My story so far:
So those of you who have followed my journey would know how difficult it was for me that time in 2012, when I was very ill. Walking 5 minutes was a huge effort, let alone the thought of running. It was only going to get worse, and possibly result in the ultimate – death. It was pure strength of will, focus, absolute determination, hard work and the support of my family and close circle of friends that helped me reclaim my health and my life. I have come a long way since then. I can now run 5 kms, I won’t say effortlessly, but quite easily. On my recent trip to Brixen, Italy I had a few minutes to make up my mind about para-gliding in the Dolomites. I have never done any thing like this before. I decided to just go for it. And what an amazing 20 minutes that was, flying high in the sky over 3500 meters above ground, looking down at the valley. It was beyond anything I had experienced or imagined before. I suddenly learnt the power of mental endurance. Then a couple of weeks later, came the opportunity to do a 15 kms Bridges Challenge for Diabetes UK which further reaffirmed my belief in myself, and what I could achieve, if I set my mind to it. This gave me the will to set out a new challenge. With continued encouragement from all of you out there, I know I can do this.
My desire to run the half marathon or the 21 kms run is for dual reasons:
One key reason is to set myself a focussed challenge, so I can train myself for a half marathon (21 kms), and get healthy again. The natural by-product of this will be losing weight, more energy therefore more productivity and getting rid of the minor physical ailments that become so much a part of our life, when we don’t move our bodies much.
The other very important reason is to encourage those around me, who have repeatedly asked me for tips, to get off their couches and use this opportunity to do something about it. Half marathon is simply an excuse – to get that focus, to make healthier food choices, exercise body and mind, and to have a set goal.
I am going to live my wildest dream – that of running my first half marathon. I so want that number on my T-shirt and so want to touch that finish line. I am determined to achieve it.
So, let me simply share my plan, which I developed based on my own personal experience and research. (please ensure you seek your doctors advise prior to embarking on any such programme).
Training requires FOCUS, DISCIPLINE, PATIENCE, MENTAL ENDURANCE, HARD WORK AND PHYSICAL CAPACITY >> some of this has to be re-learnt.
My Top Tips:
Preparing the mind: Creating a meditative rhythm
I am fully aware that the most critical aspect of embarking on this journey is the mental preparation. Almost all marathon runners, I have read about, say that it is not so much a physical effort, running challenges is a test in mental endurance. So, I have listed out a few positive affirmations for myself and will aim to read them every day, first thing. There are many online resources and success stories as well. I know the value of speaking positively to myself every minute – if you find me talking to myself, you know what I am doing :). The cells in our body can read our every thought and It is scientifically proven, I have heard, and I therefore use that in my daily life. When I run, I have created a rhythm for myself. I almost go into a meditative state. Every step is rhythmic. This helps me concentrate on the running and the goal. My mediative raga :).
Preparing the body: Training every muscle for support
Tip 1: Planning my training – Keeping it simple, yet pushing me outside my comfort zone.
I have set out a 18 weeks training. Starting date, Sunday, 9th November. I have accounted for two lean weeks during Christmas, New Year. My aim is to complete my training on 15th March. I aim to run my first half marathon on 21st March. If I am unable to do it outdoors, I will do it at the gym.
Tip 2: Thinking about a week at a time only, for now
I am going to focus on a week at a time, so I don’t get too overwhelmed. I am telling myself, Take it easy. Go slow. Build it up slowly. My starting point is that I can run for 5 kms. If this is not you, then make sure you manage this at a slower pace. There an APP for beginners (Couch to 5k) that may be a good starting point.
Sunday: Cardio: 40-50 minutes brisk walk/run
Monday: Cardio: 40-50 minutes brisk walk/run
Tuesday: Strength training 30 minutes: Strengthening the leg muscles. Focussing on leg exercises. There are lot of resources available online for leg exercises as well. Run: 15 minutes (slow jog)
Wednesday: Rest day
Thursday: Cardio: 40-50 mins – cross-fit training (boot camp) with a trainer. This is kiiling, but so worth it.
Friday: Strength training 30 minutes : Strengthening the upper body. Run : 15 minutes (slow jog)
Saturday: Rest day ( just do regular walk around the block if possible).
Tip 3: Keep hydrated (WATER WATER WATER). I will…
a) Drink a glass of warm water first thing every morning. Helps clean the toxins and helps with the digestive system
b) Drink at least 2-3 litres of water every day.I keep bottles of nimbu pani (lime/lemon water).
c) I won’t get into the sugar drinks/energy drinks during exercise, although the commercials say otherwise. Drink plain water, or nimbu pani. It works really well. Since I am predisposed to diabetes, I keep a sugar lolly with me at all times.
Tip 4: Make better food choices. I know the idea of training is to tell your body you care for it. So, I am not going to abuse it by making poor food choices.
I have personally seen some of those who work out hard at the gym, go to a fast-food joint and eat huge portions.There are two issues in that last sentence. Issue one: Fast food . Issue Two: huge portions.
Self talking now>> Eat lots of greens, possibly raw or as less cooked as possible. I don’t eat meat so that’s one less worry for me. Eat simple, healthy food. Less carbs please, more fresh fruit and vegetables. I will fully eliminate white bread, white rice and supplement that with brown grainy bread and brown rice and brown pasta. I love fish, so reminding myself that it’s as tasty to eat marinated grilled or steamed fish, as it is to eat fried fish. Changing that simple habit will have huge impact on weight loss as well, I know. And, that’s a bonus!
Tip 5: Spirits — testing my will
I love my drink or two. But when I train, I completely give that up. No excuses, no exceptions. Training needs discipline and giving up alcohol helps stay fresh and focussed. Also, very simply for me, tests my will power.
Preparing for the training:
Critical to wear appropriate training shoes, clothing.
Shoes: Most important to have comfortable running shoes. Remember compromising on this could cause injury and that’s the last thing I want. And not to forget the right socks as well.
Clothing: Wearing loose clothing for training. I noticed that it helps me train better. For women in particular, its important to wear the appropriate sports bra, as that can cause a huge amount of distress.
It is not going to be easy. But it’s going to be worth it. Absolutely.
I am very nervous, but I am determined.
love to all.xxxx
BUPA: Great resources on how to train, injury prevention. Follow this link >>>
Success stories: Couch to Half Marathon. So many amazing success stories. Please read >>>>
NHS: Couch to 5K.Click here >>>
All views expressed are mine. If anyone chooses to use any tips from this, it will be purely at their discretion, and on the advise of their doctor, or nutritionists.
I have used some links from online resources, and the image is from my paragliding in the Dolomites in Brixen, Italy.
Kindly excuse any typos or grammatical errors.