START.YOUR.RUN.

A snapshot of my Nike Running Club app on my phone

So after about five years, I took up running again. Let me back up a bit to give some perspective on my health and fitness journey. I had never played sports or done anything related to fitness most of my childhood. I did learn dance, and the classes were once a week. So in my mid-twenties I started paying attention to fitness, and I naturally tend to gravitate to aerobic activities. I did aerobic classes which is floor and step workouts and mild weights for about a year or two. I couldn’t run more than 1.5-2 minutes at a stretch on the treadmill however. And I was twenty five.

Fast track to some years of continuous training at a gym when I lived in the United States, and improved levels of stamina and muscle toning. I had still not really run much, occasional treadmill or park runs happened but nothing was tracked or timed.

Fast track a few more years after the birth of my first child, and I started running with specific time or distance goals. A combination of treadmill runs and outdoor runs in the gorgeous vast roads and meadows where we were living at. Between 2013 and 2015 I started being able to do sustained runs of ~30 minutes without stopping and the 5k became an easy regular activity, a couple of times a week.

Fast track a few more years after the birth of my second child. I spent 2+ years getting the body back and working on stability and muscle toning in small measures. I’d run now and then but again it was random untimed runs and I never knew what I was doing.

So when the lockdown of 2020 started, I decided to revive my running. It started off bumpy. At best I could run between 5-10 minutes without stopping. I dropped my pace. My knees hurt. I shortened the runs. My knees still hurt. I added some dynamic stretches. They still hurt a bit.

I went up to read about runners knee, running postures and how to strengthen your legs to run. I had a friendly chat with an orthopedic doctor and said I don’t want to stop running after reviving it after such a long break. What do I do? I asked him. I checked my shoes, checked my posture and added dynamic stretches. How can they hurt for such short distance runs, 3-4 km about 3-4 times a week, I asked. He recommended that I continue with short frequent runs and not stop altogether. And that leg strengthening may help.

So I looked up more leg strengthening videos and incorporated them into my daily exercise routines. A couple of squats, lunges and knee ups. Mandatory dynamic stretches before the runs. Proper cool down stretches after the run. And so I managed a 100 km of running in the last two months! Well, it is not a big feat. It is not a great display of endurance. It is a moderate paced regular activity. It is not giving up in the face of small roadblocks. It is pursuing what I like and finding a way to somehow fit it in. I love running. I love listening to music and podcasts when I run. I love the cool mornings and outdoor breeze. I love seeing the same familiar faces when I run, the silent acknowledgements. And I love the fact that I choose not to give up. There’s much to improve, but I consider this first milestone of 100 km an important one.

And oh yeah, the 101… that was just for kicks. I call it the ‘auspicious brahmin running number’ 😉

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