For those of you who’re just joining me on my running journey, there’s something you need to know - I’m just like every other teenager! I love grabbing a delicious (and junky) meal with my besties and I detest hitting the gym after spending a long, hard day working. And just like everyone else, I know that I need a healthier lifestyle. So a couple of weeks back, with the help of my good friends at Nike, I decided to add running to my fitness routine.
And as you can imagine, it wasn’t an easy lifestyle change to get used to. When I went for my very first run, I ran 3 km - and it was challenging. I had to stop a few times to rest and completed the run in about 20 mins. For seasoned runners, that’s a fairly easy pace. For me, not so much! But what I learnt was that you just need to push yourself and keep moving. Or as Dory would put it - ‘Just keep swimming!’. And anybody who’s worked out knows that amazing feeling you get after an extensive workout. Yes, the one where every inch of your body is aching but you can’t get rid of that smile on your face. Although I was SO exhausted after my first run, I was already looking forward to the next.
Between the first and second run, due to my hectic schedule, I wasn’t able to go for any runs, however, I did manage to squeeze in a few workouts focused on endurance. Since I knew what I was in for, I was looking to increase my stamina.
So for my second run with Nike+ Run Club (NRC), I woke up before the crack of dawn. It was to be a 5k run. I was nervous, but also curious and backing myself up to be able to complete this run. I had to drag myself out of bed, but as soon as I reached the venue, I was wide awake. The energy at was palpable even at 6am! There was a group of 50 people who had turned up for the run. It really, really helps when you have good company while working out - the energy is contagious! Which is also why I was thrilled to have Megha Sarin as my running partner. She’s an amazing lifestyle blogger who really inspired me! She manages to keep her blog up-to-date and take out time for regular workouts. She’s basically achieved a lifestyle that I hope to adopt!
So getting back to my first 5k - we started it off with a much-needed warm up with Jyoti Ann Burrett, a star striker for the Indian Women Football team and a Nike certified trainer. Girls, remember, in order to avoid injuries, you must always do your stretches before your run or workout.
Once we were warmed up, we kicked off on our run through the by-lanes of Bandra. The run was curated by one of the Nike Running crew members, Jaie Bhadane, who’s a graphic designer by day. She charted the run route along some interesting urban art & graffiti and it was a fun way to see some interesting views of the Mumbai we know and love. We stopped for photographs along the route, which also gave me a precious few seconds to recover and catch my breath before continuing.
This run was a different experience from the first one. First, I had the company of a lot of amazing people. We were divided into groups of 10-15 people and each group was led by a pacer, according to our running pace. Have you ever come across people who push you to finish your run or cheer you to not give up while running? Well, I did. Our pacers continuously kept motivating us throughout the run. The second major difference I felt was that I was so much more prepared for the run. The first run was about understanding my body and the extent to which I can push it. And in this run, I used that knowledge to run better. I had more energy and also more confidence in myself.
The varied people who joined in for the run made me realize that running is a sport that can be adopted by anyone and everyone. Age or gender should not be a factor that keeps you from it. Also, you don’t need to participate in marathons to be considered a ‘runner’. There isn’t a measure or definition for that word. If you run, you’re a runner.
Another major issue I had with running was that I thought it might be boring. That’s something I realized on my second run that it’s really not the case! While one can enjoy peace & quiet or introspect by running alone, running can easily be a group activity. All you need is to get your bestie along or join a fun group like the folks at Nike+ Run Club. It has all the elements one can need to have fun - pumping music, interesting roads & a whole bunch of fun people.
At the beginning of the run, I have to admit, I was nervous and a bit scared. But I actually had a blast! The beautifully curated path, fun company, marvelous weather, pumping music - all contributed to making it a memorable morning. Not to forget, compared to what I was anticipating, it wasn’t too bad at all! I was pretty fatigued by the end of my first run but this time, I felt like I could just go on and on.
I always thought running wasn’t for me but these two runs with NRC made me think differently. I’ve accomplished things that I honestly thought were impossible (even one week before the run).
I thought running is hardcore, intense and it drains your energy completely. But after giving it a shot, I’ve changed my mind! It can be as hardcore or intense as you want it to be. And yes, you will be tired at the end of a run, but that’s not a bad thing at all. Here's what I have learnt - we are all runners and it doesn’t matter what speed you run at or how many walk breaks you need, you can become a runner. All it takes is a pair of shoes and the desire to get out of the door.
I’m currently work-in-progress, and it will definitely take time & regular runs to call myself a serious runner. But what I do know is I’m going to continue enjoying running! I know this because I’m more than willing to keep at it.
See you after my next run. I hope you’re as excited as I am!
Pooja Sundrani for Nike*