A myth shattered

I had been dreading today’s workout. I woke at 4:45 am. I have got my get-ready-in-the-morning routine down to a T now so I was down in the basement in 20 mins. A little earlier than needed. Drove with my car pool buddy to the workout venue. Did I tell you Runner’s High encourages car pooling?

The first activity was warm up – which meant 3 rounds or 1.2 kms on an easy jog or run. I walked a bit of that in the 1st round. Then ran non stop for the next 2 laps. Did the foot drills after that. They are fun, I like them.

This was followed by another activity – 8 laps of straights and curves. Had to run fast, about 75% of my sprint speed in the straight stretches – about 100 m. Then do a slow jog or walk on the curves another 100 m. Had to do 16 repeats of this. This is the part I feared before today. What I did the last time ,when it was 6 laps, I ran as fast as I could and then jogged/slow ran on the curves. What happened was that I wasn’t able to recover my breath just enough till the beginning of the fast straights and ended up running them also slow. After about 2 laps like this I was ready to give up, all breathless and tired. It was almost like running at an easy pace for 6 laps. I wasn’t getting what I should have out of the workout.

Today, I had decided to ask the coaches if there was a better way to do it. There had to be!

Like a fellow newbie runner said something like, It shouldn’t be a punishment. It should be something to look forward to and fun. If it is not fun then we won’t feel like doing it again.

Santhosh, the guy who started Runner’s High, was at our workout location today. He moves across the different work out locations every Wednesday. When I asked him how I could do this better without giving up mentally, he said, Do the fasts as fast as you can, while not sprinting full speed. On the slow stretches, WALK, do not run. Catch up your breath and get your heart to normal level before the next fast stretch. It is important to get your heart and lungs to expand more and work harder than they are used to then slow them down. This will help improve your stamina and run ability.

So I followed this to a T and that helped! I was able to do all 8 laps very easily. Ran the fast stretches, became almost breathless at the ends of those, which is what should happen. Then walked around to catch breath over the curves.

So the myth that workouts have to be painful to gain from them was shattered today. Yes they are not easy, BUT they don’t have to be a torture and something that scares you. If you are not comfortable, ask the experts and figure out the right way to do it.

Over a period of time I should be able to run/jog those curves also. But that will and should happen slowly not from day 1. Yet again, for some people with a decent fitness level it could be the state on Day 1. Just listen to your body and focus on the task, don’t do what everyone around seems to be doing.

Cheers!

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Dreading Wednesday!

The last week was my first with the Runner’s High group. And so it was my first weekend with them too. Saturdays are for long runs and Sundays for a run + strengthening exercises.

On Saturday my group was supposed to do a 3K easy run. Now when they say “easy” they do mean it and want you to run at a pace where you can breathe in a rhythm and talk easily. If you are panting, struggling to breathe or in pain then you are doing something wrong. I did that the initial few days when I started running on my own. I felt breathless after about 30 seconds of running. Eventually I did get to a pace where I could breathe in a rhythm and talk a bit while running. At this point of time I am not looking at pace, form, speed or time. All I am doing is trying to stick to the routine and breathe easy while running even if my pace is slow-er than anyone else around me. Slow and steady is the name of the game.

On Sunday I was supposed to do an easy 2K followed by stretches and strengthening exercises. We also did a gait analysis to determine what kind of shoes would I need. Turns out I do need to change my shoes (it’s been more than a year using my existing ones) and I need control shoes since I tend to overpronate. Too many terms you don’t understand? It’s okay. In simple terms my feet don’t fall straight on the ground with all parts touching the ground at the same time so I need to buy a shoe with arch support which will help prevent my foot from rolling in.

Off to shoe shopping soon 🙂 *The shop-a-holic in me is overjoyed!!

The post run strengthening was great. Discovered some more muscles that I did not know existed. But working on them is supposed to help in the long run to improve running form so do it religiously we shall.

Now to the title of this post. Wednesday is the day when we do quality work-outs. And it is supposed to expand your lung capacity to more than what it is now. That will help you breathe better, train your heart to work better and improve your running capacity.

But how they train you for it is what is tiring and scary. Scary because I dread feeling breathless and tired. It is also a lesson in humility when you realize your actual capabilities. I thought I could do this, no problem. But turns out I can’t. It made me realize that nothing in life comes easy, you need to work hard, push yourself and struggle before you can feel the high of success. That is, if you want to be really good at something, achieve perfection and master a new skill. Skimming through the surface  and taking it easy is what we all do most of the time or at least majority of the time. And no harm in doing that, it is perfectly fine to do what we like. I am a total believer in “Live Life your way, you get to do that only once and no rewinds possible!” But if you want to be good, you gotta work hard!

This post is not meant to scare you if you are planning to run soon. Just an eye opener that there is fun and easy moments, as well as tough ones. I don’t know for how long I will dread Wednesdays, but I will go to them all and work them out in the hope that I will be able to run better because of them.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great week ahead!!

 

 

 

Why am I doing this?

The alarm rang. I searched for the phone under my pillow to switch it off. Fumbled for a few seconds then got the OK button. Looked at the time. It said 5:00 AM. For a few milliseconds I wondered why did I set it up for 5 am? Then it struck me today was Wednesday, I was supposed to go for the mid-week run practice. The only weekday on which the Runner’s High group meets at 4 pre-decided locations in the city. We do a quality work out to improve our gait, strength and running form.

I got off the bed, picked up the clothes I had laid out the night before. Because I knew I would be too dazed in the morning to go looking around for stuff.  It was silent in the house, almost dark and a bit eery out there. As I was tying my shoe laces, I thought “Why am I doing this? Why?” No answer came. I paused then decided to just go ahead with the flow and do it. I am not going to ask why coz I already did that exercise earlier. Something good will come out of it – a learning, the joy of a new experience, a healthy body. Whatever.

I picked up my jacket and left. Came back 2 hours later and was feeling great! 🙂

The drills, the run, the stretches, the people, the coaches, the early morning weather, the feeling of getting out there and doing something, the way the body felt after all that exercise, the pain, it was all good. I thrive off meeting people, doing something new and exploring the world and people one bit at a time. This experience was giving me all that and more.

Run!

Run! (Photo credit: steve.garner32)

So far so good. I will capture my thoughts and feelings as I go along. The real thing, not just the end result.

Have an awesome day!!

Get set, go!

Started a new thing today. New milestone. New goal. New activity. New challenge. New faces.

All of these and hopefully more. A lifestyle change? A new habit? A new circle?

At the age of 33 I have decided to participate in my first professional running event. A 10K at that.

At this point I have my doubts about the how, what and when. But I was told this morning, at the introduction meeting of the training session, held by Runner’s High, that “When the alarm rings, put your feet down on the floor and stand up. Show up for the training and we will take care of the rest. The running will happen on its own.”

I shall have faith and get my feet off the bed!

#Excited #Anxious #Hopeful

P.S. – I still wish there was a 5K category in this event 😉