Exercise, here I come

I've always had an irregular kind of exercise routine. Back when I was single and living a pampered life chez parents, I would keep starting workout routines - sometimes a Jane Fonda tape, which actually used to show amazing results really fast, sometimes on an exercycle I bought cheap from a friend, and once, after I attended a workshop of yoga and meditation, I did both of those for about a month.

Later, when I was a student in France, I'd go to the gym. I've always loved working out at gyms, and most of all, working out with weights. It gives me a real high to literally be able to test my limits and feel them being pushed week by week. I think, in terms of body structure, I'm a mesomorph so I do better with weights than with pure cardio. In any case, I've never loved pure cardio because I tend to start wheezing when I run. Even way back in school, the most I did was participate in the 80 meter run.

I started exercising properly when Chubbocks was around 2 - I needed to lose weight and feel better about myself, and I was working half days so I could make the time for a trainer three times a week. I and some other women in our colony used to work out together, and the trainer took us through different types of workouts every week - aerobics, weight training, tae-bo, pilates, flexibility, yoga and so on. i loved it and kept it up until my 9th month of pregnancy with Puddi and then took what I thought was a brief hiatus. But after Puddi I went back to work full time and given my office started at 8:30 in the morning, there was never any time.

Finally last year when I decided to take a break from work, I went back to the gym. I really needed it, having become grossly overweight after the birth of Bojjandi. As usual, and as recommended both for women and for people who start working out after a long time, I focussed mostly on weight training so I could build muscle and bone mass and rev up my metabolism. I did a bit of cardio but not too much.

But for the last couple of years, I've had a somewhat surreal ambition - that of wanting to try and run the half marathon. I made a pact with a friend back in 2008 to start training for it and then got pregnant, with Bojjandi due at the same time as the marathon, so that put paid to that. last year, I had just about gotten back into working out so I didn't even bother trying to think about it. But since the Delhi run last year, I've been feeling the urge to get up and start running...to train for it, at least to try the 10 km run. The only thing that's been stopping me? Wheezing like a grampus after the briefest effort on the treadmill.

So finally I found this wonderful website called coolrunnings.com. The name comes from a lovely film I watched several years ago about an African island-nation (can't remember which one) which wanted to enter the bobsledding event in the Winter Olympics. Only problem - no winter there. Anyway, the website has a section meant for complete greenhorns like me, and it's called couch to 5 k. It promises to get a non-runner to go from being a couch potato to being able to run 5 km in 9 weeks, and the whole objective of the founder is to get people through the program as gently as possible. His philosophy is that when people start hurting and feeling the pain, they typically drop out. But if they can gently and gradually ease into it, they stick with it.

The website also has podcasts compiled by a man named Ullrey. He's basically compiled podcasts for each week, and since the program is based on interval training, his podcasts tell you when you should run and when you should walk. The Couch to 5 k program is meant to be run 3 times a week.

I've started the program in addition to my gym visits, where I still revel in mostly weight training machines. I'm on week 2, and my muscles are hurting in a good way so far. I'm hoping I manage to stick with it, and then go on to train for the half marathon in October this year. Most of all, over the past few months of exercise, while I have lost or redistributed some weight, I have changed my attitude to myself. It's easier to say no to desserts now, for instance. While we do eat very healthy, it's become easier for me to welcome every opportunity to heave myself off the sofa and around the block.

Will I actually make it through the c to 5 k program? Will I continue running now that I;m back to a fulltime job and an intensive one at that? Will I actually sign up for and run the half marathon? Watch this space.....!


Sonia said…
Do it!!! I ran a half marathon last year and I am still not over the high I felt when running towards the finish line....will definitely do it again, maybe the full one this time :)
bird's eye view said…
Sonia - what a coincidence. One of my best friends called Sonia, ran the half in Mumbai this Jan, and I'm feeling so inspired by her!

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