Keep on running

Simi Gupta explains why the winter chill doesn’t stop her from donning on her trainers 

Posted: 14.01.14

I take pride in keeping my body in shape and feeling fit. Running is my pride and joy. As soon as I have finished my morning run, I feel as if I am ready to conquer the day. The journey to improving my fitness began when I was shopping with my mother one day and tried on a pair of size 10 trousers, which to my shock horror didn’t fit! I then decided to try on a pair of size 12 but they didn’t fit either!
I was 5ft 2” and 15 years old at the time and it was one of the most disheartening experiences of my life. From that day forward, I knew that something had to be done so I became dedicated to becoming becoming fit and healthy. As I didn’t have any equipment to use at home and couldn’t afford joining the gym, I started to run outdoors. With determination, I continued to run until it became a habit. Once running became part of my lifestyle, it was hard to give up. With this form of exercise, a year later I had lost a quarter of a stone. My transformation gained recognition, and I started to feel good about myself.

However, as soon as I reached my goal I stopped running. From then on, with exams in the process to prepare for, my body started to change and I started to gain back the weight. I was 20 years and I desperately wanted my confidence back.

I immediately started looking for a good quality treadmill and began running 30 minutes per day. At first, keeping up the pace was difficult however I wanted results. I continued to run diligently until I saw my fitness improving. I started to increase the speed every week and running became easy for me. I applied to attend the Adidas 5km Women’s Challenge 2010 in Hyde Park, to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital. I successfully completed the challenge and it was a very memorable experience.After doing some research I realised I needed to do some resistance training too. The purpose of this approach is to lose the fat and gain lean muscle. Mixing cardio with strength exercises is a brilliant way in shocking the body and seeing shape.

Give it a go!
Like with any other forms of exercise, warming up your muscles is very important. Running can cause muscle pains in the legs, foot and ankle injuries. You’ll be limping for days, causing limitations on your daily commitments. As a result, here are my top tips in ensuring that you have a very pleasant run:

1) Buy a good set of running trainers. Running with cheap trainings will not suffice nor will they do you any justice. If you’re going to take your running seriously, make sure you provide yourself with the correct equipment, otherwise you will injure yourself.

2) Stretch all your muscles before running. This will loosen up your body, making running more comfortable and will reduce painful after effects. If you continue to run without stretching, you will feel you’re body starting to become rigid and have aches and pains.

3) Keep a positive mind frame will make running easier. Exercising in general can be like a chore, however thinking like that will not get you anywhere. In fact, you won’t succeed in your run and will be wasting your time.

4) Keep yourself entertained. As I run on a treadmill, it can get very boring. Creating a playlist or watching television makes the time go faster. Most importantly, it will make you more motivated.

5) You’re going to get hot and sweaty. It will not be you’re most glamorous look but don’t worry, don’t spend too much of your energy looking like a diva when running. That goes against the whole purpose of running.

6) If you prefer to run outdoors, create a plan of your route. I wouldn’t advise running in an unfamiliar surrounding.

7) Lastly, be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Running isn’t easy. If you do find it easy, step it up a notch. You need to make your body work hard.

After running consistently for two years, I can proudly say that I am now at a good weight for my height. As a 5ft 2", 22-year-old Asian I fit comfortably in a size 8. Personally, this is definitely a sense of accomplishment as I never thought I’d ever fit into size 8 clothing! I am now confidently able to go into clothing stores and try any pieces of items. Obviously, adopting a healthy diet is vital too. Exercise will not account for much if you don’t eat healthily. As a result, my advice is to limit your sugar intake and fast foods. Eat more vegetables and protein in order to see improvements.

Running has become my lifes. Nevertheless I am aware that running isn’t for everyone, so I highly suggest that you adopt something that you love and become diligent with it. Patience is definitely a virtue when it comes to exercise and stick with it - you will definitely see results!

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