Health vs. Fitness And Why Running A Marathon Doesn’t Mean You Are Healthy

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Photo Courtesy : http://www.optimizeottawa.com

Most of the confusion comes from how we use the terms Fitness and Health interchangeably. We think that just because we are fit enough to run a marathon that we must also be healthy. However, these two terms have very little in common and the fact that most of us don’t know the difference leads to a lot of problems.

This issue first came to my attention when I started noticing various runners in my group. A lot of them had various injuries or knee related problems, and battled various problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. They were fit enough to be able to run a marathon, but not healthy enough to live peacefully and effortlessly.

Fitness is simply the ability to do a task. Runners are fit for running, mountain bikers are fit for mountain biking, climbers are fit for climbing and so on and so forth. Being fit for one activity doesn’t mean you will be fit for another and it often requires that you take a few physical qualities to an extreme level.

Health is your ability to easily function on a daily basis without pain or disease. It is measured in things like blood tests and lack of “bad health”. It is also the ability to perform basic movements and tasks like easily getting up and down off the ground, touching your toes or hanging from a bar for 30 seconds. True health requires that you have a well rounded approach to things.

The problem is that most of us have been taught to look at everything through the lens of “fitness” and very few recognize the “health” side of things as well. We glorify the top runners, cyclists, CrossFit competitors or athletes in different sports and call them the “fittest” people on earth. What we don’t see are the “health” problems they have as they suffer from joint pain, muscle strains and metabolic pressures that push the body to – and past – their limits.

And this leads to a lot of people who don’t recognize the dangers in destroying their body in training today instead of protecting it for future use. They equate the “fittest” person in a sport with someone who is also “healthy” and then follow the wrong path based on that mistake.

Now please don’t miss my point – I am not saying there isn’t something admirable about the sacrifices that top athletes make to achieve the levels of performance that they do. This isn’t about them, its about everyone else that doesn’t pay their bills based on their performance or has a chance to represent their country in some way.

It is common knowledge that athletes, actors, body builders, etc. use all sorts of supplements and compounds, sometimes steroids (that are legally accepted, and not abused) and haywire diets to get the results that they do. It is not only harmful, but also requires top level professionals for guidance and care. And not to forget it is damn expensive, usually paid for by sponsors or producers; and their livelihood depends on it.

For the rest of us, once you reach a certain age and your chances at athletic glory have passed – for most this is around 22 years of age – it is important to keep your goals in perspective. You only get one body and making sure that you can still play hard at 50+ years is important. It may not be worth it to suffer from joint pains or other problems and having to sit on the sidelines as you get older because you thought that being fit enough to run real fast was the same thing as being healthy.

Now look, the point of this is not to discourage anyone from running or riding bikes or trying to take their running to the next level. In fact, it is just the opposite.

I want to make sure that people enjoy running and can do it as long as they want to. A big part of getting better is logging a lot of running time and miles and it is hard to run if you are hurt. I also hate hearing about someone who quit running because they kept getting hurt or have an overuse injury that got so bad they had to have surgery.

Having your body break down and start to dictate how long and fast you can run really simply SUCKS!

My goal is to help people avoid the pitfalls that come with developing a few fitness qualities to a high level while ignoring others. Most of the runners I train with have issues in some way because they ignored their overall health for too long. After learning this lesson the hard way I often hear them tell him that they wish they had known all of this before they got hurt.

You get plenty of great things from running but there are things that you don’t get, like mobility and strength. There are also some hidden dangers that most people never even consider.

For example…

You don’t get the same movement from running like you do on the bike. When on a bike, you are holding onto the handlebars and your upper body doesn’t sway. Unless you do some things to combat that, spending hours and hours on a bike can actually start to cause some core strength issues that will affect while you’re off the bike. This swaying motion in the upper body is important for core function and overall movement health.

On the contrary, a constant movement in biking will activate your hips and increase hip mobility, that traditional running or walking won’t focus much on.

Again, unless you understand the difference between Health and Fitness you might not appreciate why you need to keep these things in mind. Sure, getting an extra run each week would be more fun but at some point you have to act like an adult and do what you need to do.

