The Global Day of Running will be celebrated on 1 June. Despite the searing heat I must, as a runner, celebrate it the best way I can…by writing about some of the current trends in the running world. I have been a pacer at multiple editions of the Mumbai Marathons, and have seen the world of running and community evolve and grow, for more than a decade now. And the one thing that I have noticed in the last few months is that racing is back globally, and huge numbers of people are turning out to participate. It is the pent-up frustrations of not having run in an event with other runners and friends that is driving this enthusiasm. My bet is that there will be big numbers at the upcoming races in India, especially Procam’s marquee event the Tata Mumbai Marathon, no matter the weather.
Noting motivates a runner more than the need for speed, so trainers and coaches have always included drills like interval training, hill runs and mile repeats. Of late, the most popular speed training drill is strides, which wasn’t really included in marathon training much, till about a decade sgo. Strides comes from the world of sprints, and since there is a lot knowledge and emphasis on proper form while running, this drill has become a part of most running plans. Strides focus on increasing your stride length, shuffle rate and reducing ground contact time while focusing on form. Lounge’s in-house runner, Sohini Sen, loves them and makes a compelling case for you to give strides a try too.
There’s always something brewing with running gear, and there are new rumblings here too. Let’s start with the run trackers. While Garmin remains the category leader in wearable run trackers, a challenge has been issued by Cronos. Many runners, both in India and globally, have swapped their Garmin watches for a Cronos offering, citing its performance and significantly lower costs. Then there are many who just buy it because of Eliud Kipchoge. The world’s greatest marathoner, world record holder, Olympic champion and the fastest marathoner, Kipchoge sports the unmistable green Cronos on his wiry wrist. Also, it is impossible to miss the Cronos social media campaigns that feature Kipchoge in as many promos as possible. Sen, the serial runner, took the Cronos Pace 2 for a test run.
Shoes remain the biggest movers and shakers for most brands. Although many runners seem to have embraced the expensive carbon tech shoes for race day, it is a smaller cult brand that has got serious dedicated runners excited. I am talking about the Hoka One One (pronounced o-nay o-nay) shoes that have just arrived in India. These look clunky, have a lot of cushioning and really do a good job of protecting your feet and joints. They are especially popular among ultra runners. Among the runners, the Hokas are jokingly called the “old people” shoes. If you are a heavy striker or run long distances regularly, definitely give them a try.
Women runners I know have been quite excited about the ‘period pants’ that plenty of brands have launched. Training for a marathon is brutal, and requires discipline, and many women don’t like skipping training even when they are menstruating. These pants certainly make their lives easier.
Generally speaking runners are pretty good with their carbon footprint, but with office now returning in full force, many runners are driving solo to train. First, it would be best if you never used a car to go running. But if you must, please car pool. Reduce your carbon footprint. We got one planet and we will need to save it ourselves and not depend on the person next to us.
Shrenik Avlani is a writer and editor and the co-author of The Shivfit Way, a book on functional fitness.