This week I had to run five short runs instead of the usual three long ones to fit my target into the festive season and the ever crazy work schedule.
That means I woke up and put on my running shoes pretty much every morning, which made me wonder why I was doing that.
It is not like I love running. In fact, this morning as I was out sweating, my head was busy listing the reasons of why I hate running.
1. Running is a lonely sport
It seriously is, unless you have a family full of athletes who look for any reason to be active. (I don’t). You are usually running when the rest of the brood is still asleep.
Lucky are those who are part of running groups. But in my experience I have come across more lone runners that groups.
2. I am not a natural athlete
I just read a New York Times article (republished in Economic Times) on how a runner ran her first ever marathon with no special training except for her usual 5-mile runs, three times a week.
That – is not me.
For me, running is a chore.
I have played my share of sports growing up ( if you count Kabaddi) but I was more known for my strategy and leadership skills rather than athletic prowess. I run because I think I cannot run; it is not something I can switch on when I want to, as some people do.
3. Those shoes are expensive!
One thing I don’t skimp on, is a good pair of running shoes. I buy the ones that feel the best and I am pretty finicky. When I do meet my sole-mate, it usually comes at a steep price. And those are just the shoes.
Then you have the clothes. Running alone in my conservative Indian neighbourhood has its advantages. All I have to do is dress modest and comfortable.
But if you want to look good and sportive while running, those dri-fit pants and cool tops could set you back by a few thousands (rupees).
I am not even talking about other gear. There is a whole industry around running gadgets and you can go as far as you fancy.
4. Running takes time
Especially long runs.
After the running and the warming up, the cooling down, the stretching and the shower, I have usually lost a good hour or more in a day.
The thing is, I do love my Yoga, meditation; I love to cook for my family; I am passionate about my work; I want to read; would like to write; catch my favourite TV show. With an endless list of things to do, I usually have to give up one to make room for another.
5. It can get boring
I have a 600m track; not really a track, but an asphalt loop near my house. And I run for as long as it takes….on that loop… going in circles, and circles and more circles!
The two cows I see grazing on my first kilometre are likely to be in the same position on my second and my third and my fourth.
I don’t imagine myself as someone with the luxury of time to seek out interesting trails to train.
So, yes, it gets boring.
That is probably why I look forward to business trips. Once a trip is confirmed, I open Google Maps and research on running trails. And if I am in an active city, the trails are usually dotted with fellow runners who give a smile and a nod as they pass you and engage in a friendly race trying to outdo you.
Now, that’s fun!
So, why do I run, you may ask.
Simply because the good reasons outweigh the cons.
1) Vanity. No other form of exercise keeps my waist and thighs as toned as running does. It is amazing what female form would do to look good but I do succumb to that vice.
2) The sense of accomplishment that fills my heart every time I complete a run. It is still unbelievable for me that I can actually run. I started training as a challenge and every extra kilometre has been as humbling as it has been a surprise.
3) The secret sorority of runners. People who pack their running shoes before anything else usually can recognise each other. Running is such a great conversation starter.
And, it is one of the easiest simplest exercises ever!
But then, I am happy I don’t have to run tomorrow morning. That last kilometre is usually the best when I know I am done with my quota for the week!