I ran my first race at the tender age of five. I was in upper kindergarten (UKG) and my school was celebrating its Annual Sports Day. It was a ‘Banana Race': one had to eat a banana at the initial line and then run 50m to the finish line. Technically, I never even ran the race because the tubby little me, cared only for the free banana. So after eating the banana, satisfied and content, I just stood at the initial line.
That was ‘then’. Fourteen years later, fast forward to the present year, ‘now’. I participated in the Vizag Marathon and came first in the ‘Open Women’s Category’. I won a certificate, a gold medal and a cheque of Rs.10,000. Who could have ever thought that the ‘Banana Girl’ would grow up to become a ‘Champion Marathoner’?
The journey wasn’t easy, of course. And the transformation took it’s time. But I honestly feel that ‘running’ is a sport that can be embraced by anybody and everybody. It comes naturally to human beings- it does not need to be taught, because it is innate and self- evident. Unlike golf, tennis and swimming, it does not require a special environment (course, court and pool, respectively). It also does not need expensive equipment- just shoes, comfortable clothing and a steely will.
If you’ve ever felt like breaking the pattern of your sedentary lifestyle, doing something healthy and becoming active, then I urge you to take up running. You can start small- maybe walk, then take it up a level and jog and then go on to full-fledged running. But, you must find that determination and START!
Once you start, you can follow these steps and soon, you’ll be running long distances like a pro. You can then challenge yourself and participate in marathons. And who knows, maybe even win them!
STEP 1: START AND REMAIN MOTIVATED
‘Running’, like all other sports, requires commitment. Once you start training yourself, you need to muster up all your perseverance and keep at it. You’re not going to turn into a runner in a day, week or month. Accept that and don’t give up. Monitor your progress and stick to your regime. You’ll get your results over time. But when you do, you’ll look back and realise it was all worth the wait and persistent effort.
STEP 2: EAT HEALTHY
You can fasten your journey by embracing healthy eating habits. The deadly cocktail of diet and fitness guarantee long-term benefits. When you eat nutritious food, your internal health improves. This gives a boost to your stamina and energy levels, enhancing your performance. So, chuck the fries and soda. Grab an apple and watch your overall fitness levels skyrocket to unimaginable heights!
STEP 3: CHALLENGE YOURSELF
When you feel you’ve achieved your goal of running 500m without panting, crank it up a notch and try doing the same for 1 km. And then 2,3 and 4kms. Don’t follow stagnated goals. It is very important to keep moving forward. So you need to review your goals, increase speed, increase distance and then ensure that you’re meeting these goals within the given time frame. Remember, the key is to keep moving!
STEP 4: CHANGE THE SCENE
Your journey of transformation asks for your ‘patience’. Keep yourself going by changing your environment every now and then. If you’ve been running on your college tracks for over 6 months, try going to a park and practicing there. Or try a treadmill at the gym. Update your running playlist. Run with a friend. Jazz up the scene and make running fun! If you succeed in doing so, you’ll never have to come up with excuses to bunk training.
STEP 5: GET REST AND SLEEP WELL
Over-training can derail all your sincere efforts. Over-training can lead to muscle break-down, aches and serious fatigue. So if you over-train for a week and then need a week to recuperate from the damage, you’ve done yourself a huge disservice. It’s advisable to train only 5-6 days a week and keep at least 1 day of rest, when you let your body replenish prepare itself for next week’s training. Don’t let ambition blind you to the fact that you’re working with a human body, not a machine.
Now is the perfect time to add ‘running’ to your Resolution List. So get ready to get fit in 2016! Here’s to a ‘Healthy’ 2016! Hip, hip, HURRAY!
Image Credits: Kriti Sharma