Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dr. Ashis Roy attempts his 100th marathon at Mumbai 2010

Enclosed interview with Dr. Ashis Roy, who will be running his 100th marathon in Mumbai 2010. A few gems from him:

"Running is for us what flying is for birds. It builds fundamental strength. It involves every part of your body, your heart, your brain, your blood circulation."

"Running is never a problem if you take care of yourself and if you are properly hydrated."

Dr. Roy started running marathons only at the age of 52. 

I could not get the URL therefore pdf file  is uploaded.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

How Necessary is Stretching

Phys Ed: How Necessary Is Stretching?


For research published earlier this year, physiologists at Nebraska Wesleyan University had distance-running members of the school’s track and field team sit on the ground, legs stretched before them, feet pressed firmly up against a box; then the runners, both men and women, bent forward, reaching as far as they could past their toes. This is the classic sit-and-reach test, a well-established measurement of hamstring flexibility. The runners, as a group, didn’t have exceptional elasticity, although this varied from person to person.

Overall, the women were more supple, as might have been expected. Far more telling was the correlation between the various runners’ tight or loose hamstring muscles and their running economy, a measure of how much oxygen they used while striding. Economy is often cited as one of the factors that divide great runners from merely fast ones. Kenyan distance runners, for instance, have been found to be significantly more economical in their running than comparable Western elites.

When the Nebraska Wesleyan researchers compared the runners’ sit-and-reach scores to the measurements of their economy, which had been garnered from a treadmill test, they found that, across the board, the tightest runners were the most economical. This was true throughout the groups and within the genders. The inflexible men were more economical than the women, and for both men and women, those with the tightest hamstrings had the best running economy. They also typically had the fastest 10-kilometer race times. Probably, the researchers concluded, tighter muscles allow “for greater elastic energy storage and use” during each stride. Inflexibility, in other words, seems to make running easier.

For years, flexibility has been widely considered a cornerstone of health and fitness. Many of us stretch before or after every workout and fret if we can’t lean over and touch our toes. We gape enviously at yogis wrapping their legs around their ears. “It’s been drummed into people that they should stretch, stretch, stretch — that they have to be flexible,” says Dr. Duane Knudson, professor of biomechanics at Texas State University in San Marcos, who has extensively studied flexibility and muscle response. “But there’s not much scientific support for that.”

In fact, the latest science suggests that extremely loose muscles and tendons are generally unnecessary (unless you aspire to join a gymnastics squad), may be undesirable and are, for the most part, unachievable, anyway. “To a large degree, flexibility is genetic,” says Dr. Malachy McHugh, the director of research for the Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York and an expert on flexibility. You’re born stretchy or not. “Some small portion” of each person’s flexibility “is adaptable,” McHugh adds, “but it takes a long time and a lot of work to get even that small adaptation. It’s a bit depressing, really.”

What happens to our muscles and tendons, then, when we dutifully stretch before a run or other workout? Doesn’t this lengthen our muscles, increasing our flexibility and range of motion?

According to the science, the answer appears to be no. “There are two elements” involved in stretching a muscle, Dr. McHugh says. One is the muscle itself. The other is the mind, which sends various messages to the muscles and tendons telling them how to respond to your stretching when the discomfort of the stretching becomes too much. What changes as you stretch a muscle is primarily the message, not the physical structure of the muscle. “You’ll start to develop a tolerance” for the discomfort of the stretch, Dr. McHugh says. Your brain will allow you to hold the stretch longer. But the muscles and tendons themselves will not have changed much. You will feel less tight. But even this sensation of elasticity is short-lived, Dr. McHugh says. In a new review article of the effects of stretching that he co-wrote and that will be published soon in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, he looked at the measurable impacts of a number of different stretching regimens. What he found was that when people performed four 90-second stretches of their hamstrings, their “passive resistance” to the stretching decreased by about 18 percent — they felt much looser — but the effect had passed in less than an hour. To achieve a longer-lasting impact, and to stretch all of the muscles involved in running or other sports, he says, would probably require as much as an hour of concerted stretching. “And the effects still wouldn’t be permanent,” he says. “You only see changes” in the actual, physical structure of the muscles “after months of stretching, for hours at a time. Most people aren’t going to do that.”

