Extended edited version of my Run&Bee column in Hindustan Times
Week 56: Listen to your breathing and effort you are putting in while you workout (Monday, 8 July 2019)
Most walkers-runners walk-run the way they drive and vice-versa. Try out any park in India and you’ll find it pretty difficult to overtake those in front of you, not for lack of speed or will but because they aren’t prepared to let go of that prime real-estate they have recently acquired, whether by hook or by crook. One or two walkers-runners could block a ten feet wide pathway. While driving, we do the same. We prefer line-driving instead of lane-driving. We have the talent to block two and at times three lanes with just one car or auto rickshaw.
The above behaviour can’t only be blamed on being selfish, rude and arrogant but at most times happens in spite of best of intentions. We as a society simply lack awareness of our surroundings and other people around us. To make matters even worse, most of us aren’t even aware of our own doings. If our walk-run can just do that for us, make us more aware of ourselves, our surroundings and people in our vicinity, it’s all been worth it because most of us don’t even get a hang of it in a single lifetime. I’m so glad we Indians believe in multiple births and re-incarnations. We eventually will overcome one day.
For now let me attempt in trying to come up with a fix in this one life that we kind of are sure about. Let’s start with being even more selfish, thinking first about ourselves and doing the best for ourselves.
When you go out for a walk-run, go for a walk-run. You don’t need to be on that hard earned smart-phone that has dumbed you and me to quite an extent.
As much as I love music, I highly recommend that you leave your earphones and headphones at home too. When you listen to music for inspiration, motivation and to get into your rhythm, you are blocking your other senses. You wouldn’t be aware of the stalker two steps behind you or of that serial killer with a 12 inch knife. I would rather have you listen to your footsteps, if you can hear them, you need to land softer and reduce the strain on your ankles, knees, hips and back. You’ll end up running effortlessly too.
While running, don’t keep looking at your well earned top of the line fitness tracker. Rather listen to your breathing and effort you are putting in while you do your workout. That’ll tell you a lot more about how you are doing. If you can talk in sentences that are 10-15 words long, you are going at a comfortable long slow run pace, i.e. 60-70% of your maximum effort. If you are able to talk in 5-6 word sentences, it’s good for tempo running sessions or brisk walk, i.e. you are at 70-80% of your effort, and you are unable to talk in more than 3-4 words, you are doing an all out speed interval running training, i.e. more than 85% of your maximum effort. This suddenly addresses your concern about how fast you need to go. You go as fast as your body feels like on a particular day, for that you need to listen to it.
While walking-running on road, always be on the right facing the traffic as it’s only your responsibility to keep yourself alive as drivers pan-India think of pedestrians as bonus points.
Once you’ve taken care of yourself, now you are already a responsible physical enthusiast and can think about the surroundings and others in it.
If you do decide to take your smart-phone with you, everyone around is aware that you have the best choice in music in the world. Save it for the car even if your spouse disagrees with me on this.
While walking-running on a track or path in park, stick to left and overtake from right. Even if you are walking-running with your hommies, stick with left. Don’t confuse this with your political alignment.
Last but not least, you already are one of my favourite organisms because you got up early, now let’s take it to the next level, smile. Smile at yourself, at your friends, others coming from front and behind. Rest of your day will simply be awesome too. And you will be your best forever.
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