How cool is the ASICS Metarun singlet?

Before I start, a disclaimer.

I am a running influencer for ASICS in Delhi, India where I live.

Having said that, I also need to state for the record that ASICS has put me under NO obligation whatsoever to write about, or review their products.

Not once have I been asked to write or blog about anything by the company. The choice to write or not, to review or not, to Instagram or not is entirely mine.

I am under no pressure.

There are many ASICS products that I have worn or tried out, and have not written about, but the Metarun singlet definitely deserves some TLC.

Because, despite my inhibitions about wearing a singlet, this one works.

Time to face facts

  1. I am no spring chicken.
  2. I have always had flabby arms. Have done since I was in my 20s.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, could’ve/should’ve worked on them over the years. Agreed.

But I didn’t, and I live to rue the day 😛

All of that is to explain why I have strenuously avoided wearing a running singlet.

That attitude had to change in January, when the ASICS influencers were given a singlet to wear for the Mumbai marathon.

It actually wasn’t as embarrassing an experience as I had feared, BUT I had THE most horrific underarm chafing. The armhole was too tight for me, and the last few kilometres of the race were sheer torture, as the chafing became unbearable. I kept stopping to try and tug the singlet down to relieve the underarm tightness, costing me precious seconds, but all to no avail.

Which is where the Metarun singlet scores.

Just see how low cut it is, below the arms. No risk of chafing there.

I was more than a little concerned at the amount of bra strap that would be on display from the back, but then I thought, “Oh the heck with it. Wearing a sports bra isn’t anything to hide.”

Of course, it helps here that the model is young and slim, but needs must 😛

I have tried out my singlet on many occasions over the last few hot and humid weeks, and it is, without doubt, THE most comfortable top I have ever worn for hot weather running.

As in THE most comfortable EVER.

The technical details (above) are from the website, but let me put it in lay-person’s English: the mesh at the back absorbs the sweat, and the whole garment is so light that you hardly feel you are wearing anything.

ASICS has a coding system for its garments, to explain their specific functions.

This singlet is a C1, highlighted below.

After doing a 15k run in it last weekend, I honestly felt cool.

And totally unsweaty.

Different occasion (below), equally hot & sweaty weather.

Whereas I felt cool.

Well, I was literally cool…dunno about the metaphorical bit!

I’m a big fan after just a few weeks.

Light as a father garment.

Zero sweating.

Zero chafing.

It comes in 2 colours, black and white: check out the garment in one of the ASICS stores, or buy it online.

100% personally recommended.

Let’s talk about gait analysis

We walk.

Well, most of us do, every day of our lives.

(Yes, we the lucky ones who take walking for granted)

Some of us run.

So walking (& by extension, running) are kind of obvious, right?

You just put one foot in front of the other, right?

Well, yes and no, especially where running is concerned.

If you’ve ever checked the wear and tear on the soles of your shoes – running or otherwise – you might have noticed that after a while the sole is not evenly worn down.

And that is due to your gait.

How you walk, and whether you place your foot evenly.

Whether you pronate or supinate.

Yikes, do I hear you exclaim?

WHAT does that mean and how on earth do I check my gait?

“…gait analysis is a method for identifying biomechanical abnormalities in the gait cycle, or in other words, it’s a tool used to assess the way in which you walk and run. It can be beneficial in that it can identify any overactive or underactive muscles in the feet, which could lead to potential injuries and inefficiencies in the future.

Pronation refers to the way in which your foot rolls inwards as it strikes the floor. It’s your body’s way of distributing impact, and a natural part of the gait cycle. Understanding your pronation type is important for selecting the right type of running shoe and ultimately could help you to avoid injury.

Thanks forbes.com.

If you have wondered about the way you walk and/or run, or if you are feel that perhaps you aren’t walking (or running) at maximum efficiency, then the simplest way to find out is to get your gait analysed, professionally.

Quick disclaimer

If your feet actually hurt while running and/or walking, then you need to see a doctor, not a sports expert. But you’re all sensible people, and actually don’t need to be reminded of such basics, I’m sure 😛

Quick disclaimer #2.

I am a running influencer in Delhi for ASICS. And I got my gait analysis done at an ASICS store.

But I want to make one thing crystal clear.

