Long–distance running, or endurance running, is a form of continuous running over distances of at least three kilometres (1.86 miles). Physiologically, it is largely aerobic in nature and requires stamina as well as mental strength.
For me, running has been a passion ever since I started it during my Under-Graduate days over 3 years ago. To be more specific, it started with realizing the amount of stamina I had while running some rounds around a cricket ground (I also play cricket). From 3 rounds, I stretched it to almost 20 rounds despite saying that each round would be my last. It was fun. I’ve never looked back nor have I had any regrets whatsoever. Moreover, I certainly never imagined myself becoming a long-distance runner, given my earlier image of being a solely studious person with an inclination to participate in quizzes and public-speaking contests during my school and early college days. That image has long gone to the burner at Symbiosis Infotech Campus.
To prepare for long distance races, such as the recent Fitness for Freedom Run where I stood 4th place, I run two to three times in a week during the late evenings for 45 minutes to an hour non-stop within the campus. So now you know the mystery guy running this whole time!
While many runners choose to run in the early morning, waking up early has never been my cup of tea. I use the Nike+ running app to measure my speed and distance in order to standardize my timing for any upcoming race. This app definitely helps in giving me a clear direction for my passion, with my timings for 5 km and 10 km consistently at around 21 minutes and 43 minutes respectively. As of now, my upcoming races include the 21-km Pune Running Beyond Myself (PRBM) 2015 on October 11, 2015 and the 42-km Mumbai Marathon on January 17, 2015. I ran my first Half-Marathon (21 km) last year in December (Pune International Marathon 2014), finishing 46th out of nearly 900 runners with a net time of 1:29:30 hours. The Mumbai Marathon will be my first Full-Marathon, for which I have a goal of completing in around 3 hours. Preparations are underway for the same. My dream is to participate in every World Marathon Major, namely Boston, New York, Chicago, London, Berlin, and Tokyo. Let’s see if I can survive the Mumbai Marathon first! Being an Indian is never an easy thing during these races, given the fact I hardly stand a chance against runners from Africa any day.
Here are some important tips to aspiring runners. With that, hoping to see more runners soon in campus:
- Hydration is essential. 4-5 Litres of Fluids are needed daily. One must drink lots of water as well as fruit juices and the occasional sports drinks. Fruit juices like fresh lime can provide electrolytes and salts which are missing in drinking water. Also, at least drink 2 glasses of milk daily. The bones in your feet are very tender and require calcium for strength.
- Eat food that is rich in protein (eggs, chicken, meat, nuts, dal and grams) and carbohydrates (rotis, chapattis, bread, etc.). It’s very easy to lose weight while running a lot, so do not neglect on eating healthy food. Cut down on junk food like chips, biscuits and sodas. Running regularly has helped me to improve my eating habits. Both quantity and quality of food matter a lot!
- Smoking and drinking are BIG NO’s for running. In fact, running can help you to quit smoking like it did for celeb runner Mr. Milind Soman.
- Always do basic leg, arm and body stretches before and after your run for 5 minutes each. That way, you are less likely to pull any muscle or minimizing chances of an injury while running.
- And lastly, if you are a first-time runner, take it slow and easy. Start your first week running for 5-10 minutes slowly. Gradually increase the time by 5 minutes each week while keeping your running speed relatively slow for at least a month before increasing the speed as well. Use the Nike+ running app to track your performances.