Marking an event. 8 kms running. Without halt!

I am short and fat (in numbers - 5'3" and a little over 60 kgs), and by no means super fit. A month or so back I started brisk walking — only because there’s a beautiful park just 500 metres away from where I am temporarily located and I love nature!

One day while walking, a thought struck me — since I was putting in an hour of my day, every day, walking, why not add more quality to that one hour and start running!

The first few days I couldn’t run 100 metres at stretch. I gave up pretty quickly. And my brain kept telling myself, ‘I am fat, I have less stamina, I can’t do it.’ Legs followed the orders. And stopped. No arguing.

This went on for a few days and I realised now I could actually do 200 metres without stopping. This happened naturally. Again, no extra effort. The brain was still telling wrong things and instead of stopping at 100 metres, I was just stopping at 200 metres. Nothing exciting.

All this while I wasn’t liking the loser feeling that came with stopping and giving up. So I decided to give myself goals — very short ones. The first one was that I needed to start running 1 km without stopping. Trust me, this was easy. 4 days later, I got it up to 2 km and then a few days later made it to 3.

Just yesterday I completed 7 kms — 5 km running and 2 km brisk walking.

Today, I just made one change — I told my brain, ‘Whatever happens, don’t stop!’ I realised my legs didn’t ache any extra than what they used to in the past so many days when I was running less. It was absolutely same. Just that my brain was now responding to the goals I had set for myself. All I had done was asked it to not stop. And the legs, similar to how they responded when I told them to stop, didn’t stop when I told them not to.

It was simple. Very simple.

Since it’s that simple, I am hoping to get my daily routine up to 10 kms of running. Every day.

Here are the three take-aways from my running spree so far:

  1. If you read the first few paragraphs well, you would have already got it. Running doesn’t happen from legs, it happens from the head. You don’t have to train your legs to run; you have to train your brain to not stop.
  2. Don’t run fast in the first few minutes. I have experienced this first hand — If I ran really fast in the first few minutes, I would exhaust my energy very early and the rest of the time the mental effort would need to be much more only to compensate for the low physical strength. Take it slow and mostly keep a consistent speed.
  3. Add music to your routine. Music helped me block my bodily sounds which gave negative signals to my brain. With music, I could no more hear my heavy breath or panting or throat choking noises. And that really helped. Mentally, I wasn’t getting exhausted at all. The best thing is that because of an awesome app called Gaana I didn’t even have to prepare a music list or spend time downloading the right kind of tracks that would be suitable for running; Gaana has tons of playlists already made — for dance, for workout and even for running!

And a bonus tip — if you don’t know how to tie shoe-laces, or still rely on the flower knot (I do), learn a few knots. :P Really! Bending to tie shoe-laces breaks the running flow. And it always takes me a few seconds to come back in the rhythm.

That’s it! If you haven’t already, start running. It’s relaxing, it’s rewarding and it’s super beneficial for your health and well-being.