ASICS has never once suggested that I write or post or comment on anything at all. They give me a totally free rein, so this gait analysis was done entirely by choice.

I’ll admit to being a tad worried before doing the analysis, thinking that perhaps I might have a problem that i didn’t know about, and that the shoes I have would be all wrong for me…typical overthinking, but there you go!

As it turns out, I’m pretty normal in the gait department, which was good to know, but it was a useful exercise.

For those of you reading this who live in the Delhi NCR region, I went to the store in the Mall of India in NOIDA, where there is a static analysis as well as a special treadmill.

The 2 machines, ready to check your gait

I’d had a static analysis done once before, but never the treadmill analysis, which was very interesting and informative. I saw a close up of myself running on camera for the first time – and was surprised at the way I do run, but that’s neither here nor there. I suspect I just have an award style.

First the static.

Amit applying sensors to my feet, which are then scanned
The static analysis machine being prepped
My results being input & analysed

Next up, the treadmill test.

For this, you wear special shoes, also with sensors attached, like so:

As you run, you can watch yourself on the screen:

It turns out that my current shoes – Gel Nimbus 20 & 21 – are perfect for my running style, but that didn’t stop me asking to try on the fab new Metaride.

Just because!

A big thank you to Amit & all the lovely guys in the store, who took the time to explain everything and put up with all my questions 🙂

I’m adding here a couple of links to articles which I found useful:

https://www.asics.com/ie/en-ie/running-advice/foot-mapping-and-gait-analysis-how-it-can-improve-your-running-efficiency/

https://www.runnersneed.com/expert-advice/gear-guides/gait-analysis.html

Running for the sheer joy of it

Sometimes, amidst all the training for races, & running club meets, & practice sessions, you can lose sight of why you started running in the first place.

For pleasure.

For exercise.

To enjoy being outdoors.

Today, in the company of 4 lovely young women, I found my running mojo all over again.

And in super-duper weather, to boot.

For those of you who don’t know me, I live in New Delhi, India, where it is currently hot hot hot. But last night we had a massive storm and a torrential downpour, & so this morning was pure bliss.

I got up very early – 4.30 am – and it actually felt a tad chilly. Oh joy of joys!

When the 5 of us met up an hour later, it was still cool, the air was clean (a rarity in this polluted city) and as we ran, we had to dodge puddles. Oh joy of joys Mark II !

And so, this lovely Delhi morning, 5 of us from our Shed It Run met up and ran a slow ‘n easy ‘n chatty ‘n happy 15km.

By the way, you do all remember our Shed it Run, right?

To remind you, last August, a group of us ran in sports bras and crop tops and made the front page of the papers, no less.

Here’s the link.

Since one of the aims of the Shed It Run is to break down barriers, and shed inhibitions, this picture kinda sums it all up…

We run together occasionally, but we were a smaller group today, ‘cos at least 3 of the group are running a race in Bangalore tomorrow.

This morning’s 15k reminded me that slow chatty runs with friends is THE absolute best form of therapy.

We chatted non-stop, discussing everything under the sun.

And what a group these girls are!!

Ironman training for one.

A soon-to-be-published book for another.

A recent ad for Nike sports bras for the other 2.

I ran & listened & was dazzled by these competent, accomplished, articulate, funny, happy young women.

15k have probably never been as effortless as this morning (probably never as slow, either 😛 ) but with a zillion photos and stopping to chat to other runner friends, and enjoying India Gate and Raisina Hill…oh, it was all SO much fun.

Fun, fun, fun.

As you can see 🙂

Tanya, Nikita, Faizi & Mousumee – thanks for a brilliant morning, and for reminding me just how much FUN running can be 🙂

Why do you run? “It is a religion for me”

Today’s running Q & A is with Rajat Khurana, the MD of ASICS in India.

Rajat is a man on a mission.

And WHAT a mission!

He has decided to run 52 half marathons in 52 weeks…see what I mean about a man on a mission?!

You all know the formula of this Q&A by now, right?

5 quick questions, trying to get to the essence of what motivates a runner.

Read on.

Over to you, Rajat 🙂

Q Why do you run?

A I run because it sets my mind free. I am able to concentrate more and I feel more confident.

Moreover it is a religion for me now. Just as eating is for all of us, running is to me.

Q When did you start running?