And most of us don’t need to. “Flexibility is a functional thing,” Dr. Knudson says. “You only need enough range of motion in your joints to avoid injury. More is not necessarily better.” For runners, extremely tight hamstrings and joints have been found in some studies (but not all studies) to contribute to overuse injuries. But somewhat tight hamstrings, as the Nebraska Wesleyan study showed, can make you more economical. Some degree of inflexibility may make you a better runner.

How then to judge your own flexibility? “The sit-and-reach test is pretty good” for at-home evaluations, Dr. Knudson says, at least of your back and hamstring muscles. Using a staircase, sit and straighten your legs so that your feet push against the bottom step, toes upright. Stretch forward. “Try to lay your chest onto your thighs,” he says. If you can reach past your toes, you’re more than flexible enough. (No one yet has devised a way to reduce flexibility, by the way, although some Olympic-level coaches in other countries are rumored to be trying.)

If, on the other hand, “you can’t get anywhere near your toes, and the lower part of your back is practically pointing backward” as you reach, then you might need to try to increase your hamstring flexibility, Dr. Knudson says, to avoid injuring yourself while running, cycling or otherwise exercising. You can find multiple hamstring stretches on YouTube, although you should consult with a physical therapist before replicating them at home; proper technique is important to avoid injury. “You won’t get a lot of change,” Dr. Knudson says, ” but a little may be all you need.”

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Easy Run - Tuesday, 24th November 2009

Did an easy run today of 68 minutes, planned to do tempo but a quesy stomach put paid to that plan. Instead just went easy and relaxed pace.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

sunday long run

Joined the Nike Run Club today, Sunday, 22nd November, did a bout of intense stretching and ran for 89.24 minutes. Started opp the Parsi Gymkhana and went towards the NCPA end back to Babulnath turnaround and went up the Kemps corner flyover and returned back the same route, this time culminating in Veer nariman road junction. Felt could have gone further...

easy run

Did an easy run of 70.03 minutes on Saturday, 21st November, explored new roads for running, overall satisfied with the effort.

easy run

Did an easy run of 44.32 minutes on Thursday, 19th November. Unable to do any hill sprints today hence decided to go it easy this week.

Easy Run

Did an easy run of 32.05 minutes on Wednesday, 18th November coming back after a short layoff for cold.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Did a fartlek today, Thursday, 12th November, 2009. Started with an easy jog of about 18 minutes, then did five rounds of fartlek, which means for a distance i upped the pace and jogged easy for equal distance, all the while increasing pace progressively upto the last round, which was a longer fartlek. Finished with an easy jog for about 15 minutes. This was the third day in succession i was running, after a long time, last times being in Uganda, where i was running 6 days a week on a beautiful course, skirting a golf course, overlooking the Victoria Lake.

easy run

Did an easy run of 63 minutes on Wednesday, 11th November 2009, being in the middle between the tempo and hill sprint/ fartlek.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

tempo run today

Did a tempo run today, planned to scale up from 20 minutes tempo last week to 25 minutes, but due to rain (skidding road) and poor light, had to terminate at 22 minutes. Overall satisfactory.

Jeremy Morris, a pioneer of the aerobics movement and who proved exercise is heart-healthy, dies at 99½

Jeremy Morris, Who Proved Exercise Is Heart-Healthy, Dies at 99½

Jeremy N. Morris, a British epidemiologist whose comparison of heart-attack rates among double-decker bus drivers and conductors in London in the late 1940s and early ’50s laid the scientific groundwork for the modern aerobics movement, died Oct. 28 in Hampstead, London. He was 99 ½.

“He always insisted on adding the ½,” said his daughter, Julie Zalewska.

The cause of death, she said, was pneumonia and kidney failure.

It had long been surmised that exercise and a healthy heart were correlated.

“You can go back to ancient physicians and philosophers like Hippocrates and Siddhartha who said exercise is good for you, but they didn’t have any data,” Steven N. Blair, a professor of exercise science and epidemiology at the University of South Carolina, said in an interview on Thursday. “Jerry was the guy who did the systematic research that invented the whole field of physical activity epidemiology.”

“His impact was huge,” Dr. Blair added.

Terence Kavanagh, an internist and professor of exercise science at the University of Toronto, agreed, saying, “The work he did set the tone for future research.”

Dr. Morris surmised that the proof could be found on the stairs of those double-decker buses. In 1949, he began tracing the heart-attack rates of hundreds of drivers and conductors. The drivers sat for 90 percent of their shifts; the conductors climbed about 600 stairs each working day. Dr. Morris’s data, published in 1953, indicated that the conductors had fewer than half the heart attacks of their sedentary colleagues.

