The first race of this year’s running season, the TCS World 10K Bengaluru, is coming up next Sunday, 21 May. If you are participating, then you should know that there are plenty of new and exciting products aimed at runners that can help you put in a good performance. Here, we bring you a curated list of essentials that will aid you in Lounge goes through the clutter and narrows down on race day essentials that would aid you in your pursuit of enjoying yourself and/or achieving a new personal best.
Carbon tech shoes: If there is one thing that you absolutely need for a 10km race, then it is a pair of shoes that can make you run faster. Which means shoes with carbon tech. It’s not mere hype: All road running records have tumbled since carbon shoes entered the picture, because they actually help you go faster. Nowadays, such shoes are more readily available and at multiple price points, they are accessible to everyone.
However, some in demand shoes like the Nike Vapourfly Next% 3 or Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3 are still in short supply. Every brand offers multiple options with prices ranging from ₹8,000-23,000. These shoes are mostly race ready and you don’t really need to break them in. Even if you buy one today, you can go on a short run to familiarise yourself with the shoes and head out to race on Sunday.
Caffeine: There is enough scientific evidence that shows caffeine has a positive impact on athletic performance. So, whatever your preferred form of caffeine, make sure you have some on the morning of race day. It will not only wake you up but will most likely improve your performance in the race. While coffee is the most popular choice, you can get your caffeine fix from a cup of tea or a can of energy drinks as well. Some sports nutrition brands also offer caffeine pills and gels.
GPS watch: What’s the point of a race that you don’t track your performance? You need the data to analyse your run and then use it to improve. After your shoes, gear and caffeine fix, you need to strap on your GPS watch. Many use a Coros, Apple Watch and FitBit, but the most popular GPS watch brand out there is Garmin. There are many trackers to choose from, including the new Forerunner series FR 265 and FR 965 with high resolution AMOLED screens to their. Strap on one before your head out.
Gels: The TCS World 10K Bengaluru is a middle distance race and as such doesn’t require much in terms of a nutrition and hydration strategy. However, you will still need some liquids and carbs to ensure that your performance is adequately fuelled. Most runners have half a gel or a full one about 10 minutes before the start of the race. And another half a gel between 5km and 6km. Nowadays, gels are easily available, and you have plenty of brands to choose from, including some homegrown ones like Fast&Up.
Pre and post-race hydration: One thing you don’t want to suffer while running is cramps. And that depends entirely on your hydration levels, because proper hydration ensures a smooth and cramp-free race. And given the summer temperatures we are experiencing, hydration can help prevent a heat stroke, headaches and fatigue. Before the race, have a sports drink with electrolytes as these will help your body retain water longer. After the race, you need to replace the salts and minerals that the body has lost. Coconut water is a great post-race recovery drink, and ORS is equally efficient at doing the job of replacing lost salts. Apart from these, there are sports nutrition drinks that are loaded with a lot more than just salts, which aid recovery.
Recovery massage: While the joy of running and completing a race are unparalleled, there is nothing as soothing as a good massage afterwards. A rub down after race day is a great way to not only relax, your tired and fatigued muscles will recover faster. A sports massage after a race removes lactic acid that develops in your muscles during the run, improves blood flow to the muscles, breaks down knots and eases the tightness in your muscles. It also takes care of DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) so that you turn into a bundle of pains and aches.
In case you do not like massages or can’t find time for one, there are recovery systems and compression wear that can help you. Compression stockings are fantastic and help improve blood flow to the calves and feet, and don’t cost a fortune. This highly affordable gear also helps reduce swelling. You also have the option of highly effective (but expensive) air compression-based recovery systems which athletes use. Hyperice’s Normatech leg sleeves and Theragun’s RecoveryAir the best options in this category.
Shrenik Avlani is a writer and editor and the co-author of The Shivfit Way, a book on functional fitness.