Of New Beginnings & 3 Things That Improved My Run Timing

‘Tis the season of possibilities and dreams. New Year gives us an excuse to start over, to improve things and be optimistic. We are no exception at On The Run. In 2016, we wish to connect with you – the fitness savvy and nutrition aware folks in India. We want to share our stories as well as listen to yours. So what are we waiting for – let’s start this exciting dialog – shall we? For the first post, we got some insights from our ever-so-humble founder, Shilpa Phadke. Why?  Well – whether you recently got into running or have been thinking about it, Shilpa’s story is guaranteed to resonate with you! She is passionate about fitness and food, an avid athlete. She is qualified for Boston Marathon, and has bagged two SCMM podium finishes, a win at Pune Running Beyond Myself (PRBM) thrice in a row and driving home a Vespa Scooter for a prize!

OTR - How to get started

Q: When did you start running?

You should probably ask my mom – I was little over a year old so I don’t remember. (haha) The point I am making is – Running comes naturally to us humans. This is why I believe the best way to get started is to just go out there and simply run how-much-ever you can. To answer your question – I started running sometime in 2010, just about 10K, as part of training for an endurance race, which is multidiscipline (swim, cycling, kayaking, trekking, hiking, rappling etc). Running to get stronger and to be able to do “running” as part of this race. When I started, I could never run 10K without stopping in between! which means i would walk at least 2-3 times during that 10K. Usually I took about 65-70 min in the beginning. That time it was more about being able to run non-stop for 10K than really looking at the timings.

Q: So when did the marathons start?

I decided to run my first half marathon in Nov 2011 in Delhi. With great effort I ran non-stop and did it in 2.03 hrs. After the race I could hardly walk, I was unable to keep my legs straight when getting down the stairs of the metro station and felt miserable. I decided that I am not doing this stupid thing again! and it’s not like I wasn’t fit. I have always been a sports person with a regular workout of an hour 5-6 times a week. and yet this is how i felt! Today it seems laughable to recollect that time, when I can run a half marathon in 1.40 and just walk off without a moan!

Q: How did the pain in running go away? What really helped you improve?

So how did it improve? I guess the answer is by doing it more wisely and mindfully. I realised after this race that there are many who have been trying to get to a sub 2 marathon for a few years and there I was very close to it in my first ever half marathon and that too at age of 41!. It dawned on me, that it should be possible to improve. Me and a friend of mine who train together, started to analyse statistical data, reading about running, running forms, started understanding what is pace, cadence and all that running jargon! I quickly saw that worldwide people run marathons in superb timings and at age much more than mine, so obviously age can’t be an excuse/factor! I saw that people follow a certain training plan and that there is a method and not all madness!

Q: If you were to list top 3 things that helped you enjoy running and improve your timing

Here they are –

Structured plan

Structured running plan to get over the distance and pace phobia! Your body and mind should learn that 21k is not a long distance, so don’t make a big fuss out of it! Structured training helps you improve every aspect of your running (and for that matter any form of sport or exercise). You have long runs to work on endurance and form, short runs for speed, hill runs to strengthen your calfs, so on so forth! There are various schools of thought and there are unlimited number of plans that one can work on, what is more important is to have a training plan! It also helps you measure the performance and see what works and what doesn’t.

Strength and cross training

Strength training is a very import aspect of fitness, whether you want to run or cycle or just stay healthy. Strength training as one can guess strengthens the muscles! Strong muscles helps you stay injury free, or rather reduces risk of getting injured. There are running specific muscles and one can choose to build a strength workout for specific activity. Ideally overall body strength will go a long way. Whether it’s a 80 year granny or a 18 years old teenager, both need strength, albeit for different activities!

Functional core exercise

Quoting a Harvard report:  your core muscles are the sturdy central link in a chain connecting your upper and lower body. Whether you’re hitting a tennis ball or mopping the floor, the necessary motions either originate in your core, or move through it. No matter where motion starts, it ripples upward and downward to adjoining links of the chain. Thus, weak or inflexible core muscles can impair how well your arms and legs function.

Strong core provides functional efficiency, be it bending down to tie a shoe lace or just sitting in a chair, a strong core is your way to an efficient activity, running or any other. You can choose to do floor exercises or pilates or yoga all of which help in building a strong core.

Q: Great! Any closing thoughts?

Running is not just about running you see! Its lot more than that, it is about having an efficient, functionally fit body. Once this larger goal is clear, speed and timings are just byproducts of all round good work!

OnTheRun - Shilpa Phadke