Preparing for AHM 2015

I caught the running bug way back in 2012 in Chennai. I decided to run the Wirpo Chennai half marathon then and that has been my best performance in a run so far. I think I was physically the fittest in October 2013. I had built up that fitness over the course of 5 months and I was in very good shape. I was lean, had built muscle fitness and was raring to go.

Fast forward a couple of months and all the effort that I had put in, the months spent in the gym and the hundreds of hours running and preparing for running, came to nothing. I went upto 70 from a lean 65 and have struggled to come back under 70 since.

I can clearly see the affects of aging here. I put in the same amount of effort in 2013 that I am putting in the Gym these days. I saw the results of the training better back then. Work was relaxed then and I could work out in the mornings. I also had the advantage to being fitter generally. In a sense, I started building fitness in July 2011. I wasn’t working out that much but I was putting in hours of running and Gym time so I was decently fit, leading upto Sep 2012 when I started running seriously.

I can generally divide my running “career” so far in 4 stages:

1. Pre Wipro Chennai Marathon 2012 — This is the period when I had started running. I did mistakes in the preparation that affected me post my run but in general I think that was a good period for me. My timing of 2:02:34 is much better than my next best of 2:16 which happened couple of months later.

2. Auroville 2013 and the Fitness One — My shins got banjaxed post the Chennai run in 2012 December. By January, I knew that I had muscle issues that needed serious work and I cut down on my running. I was still decently fit in Feb 2013 when along with Sainath, I got into the Xylo heading to Auroville. The run itself was a good experience. Post the Auroville run, I quit running and enrolled into Fitness one. I worked out for 4 months and then started building up again in the summer.

3. Stupid AHM 2013 and the following high — AHM was my first run post the shin splints recovery. I wasn’t in perfect shape yet but was decently well prepared. If it weren’t for the stupid mistakes that I did the day before the run and during the run, I would have finished much better that the 2:30 that I managed. Coimbatore happened, where I spent the previous night fighting bed bugs but still was fine enough to do a good run but chose to selflessly sacrifice my timing to help out my friend who was fighting cramps. 2:34. Okay. The next run was the October 2013 Chennai trail run. In the build up to the run, I got super exited and decided I wanted to run a full marathon in the Wipro Chennai marathon 2013. I was putting in the long runs and was working very hard at the time. The fateful night before the Trail run, mom died. I caught an early flight to Hyderabad the next morning and returned to Chennai a couple of months later with an additional 4 Kgs of fat. Fat that I have still not lost.

4. Bangalore and still stupid AHM 2014 — I couldn’t create any fitness regimen unto June 2014. I started running again in Bangalore from June in PSN which offered a good running track. My target was AHM 2014 but I didnt have enough time. The first few weeks of the training went fine but shin splints hit me hard in late July. I had to stop running completely leading upto the AHM. Then I went onto do even stupider mistakes the day before the run and in the run itself.

Last year’s AHM was the second most humbling moment in my life. I was fighting the terrain, the heat and my body and ended up walking the final few Km’s of the run. During the course of the run I seriously questioned myself on why I took up running in the first place. I was terribly disappointed and defeated. 2:50 something. I didn’t even care to remember the exact timing.

That was my last shot at running a marathon. The next event is AHM 2015 and I find myself in familiar territory. I am grossly unfit like last year and am fighting an uphill battle. The good news this year is that I have a few more weeks to prepare. The bad news is that the fitness regimen is proving to be difficult and is taxing.

Its been 2 months since I joined the Gym. The same 2 months effort in 2013 had shown great results but its been slow progress this year. I lost 3 weeks in between so it’s not like I have been at it all the time. 2 months and I have barely lost 2 Kgs. I still weigh upwards of 70 Kgs.

What do I do? I am caught in a terrible circle. I need to lose weight to start serious running as the additional weight is putting more load on my already imbalanced muscles. But I need to run to lose the weight that I need to lose to run. Added to that is the tight timeline for the AHM 2015. With about 10 weeks to go for the run, I don’t want to repeat past years mistakes hurrying up the preparation and injuring myself. So I give myself rest. Which means staying away from cardio which I need to do to lose weight. So the equation is:

Run –> to reduce weight.

Reduce weight –> to run

Rest –> To give time to heal

Nightmare.

I am putting to good use the wisdom gained over the past few years. Shin splints has done me the most harm. I have to avoid that at all costs. Which means I need to do three things: Increase my mileage very slowly, build muscles with strength training, and give myself adequate rest. But all of these things will mean progress will be slow and it will be incredibly difficult to keep up the motivation.

I have no other choice. I have now got to know how my body works. I need to workout to stay fit or else I will start ballooning like, well a balloon. Lack of workout makes me look fat, feel fat, produces gas problems and I don’t have the general confidence in myself that I do when I am fitter. I need to build up the required fitness to sustain even a moderate training regimen. This “season” is very crucial for me. I will look back at this season in the years to come as having been a great season, or an opportunity missed.

I hope some luck goes my way this time.

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