A The journey started in 2011 with Bangalore 10 K  

Q Morning/evening runner?

A I am an early riser and hit the road by 5.30 almost every morning.

Q With or without music?

A Over the years my playlist is almost the same with mostly Waheguru Simrans connecting with God, and inspirational songs from Bollywood. .

Q Next running goal?

A Currently on a mission to complete 52 Half marathons in 52 weeks. 34 have been achieved successfully and another 18 weeks to go !  

52 half marathons in 52 weeks. That is crazy inspirational. The dedication required is something else. Super impressed.

And I love the definition of running as being as important as eating. So true, and yet one of the most difficult things to make non-runners understand.

Well done, Rajat & #keeprunning #keepinspiring.

And am giving you due warning that I will be back for a triumphant blog post in 18 weeks 😛

Why do you run? “Running is great fun”

It’s been a while since I Q&A-ed with my running mates, and in kick-starting the series for a new round of interviews, I am super chuffed with the most recent chat I had.

Meet Narpat Singh, one of the nicest people in my running group.

We run together quite often, chatting easily. Narpat is a stronger and more accomplished runner than I, but always courteously sticks to my pace.

His answers to my 5 questions are very insightful.

Enjoy 🙂

Q Why do you run?

A. Running is great fun.

One can while running, on the one hand enjoy the company of fellow runners in the Group and run conversations of all hues with them – from senseless light-hearted chats on one or another subject, or evolved conversations; there are all types in the Group to match your mood for the day.

On the other hand, one can enjoy the ‘me time’ and revel in the solitude while listening to the chirping of the birds and marveling nature in all her glory on each morning which is beautiful in its unique way; each dawn brings its own good energy and experience.

(Editor: that last sentence is spot on!)

Occasionally while running alone, I also listen to music. The sounds, sights and smells of the morning are the preferred choice.

Q When did you start running?

A. This was about 46 years ago as a young lad while accompanying my father on his regular morning runs. 

However, serious running with technical guidance started seven years ago. This is when the fatigue associated with running vanished and was substituted with sheer joy and excitement.

(Editor: once again, my friend, that last sentence of yours is so true.)

Q Morning/evening runner?

A. Mornings only.

The evenings are reserved to revel in good company and keep the ‘spirits’ high!

Q With or without music?


A. Both.

Yes. As a rule, music only when running alone. That is infrequent.

‘No music’ days are spent absorbing the beauty of each morning and reflecting on life or dwelling on any thought that would come up during the run.

On the days when I opt to run with music (invariably while running an event), the first hour is spent listening to Jagjit Singh Bhajans ( do I sound dated?!) which blend smoothly into the serene calm of the mornings.

In the second and subsequent hours, the music of the sixties through the currently popular stuff are my thing.

Clapton, Cat Stevens, Fleetwood Mac, Jethro Tull, Phil Collins, Pat Boone, Cliff Richard, The WHO, Queen, Van Halen, Steely Dan, CSNY, Simon and Garfunkel, Paul Mc Cartney, Roger Whittaker, Eartha Kitt, Peter Paul and Mary, Dean Martin, Tom Jones, Olivia Newton John, Don Mc Lean …… different genres. They all work as well.

(Editor. yes, again! GREAT music choices! We should run and sing along some time…)


Q Next running goal?

A. Go progressively for a ‘2.10 Half ‘ in the coming season followed by a ‘sub two’ next year. God willing.

Shabash, my friend & thanks for chatting.

#keeprunning

#keepinspiring

Where to run in Delhi : Lodhi Art Colony

For those of you familiar with Delhi, you’ll know that there are parks and monuments a’plenty in the city, and we have a lot to be grateful for.

So please don’t look at me askance when I suggest a non-park, non-green-space, non-monument-y running route.

Trust me 🙂
The quiet government-housing area known as Lodhi Colony, just south of the Lodhi Gardens, has, over the past few years, become an urban canvas for street art.

The huge walls of the buildings lend themselves to large-scale paintings and they certainly brighten up the otherwise slightly peeling, slightly dingy, drab walls.

See what I mean?
Drab & peeling to the right. Jolly painting to the left

I’ve run around this area before, criss-crossing the streets, but there was a whole new batch of street art carried out over the winter which I hadn’t yet seen.

