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Run for Fitness!

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There are days and then there are busy days. There are days when you work, talk to people and generally move around. Then there are those days when all you do is sit and furiously type away on your screens like the world depends on it. Now, if you are living such days, you know it’s unhealthy. Deep down, you wish you can give your body the luxury of one such activity that can keep it active, healthy and dynamic. Beside dancing, gymming and swimming, have you ever wondered about running?

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Alex di Suvero for The New York Times

I have participated in three marathons in the past two years. The feeling of completing it  – in one word is – exhilarating. I’m not a runner but I always wished I could be one and complete marathons like a pro. But my busy schedule sadly does notallow me to go for a run outside regularly. I’m not the right person to indulge into the correct and technical details of running. And thus, I asked Rajeev N Bharshetty who is a passionate runner and works in a corporate company that requires a lot of sitting – like the most of us.

Fotor_143149905616747Rajeev has been running on and off for several years. He has been training for marathons for a year and a half and nothing has stopped him since then. He told me that there are several motivating factors that pushes him for a regular training session. Besides regular fitness,  the fresh air in the morning and ability to concentrate on his work are two really important motivating factors. “I also run for the dopamine effect that I get after completing the run.” He tells me. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter chemical released by the brains that is associated with reward motivated behavior. (Source: Wiki)  In other words, when you run, your brain gives you a pat on the back and tells you to”keep it up!”

Rajeev usually trains with his cousins at the Kittur Rani chennamma stadium in Jayanagar on weekdays. On weekends, he prefers Lalbagh and Cubbon park, that stretches up to a  luxurious 10 or 12 kms.

Keeping yourself hydrated is the number one point that Rajeev stresses on when I ask him about his diet before a marathon. “I try to maintain a balanced diet a week before a marathon which is extremely important if you want to pace in the marathon ” He says. “I tend to take a bit more carbohydrates in the marathon week.You need a lot of energy to survive a marathon — mostly Bananas, Rice, potatoes etc. ” Rajeev adds.Fotor_143149899496354

So is it always a strict diet or does he allow himself cheat days? I could not stop myself from wondering. “I do eat street food occasionally although not in the Marathon week . Mostly I prefer a healthy balanced diet as it helps me run better and faster. I kind of feel that running itself helps a person find the motivation to lead a healthy and balanced lifestyle.” He tells me. I could not agree more. It is kind of a vicious circle(albeit a good one) . Once you push yourself to regularize your fitness regime, you do feel like maintaining a healthy diet. Temptations, then become like those soap bubbles floating around you — pretty but easy to pop!

“So if my readers or I want to start running, just like you do, what should we keep in mind?” I ask him. “Make it a habit to run daily”. He says.”Get a running partner which is really important to keep oneself motivated for a longer duration of time.” He also advises newbies to develop a training plan for running and stick to it. “Sign up for a running events/marathons and at the end always listen to your body, If you feel tired, take rest or walk.” True that! There is a thin line between pushing yourself and forcing yourself. Know when to stop!

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Running is a fun activity and an excellent cardio workout. But what does one do to be safe and avoid injuries? Are there any precautionary steps that one must take? “Stretching exercises before a run is a must which helps you avoid most of the injuries. “According to Rajeev, Running with a good posture is equally important to avoid injuries. And what exactly is a good running posture? I ask him. “Upper torso straight, lower back not arched, head directly over shoulders”. Selection of good running shoes is also vital to avoid injuries. “Shoes which fits and provides comfort when you run are the best ones.” Says our expert.

Finally he gives me three “things to remember” pointers.

● Run on a Level Surface
● Shorten your strides
● Lastly, Listen to your body

So is running enough for his fitness? I ask him. Do you think running alone can keep you fit? “I usually combine running with strength training. Strength training helps increase your muscle endurance which in turn benefits you in running. It also helps you run better and faster.” He signs off.

So there you go! We have given you a beginner’s guide to go out and feel that runner’s high for yourself. I think Rajeev has touched upon some pretty vital pointers on running. If you get up tomorrow morning, feeling highly charged and motivated to start your running regime, I’d say you should definitely keep these tips in mind.

If you have any further questions that you seek the answers of, please let us know and I promise to take your queries to our expert!

Happy Running!

Keep it Healthy, Stay Beautiful!

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4 Comments

  1. Channabasava

    May 17, 2015 at 3:40 am

    Hi, I am thinking of running 21km for my next marathon. Any particular tips for running such long distances ?

    Thanks

  2. Rajeev

    May 17, 2015 at 6:52 am

    Hey Channabasava,

    Most of the points already mentioned in the blog post does apply for a half marathon too. Running long distances require a tremendous amount of both mental and physical strength, so I suggest you to start by gradually increasing your kms (you run) every week and build a strong base.
    Concentrate on your breathing and establish a pattern/rhythm while you run.
    Strength training as I already mentioned helps you in increasing your endurance.
    And at last the important thing never forget to rest your body.

    Happy Running!

  3. Nisha@ThePinktrends

    May 17, 2015 at 7:31 am

    This is great. I am planning to start running from quite some time but keep postponing it. High time I do it now. I really want to participate in 5k or 10k run.

    • Ashwini KN

      May 17, 2015 at 3:07 pm

      You should definitely indulge in a sport :) I do run marathons but not a regular runner due to time constraint!

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