Now that the monsoon has started, it is time for a totally different sort of fun when on your run. Also, a guide on what to eat, when and how.
A few things to keep in mind
If you are running on a grassy or mud path, take smaller steps to aid stability and avoid slipping.
If you are running on the road, run against the traffic so that you can take evasive action if you see a vehicle coming, that is likely to splash you.
In high humidity conditions, you will be sweating a lot, so make sure you have your water bottle with you and take sips frequently.
Your apparel needs to be light and made for rapid drying through evaporation.
Your shoes will often come back home more caked and grimy than you, and will need a quick scrub in a bucket of water with some detergent. Many advise against putting them in a washing machine but I have done that on occasion and they are none the worse for the experience. But don’t put them in a dryer.
After the run, it is important to quickly shower and dry yourself as there is a greater likelihood of catching a chill. The breeze during the monsoon can cause a quick shiver and you need to be a bit more careful.
Food on the run
Go easy on caffeine. Coffee, tea, colas and even alcohol are dehydrating and make you lose fluids.
Drink water regularly. Keep a bottle or a glass of water near you in the office.
Including lots of green leafy vegetables and tomatoes—in salads, sandwiches and snacks —is advisable.
Mixed vegetable juices with a bit of salt is a drink that is full of vitamins and potassium. Orange juice is another favourite.
Some chicken (without skin to reduce fat and cholesterol), and broiled/grilled fish give you protein with limited fat.
Bran cereals and whole wheat bread add fibre, carbohydrates, iron and vitamins to your diet.
Get your carbohydrates from pastas, unpolished rice and potatoes. Steer away from the deep-fried stuff and extra cheese toppings.
How and when to eat
Eat like a king for breakfast (that’s why it’s called breaking your fast—the body hasn’t had a thing for 10-12 hours).
Lunch like a prince. Use a tissue paper to absorb the oil from your fried snacks—if you have to eat some. And try to go easy on bacon, ham and other red meats—if you have to, eat some of that along with your pasta fuel the day before a long run, so that you can burn off some of the cholesterol. And pamper yourself during a pre-run meal once in a while.
Dine like a pauper—try and have this as a light meal, with a soup thrown in. Finish your meal two-three hours before sleeping —so eat early.
When you need a big drink— go for water. Many pegs of it.
Before a long run or during a “high intensity” exercise week by your standards, eat some more carbohydrates to give your body fuel to absorb and burn.
I usually take a banana or two with orange juice and a couple of glasses of water about two hours before a marathon. I have a lighter version of the same before a long run.
Before a race, do not eat or drink anything new. Your system does not want any surprises at that time when you are physically and mentally getting psyched up.
After a run, quench your thirst with a couple of glasses of water, then line your stomach with some healthy solid food, and then have a beer or something along those lines if you want to.
But the best judge for your diet is, surprise, surprise— YOU.
Keep a diary (this doesn’t mean you have to track all you eat and what you do and think for the rest of your life) and jot down a few details of what you ate, drank and how much you slept and how you felt before, during and after a long run and vary the combinations around. Because, at the end of the day, it’s quite simple.
1. Listen to suggestions
3. Listen to your body
It’s as easy as 1-2-3. You may find yourself pigging out on your favourites and losing weight at the same time. The monsoon is a great time for that as the summer heat is now behind us, and we can get to enjoy nature a bit more. So, if you have taken a break from running, or been focused indoors on a treadmill, step out into the world again.
(Rahul S. Verghese is director, Global Consumer Insights, Motorola.)
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