How would your waistline look if you took that same attitude of “I only want to eat what’s fun” with your diet? Probably not so good. Oh wait, that is a problem with a lot of people today anyway. But that is getting off subject…

Anyway, this brings me to my last point. You don’t have to spend a lot of time to plug some of the gaps that running leaves. Spending as little as 15 minutes a day doing some mobility work and doing some push-ups or swings and Goblet Squats 2-3 times a week can work wonders. Making small changes that you can sustain and build upon is the key to success and makes time much less of an issue.

So remember that you need to keep the dual lenses of Health and Fitness in mind when setting your goals. It is important to devise a plan or a regime, based on your current shortfalls, as well as current and past injuries. Sometimes measuring the success of a program based on how you have less pain, can move better or can function better in your work or daily life can mean more.

Funny thing is though, a lot of times focusing on Health goals also improves your running fitness as well, which only means you also become a better runner.

Until next time…

Run Strong,

The Travellothoner

The Run

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Take a thousand steps and maybe a thousand more,

And ever so often you’ll want to take a thousand more.

In the mornings, evenings or late at night,

A therapeutic activity to test your fight.


Every step taken is a step closer to your goal,

A step towards making your achievement whole.

And when your muscles ache and your face is red,

Remember your determination that got you out of bed.


Push through your limits and dig into your grit,

Recognize your potential and find new targets to hit.

Inspire the people around you including your peers,

Encourage them to fight and face their fears.


Run like a hare or as steady as a tortoise,

Ignore all the noise and listen to your voice.

Remember all the hard work and all the times you bled,

Once a runner, always a runner they said.


-The Travellothoner

Why I Run!

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I used to be the kind of person who always said “I hate running”. And I meant it too. Being a fat kid that I was, my go-to activity was computer games, staying indoors and eating . I wanted an easy-to-implement, cheap exercise to help me lose baby weight (although I wasn’t a baby anymore). Then I came across a running group within my community. They’d just come off The Mumbai Marathon back then, and would show off their medals with pride. It was something that caught my eye, and gave an added incentive to run.

I wanted to prepare for an upcoming marathon, although reluctant to put in any effort. And somehow on this quest of mine, my dad joined in too. And there’s something about peer pressure that just keeps you going, maybe for the good or for the bad. His enthusiasm was one of the primary reasons that kept me going. I trained for this marathon with all my heart, and all my unhealthy body had to offer.

And as it went, I finished the HTHM 2015 10k marathon in about 1 hour and 10 minutes. A total of 19 years before I took exercise seriously. I was on track to finish in under an hour, but I developed a cramp that slowed me down a little. I so wanted to give up, but I was very determined to finish what I’d started. Rather I did not want to quit something that I’d started, again.

So, that was that. After the marathon, my competitiveness took over and I want to do things the right way this time, and finish stronger. Something that you should know about me is I am either all in or all out. I don’t know how to half-commit to anything. And thus began my journey.

At the gym, I would use all sorts of cardio machines. I’d step out for runs and added some weight training to my regime. I’d use the treadmill too, but I’d always walk it out in order to protect my knees. This was my routine until about a month, before my life took a huge turn.

It had happened – a random event that changed the course of my life from being a lazy bum to a runner. I registered for a marathon that was way out of my league. I ended up registering for a 25k hilly endurathon, when I’d barely managed to finish the 10k a month ago. But again, I was all in, and I told myself that I would go back to my routine, work extra hard and be ready for this event.

But amidst all this training, a funny thing happened…I fell in love!

I started running on a ridiculously steep hill near my place, to get used to running on a hill. I ran slowly the whole time, but so what? No one was timing me. I wasn’t running a race. I wasn’t with anybody. I was able to run simply because I loved running.

When I got back that day, I felt amazing. I felt “clean” on the inside. I felt like I had worked my whole body, not just my legs. I did it again the next day. I took an easier route this time. At the end of that run, I was sure of something. I had a new sport. A sport I loved. A sport that in itself was enough to get me out of bed every morning. I was a runner.

