Having fun on the run?

FROM FAT TO FIT

Having fun on the run?

RUN FOR YOUR LIFE  Do not focus on the injuries you may have suffered. Banish all  negative thoughts and focus on the positive.

‘I can run 1 km now, how do I train for a 42-km marathon?’ People often ask, “What is a great training programme to follow?” and I point them to some web links such as runningandliving.com for varied levels of goals and performance which list some interesting schedules that millions have followed.

I also add that these schedules will give an all round exposure to what it takes for a marathon, and within that, the biggest learning the individual will get and the most training  he/ she will need to do, especially for the first run, is mental.

Steps to success

*Step outside your comfort zone — in many things that you do.
*Get used to varying climatic conditions.
* Give yourself a pep talk from time-to- time.
*Inculcate self-discipline in your lifestyle.

A good schedule will get you running to a 5-km distance in a reasonable time as well as enhance your level of fitness, in a span of 8 weeks. During these 8 weeks focus on the plan for the next day and the current week. Stay focused and you will soon find that your are able to run 2 km — 100 per cent more than what you could, earlier, and then 3 km.

Before you know it, you will be running and walking a 5-km distance comfortably. All this seems easier than it feels because each week breaks another mental barrier as you are being pushed out of your comfort zone and changing from ‘I cannot’  to ‘I can’. The 5k-run is perhaps the most significant landmark for a beginner and the sense of achievement of hitting the finish line with a smile is enormous.

Then comes the 8-week schedule for a 10km-run, followed by the 12-week schedule for a half marathon, and finally, the 18-week schedule for a full marathon. Physically, you need to space these out a bit and progressively grow the distance.

I foolishly decided to run my first marathon four weeks after I could just run my 5km-distance, non-stop, and when I launched into the first week of the marathon schedule, I had to run 14 miles or essentially 23 km. I thought there was a typo at first and then started reading ahead and felt beaten. I plucked up the courage to actually attempt the 23km-run, and I did. I walked and drank tons of water and dragged myself to finish this distance in 3 hours and that’s when a huge barrier was crossed. I had run more than a half marathon! Now there was no stopping me! All of a sudden, the rest of the schedule seemed very ‘do-able’.

*Follow the discipline of sticking to a schedule. Drink more water and fresh juice and less synthetic stuff, alcohol and caffeinated drinks. Eat fewer fried snacks and sugary foods and more raw vegetables, brown rice, multi-grain products and fruits.

*Sleeping a little earlier, getting up earlier, eating dinner by 8 pm are useful lifestyle changes. You will soon find that you are no longer the first to arrive and the last to leave a party, but neither do you have to lead the life of a monk! Moderation is what you teach yourself.

*Running outdoors in varying climatic conditions — windy, muggy, sunny and whatever combination — makes you a more resilient and adaptive runner and person for that matter. 

*From time-to-time, give yourself a pep talk and focus on the great runs you have had during training.

*Keep a simple log of how much you ran and how you felt psychologically and physically. Over time, analyse why you did well and felt good.

*Focus on how you can replicate that experience in your final run, about how you have overcome all odds.

*Do not focus on the injuries you may have suffered, or the runs that were missed, and other negative thoughts. Life is too short for such negative stuff. Have fun on the run.

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