No, this blog is not about the 1997 Ram Gopal Varma movie; even though some scenes in the movie are absolutely hilarious. This post is about a different kind of daud (running in hindi); training for a marathon. A complete marathon is 26.2 miles (42 kilometers). An interest piece of trivia, the word marathon is derived from a Greek legend of a messenger, Pheiddippides, running from the Battle of Marathon in to Athens.
I committed myself to training for a marathon back in April, and my first training day was April 14th. I vividly remember that chilly morning when I joined the members of North East Ohio, and heard the stories why people were running the marathon. I asked myself that question, why a marathon? For one, it has been something on my bucket list; see if I can really push my body to achieve this seemingly impossible task. Two, I joined running the marathon as part of a Asha Cleveland, a charity group that supports education programs in India. Lastly, and more a selfish reason, I was running to see if it would get me in any better shape.
So what has the six month journey been like? There have the highs and lows. A 6 month training program was provided by Northeast Ohio that comprised of short runs during the week and then long run during the weekends. This meant a lot of early on Friday nights so I could actually wake up at 5 or 6 am on Saturdays to make it for my runs. The rest of Saturdays was usually spent by cribbing about my knees and doing a very funny walk up and down stairs.
The training program has been a self discovery journey. I have learned a lot about myself and weird idiosyncrasies of my body.
Mental Strength: Running is as much a mental game as its physical. If I let my mind tell me that I can’t run today, I can’t even get through 1 mile. So believe in yourself and I am sure you can do it. Positive thoughts all the way.
Remember the small stuff: A lot of water, sleep, and stretching. You can’t get through a marathon without getting enough of any of these.
Value the distance: I appreciate of value the distance. A mile or kilometer is no longer a joke, and it quite satisfying too. The distance covered served as a personal accomplishment.
Speed isn’t everything: When training for a marathon, you don’t have to go fast. Just take your time and complete the goal distance. During your first marathon, the focus is about getting the miles than speed. You can focus on speed later on in the training, or may be when you train for your second marathon.
Time Commitment: More than anything, training for a marathon was the biggest time commitment. Sometimes, I didn’t want to go to bed on a Friday night or miss out on night with friends, because I had to complete my runs. I felt like I was missing out on moments with friends and family.
Small Rewards: To get through some of these runs, especially those I didn’t even want to start, I would set tiny goals. These goals would be silly things and most of the time was just ability to have good food or drink. Thinking about butter chicken or a pizza through the run, and then being able to have it afterwards without regret is the best feeling ever!! This made it fun for me.
Age doesn’t Matter: I think the biggest learning or motivation for me came from those running the marathon who are older than me. I am going to be 27, and was one of the youngest people in the training group. Most of the participants in the group were older and super inspiring. To see them run, and most ran faster than I did, was the best motivation ever. I mean if they can do it, I should be able to it too!
I can go on and on about the marathon, but let me save that for another day. The marathon is in another 4 days, and I will let you know how it goes.
But in the meanwhile, I would encourage you to think about training for the marathon. Major cities in India have started organizing marathons now; see if your city has one. You never know what you might end up learning about yourself.