So, 2 days ago, i cajoled my young partner-in-crime, Ripu Daman, to join me and off we trotted to explore the latest murals.

What makes running round Lodhi Art Colony so good is its location. You can park safely and securely at the Lodhi Gardens and walk down.

There are loos galore in the Lodhi Gardens, too, so it makes a great starting point.

Accessible, clean loos are VITAL for runners, imho, which is why I always consider them in any route recce.

The streets in Lodhi Colony are nice and wide & the pavements are actually unencroached-upon (unlike my ‘hood, where the pavements have been taken over as parking lots 🙁 )

I love the architecture here, especially the high arches, with trees growing through them, and which have been happily incorporated into the art installations.

Here the artists has carried on from the tree…

If you’re looking for a short, slow run this area is great.

Ripu and I trotted slowly up and down each and every street, pausing to take photos, to admire the art, to critique the art 😛 and it made for a very easy-going, safe 6 or 7km. I hardly noticed the time or the distance, since there was so much to look at.

Art critic at work 🙂

Walk back up to the Lodhi Gardens and from there it’s a short, easy walk to Khan Market for breakfast. There’s also the India Habitat Centre, that is also open early for hungry runners.

So, yes, a good place for an easy, relaxed run.

Plus there’s some seriously cool art on offer.

Here are a few more favourites:

And my absolute favourite – this charming whimsical look at India:

So, now you know.

A nice, safe venue for a short-ish run – though obviously you could make it as long as you pleased, by running around the colony several times. We went early-morning, though not that early.

A few vendors were around, had we felt the need for juice or a snack.

The streets were blessedly quiet, there was precious little traffic, and the locals hardly gave us a second glance. 2 ill-matched runners, stopping every few minutes to take photos – of no interest whatsoever!

What did you see on your run today? #390 comes from Simla

Many of you know Harminder Singh, one of Delhi’s quiet, unassuming, super talented runners.

Harminder goes about his running life quietly, not making a hue-and-cry about it, BUT NEVER, EVER, EVER SKIPS A DAY’S RUN.

Yes, I was indeed cyber-shouting right now, and with just cause, because this insanely dedicated young man started the 100 days of running challenge 4 years ago AND HAS NOT STOPPED SINCE.

He is currently up to Day 1455 of daily running.

Just take that in, if you will. 1455 days of running.

Though it’s probably 1456 by now 😛

And every day he takes a photo.

Told you he was dedicated!

Anyway, Harminder was recently in Simla and shared this lovely cooling photo from his run up there:

Harminder, you have been a good friend to this blog over the years, sharing your daily run photos, and I am humbled by your stamina and guts and perserverance.

Thanks my friend, and #keeprunning #keepinspiring

When the workout totally works out

I went to my ASICS Running Club meet this oh-so-hot morning, & at the risk of boring the pants off everyone, it was a PERFECT workout.

As in totally, 100% perfect, and I am still basking in the glow of it, hours later.

Sometimes, it’s a struggle to get up at 4.45 am.

Not this morning 🙂

Hopped out of bed happy as a lark.

Sometimes, the thought of eating anything so early in the day is seriously off-putting.

Not this morning 🙂

Had a snack, drank loads of water, and I was on my way, all nicely fuelled.

Sometimes, the traffic is rubbish, and I end up arriving late.

Not this morning 🙂

Very little traffic, got every green night going, arrived bang on time.

Yeah, you’re right – this is getting WAY too enthusiastic!!

Anyway, you get the overall picture, right?

We did interval training, with a new trainer Bipin, and though I felt nauseous a couple of times, such was my mood this morning, that I actually took comfort in the nauseous feeling, as it indicated (I hope) that I was pushing myself physically.

I was in the second, slower-paced group, and we did 10x400m

Note to self: WORK ON THOSE FLABBY ARMS & LEGS!!!!

The fastest group did an exhausting 5x800m, no joke in the brutal heat.

These 2 (below) were the super-speedsters!

Just once, on lap 8 of 10, I stopped, and cut short the loop, feeling a little sick.

But such was the mood this morning, that I pulled myself together, did an extra loop at the end, slow slow slow, but I did it.

So the final tally was 10 1/2 loops, and yes indeed, I felt pretty damned chuffed with myself.

Not the fastest intervals on the planet, far from it, (my average pace was 5:25), but the important thing is that I finished the workout and felt a million dollars afterwards.

