C25K Week 3

Jun 17, 2014

I don’t quite remember what triggered it, but when I visited the US back in November 2013 on a business visa, I decided to take up running. I’d previously read about the Couch-to-5k running program that is designed to slowly ramp up beginners into running 5 kilometers in one go. So I went to the subreddit and looked up running shoes. I discovered that there are a few sports stores in the US where they have people who analyze your running style and suggest shoes that would be ideal for your style. So I visited the Sports Basement outlet near my hotel, had the really cute salesgirl analyze my running style and purchased a pair of Saucony running shoes. The first week simply involved alternately running and brisk-walking for a minute each, I completed it without any significant issues. However I got flat-out dead-exhausted halfway through W2D1 (Week-2 Day-1) as it involved alternately running for 1.5 minutes and walking for 1 minute. I repeated Week 1, and by then it was time for me to come back to India.

Thanks to jet-lag I was sleepy at all the wrong times of the day for a week after flying back, so I decided to start again at W1D1 back in India. And ran out of breath halfway through the run. I decided at that point that the air in Bangalore is too polluted and hence not conducive to running for beginners. And that was that.

Recently a colleague linked me to the Oatmeal comic about the Tesla Model S. I liked it so much that I decided to check out some of the other comics in the “Most popular” section of the site, and that’s how I came across the one on why Matthew Inman runs marathons. It got me excited about running again. Some parts of the comic deeply resonated with something deep in my soul. One part in particular that especially stood is where he says

I run really, really fast because I desperately want to stand very still. I run to seek a void.

Hoping to find a solution to my breathlessness, I crawled through the interwebs and found out about Diaphragmatic breathing which really helped a lot. I also read advice that suggested simply running slower to start with and to not worry about speed at the beginning. Combining the two, today I completed W3D1, which involved running for 1.5 minutes, followed by walking for 1.5 minutes. This is followed by running for 3 minutes and then walking for 3 minutes. This entire cycle is repeated once more. And I did it. I ran for 3 minutes once and then for 3 minutes once more. Sure, by the end of it I was more-or-less running at the speed of a brisk walk. Sure, I was grabbing my sides once I stopped running. But I ran. And I did not breathe through my mouth even once.

Since I’m only supposed to run thrice a week, I’ve been performing bodyweight exercises the other three weekdays. That way I’m building strength and stamina side-by-side. However, due to some recent health issues, my dad suggested that I put the exercising on hold, so I haven’t exercised at all this week. However, I refuse to stop running.