Once I got back to the gym, I was worried about running on the treadmill. I had always avoided that like the plague. It’s boring, right? And tedious too. But this time, it wasn’t. I found some good running music, set the treadmill on a gentle incline, and ran a good 30 minutes. I was still slow. But it was nobody’s business as to how fast or slow I ran. It still gave me that clean feeling on the inside. My mentality started changing. Instead of despising it, I started looking forward to it. I’d start thinking about my next run as soon as my current run was over.

Why did I fall so hard for this sport?

  • I could do it alone (I’m a friendly introvert, but I need lots of alone-time).
  • I felt like my whole body was working together at once. It was also a nice break for my overthinking brain.
  • The physical exhaustion even at the end of the run helped my restlessness too. I felt clear-headed, certain, secure, and light.
  • And I could see the changes. I’d already been able to run slightly faster than the first time. My resting heart rate dropped a little. Tiny improvements – but still improvements. It’s addictive!
  • I felt like I was a part of a larger community. Runners have a lot camaraderie. Even though most of my connection was through my club, I still felt like there was a great deal of support out there for runners. It was motivating.

All I’ll say in conclusion is that whatever you do for your body, I hope you love/enjoy doing it. That’s what matters the most. That is what will help you stay committed and make an activity sustainable. Any sport will work for you if you do it consistently, and pair it with a nutrient-dense diet. You can do it!

Peace and love,

The Travellothoner.

How I Started And Fell In Love With Running!!

How I started and fell in love with running!

-How was your life before running?

Before I ever started running, I was always one of those fat kids, who had wanted to lose weight since years. My parents promised me a lot of mouthwatering goodies, countless bribes if I lost “x” kilos of weight, but it never led to anything. I had a very typical teenage lifestyle, attending college and eating junk everyday (thanks to all those shacks opposite Mithibai college), attending classes and coming back home exhausted. The busy schedule being a very good excuse to skip exercise.

I was gaining weight, telling myself I’ll start exercising from tomorrow, but never inspired enough to act on it.

– What inspired you to take up running?

This happened right after Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2015. My dad told me about the list of people who participated in that marathon, which came in our community magazine, and we both found it very cool. It was in that moment that we told ourselves this seemed like a good idea and we took up running, planning to do a 10k in the upcoming Hiranandani Thane Marathon. I practiced and trained everyday for a month.

I could run/walk only 2.2k in 30 minutes on the first day, and realized I had a long way to go, if I wanted to finish the 10k nicely, in good time. And I slowly started loving it a little more everyday, when I could see the improvements in myself.

-The excitement of your first long run/race?

My first long run was actually the marathon itself. I had never gone beyond 6k in training, but I told myself “I am going to run this race without walking for even a second, I’d rather slow down as much as I have to”. Luckily my training proved sufficient and I finished the 10k in good time, and without any cramps or injuries.

– The feeling of accomplishment?

That feeling of accomplishment, I will never forget. Be it a 10k, a half marathon, a full marathon or any other event of such kind; that feeling of having finished a marathon is still the same, as if it were my first race and my biggest achievement.

– what kept you going?

The realization, that I was capable of doing so much more than I ever thought I could, pushing my boundaries and going beyond my comfort zone, is what made all the difference. I could see myself and my capabilities in new light, and set out to explore all that I could do. I was never short of inspiration and motivation after that. Although I could accomplish so much, I drew inspiration mainly from 2 places :

1. My forever training partner and the person who always pushed me to do more, My father!

2. Realizing me taking up running inspired a lot of people around me, especially in my family to take up running or some sort of activity to stay fit.

– Details of number of races which you have run?

My marathon count is as follows:

10k x 5

16k x 1

21k x 15

25k x 2

42k x 3

Duathlon x 1

– Your short term / long term running goals?

My goal for this season is to finish 10 half+full marathons. Hopefully get near a sub-2 finish by the end of February. My long term goals include training and participation into more full marathons, ultra marathons and triathlons.

-How did it change your life?

When I started initially, I ran just cause I wanted to, because it was exciting. My first few half marathons were all near the three hour range, and there was no improvement. It was my love for the sport, the willingness to do better in the sport that I loved, that inspired me to bring in changes. I started training in a more systematic way, watched what I was eating, became more active all through my day and changed my lifestyle altogether. Late night movies, outings and eating junk was replaced with sleeping and waking up early and exercising. In the process I also lost over 24 kilos without any strict diets or stressful gymming regimes with nothing but consistency being the key.

