"If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast (or slow), or how far (or short). It doesn't matter if today is your first day, or if you have been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run."
I have been running for the last 18 years and these days clock between 90-120 km/month depending on whether it is raining or not. Each time the topic of running comes up in a conversation or at a party, the first thing I am asked is, “So you run marathons?” And I reply, “I run, but I don’t race.” Most don’t get it, so I elaborate, “I run 3-4 times a week, but I don’t participate in races or marathons.” That then leads to the “why”!
I used to run half-marathons and they are great fun. But they are also pointless. If the whole idea of running for health is to live long, healthy, given that running is perhaps the single best form of physical activity there is, then what is important is to run, without the pressure and stress of participating in races, which take a lot away from you, starting with your time. Sure, if running marathons or half-marathons is part of your life’s bucket-list, got for it, but, just as you don’t need to participate in body building competitions to do strength training, you also don’t need to take part in marathons to run for health.
Atmasvasth is about balance. Sensible eating without idiotic diets and physical activity, without killing yourself.
Most people who don’t run have many many questions. So here are the the questions and their answers.
Why should I run?
If you’re read or heard my piece on walking, just take all those benefits and multiply them by a factor of 1.5 or 2 and those are the running benefits. There is no better physical activity. Period!
How do I start?
“And yet in the end, it comes down to just one elemental issue. The simple act of running! Putting on a pair of shoes, with shorts or a track-suit and a T-shirt, without any fancy equipment, getting out into the open, either in a garden or sports track or on the road and pounding the ground, one foot after another, on and on, emptying your mind of all unnecessary thought, zen-like, focusing on just one goal; running.”
I wrote this many years ago during my time as a Mumbai Mirror columnist and the words still hold good.
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