Sunday, March 3, 2019

Find the optimal speed for your run

Although I have been running for many years now and have logged over 3500 miles, I do not consider myself a professional runner. For me, running is more for enjoyment than anything else. It makes me feel accomplished and is a sort of meditation that helps me find peace and calmness.
Nowadays, long distance running has entered into main stream society and people from all walks of life embrace it. Some people run to check items off of their bucket list, others to post on social sites, many for charity, a few are fitness fanatics, and several others just want to do it for fun. Whatever the reason, my friends and acquaintances often come to me for the quick recipe for self-motivation at times. Well, due to the various benefits I have experienced, I always encourage everybody to embrace the activity of running. I do my best to help them start but also try to convey to them in a subtle way that running is something they must devote themselves too and they have to find a way to get into this mentality- especially if they want to do a half or full marathon. It will require quite a bit of dedication, discipline and a solid routine if one wants to complete a run with a smiling face.

Besides the many topics which people generally talk about in running forums, there is one important factor which a novice or non-elite runner often misses – finding the ideal speed for your run. Most of the enthusiastic runners skip this point and focus more on logging distances during practice and combining walking/jogging/running with a running group. I am not saying that you won’t complete the race this way but the you may not be smiling at the finish line for the simple reason that you did not consolidate your body and your mindset in the best possible way. As a result, you often find runners limping with cramps or injuries at the end. Seldom will you find those runners coming back. Game over!
But not to worry! Here are some tips I have learned over my years of running-
  1.  Don’t over rely on running in a group because then your body and mind try to follow the pack. You won’t be able to discover your ideal speed easily because you are forcing your body and brain to follow somebody else.
  2. Running 3-5 miles frequently on your own will help you get to the optimal speed. Whether it takes weeks or few months depends entirely on your fitness level and past history with any other sport.
  3. At a high level, running either on a treadmill or outdoors should entirely be your choice.
  4. Running solo with music in your ears will allow you to establish a connection with your brain. In a month or two, you will know what your body is capable of and then you can make improvements.
  5. Don’t over stretch yourself just because you are following some Nike virtual coach.
  6. The key is to be disciplined to go out for a run on a regular basis so find ways to reward yourself and be motivated.
  7. The best way to finish a race is to run continuously at your optimum speed.
  8. Remember the turtle and the rabbit story. You need to be the turtle and keep going at your pace. And the key is to find “your” pace. 
Once you find your speed through experimenting with your body and brain, you can enjoy running. If you do it right consistently, there is also good chance that you will finally obtain your “runners high”- an amazing feeling of euphoria while running and then there will be no stopping you.

Happy Running!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Running long distance is pure joy!

“Running long distance is pure joy” – you will perpetually hear this from enthusiastic runners across the globe. In last four months, I ran three half and one full marathon and therefore truly in accord with the above statement. 

I went to Delhi in November to run Airtel half marathon with friends, which indeed was a fantastic experience. Post run party at Sheraton was the best part where I could see many winners, smiling faces happy from core because of what they did in the morning. Singing, dancing, drinking and mingling with all college and childhood friends brought back memories of our younger days. It was not that hard to unanimously decide that we will run and celebrate the occasion like this every year with more and more friends. Why shouldn’t we all celebrate the moment which makes us all happier and healthier? 

Later in December’16, I ran Trail half marathon in Texas with few of the best runners in the country. Couple of them were from world renowned “Tarahumara” tribe. And throughout the run, three words were echoing into my mind – we are “Born to Run”. If determined, there is nothing we can’t do and undoubtedly humans are the best creation of god. Unfortunately, we ourselves are responsible for destroying the power and abilities to live natural and strong.  We get indulged in short-lived luxuries of life and come up with excuses only to suffer later in life.

The next one was Houston marathon in January’17 where more than 30,000 runners participated in this prestigious Chevron event.  Weather turned out to be the spoilsport, made the run harder but could not dampen the enthusiasm. Although it was my third consecutive Houston marathon, the excitement was nevertheless the same.