It helped me improve my performance, and made me more competitive in terms of bettering my own previous timings and without cramps or injuries. The improvements were also very evident in all the other sports that I played. Thanks to the sense of achievement, improvement and the flooding compliments from my people thanks to the massive weight loss and my new capabilities, it lead to a huge confidence boost and helped me find a new sense of happiness and content in the way I was living.

– Message to your fellow runners, beginners & those who dream to take up running a marathon some day?

The best part about running is, you don’t need any kind of special equipment to start. All of us have a good pair of sport shoes. The two main things necessary to run is “your will to run” and “your eagerness to step out of your comfort zone”. All I ever invested into this sport was effort, blood, sweat, time and tears; and it has paid me back dividends in the form of confidence, achievements, lifetime memories, mentors, countless colleagues and new friends, and so much more! And all I have lost in the process is an unhealthy lifestyle, lots and lots of weight and the “I cannot do this” attitude!

All I ask from everyone is, just stick to it for the first 4 weeks. These weeks will be torturous, painful and will make you question your decision and want to quit. Get past it, and life will never be the same again.

“It doesn’t matter how slow or fast you go. You’re still faster than every other person who’s sleeping or wasting time behind a TV. All that matters is being a better version of yourself from the previous day”.

Happy running!

Regards,

The Travellothoner

My Third Full Marathon – TMM 2019

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20th January, 2019 was the big day for me. All those days of waking up before the sun while my bed was at its comfortable best, getting myself mentally prepared to run while I struggled to get my stride in order and through all that constant soreness, muscle pains and what not!

It was going to be a tough day. One I was mentally prepared for; however it actually turned out to be tougher than I anticipated. Running the race for the 3rd time this year, I thought I had a slight edge over some others thanks to my experience. But the weather gods had something totally different in mind.

I did anticipate the first 5-7k to be really hot and humid, thanks to the thousands of people together, as well as it being very humid towards Nariman Point. However, slowly as the crowds begin to separate, the more seasoned runners pulling ahead, it starts to get better, with more breathing space (literally) for everybody. And usually, you start to feel the cool air whisking through your face as you near Haji Ali.

However this year, it was way worse. I was sweating so profusely by 10k, that I already felt slightly light headed. And what good weather usually starts hitting you by 9k, only came to us around 15-16k when we hit the Sea Link. To give you a better idea of how bad it was, I shall type an excerpt from The Times Of India, dated 21st January which goes as follows:

A sweltering Sunday meant that nearly 40% more marathoners needed medical attention compared to last year: By noon, over 3,200 were treated at the event’s medical camps for dehydration, exhaustion and muscle cramps. Fourteen needed hospitaliztion, though barring two, the majority went home by evening. Because of heat and humidity, several seasoned runners said they took more than their expected time to reach the finish line: Many who wanted to beat their personal best were disappointed as their running time increased by 25-45 mins.

In the morning, the minimum temperature recorded by IMD’s Colaba observatory was 20.3 degree Celsius, 1.4 degrees above normal. The maximum temperature was 33.6 degrees, which was 4.1 degrees above normal. Adding to the unconducive weather was a humidity level of 93%. Studies have shown that elite athletes can suffer one to four-minute slowdowns due to higher temperatures and humidity.

This year cases of cramps and dehydration were more mainly due to warm and humid weather. Also, the number of hospitalizations were more than last year’, said Dr. Vijay D’Silva, director, critical care and medical affairs, Asian Heart Institute (AHI). As compared to the 2,324 runners who required medical attention last year, the number rose to 3,226 this year. As a point of reference, overall participation rose by a little over 200 this year.

Read the entire article at:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/67616609.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

It was a tough game mentally. I was running at a very good pace for the first 25k, covering that distance in just a little less than 3 hours. Then slowly as I felt a cramp start to build up, I had to slow down, and even walk in the midst cause I had another 17k to go, which would be just under the sun. And if that wasn’t enough, I felt morally depressed as I saw all the various pacers run past me.

