WRITTEN BY

Vivek Misra

Part of

Run

My Initiation into Distance Running: Couch to 10K

Sep-16-2019

My journey into distance running started with simple yet intriguing questions — Why do people run? What do they get? What’s the big deal? Living on East Coast Road in Chennai, the beach is super close. Whenever I used to tell people where I lived, they would often say “you must love going to the beach for morning jogging/walking”. My answer until recently was: “in the last seven years, I’ve been to the beach walking exactly six times”. I was not a runner. I would get up late in the morning, rush to work, party every Friday and Saturday then enjoy a SleepFest Sunday. I used to skip the gym often, hence letting my membership lapse. My life was passing-by fine. Though deep within, I wanted to be physically active. How was an unanswered question! Date — 28th September 2017 Just another day, I got up early and decided to go for that beach walk. After walking some distance, I saw people running as a group and doing some drills (later, I realized it’s the Chennai Runners’ Coastal Runner Group). This led to those pressing questions - Why do people run? What do they get? What’s the big deal? Although I had never run beyond 400 meters before, I was very confident in my abilities as a runner. So, I took out my phone, searched for an app that records pace-time and found STRAVA. I fired it up and started running (my confidence was short-lived as I gasped for my life). On the first day, I ran 5.61KM with an average pace of 7:07. I iced my muscles the whole day, filled with regret of doing too much at the first try. The next two days, I researched running and local running groups. I Went to Decathlon Sports. I bought a pair of shorts and a running tee. I also found www.indiarunning.com and signed up for a 10K race - Alertathon 2017, which was exactly on 10th Day!! So yeah, it was 10 days to a 10 kays Challenge. Day 2 — (Actually its Day 4 - Sunday) Tried my luck and attempted running 10K, whatever it may take. It took 1:16 with an average pace of 7:35. I was in pain. Sore but satisfied that I could run 10K. Day 3 — (Tuesday) Again went for 10K run, saw the same group of runners on the Thiruvamyuir beach, got motivated and ran 1:12 with an average pace of 7:10. I must tell - I was bonked out with no energy left and lay flat on the beach for some time. Day 4 — (Thursday) After reading about intervals / “cross-training” and other jargon online, I did some repeats and circuit-training on the beach and left it for the race day. Day 5 — (Saturday) Bib Collection and Expo, at Anna University. I was so excited that I spent 30–40 min listening to people about running jargon — pace/km, hydration support, etc. Day 6 — ( or Day 10) Race Day I couldn't sleep due to race excitement (the same excitement continues to date). Got ready by 4:00 AM and reached the venue by 4:30. To my surprise (because I didn’t get up this early before) temperature was nice, with good breeze. Perfect for running. When the race started, I made a rookie mistake, zooming the first 1km in 4:01 (I still wonder how I pulled it off!). It felt so nice, drum beating, strava cues every half-km, people cheering. Running is so fun and exciting! I got my answer: Running is Crazy! The feeling of an adrenaline rush. That runner high makes it addictive. Of course, the shiny medal was also great. I knew that my life wouldn’t be the same again. I completed that first 10K in 01:00:30 Pearls of Wisdom: Although 10 Days to 10K challenge worked for me to get it kick-started, I strongly recommend taking stock of your health prior to doing anything crazy. Injuries are very common in early, as well as experienced runners. I was lucky not to hurt myself halting my running career before it even started. Train your mind to sync with your body and you can do anything. We don’t run only with our legs. We run with our hearts and minds - Eliud Kipchoge Note: All sport, recorded on Garmin and curated on Strava — https://www.strava.com/athletes/vivekmisra