Running & Etiquette – Too much to ask?


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Running is something that I discovered in 2007-08. And now it is something that is very much part of what I like to do. I simply run, and it’s not about speed, or distance from doing it to lose weight I am now in a place where it’s simply something I do.

This year, on 30th July the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon site crashed. The Reason was perhaps that every runner in Mumbai who intended to run had logged in, keeping aside meetings, chores, errands, joblists with the single focus of registering to run the Marathon. In case it was a case of first come first served.

Several assurances by SCMM convinced people that it was okay to register in a calm manner and if we matched the criteria there was every chance of qualification. The next day I managed to register. If i make it, this will be my fourth marathon in Mumbai. The very fact that the website crashed is a clear indication of what an excited lot we runners are.

I love being a runner, I love sharing that runners nod with strangers, that makes sense in any corner of the world and only runners get, I love sharing the common platform, the adrenalin rush, being part of the running community. Having said all of this, there is one thing that gets to me, and that is the complete lack of running etiquette I see around me in some people.

As we prepare for the upcoming run, I hope that we can all as a community be kinder runners, as running simply cannot be about unruly people . Running has to change you for the better! I make five requests to fellow runners and hope that this will be read by more runners and we can together make a difference and run together in a more civil manner.

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Plea 1: That Water Bottle Belongs in the Dustbin

Throw water bottles in a dustbin : I know when we run, we feel that we have no time to waste over having a calm sip of water, and in our heads we tend to be these busy runners who cannot waste seconds over a sip of water. So we drink as we run, and we lose all sense of civic sense as we fling that water bottle on the side, or behind us with scant regard for fellow runners who are behind us. Holding the bottle till we see a dustbin is not going to make a difference in our final speed for sure.

Plea 2: Tie that shoe lace where No one Trips Over You

Move to the side to tie your shoe lace: An untied shoe lace, has to be tied, but we cannot be little children to stop as and when we notice it and drop to half our size as we get in the runners stance to tie the shoe lace. Runners behind you are perhaps already in a rhythm and maintaining a safe. distance from you, and when you do this sudden stop, there is a likely crash or trip. You are tying that shoe lace so that you don’t trip, you should not be the reason that someone else does!

Plea 3  – Choose Your Lane

Run in one lane! Choose a lane and run in it, and if you do want to change lanes, I think it needs to be done carefully instead of making a crazy dash and elbowing people. The same rules that apply to traffic should be applied here too.

Plea 4 – Leave some place for others

Running in groups can be fun, and that is the only way some people like to run, but leave place for individual runners to pass by. Sometimes we tend to take over the road in a group and really inconvenience those who want to overtake us. This means that it may make more sense to run in 2 lines so that you don’t take over the road!

Plea 5 –No Nudging

It is easy to get carried away when you are chasing that 2hour Half Marathon, and feel like a bull in a China Shop, simply headed for your ultimate goal. But don’t nudge, or jostle people you don’t know. No one needs to take that from you. I’m sure you don’t like being nudged, so it is only fair that you don’t nudge too.

Last year as I ran, I was quite the crazy lady, telling people not to stop suddenly, or push or throw things on the road. I am certain, if I qualify this year, I may still be the crazy lady running. Having said that, I sincerely hope that this note reaches a few runners, and we are able to run with some regard for fellow runners.

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Running Essentials – Before The Run!


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Being an amateur runner, and learning a lot about running through trial and error, I thought I would pen down what I feel are the Running Essentials for anyone who wants, to start running. Of course if you are planning hard core training, You need a proper trainer etc, this article however is about stuff that you need and things that you must keep in mind once you decide or want to start running.

I took to running pretty gradually, it started with brisk walking to maintain weight, and i soon realized that it was easier to jog, than walk fast… so there I was a running, and the rest they say is history 😛 Well not that dramatic, but yes, that was the beginning for me.

I soon realized that there is no magic that a cream or serum can do, when compared to the glow after a good run. Running (the right amount) and Glow go hand in hand 🙂

The Cardio Glow!

The Cardio Glow!

Good Quality Shoes

If you have decided to run, the first thing that you must invest in, is obviously good quality shoes. A lot of stores even do Gait Analysis which can help you figure out what kind of shoes will be good for you. In the past I have bought shoes for silly reasons “They were hot pink” and realized soon enough that they were blistering my feet out and very painful to run in. I prefer shoes with pronounced cushioning and  in the past have used Nike’s Air Max, Vomero and Free and they have worked very well for me.

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If you intend to be serious about your run, then take the plunge and buy a good pair, but they are expensive so be sure about what your needs are, and most attendants at the store can help you with that, because you don’t want to shell out 7-8K on a pair and be stuck with something that does you more harm than good. You either give up with a bad experience or you have to buy another shoe, and cough up a small fortune.

Eating Clean

While most forms of exercise begin with the intrinsic desire to lose / maintain weight. It is imperative to eat right when you run. One tends to make the mistake of I will eat less and run more, unfortunately the math doesn’t work out in this case. While I did not put on weight, I did not lose any either, just felt low on energy and that of course affected my performance and will to run. I simply stick to the basics – Avoid fried food, adequate Carbs, Protein and Fat in the diet. I use the Calorie Counter App to keep a tab on the break up. I know it’s not 100% accurate but overall I feel it keeps me on track.

So eat healthy and eat enough. Also add supplements to your diet, especially Iron, Vitamin C, E, Calcium. I just know that I have more energy to run well when I am regular with my supplements. Ideally though you must consult your physician to know what supplements you Must take.

Dressing Right

Running Gear

Running Gear

Who amongst us doesn’t like to dress up?? However, it is important to dress right when you run. Non intrusive, sweat absorbent, adequate support if you are a woman and  comfortable and clothes that don’t cause chafing. Generous slathering of Vaseline usually prevents this. Use vaseline on your feet as well, before you go to sleep, ensures you will have soft feet too  #sidetip – less friction = less soreness = more comfortable while running.