The next race was in February’17, Rhythm and Blues half marathon in Houston downtown. Running with people from all ages with bands playing throughout the track was definitely a bliss. That day in Houston was particularly hot but could not curb the spirit of this running extravaganza.

Running gives utmost pleasure and peace. And I hope to continue this endeavor for rest of my life with my family and friends here in US as well as in India.


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Two half marathons – back to back (New Delhi & Houston)

When I look back in life just a couple of year back, running was never in my agenda. In my mind, it was a mundane task for only people who had less important things to do in life. Now when I do little introspection to what has changed, I comprehended that the rational was more to do with our Indian life style, pre-set milestones and what is nursed to us by the society over the years. We are apprehensive of doing things which are out of the box and made to believe that contentment can only be derived from certain activities- as dictated by society. Well, this scenario is changing now especially in today’s world. The contemporary way of living is significantly different from what it was 20-30 years ago. For most of us, internet exposure, social media and the influence of the outside world is playing a major role in shaping people’s life more than anything. Finding true happiness and peace has become more challenging than ever because we are surrounded by a virtual world which has lot of distractions. Isn’t it hard to decide what will give you true happiness? Or what is the goal of your life?
Well, running surely gave me lot of peace and self-belief. Recently, I went to India to run the Airtel half marathon with friends and family. Nothing gave me more pleasure than looking at their smiling faces and their genuine desire to remain healthy as they grow older. It is good to know people are realizing that ONLY a healthy body can keep the brain cells healthy. I came back and ran another half marathon here in Houston for charity. This made me feel amazing. Running two charity runs back to back with so many positive people – that was awesome. What is more encouraging that my kids – both Navya and Ishu always make me feel like superman when run. Talking to them about the benefits of stellar health and positivity besides the perks of studying becomes more meaningful when you walk the talk.
I hope this endeavor will continue forever. I have truly embraced running for life and wish that all my friends and family join me in this attempt so that we all can enjoy sound health when we move into our 60s, 70s and more.

Best wishes and Happy New 2017.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Top Reasons To Run

I am quite excited to make a trip to Delhi this year to participate in Airtel half marathon with bunch of my childhood friends. It gives me immense pleasure to see them join the “Fit Indian Run” gang on 20th November to do something which none of us dreamed few years back. I am sure the enthusiasm will stay forever and encourages many more to join us next year. Kudos to all our fit brigade.

The following is based on my personal running experience and research on internet. Hope it makes sense and motivates other to run or at least jog.
  1. Top Calorie Burning Exercise
  2. Enhance Metabolism Even When You Don’t know it
  3. No Equipment or Fancy Gear Required
  4. Superb For Your Social Life
  5. Solo Run Provide Time For Self-Discovery And Retrospection
  6. Elevates Your Mood
  7. Boosts Creativity and Build Confidence
  8. Provides Chance to Go Outside And Enjoy Nature
  9. Increases Self-Esteem
  10. Reduces Stress
  11. Fights Depression And Anxiety
  12. Gives You Energy
  13. Brings Positivity
  14. Lengthens Your Life Span
  15. Invigorates Your Sex Life
  16. Makes You Goal Oriented
  17. Turns You into a Good Human Being


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Katy Wellness 5k Run - 9/25

What the Houston wellness program is doing in and around Houston is truly admirable. How often you would find a timed 5k run where registration is completely free? It is a “must do” event for a beginner and any runner who are little reluctant in getting themselves registered for a race. Interestingly, you could just show up in the morning on the race day without even registering and still allowed to participate. Certainly, a big encouragement for people out there who would like to have a family 5k run on a fine Sunday morning to start their day on a high note.

