I am a certified long distance running coach from American College of Sports Medicine and Exercise Science Academy. I currently coach people to take up running to remain fit. RunBurn is my attempt to spread awareness about running with two other friends - Dhananjay & Vishu
- Visit Your Doctor: If you are over 40 or have a family history of heart disease or other health problems see a doctor before you start your running/walking routine.
- First Step - Walk: Some people dismiss “walk” as a four letter word, it is the most effective way to develop the fitness you need to start running comfortably without getting injured (Yes! Running, like any other sport, may have its own injury problems, which can be taken care of by being careful about some important things – will elaborate later in this article) Walking puts your legs and arms through the same general range of motion as running but without the same impact on your bones and joints. The walk should be brisk – neither a race walk nor a window shopping walk either.
- There is a lot of merit in slow progress (YES): Starting to exercise doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Begin with a 15 minute walk. Feeling good? The next day, do it again. If you are feeling strong, add 5-10 mins by the end of the week.
- Track your progress: Write down details about how long and how far you went on each workout and how you felt while you were on the road. You will draw a lot of confidence from this at the end of a month into your workout schedule. If you think writing is tough, maintain an excel file. If that’s also tough and if you use a smart phone download any run/walk tracking application and then you just have to keep the application on while on the road, the application will keep all records for you! I use one such application - Runtastic. There are many watches like Garmin and Tomtom which can help you to track distance and time. I am not a great fan of using technology while running, so I would leave the choice to you.
- Get a good gear: Resist the temptation of wearing any old pair of shoes for your workout. Worn-out or ill-fitting shoes are one of the most common cause of injury. For clothing – wear anything light weight and not made of cotton. Cotton will soak sweat and keep becoming heavier. Try wearing clothes made of DRI-fit material (this is not expensive).
- Block Your Time: Establish a workout routine. Figure out a time of day which is non-negotiable. For most people it is the first thing in the morning. Also ensure that you fix a time/route which is not too busy in terms of traffic. Take a few minutes off your lunch break and take a walk around the office, take stairs to office/home.
- Eat More (Often) To Lose Weight: One very important thing while you start running/walking is that you still need to keep a check on what you eat. You may tend to eat everything that you see, since at the back of your mind you know you are running/walking. However, if you are running/walking to lose weight keep a check on what you eat. Keep a track by maintaining a diary. Again, if it is difficult to maintain a diary and if you are a smart phone user download an app to keep a track of how many calories you are consuming.
- A support system always helps: Get a buddy for your walks/runs. You can join any of the running groups in your city – there are many these days (no fees to register). It can be online as well. There are numerous online running forums (no fees to register). Kalyan Dombivli Runners, Mumbai Road Runners are two such groups that I am a part of.
- Sneak in small activities: Get a plan. While you may not feel the need to have a schedule for workout, having a training plan will always help. This will keep you on track for your goal. I follow a 18 week training plan every year before the all-important Standard Chartered Mumbai marathon which is the biggest running event that happens in India.
- Most important: DON’T PUT OFF THE ALARM & GO TO SLEEP!!!
PS - These are my pics - First one clicked in 2011 and the second one - recently clicked at a Photo shoot.
Pic Courtesy - Kedar Phadke
- He/she has been advised by a doctor to take up some kind of exercise
- Self-realization or peer/friends’ pressure
- It is safe – while generally exercising is one of the best thing for mind and body, it is good to seek advice from a medical practitioner. It is always a safe step. Like it is always said - prevention is better than cure. Your doctor may do some general medical check up and tell you if you are good to go. That visit may not necessarily yield anything negative and if at all any, the doctor will be very happy to hear this positive change that you are about to bring in your lifestyle. In most cases the doctors have sent the patients back with huge dose of motivation and this is very helpful for beginners.
- What are we trying to avoid – By visiting the doctor, what we are trying to avoid is a cardiovascular event – an attack or stroke. No, I am not trying to scare anyone here, but there have been enough instances of people complaining of various things like dizziness and breathlessness. To avoid any sort of complication, it is best to see the doc before you start.
- It becomes even more important if one has had a history of any heart condition or have shown symptoms of one. Examples of heart conditions could be – heart rhythm issues, any infections, any congenital heart condition (condition from birth).
- If you are diabetic, it is a must for you to meet your doctor and mention to him/her about taking up exercise. It is also important that you let your coach (if any) know that you are diabetic. Reason – as you progress in to long distance running, you may be advised to take isotonic energy drinks by your coach to fuel yourself during the run. It is important at that point of time to know what suits you best.
- You should definitely visit the doctor, if there is a family history of blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease etc
Having said that if you decide to start exercise and then figure out if there is a need to visit the doctor, you should definitely consider going and seeing your family doctor if you have complaints like unexplained chest pain, dizziness, loss of balance, anything that you think is not normal. Inform this to your coach immediately and take a break from exercise till you don’t see the doctor.