Such is life. From a high of wanting to finish the race in 5:15 hours to wanting to quit at multiple durations, cause the cramps were getting to me. However, I knew this would be a blip on my running career, I’d never be able to forget. And giving up has always been something that’s very hard for me to accept on all levels. So I carried on, one step at a time, running slightly and walking all the more, doing my best to block all the pain that came with it. All is well that ends well I suppose.

Another thing I’d like to add at this point is, being well prepared for it, I don’t hate running as much as I did last time. I started my training keeping in mind this race a year ago, after finishing it in 2018. Last year, I did not take up running for almost a couple of months thanks to all the anguish and pain it caused. This time around, thanks to better conditioning, I’ve been on my feet on the day of the marathon and the next day (today); and I am looking forward to starting training again by the end of this week.

And like always, I did manage to run for the last 1.5k, just so that I could get this race over with. The timing was nowhere close to my liking, way past it. But it was a humbling experience and something that is going to surely help me grow as an individual and a runner. Looking forward to sharing many such experiences in the future.

-The Travellothoner.

My road to 26.2 Miles – Weeks 5 and 6

This is a string of posts that I have been doing over the last 6 weeks to document my way through training for a full marathon.

You can follow them here :

  1. My road to 26.2 miles – Week 1
  2. My Road to 26.2 Miles – Week 2
  3. My road to 26.2 Miles – Weeks 3 and 4

My goal through these 6 weeks has been to intensify my training regime and improve my diet, so as to get leaner and tighter while maintaining my muscle mass. So far, it hasn’t been the most successful road. Although I have managed to lose a few kilos, I’m still far away from my goal. In the meantime, I also planned to increase my weekly running mileage which hasn’t been going as well as planned either.

However, on the bright side, I have managed to improve my training regime to include almost 2 hours of workout or active time in a day, which includes a session of running and a session of weight training. Over the last 2 weeks, I have managed to clock about 35kms a week, which includes more inclines. And during my weight training sessions, I have started increasing my number of reps per set while maintaining the same level of weights.

My prime focus still has been on getting an adequate amount of sleep and focusing on recovery, while making sure I consume foods with ample vitamins, nutrients and most importantly protein.

My goal over week 7 is to clock atleast 45-50 kms which includes a long run of atleast 2 hours or 20kms. Over the next few weeks until the marathon, I have also decided to reduce my weight training to give my body more time for recovery. All in all, Core-Training is an area that I am going to emphasize a lot more on.

Do feel free to add tips or share your expertise in the comments below, especially if you feel I am not on the right path.

Until next time,

The Travellothoner.

My road to 26.2 Miles – Weeks 3 and 4

In response to my posts from earlier, I continue ahead. If you haven’t read it before here’s a link to it.

Part 1 : My road to 26.2 miles – Week 1

Part 2 : My Road to 26.2 Miles – Week 2

The idea initially was to post a weekly update as well as my training plan along the way. However, week three was uneventful or vaguely eventful and so I decided to club the 2 weeks. However, I don’t think that will be necessary in the weeks to come, since training has picked up quite some pace this week.

So for week 4 so far, I’ve managed to cover about 35 kms. I also managed to do my weight training 3 days a week in the evenings and some core work along the way. The day-wise breakup is as follows:

Day 1: Morning : 5k running.  Evening : Chest & Triceps.

Day 2: Morning : 35 mins of yoga and core. Evening : 7kms running.

Day 3: Morning : Back and biceps.  Evening : 35 mins of cycling.

Day 4: Morning : Rest.

Day 5: Morning : 7kms running.

Day 6: Morning : 10kms running.

Day 7: Morning : 4kms running.

In the meantime, I have also managed to tweak my diet to increase my protein intake and reduce my carb intake. I instead consume more of fats. I have also managed to shed another kilo and that has really managed to add a spring to my step while running. I also climb about a 100 flight of stairs a week.

Another step I’ve taken is increase the amount of stretching to avoid feeling stiff. I stretch a few times a day now, especially if it’s been a sedentary day. The diet and workout changes have certainly improved recovery.

