This is a difficult question to answer, and I have never been able to reply to this question.

Never.

Well at the outset let me clarify, I do not run a marathon (distance 42.1km) but run half the distance (21.04). The word Marathon is so abused that 3km runs are called Marathon. It is almost used as a synonym for running. Running is very different from sprinting – which is what small runs like up to 10 km are run.

Coming to why I run? The most honest answer is ‘I do not know’. I guess when a person reaches about 40 years of age he/she realises that life is now not going to change much. You have by and large done your bit. Those who wanted to reach the corner office have reached or by now they know that they cannot reach. Now is the time when they need to do something to keep their MIND occupied. The body remaining healthy, etc. follows from the MIND wanting some activity. This is a nice activity to keep busy.

So our 40 year old goes to the gym and finds out that doing a 450 lb leg press or a 400 lb lift are not exactly what he can do or wishes to do. He realises THAT HE CANNOT DO THIS without  the risk of a slip disc. Now no good trainer wants to be blamed for a slipped disc of an old man, does he?

So having ruled out these heavy weights, he turns to badminton / tennis. Here he realises that not too many people want to play with him. Sad but true.

That leaves him open to single sport like running, cycling, and swimming.

Ha! he has the money to buy equipment so he goes and collects cycles, helmets, shoes, visors, tee shirts, blazers, shots, shades, sun glasses, water bottles, water containers, …etc. and gets head on into swimming and running.

In my case I did none of these things. In fact I am too lazy to collect my medals at the runs that I participate…so even in case of Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, I did not collect the ‘Finisher’s Medal’ – and I am sure SCMM has about a few dozen medals – of people too lazy to collect it!

 

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  1. Subra,

    I am in same boat after crossing 40. Enjoy running as a exercise rather than investing in buying fitness equipments, cycle, accessories etc. Have not participated in marathon, but would give a thought.

    Regards

    Atul

  2. Subra, I am a recent follower of your blog (it’s the 1st thing I do in office after checking my emails).
    I caught up this running bug early(am 28 now) when I had to train for a mountain climb. After the successful climb, I continued my distance running and went on to complete many half marathons and 3 full marathons (Hyderabad, Bangkok, Chennai). From my experience, the feeling that you get DURING the run is painful and torture… But that said, the feeling that you get AFTER the run is pure NIRVANA!! People who run long distances would agree (it’s called a “runner’s high”!)
    PS: And Subra, from what I have seen, AGE is just a number when it comes to marathon. I have seen many runners in the senior category who were too fast for me!!(it does hurt my ego when they overtake me in the marathon but I know that I can’t do anything about it). All that one needs is dedicated training for it. NOTHING ELSE MATTER!!

    This is my blog post on my first marathon:
    http://travelograph.com/2012/08/how-it-feels-to-run-first-marathon/

  3. So running is a midlife crisis response 😀 ?

    btw,anything over 400 metres at max cannot be sprinting.even 800 mtr runners are not sprinting.ofcourse the speed of a David Rudhisha over 800 meters might be double what a normal mortal can ‘sprint’ for 400 metres,but Rudisha is still not sprinting!
    at the end of a sprint,you’re ready to puke given it is a totally anerobic activity .

    half marathon is a good distance to run. regular full marathon running is catablic and not good for physical health (except as a mental training tool)while HM is good for most human bodies primarily because we are out of glycogen by 30 kms.

    i think your 450 lb leg press is an unfair comparison.its like saying a newbie runner should run the Comrades ultrmarathon as soon as he takes to running.450 lbs is something you reach after 5-7 years of strength trainign and not everyone will reach there ,depending on genetics and body weight,even if you are sincere and scientifically trained.like anything in life,start slow and small,and progress gradually and train properly and you’ll be strong soon enough. i have given up long distance running,it simply is not good ROI for my limited time.lifting weights and running not more than 5k/25 minutes is where i draw max benefits. deadlifting 2 times bw,benching 1.2 bw, pressing 1 bw,squatting 1.8 bw are all activities which transfer to functions in real life.if your car is stuck somewhere or you need to lift your wife/child and move them to safety from a fire etc,you need strength. not to mention,a strong man looks physically quite pleasing than a reed thin marathoner.
    aerobic conditioning for ‘running’ (not jogging) for 30 minutes can be trained by lifting heavy weights as well.ofcourse one cannot run a marathon without training for 32k + runs,but who wants to run a marathon all the time?

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