In a follow-up study, Dr. Morris found that a lower incidence of heart attack among people doing physical work was not, for the most part, related to other factors, like body type. Transport for London, the city’s transportation agency, provided him with the sizes of the trousers it supplied to its workers. His data indicated that the conductors’ waistbands were smaller, but that their protection against heart attack could not be explained by their relative leanness. They had a lower risk of heart attack whether they were slim, average size or portly.

To corroborate his findings further, Dr. Morris did a study of postal workers. Comparing those who delivered the mail by walking or riding bicycles with the clerks behind the window at the post office and the telephone operators, he found that the deliverers also had a far lower risk of heart attack.

Then, in the 1960s, Dr. Morris conducted an eight-year study of the overall physical activity of 18,000 men in sedentary civil service jobs. The data showed that those who engaged in regular aerobic exercise — fast walking, cycling, swimming or other sports — reduced their risk of heart attack by half.

In 1972, in Atlanta, Dr. Morris and Dr. Ralph S. Paffenbarger Jr. were awarded the first International Olympic Committee Medal in sports science.

Jeremy Noah Morris was born in Liverpool on May 6, 1910, into a family of Jewish immigrants who had fled pogroms in eastern Poland. His father, Nathan, was a Hebrew scholar. After arriving in England, the family took the last name of the captain of the ship that had brought them to Liverpool. Jeremy was born within weeks of the arrival. The family then moved to Glasgow.

Jeremy began to exercise early in childhood. His father would take him on four-mile walks, then reward him with ice cream.

After attending the University of Glasgow, Dr. Morris completed his medical degree at University College London Hospital in 1934. In World War II, he served in India and Burma with the Royal Army Medical Corps, rising to lieutenant colonel. In 1948, he was appointed director of the social medicine division of the government-financed Medical Research Council. There he began his studies of exercise and heart risk.

Dr. Morris’s wife of 58 years, the former Galia Schuchalter, died in 1997. Besides his daughter, he is survived by a son, David; two grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.

The studies that Dr. Morris started 60 years ago not only showed that those who exercised reduced the risk of heart attack but promoted the concept that those who had had a heart attack should exercise, said Dr. Kavanagh, the exercise science professor at the University of Toronto.

In 1973, seven heart-attack and bypass patients who had been rehabilitated by Dr. Kavanagh and his colleagues ran the Boston Marathon. Twelve years later, 20 other patients, including one with a transplanted heart, ran the marathon.

“Back in the ’60s and ’70s, once you had a heart attack you were sidelined; people thought your life expectancy was limited,” Dr. Kavanagh said. That changed, he said, because of the work of Dr. Morris and Dr. Paffenbarger, who did follow-up studies of longshoremen in Los Angeles. (Dr. Paffenbarger died in 2007.)

“Without their work we wouldn’t have had the groundwork to show that heart patients who exercise are less likely to have another attack,” Dr. Kavanagh said. “Those patients are no longer considered invalids.”

Almost every day, well into his mid-90s, Dr. Morris swam, pedaled his exercise bike or walked for at least half an hour.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

today's run at Borivli National Park

Had a good run today at Borivli National Park for 1 hour 45 minutes. I think the early morning chill (started at about 6.15 am.) helped a lot and with a steady pace, reached the top in 49 minutes. Did four rounds of steps at the spiral staircase leading to the Caves to add variety to the workouts.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

easy run today

Did an easy run today for 60 minutes. Deliberatelly kept the pace slow throughout but with a steady rhythm, it was a good workout.

speed intervals

I did a speed interval on Thursday, 5th November. I located a dirt track a little away from my house which had a 200 metre track with a 100 metre loop jutting out on one side, which made it a 300 metres loop for me, I did a warm up of about 5 rounds and then 4 into 800 metres (2 loops of 300 metres and one loop of 200m) interspersed with easy jog for 200 metres in between and followed it up with a 800 metres easy jog to finish it. I got quite ragged in the end, when i was sprinting away in the last section. being a first experience for me, i think i did okay. Track measurement may not have been exactly accurate, but the interval work out was achieved.  Yes, i did some stretching after the initial easy run and in the end.

tempo run

Managed to do a tempo run Tuesday, 3rd November, basically i jogged easy for 18 minutes, then tempo for 20 minutes, slowly building up pace, all the while keeping within 80% and then 20 minutes of easy jog to cool down. (hal higdon method)