning.
o Between these GU Gels I would have the occasional sip of water. Not more than one mouthful every 1km.

Please take note that if you wait until you feel thirsty or tired then you are already too late in fuelling. If you drink at that time it will take time for that energy to reach your muscles and you will have exhausted your glucose supply by then. Try to avoid this by having a fuelling strategy that tops you up before you reach the empty point but that does not over load you so that you are feeling full and get gastric irritation as a result.

9. Use your arms

Your arms can be a great help to you when you are tired. If you increase your arm speed forward and backward, it will automatically increase your leg cadence too. This is particularly helpful running up hills or when you need an extra burst of speed for the finish line.

10. Use the downhill

Increase your stride slightly when running downhill. This will help you run faster without using too much energy to do so. Let gravity pull you down the hill. Only 10cm extra stride length per stride can make a difference.

This strategy is good for short hills like we will face at SCMM but for longer hills of 1000m or more, you may want to use a more conventional approach of shortening your stride to decrease ground reaction forces going up your legs on contact.

11. Finish strong.

Never finish a race at anything less than full speed. Even if it’s just the last 100m make sure you do it flat out. I always aim to run the last 1km as fast as I possibly can. I aim to be exhausted when I cross the finish line. Remember pain is temporary the elation of achieving your goal is forever!

Body caveats in endurance running physiology first

Dr Arvind Gupta .

Running is popular in it’s own right and a fitness activity across the globe, and it’s sad that +50% runners get injured every year.

Still articles keep pouring in about avoiding injuries only on belief, arguments and theories and possible links … exhalation on same foot, exhale long, inhale long, sync strides to respiration as the impact load is 3 times body weight and so on.


As marathon is all about running in aerobic zone

There’s a fancy emphasis on respiration…Why is it so?
Mammals have an in built mechanism to lock into stride – breath mechanism known as LOCOMOTOR RESPIRATION COUPLING (L-R-C)
Human evolution suggest that humans can also train to lock stride -breath mechanism hence sync them to avoid injuries.


Human diaphragm is vertical and mammals have a horizontal diaphragm so mammals always tend to sync strides with respiration celebrex cost.We manage a sync only in a slow jog or at high speed running.

Breathing is INVOLUNTARY and governed by respiratory centres in the brain stem and is BEYOND YOUR CONSCIOUS CONTROLas the respiratory centres work on feedback mechanisms from receptors present in intercostal muscles, lungs and diaphragm

Breathing is also fine tuned by chemoreceptors, near your heart and aorta which respond to changing blood gas levels, pH of blood. Also an efficient expiratory centre is present in the brain stem which activates during exercise only and increase your respiratory rate to changing pH level while running .

Any attempts to sync breathing with foot steps decrease venous return to the heart which in turn affects the cardiac output .

CO2 dissolve and dissociates faster in blood itself so forceful expiration removes CO2 faster to bring in more O2 is ill founded.

Expiration is pure passive recoil of lung ,diaphragm and chest muscles .You cannot add to passive recoil by any means .Any forced expiration hampers the next respiratory cycle .

Cerebral cortex has no role in respiration . Humans breathing on count of footsteps tries to bring volition into play …..a function of higher centres in the brain L C R of 2-2, 3-2, 2-3, 2-1 conscious control will always concentrate on FOOT STRIKE more than respiration.The brain is designed so . Its known as EMBODIED COGNITION which activates the neuronal circuitry of running mere by thinking about it . No such neuronal circuits exist with respiration as its involuntary
The only time when cerebral cortex coordinates with respiration is COUGHING SWALLOWING & SPEAKING.

A word about difference in MALE -FEMALE breathing ,males are Abdomino-thoracic(use more abdominal muscles) and females are thoraco-abdominal breathers (use more chest muscles than belly). 
Trying to sync strides with respiration in females is less efficient than males as females use accessory muscles of neck in breathing which affects the diaphragm movements .

LEARNING to sync breathing and strides …….first breathing by lying down ……then on slow jog ……..and then onto the run is ill founded (2-2, 2-3, 3-2, etc). The sync will happen only when BODY ADAPTS TO A PHASE OF MINIMAL OXYGEN-CONSUMPTION (RUNNING ECONOMY ): (METABOLIC FITNESS )

The body will adapt eventually with time and max. training into aerobic zone.(lydiard way of running )
INSPIRING (3-2) more or EXPIRING (2-3) hampers with this body adaptation of lowest O2 consumption ,venous return ,metabolic changes while running hard . Let the body do it’s best .


Sync the respiration with strikes otherwise the 2-3 times body weight impact load will bring injuries ….read in many articles .IMPACT LOAD DEPENDS ON THE GLUTES STRENGTH (Which have weakened over years of sitting ….sitting long hours .)it has affected THIGH EXTENSION , ABDUCTION AND THIGH ROTATIONS AND FORWARD TILT OF PELVIS eventually affecting HIPS movements…….you run through hips always…….RIGHT.


The foot contact time is very short 0.22-0.3 secs
Neutral and fore foot strikers impact is very less. Heel strikers always take care .
Human pelvis is narrow restricting the load moving down the contact plane .
The movement of 9kg internal organs is 2-4cm only ….over a bag of air- fluid(5-6 litres ) filled intestines which buffers the load.
Core muscles have a respiratory and stabilizing role .It goes more towards respiratory role while running so as to adapt to minimize oxygen needs ……any attempts here to sync will destabilize the LUMBAR SPINE ……inviting injuries.
Core muscles forms a stable ball while running and distribute the impact load to all sides. CORE MUSCLES ALWAYS CONTRACT BEFORE THE FOOT STRIKE .
While running the centre of gravity may remain high at foot strike .
Gluteus medius and minimus muscles are leg stabilizers. STRENGTHEN BOTH GLUTES .
Check your upper and lower part of kinetic chain (hips and foot)if you are injury prone .


A word about the Hb levels…A Hb molecule carries 4 molecules of oxygen
A 15 mg Hb level has a O2 carrying capacity of –20.8ml/dl
10 mg Hb level has a O2 carrying capacity of–13.9mg/dl
Marathon is all about aerobic run. Check this premise well….
Take iron supplements .Your doctor runner friend advised you long back .