Running is an addiction

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I am addicted to just one thing in life i.e. to the feelings associated with the end of a long run.

I love feeling empty, clean, worn-out, and sweat-purged. Love the good ache of the muscles that have done me proud.

In the last couple of years running has become my meditation, mind flush, cosmic telephone, mood elevator and a lot more.

Also, remember, this feeling you get from a good run is far better than the feeling you get from sitting around and wishing you were fit.

So get up and get running. 😊☺️

#RunwithRaah 🏃🏻‍♂️

Ups and Downs: Half Marathon under 1 hour 50 minutes

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1929401_9718797645_9558_nIt was back in January, 2013 when I timed my 8th Half Marathon (21.097 kms) at the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon (SCMM) in 2 hours and 17 minutes. The timing was not bad, knowing the fact that I had not prepared for it, but, I wasn’t really happy about it. My dream was to run a Full Marathon only IF I was able to successfully finish a Half Marathon in or under 2 hours. I was unhappy, as I would not want to transition from a Half to a Full Marathon otherwise. But dejectedly, I fizzled out in 2013 and then again the next year.

In 2014, I clocked another Half-Marathon in 2 hours and 24 minutes. It was a depressing finish, to lose 7 minutes that year as compared to my last run in 2013, and I had shown no signs of improvement. Unfortunately, I had had a mid-race injury, and in spite of that I over-burdened my legs just to cross the finish line. (and then, I could not run again for the next 3 months – injury is bad !!).

After 80-85 days of restoration, I was back to running in March, 2015, I left my past behind me (failed not once, but twice). I had to learn from the mistakes and would have to figure out a way to overcome it. Well, after all that intense thinking and thorough analysis, the only thing that was a daunting hurdle and was possibly missing from all these years was “TRAINING”.

I got my answer. It was a clean slate then. Let’s get to work.
I had 9 months to get trained for a Half Marathon at SCMM, 2016, is that enough? or is that way too much?

We plan rigorously, we start over-enthusiastically, we follow it occasionally, and then we forget about it. That’s life. Nothing is permanent.

Keeping that in mind, I figured out (from my past record @ the GYM) that it may take me 4-5 months to transition from an enthusiastic phase to a lethargic phase. I chose to get trained for a 10K instead and keep SCMM, 2016 next on my list. Friends, you may have faced a similar situation many-a-time in your life, wherein you split a long-term goal into multiple short-term goals, because you understand that it would get easier to achieve it that way.

So yeah, I had a plan (starting in May, 2015). My short-term goal was to finish a 10K in 50 minutes at 5 mins/km (considering that the remaining 11 kms would take less than 1 hour and 10 minutes to get to the finish line).

My trainings would include assorted runs from Warm-ups, to Short runs for 30-40 minutes, to Tempo runs for 40-50 minutes, most importantly Interval and Fartlek runs for 60-90 minutes, and the obvious Long runs that would last for an hour or two. I had a plan, and I will say that it was not so easy to follow it rigorously and to take time out from a “busy” schedule. So to be honest, I was neither 100% regular nor did I follow every session in my training plan, but I had to ensure that I didn’t miss out on any of the mid-week Interval runs or the weekend Long Runs, and at the same time I had to allow a cool-down period for my body to recover from between the runs.

On 10th October, 2015 after 5 months and 225 kms, I was already going steady between 5 – 5:10 mins/km.. and to my realization, I had run just 45 kms a month or a mere 10-11 kms a week and I was yet able to pace up. By then, I had completed a couple of mock 10K runs in and around 50 minutes (IMPORTANT – weekend long runs), so I was confident and ready for the Race Day.

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It was Sunday 11th October, 2015 at the Pune Running Beyond Myself where I realized my Short-term goal by clocking in the 10K in 49 minutes and 31 seconds without any hindrance. There were no failures this time around, and the next step was to move onto another short-term goal which was by then on top of my list.

My confidence level was high, and my performance was booming, so instead of finishing a half-marathon under 2 hours, I thought, why not try for a 1 hour 50 minutes finish. After a successful 10K, I had patiently gathered the confidence of maintaining a constant pace through out my run. I had to go for it.

In the next 75 days, another 180 kms and by maintaining a constant pace of 5 mins/km on most occasions, I had the last 3 sessions of 6 kms in 30 mins on 7th January, 2016, 12 kms in an hour on 9th January, 2016 and again 6 kms in 30 mins on 12th January, 2016, I so knew that I was ready for the Race Day.

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There are those weird days when you are nervous and you really don’t know what would happen, and then there are some good days when you already know the outcome.

The 3rd Sunday of 2016 was one of those “good days” for me. I finished a Half-Marathon at SCMM in 1 hour 48 minutes and 21 seconds.

I made it happen !

What’s next on my list? Full Marathon in 2017, yes, I’m on it.

11412245_1578739959057795_225058974112599071_n252812529You may be strong or you may be highly active, but it is definitely not a cake-walk if you have to finish a Half Marathon under 1 hour 50 minutes or even a 10K under 50 minutes. Even if you manage to do so without any kind of training, you may end up having a bad injury.

So, better get TRAINED and then, there is no stopping you.

A friend asked, “I want to run a Half Marathon this year, can I lose some weight on that day?”

The answer is “No you cannot lose weight by just running ON THAT DAY”, but if you undergo a training plan depending on your food habits (i.e. diet) and that suits best with your body type, you can very well achieve your targeted weight loss within a short span of time i.e. whether or not you run on that race day, you will definitely feel lighter after a successful training session.

More questions? Feel free to ping me.

Thanks much !