Running a 10km is not as tough or intimidating as many of us think. It is very achievable with a little bit of training and a good amount of motivation.
I recently ran a 10km in the Bangalore TCS Run. When I arrived at the venue there were over 5000 people queuing up. You could hear excited chatter all around and energy levels were rising high with anticipation. I was thrilled to see participants ranging from 10 to 70 years. There was music, an MC and even cheerleaders!!! Bang! the gun shot sounded right on time and we were off!
It was impressive to see so many people who had taken the effort to be there that Sunday morning for the love of running. The organizers too had created such a positive and supportive atmosphere for the participants.
There were even Bangaloreans who had volunteered to just come and cheer their city on! These guys were cool, they held up posters, gave us high-fives and I felt like a real star when I finished my run.
Human beings were born to run! It is the only movement after walking that comes effortlessly to us. We have known to be endurance runners from pre-historic times, we killed our prey by tiring them out and finally out running them. This makes running open to anyone – you don’t need talent you just need to be motivated and hit the road.
Another amazing benefit is that you get better with age. Unlike other sports where your peak is in your 20s/30s if you look up long distance marathon runners their timing often gets better with age.
There are a million reasons why running should be part of your lifestyle: weight loss, healthy, stress-buster, strengthens your muscles, makes your body lean, makes you more active, improves breathing, your overall posture improves and most of all a nice long run is calming.
If you are contemplating to start running, here are a few quick tips to kick start your schedule. Be sure you can achieve a 10km in just 3 months.
1. Get up , get out and just run: running is best done outdoors, the benefits are far more -fresh air for your lungs, natural surface and it is good training if you plan to compete in events in the future. But a treadmill can work if the weather does not permit outdoor running.
2. Start slow: Increase your run time and distance every week. Start with walking/ running in the beginning and slowly reduce the walking – a 1:4 ratio for an hour and finally it should be 2:1 ratio. Click here for a beginner plan.
3. Breath from your nose. Many runners make the mistake of starting with breathing from their mouth and later have to train themselves to learn how to breathe from their nose. If you are a beginner breathe using your nose from the first day. Proper breathing ensures you don’t get tired quickly.
4. Posture: Make sure your back is straight with your hands moving alternatively with your legs. When you start running longer distances, your arms play a role in propelling you forward in moments of tiredness. Be light on your feet and don’t pound the ground with each step.
5. Stretches: do basic warm up and cool down to ensure you are not sore.
6. Eat right: what you eat defines your energy levels. Running requires endurance, you need high energy to keep you going = carbs. So make sure you have rotis, oats, rice etc. but 3 hours before your run. Do not eat heavy right before you run, you can have a banana as a snack. Don’t forget to hydrate before, after and if possible during too. Dehydration while running can lead to cramps.
7. Track your runs: it helps you stay focused. You can use smart phone apps like endomondo, runkeeper etc. that will give exact information on speed, timing, heart rate, calories burnt etc. you can also invest in a Gramin or TomTom watch if you get serious about it.
The best way to start running is aim towards an event. It is surprising how we are most motivated when we work towards a goal. Check out http://www.indiarunning.com to see running events in your city.
You can join a group, to help you get started. There are plenty of running groups in every city. Reebok running squad, Runners High, Protons etc. these groups have trainers to help you better your speed and technique.
Running is the most sustainable activity for the mind, body and soul. It is an upcoming trend in India and all over the world. Don’t think about it too much just get off your couch and start immediately, the way you feel post a run will keep you hooked for life!