So, now that you’ve got yourself a pair of suitable shoes and have invested in some basic running gear, what do you do next? As I said in my first column, it’s important to set yourself a goal. It could be anything. You may want to run 500m without stopping, or lose 2kg of weight, lose a few inches off your waist or hips, want to feel fitter and more energetic or clear your sinuses and sniffles.
Give yourself at least seven weeks before you start monitoring your progress towards the goal. Believe me, you will be surprised at the difference. And, then, for good measure, there is a cumulative effect for a while, until you reach a steady and fit state.
A few basic pointers
I am not going to give you diet tips, and we all know this already, but eat fresh vegetables and juices, more whole grain cereals, less junk food and deep- fried snacks. Just monitor whatever you eat and eat sensibly, don’t go on a crash diet
Many people overlook this, but you must have six-eight hours of reasonable quality sleep every day. Power cuts, heat, mosquitoes and noise pollution make it tough, but each of us has our solutions. Try sleeping half an hour earlier than your regular time at night. Reading before you sleep may also help you de-stress after a hectic day.
Run with a partner
This is motivating and more fun.
Choose a simple running programme
Don’t stress yourself by trying to do too much too soon. Think of it like a seven-week antibiotic course. You cannot finish it with an overdose in week one.
Gentle stretches before you start are good
Stand tall, legs apart, and reach out to the ceiling with your hands clasped.
Same position, bend down, and reach as close as you can get to your toes. Don’t worry if you can’t (or never) touch them.
Place hands on your hips and bend your body on either side.
Sit on your bed, feet together, point your toes up and then down.
Any running programme must incorporate two days of rest in a week. You should also bring in some variety, in terms of distance or speed. Mix your routine with different levels of intensity, building it up and then taking one step back to help your body regain strength. It would also help if you go to different places, to add variety to your programme.
Below are two simple programmes: One for those who have not yet started jogging and may be walkers, and the second one for those who have already started some jogging. Both these programmes, however, ‘peak’ in the fourth week.
Rest: Keep your feet up from an exercise perspective. Do some slow stretch routines of the neck and shoulder or touch your toes.
Easy walk: Keep pace with your partner.
Walk + 100m runs: Walk for 10-15 minutes and then run approx 100m as fast as you can. Don’t worry about the pace, you should be out of breath at the end of that. Then walk for 10-15 minutes, catch your breath and repeat the sequence as many times as you can.
Brisk walk: Walk at a pace that makes you start sweating.
Easy jog/walk: Walk at a brisk pace and when you feel up to it, do a slow jog for a while and then go back to a brisk walk. Do a slow jog once you feel up to it and repeat as many times as you want. You can set the pace and the frequency, but don’t overdo it.
For beginner runners, an easy jog does not mean you cannot take walking breaks. Take breaks in between to catch your breath and resume, but remember, keep the pace down.
Walk +200m jogs:Walk for 5-10 minutes and jog for 200m at a comfortable pace (not a sprint) and then repeat as required.
Jog:Try and keep a slow and steady pace, you may want to vary the pace in between for variety.
Tempo jog:Keep a low pace for the first 10 minutes, pick up the pace for the middle of the session, and return to the slow pace for the final 10 minutes.
Rahul S. Verghese is director, Global Consumer Insights, Motorola