For next week, I intend to increase to 40-45kms and do some more stretching and core work, coupled with some strength training.

 

Until Next Time,

The Travellothoner.

My Road to 26.2 Miles – Week 2

After writing my first post last week, My road to 26.2 miles – Week 1 , what I thought would be the beginning of a fast journey towards achieving my goal, has turned out to be quite a slow and sluggish start. At the peak of my training, I literally waited all day just to get a workout in or head off to the gym. That’s certainly not the case anymore.

I find myself bored and making excuses to get out of going to the gym, or from going for a run, something which I hated to do a couple of months ago. I realise now, that it’s going to take a while before things are back into place like they originally were. It also does not help that I actually have genuine excuses in the form of exams approaching next week.

But having said this, there has been progress none the less. I did manage to run about 25kms this week, do 4 days of weight training climb about 45 flights of stairs and lose 1.2 kgs in the process. Its not the best start, but its better than not to have started. I just need to find my drive and find that work ethic that got my blood running the last time around.

My goal for the coming week (given I also have an exam to prepare for), is going to be to atleast get 30 kms worth of running and eat better and lose another kilo. At the end of this week, the real training shall begin and it’ll be time to raise my training intensity many fold. For now though, I am busy trying to find my legs under me and get into a good rhythm.

My situation has been similar to that of an athlete who comes off an injury. Full of enthusiasm and desperately trying to do too much and get back to speed as soon as possible, as if nothing ever happened. And in the process, managing to be all over the place, while still not being 100% game ready and probably not having lost some of that injury weight. But I shall get better, and that is a promise!

Until Next Time,

The Travellothoner.

My road to 26.2 miles – Week 1

From this point on, I have exactly 8 weeks to prepare for my full marathon at The Tata Mumbai Marathon on 20th January 2019. It’s going to be very tough and a challenge in every sense, since I was busy with exams and haven’t trained for a single day since October. Running itself has been on hold since over a couple of months now.

I’ve decided to document my entire journey through these 8 weeks, so that it’s easier for me to keep a check, and this is a way for me to keep myself accountable. For anyone reading, I have been running since a couple of years now, and have finished 2 full marathons at the same event in the last 2 years. So, my body is used to running 10k a day and taking up some light weight training in the evening. I also take excessive care of my nutrition during this period and focus greatly on recovery.

So to actually go on this journey is not completely alien to my body, and hence not as enormous a task as it may appear. It also helps that I am aware of my body reacts to various changes in my diet and exercise routine, and how I’m supposed to bounce back from it.

My goal over a span of 8 weeks is to lose about 6-7 kilos and run enough miles to enable myself to finish my full marathon within 5 hours. Currently, I am at 78 kilos, which is about 3 kilos over my mean weight this year, and by the end I am hoping to weigh around 70kgs.

To do that, my first week goals include running about 35-40 kilometres, and do light weight training, just to get my body back into rhythm and slowly ease into the intense training that will follow. Primary focus being on stretching and not overdoing anything, and to avoid injuries or exhaustion.

As the weeks go by, I shall put a weekly update regarding training during that particular week, and see how and where I end up. Hopefully, by the end I am well prepared and in a good shape to hit my goal. Wish me luck!

Until next time,

The Travellothoner.

Taking the first step

The question that I get asked more than anything is, “How do I start running?”. Once people find out that I run a lot and race frequently, they want to know what the first step is in becoming a “runner”. Of course everyone is different and has a different journey, but most people I talk to want a straightforward, “how-to” guide on how to start running long distances. This question may seem simple, but it comprises of many parts, so let me break down the first few steps on how to become a runner.

  1. Realize that you became a runner the moment you decided to run

You don’t have to run every day to be a “runner”. You don’t have to have run a marathon to be a “runner”. The only thing you need to do to become a “runner” is lace up your sneakers and start moving! It’s as easy and as hard as that. Don’t let anyone tell you that your miles are less important that theirs. A mile is still a mile! And it’s a mile that you completed, and it can never be taken away.

