Running is one of the only exercises that’s over two million years old, and yet it hasn’t become any easier with time. Running can take its toll on your entire body, leaving you achy, sore and drained – so it’s little wonder that people feel hesitant or overwhelmed when trying it for the first time.
While both long- and short-distance running can be really rewarding for your mental and physical health, there’s no denying that it’s one of the hardest exercises out there. But how do you begin? Simply putting one foot in front of the other can’t be that hard, right?
Rajesh A, a fitness enthusiast from Mumbai started running “because it seemed like an efficient way to get a workout in relatively quickly,” he said. “However, I found that I really enjoyed meeting up with other runners, taking part in events and being out, enjoying nature.”
Running clubs can be a fantastic way to inspire you to lace up and hit the road. Being surrounded by like-minded people can inspire and motivate you to work harder, and want to be more like them.
In India, running has really gained popularity in the past decade. According to one report, the year 2013 saw about 176 races organized in the whole of India. Fast forward to 2019, there were 1579 races – around 30 races a week being held across various parts of the country.
There are now countless running clubs that you can join as a form of inspiration for your workout – including Striders and Addidas Runners. Pinkathon, co-founded by model and fitness enthusiast Milind Soman, is focused on boosting the confidence of women runners and those new to running.
Vidhushe K, from Bangalore, began running during the lockdown in March 2020. She says, “I was cooped up at home all day and felt very restless. Running seemed like the only solution to release all my pent-up energy. Even though I had never done more than a kilometer before, the circumstances allowed me to push farther. I didn’t always enjoy it at the start, but the buzz you get after was a major appeal. Today, I run 5-8 kilometers a few times a week and I feel so much healthier.”
David M. from Delhi started running with the help of an app about five years ago. He says that he didn’t rush things and built up his stamina very slowly. He adds, “For me, each run felt as if I had achieved something as I had never seriously taken to running before. Because of the app, I could track my (slow) progress and it was extremely satisfying.”
Fitness and GPS trackers help you record your efforts, letting you know when you’ve smashed your personal best and where to make improvements. Using fitness and health apps is a great way to stay motivated when working toward your goals. According to an article, mobile and data analytics company App Annie reported that March 2021 saw 20% more downloads across apps in health and fitness categories in iOS and Google Play when compared with the prior month’s numbers.
When it comes to running, it’s so important to celebrate your achievements, whether it’s 500m or half a marathon, you still got up and did it so it’s worth a pat on the back.
Salman B from Delhi started running three years ago and is now preparing for his first marathon. He says, “I’ve done gym workouts, long walks and circuit training, but I’d never even thought I could be a runner. Once I started, I realized that the main obstacle was my mindset. It definitely was not easy in the beginning. However, you get better and better with each run – the sense of achievement is amazing.”
Salman has done two half marathons so far and is looking forward to completing a full one soon. He adds, “Running is a great stress-buster and forces you to constantly motivate yourself. I now find that this way of thinking can be applied to everyday life as well. I genuinely wish I had been running earlier on.”
With running, it’s normal to have both good and bad days, but as with most things in life, consistent effort will really pay off. It’s also important not to compare yourself to anyone else. It may seem like all of your friends are posing with medals on Instagram, but use this as a form of motivation. They too started at the beginning.
If you are new to running or have health issues, it’s always best to consult your doctor and be guided by a fitness professional before starting on a new exercise regime. Being aware of your limitations and not pushing yourself too hard is key to keeping motivated and staying healthy. Also ensure that you are covered by good health insurance so that, in case of an unfortunate health incident, you have access to appropriate medical care without having to worry about the burden of huge hospital bills.
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Agent copy: Running is an age-old exercise, but it never gets any easier when you’re first starting out. Generali speaks to runners about why they started running – and why you should, too.