Still do 🙂

Yikes! Such flabby legs!

And, of course, there is NO way I would have/could have done such a workout alone.

I am hopeless at this kind of training on my own,, and totally need the group synergy and energy to push myself.

I’ll happily run long and slow alone – actively enjoy it – but for drills like intervals, without my group, I’m finished.

Sort of rainbow-colour-sorted…yeah, well, yes…sort of… 😛

Conclusion?

Any workout makes you feel better, but when everything goes according to plan like this morning, then there is a glow & a happiness and a feeling of achievement that is second to none.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Get up. Lace up. Show up.

If ever there was a morning for pressing the snooze button and going back to sleep, it was this morning.

I was so knackered when the alarm went off at 4.45 for running group that I ignored it, and the next thing I knew it was 5.15 and I was already doomed to be late.

Which I was.

So…arrive late? Or go back to sleep?

Obviously, I went to meet my running group, half dead with exhaustion and it was the best decision of the day. As ever.

We exercised and drilled and trained, in the bright sunshine of Nehru Park, and we did some new things today. Like doing all the regular pre-session drills uphill for a change.

Like so!

WHAT a change working uphill made!

I was, as is so often the case, extremely humbled by the end of the session.

I know full well that I’m not the fittest woman on the planet, but I didn’t know until this morning that I was (a) too scared and (b) too weak to hang from a tree – like everyone else was doing, as though it were the simplest thing in the world.

So that’s something I’m going to have to practise in the privacy of the park, or on gym equipment…I mean, for crying out loud – not being able to hang from a tree branch?

How silly is that?

As I said, all very humbling.

All of which is to say that no matter how tired or unfit one feels, just remember the mantra – “Get up! Lace up! Show up!”

Because there is always, always, always something knew to learn. About exercise and fitness. And about yourself 🙂

Do you #daretorun?

One of the first things I do, on waking up every morning, is to check the air quality index, which I often share on social media, on my running Insta feed, like so :

For those of you who don’t know me, I live in New Delhi, which has the unenviable reputation of being the most polluted city on the planet.

In the winters, our air is so toxic that you can smell it, taste it, feel it. Your eyes sting, everyone is coughing and spluttering, and we are all outraged.

Then the summer comes, and we forget.

But the pollution remains.

Never doubt it.

But we all get fooled, even old cynics like yours truly!

I was running in my local Biodiversity Park yesterday – a place with lots of trees and greenery, so naturally cleaner than much of Delhi -and there I was gazing up at the deep blue sky and smiling…and caught myself just in time, before I said something foolish…

Just ‘cos the sky is blue, Christine, doesn’t mean the air is clean.

And that is exactly the problem.

We all have such short memories, and because the sky doesn’t look grey and horrid, and the air doesn’t taste vile, we foolishly imagine that our air isn’t all that dangerous at this time of the year

But it is.

Our air is toxic.

PLEASE take time and read the excellent article (below) from the Hindustan Times 2 days ago.

It is spot on.

As the author points out, in the skewed reality in which we Delhi-ites are forced to live, our “moderate” is still 2.5 or 3.5 higher than the WHO safe norms.

So, no.

We cannot afford to be complacent about our toxic air.

General elections are approaching (sadly for me I cannot vote in India) but without anything resembling a green party or a green manifesto, I’m not really sure where that leaves us all.

The next day, I read about the State of Global Air Report 2019.

I’ll leave you to read the report at your leisure, but please note this one fact:

“Air pollution caused the deaths of 1.2 million people in India in 2017.”

WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE?

THE HORROR?

THE DEMANDS FOR OUR GOVERNMENT TO PUT A STOP TO THIS CRISIS?

Why are we all so complacent?

I’m in touch with a company based here in the Delhi NCR called Nirvana Being, and tomorrow I’m going to run with them, using one of their sports masks.

It’s shocking that things have got to this state, but what option do we all have?

Move to another city?

Stop going outside?

Stop running?

Stop exercising?

So, I ask you, what do we do?

Any Delhi friends, runners and non-runners alike, if you feel like joining us at India Gate tomorrow, Sunday 7 April, at 7am, you can see and try out the special sports masks, and talk to people who are trying their best to combat the poor air quality.

Do come if you can.

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