 

  1.  The first step is the hardest

Getting yourself up and out the door to take that first step is hard. It’s scary and difficult, and you know what, it probably won’t be that much fun either. But at the end of the day, you’ll be so glad you did it. And getting up for that second run will be hard. Not as hard as the first one, but still difficult. And each time you lace up and get ready to get out there, it will be difficult and your brain will think of a million reasons for you to go back to bed, but once you are running, you will be so thankful that you became a runner.

 

  1. Consistency is key

Getting out on that first run is hard, but the only way to make sure it keeps getting easier is to keep doing it. You can’t just stop after one run! You have to keep moving. It is said that it takes 21 days to form a habit, so think of it as you need to run consistently for 3 weeks for your body to understand that you are doing this new thing now and it needs to get used to it. Also, “consistently” doesn’t mean every day. It can be every other day. It can be three days a week. Just make sure you keep moving.

 

  1. Set a realistic goal

Everyone is different, so everyone’s goals should be different. But you need to have a goal to determine if you are making progress. Your goal can be to run three days a week for a month. Your goal can be to run your first 5k,10k, half or full marathon. Whatever goal you choose, make sure it fits you and is realistic for the amount of time you are willing to put in to reach it. Running is an addicting sport, and once you start to feel strong, you want to feel strong for as long and for as often as possible. Keeping up with your goals and setting new ones can help you to feel strong and confident in your new sport.

 

  1. Advance a little at a time

When you first start running, you have to start slow and short. Maybe run/walking is more your speed. If so, that is totally ok! Don’t push yourself so hard at the beginning that you hate it and resent running all together. Once you have figured out a good starting point for you (maybe running one mile), decide how long you want to hit that goal before adding on a little. A good measure is by week. The first week you run a mile each run, the second week you run a mile and a quarter. The third week you add onto that. And just keep going. Adding on a little at a time will get you to your goal without burning you out too quickly or hurting yourself.

 

  1. You’ll need a good pair of running shoes

This one is probably the hardest part. When you start running consistently (I say consistently because it makes no sense to spend a good deal of money on good running shoes and then let them rot in the side cause you think running isn’t for you), your Nike Free’s aren’t going to cut it anymore. You need something with support that will protect your shins, hips, and knees. The best way to do this is by going to your local running store with gait analysis and then recommend what type of shoe is best for you. If you don’t have that option, I would recommend Asics, Nike or Adidas are safe bets. However, it can take you as long as a year to figure out the right kind of shoes for you, and that preference may change with time, as you figure out your feet and change your goals. And make sure you don’t judge a shoe atleast until you’ve run 50 – 100 miles or roughly a month or two in them.

 

  1. Most importantly, you need to learn about post run snacks

Last, but certainly not least, you need to treat yourself for going the extra mile (literally)! You can refer to my article from before : What To Eat And Drink Before A Run. It is equally important to reward yourself too. If you get up early on Saturday for a run, go to brunch after. If you pushed it a little farther this week than last, go for that ice cream sandwich. Treat yo’ self. You deserve it.

I hope these tips were helpful to you and were insightful about how you can become a runner too! You can refer to the links below for more information.

 

Regards,

The Travellothoner.

What To Eat And Drink Before A Run

What you eat before, during, and after you run can make or break your training. Eat too little and you’ll bonk—that is, run out of energy to finish your run. Eat too much and you’ll find yourself running to the bathroom. Mid-run fuel—sports drinks, gels, gummy bears, etc.—helps you sustain energy to finish the effort.

BEFORE YOU RUN:

For energy, you need to eat something before any run lasting more than 60 minutes. Ideally, you should have a high-carb, low-fiber meal three to four hours before you plan to run. That period gives your body a chance to fully digest, and it reduces risk of mid-run stomach issues. However, if you’re running in the morning, it’s not always possible to leave that much time between your meal and your run. If you have at least an hour before your workout, eat about 50 grams of carbs (that’s equal to one Banana, 4/5 dates with 4/6 Almonds ).

For Long RUN, consider adding in a little protein, which will help sustain your energy levels.

