Yesterday I became another year older and hopefully a little wiser than the same time last year. Yesterday was also the second day of my restarted running journey after a long break. Running has given me a lot in the last 12 months and the break managed to undo some of the good; therefore it was good to get back.
I run because it is therapeutic almost meditative, a run can start off with self- doubts, negative thoughts, some aches and pains but slowly the body starts cooperating with the will and after some time the mind takes over and the body starts to move in auto pilot mode. I run early in the morning when the clean air and the cool breeze helps to get into this state faster though sometimes the sapping humidity can delay it. This state when I feel I am in “the zone” helps me to think clearly after I manage to empty my mind of its clutter. I meditate at times, plan my day or just soak in the moment while burning calories and holding a conversation with the fellow runners.
The fellow runners watch out for you and help to go a little bit more than when you run alone. It is fun to run with a group but it must be remembered that even with a group you still run alone. The rapid growth of running groups is a testimony to the benefits of group running. Having said that there are pitfalls of running in a group so new runners should proceed with some care. One size will not fit all, in some groups the standard template is extended to all which can be as comfortable as an ill-fitting shoe.
People feel that the high they get after finishing a race keeps them going and maybe it is true for many but for me it is the process the journey that helps in getting to the finish. The timing, the record, the standing are all incidental if you ignore the process that went behind it. The secret is to enjoy the journey because the destination is only the cherry on the cake.
The abundance of information on running and the various schools of running can be a little intimidating for a new comer but I have learnt over the last few months that everyone is unique and it is best to listen to one’s body before one decides on a plan. I also suspect that many of the plans many not be designed for Indians as they seem to be more for the Caucasians with differing body conditions, so it is good to proceed with care gradually. To eat an elephant you can only go one mouthful at a time.
I am now in the middle of a 7x7 challenge, which means I will run 7 kilometres for 7 consecutive days. These challenges have their own set of backers and naysayers but they have worked for me and so I choose to do it. The objectives for this challenge are simple:
· To make early rising a habit again
· To get used to running for an hour without a break
· To rediscover the joy of running again
It is therefore clear that every run be it an easy run, an interval run or any of the other options needs an objective that is measurable so that you can know if the objective was achieved at the end of it. The lack of an objective can kill the intended benefit.
I am happy that the journey has restarted and I aim to have fun along the way. It feels great to know that there are some runners who are also having a good time running with me.
Happy Feet, happier runners!