This blog is dedicated to all those who want to reduce their weight.“Nothing is impossible"
What motivated you to start running?
I was weighing around 100 Kgs. Due to the weight, I had severe pain in my knees, joints, etc which would suffer swells regularly. I couldn't even walk continuously for a kilometer. Doctors advised me to start exercising regularly. I started with fast walking and after a month I started running. Weight loss was my primary objective which motivated me to explore running.
How did you prepare before you started running?
My only goal was to reduce weight. It was in August 2014, I started my Ph.D. in Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru. There was a running group in IISc, and they advised me on the right gear. Also, I did my research on the internet and prepared myself accordingly with a diet plan, etc.
Where and how often do you usually run?
I usually run in the IISc ground and the campus which covers 400 acres of land with a lot of greenery. Since it is a closed campus, the traffic is controlled. This provided me a wonderful opportunity to run regularly. I would run six days a week and on Sundays, go for long slow walks. As a researcher, I utilized my walking and running time thinking and finding solutions for my research problems. Running was very helpful in kindling my thought process. It also made me more peaceful amidst my hectic research schedule.
How were you able to continue your practice even through the lockdown?
I spent the lockdown in my hometown in Chennai. I run in my terrace for 15 minutes everyday and also use the staircase for another 15 minutes of workout. In addition to that, I also do lunges, pushups, squats, and planks for half an hour.
Are you also on a diet?
I am a vegetarian. I completely cut down on the sweets and now rarely eat any. I don’t eat fried items either. I drink lots of milk. My breakfast is typical south Indian breakfast (Idly, Pongal, Dosa, etc. but no Vada). For lunch, I have rice and a variety of vegetables. For dinner, I mostly stick to chapatis.
What running shoes do you use?
I run with the “KALENJI KIPRUN LD Shoes”. I bought this shoe mostly because of its design. However, only when I started running, I realized how comfortable they are. I no longer have any pain in my toes, my foot, or even my sole. They suit me quite perfectly.
I'd give a 5 on 5. It's always a pleasure to run with these shoes. Because of these shoes, I feel like running more often. I think it's really important to identify the right shoes for running because, without it, the appetite for running can be ruined. Furthermore, without proper shoes, both short- and long-term injuries are possible. If you're comfortable in your shoes, it will surely enhance your running performance and I've personally experienced it.
What are some of the other equipment or gear you find indispensable for accomplishing your practice?
Socks are very important as it is a median between your skin and the shoe. Headbands are important. It protects the sweat from reaching your eye. Running shorts and t-shirts are vital too. Ventilation and airflow to the body are necessary for seamless and peaceful running.
What are some of your personal achievements so far?
I've lost 30kgs, from 100 to 70. I consider this my greatest achievement. I am free from pain in my knees and joints. For 5 days every week, I've run 5kms per day and 10km on the 6th day. In the last 18 months, I've run close to 10 half marathons.
What are some of the big challenges you face while running?
Since I weighed a lot, it wasn't easy at all to run in the beginning. I was regularly subject to knee and calf pain after each running session in my earlier days. I would alternate between fast walking and running. As I started losing weight, running for me became as easy as a stroll in the park.
What tips would you give to a beginner runner?
Do proper warm-up exercises before and after running to avoid injury. If you're running to lose weight, maintain a proper diet too. Drink lots of water and have a dedicated schedule for running and stick to it no matter what. Don't try to run a half marathon in a week. Increase your distance gradually and set weekly/monthly targets to achieve as your goals.
Running, I believe is not only for fitness but also helps in facilitating peace of mind. It helps me sleep peacefully and is a welcome distraction from whatever job you do or routines you have.
What’s next for you? (the next running challenge)
I ran 10 half marathons in the last 18 months. My next target is to complete a full marathon.
Once, it was my dream to earn medals and show who I was. Now, I have a small community of runners with whom I believe that my dream becomes theirs too. That they believe that they can run! And they are doing it!”