(Pea-Nuts and Jaggery or 2 eggs is good option)

DURING YOUR RUN:

Taking in fuel—in the form of mostly carbohydrates—during training runs that exceed 60 minutes will help keep your blood sugar even and your energy levels high. Runners should consume about 30 to 60 grams of carbs per hour of exercise, and it’s best to spread that out over time intervals that work for you, such as every 20 minutes. You can get the right amount of carbs from a sports drinks (16 ounces Energy drinks or Dates, for example),

Real foods, like a quarter cup of raisins or two tablespoons of honey, also provide the right amount of easily digested carbs that will energize your run. Everyone’s tolerance for fuel is different, however, so the key is to find out what works for you during your training so you know what to take in on race day.

AFTER YOUR RUN:

Eating a mix of carbs and protein within 30 to 60 minutes post-run is crucial because it helps speed your body’s recovery. Carbs help restock spent glycogen (or energy) stores, while protein helps repair microscopic damage to muscle tissue. If you ran easy for less than 60 minutes, plan to have a small snack (like Idli/Upma/Poha) or whatever your next meal is, such as eating a breakfast of oatmeal with raisins, nuts, and a splash of milk after a morning run. If you ran hard or for longer than 60 minutes, you need something more substantial.

WHAT TO DRINK:

You need to drink enough before, during, and after your run to perform your best. Indeed, just 2 percent dehydration can slow you down. It’s especially important to stay on top of hydration during warm summer months, when you sweat more. While some experts recommend you stay hydrated by simply drinking when thirsty, others suggest you develop a customized plan by performing a sweat test—that is.

weighing yourself before and after exercise:

Any weight loss corresponds with fluid loss, so try to drink enough to replenish that weight. Before you run, you should have six to eight ounces of water, sports drink, or even coffee. While you are running, you should aim to take in three to six ounces every 15 to 20 minutes. Water is usually fine for runs in the 30- to 60-minute range. After runs longer than that, and you should consider a sports drink with carbs and electrolytes to replenish sodium.

Mumbai Marathon 2018 – My Second Full Marathon

371 days. Redemption.

Those days and that word has been playing on my mind ever since Mumbai Marathon 2017. Its one thing to miss your target, a completely different thing to be disappointed at your own performance cause your 100% was simply poor.

My first target for full marathon has always been to finish it in 5 hours, and I am not stopping until I get there. Although I could not achieve the same this year, I am not entirely disappointed with my performance, mainly cause I managed to shave off a good 53 mins from my previous attempt.This years experience for me was much better than last year for so many reasons.

Performance in 2017 Vs. 2018. Net Timing in 2017 was 6:36 hrs. 

Since I wasn’t amongst the last runners , there was an adequate amount of water, relispray and other services. Although, water sponges are still a luxury only faster runners can afford. Other than that, the weather was significantly better this year and an early finish meant lesser time in the afternoon sun. It also meant, more fellow runners alongside, which is just easier mentally.

The best part was after the race. Unlike last year, I had quite some energy left. The following 36 hours was simply soreness and a slight bit of stiffness; a way of the body saying, ‘you did run a full marathon yesterday’. Last year, I was almost flat on my ass, wanting to sleep and not get out of the bed cause I was afraid my legs wouldn’t be able to carry me. This year, I was back in the gym after 36 hours.

I also learnt that better running also enables better learning. Unlike last year, since I did not have to use all my mental reserves into finishing the marathon, I also had the mental ability to identify my mistakes. How I’m supposed to pace myself through the whole race, my hydration frequency, etc. Simply put, the quality of experience gained this year is far more superior than last year. Could never have noticed these things previously, cause my brain was busy reminding me and pushing me to finish and nothing else.

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That’s me and my forever young father, who finished his half marathon in 2:24 hours. Mind you, he is 53 and has no intentions of slowing down.

I’ve never needed any outside motivation, cause I get some from the man across the mirror, and the rest from the man right next to me, proving by example that ‘Nothing is impossible’ and that ‘Its never too late’.

In conclusion, I’d say that running a full marathon is always going to be painful. You can never train enough to avoid pain. But you can train enough to reduce it and get used to it. Also, if you’re mentally strong and determined to do it, no power in this world can stop you from achieving it.

 

Regards,

The Travellothoner.