While I love the pretty & dainty ankle length socks in every colour, I recommend that you wear sweat absorbing, thicker socks that can prevent friction and therefore blisters and soreness of the foot. Today brands like Nike even make Blister preventing socks, so if you see that as a problem, then you must get yourself one of those.

SunScreen

If you are running outdoors, Suncreen is a MUST.However, for better or for worse, you will have a permanent tan line, thanks to the Sports Bra, and you will look like you are back from a beach vacation. I use either Neutrogena or Nivea both have a very high SPF and I think it works well.

Track That Run

Ok… so if you are taking all that effort to Run, then you must have something that helps you know how far you have run, how efficiently you run, and so on and so forth. You can either get yourself a wearable device like a garmin or simply download an app on your phone. Both work on GPS so that it can track how much you have run and at what speed. A good App is as good as having a trainer with you… that is if you have your technique in place.

I use a very basic Garmin watch or the Nike Plus App.

Garmin

Thank You For The Music

I cannot stress on the importance of music when I run. There is no formula here, I think you need to find what works for you. I don’t think my playlist could work for anyone, as the range of music is bizzare it swings from 80s Ilayaraja, Current Bollywood, Madonna, Beatles, Yogi B to Meghan Trainor in 20 mins!!!! so find your music-ispiration and have enough to play around with

Once you are all prepped up, the world is your playground – ummm NOT! Find your route, preferably a park or soft ground, concrete is not the best thing for your legs, but all runners say that and then get on the road! However, mark out your route mentally so that you know where you are going broadly… and once you are out there are a few things to watch out for

POOP 

If you intend to go out for a run pretty early (i.e before 6.30 am) then be prepared for poop on the road, any time later than that cars or bikes would have run over them…but the best way is to align your gaze to cover the ground in front of you and vehicles coming at you.

Shady Elements!

This is one thing most women are used to, but a woman running or sweating it out is only going to bring the creep out in people, so don’t let that bother you much, on most days a questioning gaze can ward them off. I also try and say hello and try to be familiar with the regular faces that I see, so in case I need to get in a fight there is some support!

Running can be a group activity or an individual sport, whatever it means to you, like any sport you must take take certain measures to ensure that you have a smooth run too. I have tried to share some knowledge with you and I hope that some of my advice could help anyone who is reading this.  I would be happy to hear what you guys think too… I found a lot of happiness and joy in my running story, I hope you do too 🙂

WHY I RUN… #BetterForIt


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Growing up, I was a lazy child. I would be happier playing a game of hop scotch, or any game that involved less or no activity. In school, if it were Sports Day, I would probably be on the Welcome Committee or in the drill, or the loudest cheer girl, anything but the girl in the relay run or participating in hardcore athletics. Because I was on the plumper side, my sports teacher insisted that I try my hand at shot put throw, though that never worked out too, so any kind of athletics wasn’t meant for me.

But, it’s been a long time and many years have passed, and believe it or not, I am now all geared up for a new Running Adventure with the World 10K, thanks to Nike, who got in touch and have put me up to the Challenge of running in Bangalore on 17th of May.

I guess after 3 marathons, it would be okay to call myself  an amateur runner. And the fact that I pack my running shoes when I do travel – just in case there is a park close by or a gym. I have always shied away from the term “runner”, because in my mind it comes with a lot of baggage – all that jazz about timing, and performance, which are not my reasons for running. However, there is no denying the fact that a brisk walk or a run will always leave me in better spirits during the day and I simply run to feel happy.

While I did start running on the treadmill about 7 years ago, for the last 4 I have not seen the insides of a gym, and I run by the Sea when I do in Mumbai which is a great privilege . It’s dirty, smelly, people are bathing, washing clothes, but I accept it as a part of Bombay (Crib about it, and always insist that the besant nagar beach in Madras is cleaner), but when I look faraway in the distance there is just endless sea. My running route comprises of Band Stand and Carter’s Road and I must confess that after the first “Bombay Meltdown”  (The mental agony a non mumbaiite goes through when they first move to Mumbai) Life is good thanks to the Happy Sea Darshans. That’s reason enough to feel blessed, draw energy and face another day and give it all I have.

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I run to feel happy, clear my head everyday, and believe it  or not, I think there is no better way to detox. I feel when I sweat, I let go of all negativity in me. A run always leaves me with a sense of achievement, of having completed something I started, and just time with my thoughts. They say running is a mental game more than a physical one. The first marathon I ran, my dad told me that it is important to finish the run, and a marathon is different from a sprint, so I must concentrate on finishing it.

I truly believe that the human body was made to be active, and over the years we have made life so easy for us, that those “10,000” steps that one “must” take are a virtual impossibility unless one is on holiday and has to walk. It takes a lot to be self motivated, to finish that 6 km run, to do those 100 surya namskars, or a set of squats, but thats the best part, that if you started it, and you want to finish it, on most days you will muster the mental courage to finish it.

I am proud of my Half Marathon achievements, and I must admit that familiarity with the route has a huge role to play in improving my timing. Year one – 3hr +, Year two, I clocked in two and half hours and  Year three : 2.21 mins. Personal milestones and reasons to rejoice no doubt.

I know I tread unknown territories, because my visits to Bangalore have always been either work or recreation and there is always apprehension of the unknown, because I am a creature of habit. My best timing for a 10 Km in familiar territory has been 1.10 mins, and hopefully, this month of training will gear me up to better my timing.

Words of inspiration from Nike…

“If you’re brave enough to try, you’re strong enough to finish.
#betterforit ” 

Let’s do this I guess then!

Do you have a running story? If you do, I would love to hear about it.