This program has truly made the journey of wellness very simple. Their mission is to empower every individual to make healthy lifestyle choices with little hassle. Today there was one race at Freedom Park near Katy. Despite little rain during the night, hundreds of enthusiastic runners were present at 8 am at the start line. You could see the sense of triumph on their face after the race. During the race, the job done by all the volunteers and kids from Cinco Ranch High School was commendable. I must say that anybody who is interested in giving 5k a try must take advantage of this program. I can assure that you would be excited to be part of this program.

Last but not the least - although it is a free run, don’t forget to donate few dollars because we must support this organization for their noble effort to make Houstonians healthy and happy.  

Check out their site -

Monday, July 11, 2016

Running has Healing Power - How to Attain?

After embraced running for years, I have become a strong proponent of this sport for obvious reasons – health and fitness. Recently I completed 2000 miles of running and during this journey, I have read countless article on running, blogs from elite runners, inspiring stories and how it transformed their life in a positive way. However, my personal favorite one is always the healing power of running regardless of age, region, religion, culture, race and gender. It works almost for all in the same way. Even for avid runners, there is a natural tendency of give up on running because of personal reasons. During the tough times when you stopped lacing up, you're missing out on one of the greatest benefits of running—its healing power. I learned it my way but nonetheless it worked and worked very well. Here's how to get back on track and run through the pain, not away from it.

Envision Success
Running may mean time alone with your thoughts, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. Use positive visualization to tackle your angst head-on. While running, actively imagine a finish line (screaming spectators and all!) waiting for you. Think of a word to that finish line ribbon, like "stronger" or "resilient," and break through it each time in a full sprint.

Listening to Music
Running is a full five senses experience, and what you listen to during your bout of despondency is especially important. Make an emotionally intentional playlist by asking yourself what you need that day to heal your sadness much faster - Kishore Kumar or even Arijit Singh tunes. And you would notice the vigor and liveliness enthralling your body and brain after running couple of miles. 

Join a Run Community

It may feel good to isolate yourself during tense times, but connecting with others will actually help you bounce back more quickly. Sharing the universal experiences of disenchantment cuts down on the time you spend grieving them, according to grief expert George Bonanno in his book, "The Other Side of Sadness." Feel free to make your recovery a team effort with group of positive people.

Thwart Illness

Research has consistently shown the benefits of an active lifestyle, including a study that tied exercise to boosted immunity and illness prevention. Getting sick during your bad time would be the nail in the coffin and surely guide you to the nadir of depression. Make running the first step to take back your health and get ready to see a domino effect. After plugging in a few miles, you'll likely eat and sleep better.

Take Control

Loss usually come with no warning. Our powerlessness to control it can easily lead to feeling like a victim. Instead, rise to the challenge and take on something you can control: your response. It may seem small, but making the choice to lace your shoes and run will increase your self-confidence and make you feeling empowered.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Fallen out of your regular running routine? How to stage a strong comeback

Even the most devoted or staunch runners can get sidetracked from their routine by crazy deadlines, long-awaited vacations, or (worse) nagging injuries or hardships of life. Recently,
I have been through this and find it real hard to get back on track. Running is my passion still I feel so lethargic and procrastinate about getting on track. Then I realized that rather than fretting over how long it's going to take me to return to active running, it's important for me to keep such detours in perspective.
"You shouldn't feel guilty about taking a break from running," says Marissa Tiamfook, a running coach based in Los Angeles. "Focus on the fact that you want to get back out there." If for whatever reason my running shoes have gathered dust, it’s still there so tie your laces and start running – kind of like ‘Forrest Gump’. Therefore, here's how I am planning to get back on track. Hopefully, I should be able to run few half and full marathons this year. That being said – Delhi Airtel half marathon is definitely on the top of my bucket list. We plan to run together with several of my Indian friends this year in November.
  • Sign up for a 5-K/10-K
  • Set a new goal
  • Exercise and running together with buddies
  • Be regular to my favorite gym
  • Regular blogging on Fit Indian Run