Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Why run!

Till recently - about 5 years ago, I thought running was such a boring activity. Just a monotonous, dreary activity that one can hardly enjoy. Working out in a gym with all the gleaming equipments and sweaty beautiful people would be so much better. Of course, nothing can beat my love for actual court/ground games- cricket, football, volleyball, tennis. I loved playing these as a kid - especially cricket and football. Would love to even now.
But the rules of the game have changed. I have become older. There is no time to play them anymore. For a proper sport, you need a ground/court. Playgrounds are hard to come by in India, and whatever are left, are being dumped with debris, rubble and garbage. For proper grounds/courts, you need a club membership and even then, most of them, are hosting birthday parties, weddings, sagais, mendhi, shendi (thread ceremony among Brahmins, in which, they tonsure the newly Brahmin kid, just keeping a small shendi:-).

You also need sports-gear - racquets, sportswear, balls. But most importantly, you need partners and players. You can't find them amongst your ilk - the most lethargic and unfit of all professionals - IT guys. So what can you pursue, to have some semblance of sport in your life? Running it is.

For a start, you can run anywhere. I run along a cul-de-sac, about 300 meters long. The road wasn't smooth earlier, but now, is just beautiful. Of course, it is not recommended to run on roads, as it is high impact and might damage your bones. But with proper footwear and running posture, you can eliminate/lower the danger.

You can run at anytime of the day. I tend to get late from work, so it is around 7-8.30 pm that I go sprinting. Of course, I can't go in mornings, because its painful to wake up so early.

Running doesn't require any skill. So anyone, can 'enjoy' running. You just need to know, how not to hurt your leg-muscles or over-do your work-out and you are fine.
There is the monotony, yes, but after about 20-30 minutes, you are in the zone, you sort of achieve a zen like feeling, which is very rewarding. Once you do it everyday, after-a-while, you can go indefatigably for any length of time.

Running is an activity that has immediate benefits in real-life. During your daily travel, you are hurrying along all the time, to or from work. Sometimes, you need to walk quickly and just plain run to catch that bus or the last seat in the bus and running gives you a real advantage. I adds a spring in your stride.

Sprinting (running fast) and long-distance running are totally different ball(of the foot)-games. However good your stamina is, if you are training for long-distance, you will be out of breath if you running quickly. So, you need to find your body-rhythm and run consistently and smoothly. The advice that the experts give is that when you run long-distance, you should be able to speak coherently (bit of gasping allowed) and smoothly to your (imaginary) partner.

Unfortunately, my training has ground to a halt since Friday. I am coughing like a train-engine. It seems to get better now and I hope to be on the road tomorrow.
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