Thinking about starting to run.. Read on, whether you are 16 or 60..!
I did my first road race in India, this January, The SC Mumbai Marathon. None of my friends had participated in it. In the month of May, at the TCS World 10K in Bangalore, Four of my friends joined. And then in DRHM 10K at Chennai, 9 of my friends joined. Let me remind you, most of them had never been to sports. It was all possible due to lot of coaxing, early morning phone calls, angry blanket removals and threats (some motivating blogging too), not to undermine their steely determination, especially Ashwin and Saki.. It was soon followed by thirsty mornings, hunger pangs, muscle cramps, strains and some unwanted worry of tendon troubles and ligament tears.. More or less, it has been a fun journey so far..!
And, there is lot more races in 2013 and I am hoping to add more friends on to that list.. This is just the beginning after all..!!
So, I get a lot of questions regarding running and about the insane (according to my mom) running I do.. Everybody complain that they can’t run farther than a 100 feet. So, I am going to write for some clarity for those beginners.
According to me.. YES, me.. there are three stages of running.. that’s a bit vague.. Since, I haven’t run past 50km or more than 7hrs at a stretch yet..!! So let me call it “Three early stages of running..”
So, the main characters in my story are The Brain(The “thing” which named itself and everything else), The heart (for its actual physiological purpose and not the metaphorical drama), The lungs(The biggest gainer, if people switched to endorphins from nicotine), The muscles, ligaments and joints.. (The actual ground zero..!!) Well, apart from that there are numerous side kicks which we won’t bother for the time being. So, Let’s start running.
STAGE 1: Congratulations, you have taken the pain to get up and start running. You have crossed the biggest hurdle. Let us now see how you fare. You might be a sprinter at school, a cricketer, a couch potato or a marathoner, you need to cross this stage.. So don’t worry.. You Lace up, and there you go, one step ahead of other, the arm swings.. Then something happens… TAda..!!! Your breathing increases, the heart rate goes up.. Your brain asks you, “What the hell are you doing?”, You are a bit confused by the question, The questions now come like monsoon rain.. “There is no dog chasing you… There is no emergency..STOP! Do not run, when you DO NOT have to…!!” End of story. You stopped? Its OK!
I know many people who have quit after this stage. Its OK, we only STOP to START again..!
So what happens is that the brain finds no reason to run and asks body to comply, the heart rate and breathing rate got higher that brain got alarmed, the muscles feel sluggish since not much oxygen reaches there which is due to the fact that the blood supply hasn’t reached there yet and also the bones in your feet feels the pounding.. ” (So much freakin’ biology is happening in your body.. Phew!) Its OK, the brain is a bit ignorant. Once you silence the brain and continue running. You won. You have cleared the first stage..!!!
STAGE 2: Once, you clear the first stage, the heart rate eases, breathing becomes normal, you can even have a conversation and you can go on… and on.. You breathe, you feel sweat, you feel the breeze.. You are becoming free… You start to even enjoy a bit. Then comes the trouble.. The villains are always around the corner.. The carbohydrates level in your body is depleting, the glycogen level in the muscles is low. You are a bit dehydrated as well. (BTW, You got to close your mouth while running, Breathe through your NOSE, that’s what nose is there for..) And once the sugars level had gone down.. You feel tired, and you stop..!! End of story. Its OK!
Stage 3: Actually, when you keep running, and if its been for a while, your body very efficiently elongates the stage 2, so your carbs are munched much slower and you can sustain much longer and the third stage overlaps with stage two. In the third stage. The Fat stored in the body gets broken down. (This is roughly equivalent to your body eating itself.) This is when all the funny things happen, you get sudden surge of energy due to fat breaking down. You get reinvigorated. You run farther, a bit faster as well. You sense endorphins getting pumped from within, You experience that beautiful elusive “runner’s high”.
Once you master the stage 3. You can train how your body uses the carbs and fat. The body stores some amount of carbs and burns fat much more evenly. So. its pretty easy peasy right.?
So Lace up.. And Register for the next run.. It’s really simple, TRUST me..! You will enjoy it too.. !
List of some upcoming races in South India.
10K at Bangalore on Aug 15th.
1/2M and M at Hyderabad on Aug 25th. (I am doing 1/2M)
5K, 10K, 1/2M on Oct 6, Coimbatore Marathon (Going, event, yet to decide)
There are races in Nov, Dec and Jan.. Just start running, whenever you are ready, there will be a race.