“Long distance running is like business. Training in the last quarter is what is important; history is history, which the mind and body soon forget.”
“Smiling helps de-stress — it is a simple tool we have been blessed with but one we don’t use adequately. We mistakenly think that the world will collapse if we don’t remain absolutely serious about life!”
“… if you are a regular marathoner and run two to three marathons a year evenly spaced out and take a three-month break from running, you need to resume your training on the ground floor of the training schedule. Do not try to start from where you left off, even if you have been an active cyclist or swimmer during the gap period. Each sport uses different muscles and needs a different focus.”
“You also need to look back, not just at the people who are running behind you but especially at those who don’t run and never will . . . those who run but don’t race . . . those who started training for a race but didn’t carry through . . . those who got to the starting line but didn’t reach the finish line . . . those who once raced better than you but no longer run at all. You’re still here. Take pride in wherever you finish. Look at all the people you’ve outlasted.”
— Joe Henderson.
”A third, and more basic, level of unlearning in order to learn is when having learnt on your own, and reached a certain stage, you then plan to take a quantum leap . Often we realize that what is required is not harder work, but a smarter way of doing the same thing.”
”… you may find these basic principles can be applied to your work and to managing your workload:
■ Never try and do the same thing repeatedly if you are trying to improve.
■ Look at a holistic build- up and focus on different weak links.
■ Do not work to exhaustion but work towards a build-up scientifically and sensibly, so that come the big day, you are ready to be firing on all cylinders.
■ Rest adequately.
■ And . . . you can write in your very own set of learnings.”
“Something triggers internally the moment when my bare feet touch the earth. To put it simply, running lights me up. The light that burns within me reaches my soul when I run – it alerts my mind, and my body simply loves it. Nothing compares to the light within me when I run.”
“After a certain distance, you run with your mind, not with your legs.”
“In the morning of 3rd February, 2007, I was lying naked on a cold metal table. My entire body was being shaved, except the head. I was joking with the hospital attendant that this was a contrast to the tonsure at Tirupati, where the head was shaved and the body hair left untouched!
I was praying hard to HIM that my Coronary Artery Bypass Graft procedure (CABG aka Open Heart Bypass Surgery) should go well. So were my family members who had assembled outside.”
Thus begins the preface of P. Venkatraman’s book, “From Sofa to 5K: A Beginner’s Handbook on Running for Good Health” with a foreword by renowned cardiologist Dr. Aashish Contractor who is also an avid long distance cyclist and runner.
Contractor concludes his foreword as below:
“May fortitude hasten you and let temperance chasten you.”
Venkatraman outlines his story in the prologue describing his family history of heart disease beginning with his grandfather. His father and younger brother too were similarly affected.
Venkat details how he was always health and diet-conscious throughout his early life.
The author began running in 2004 and by the very next year was completing half-marathons. All this physical activity, however, could not prevent a 100% blockage of his left artery. And in Feb 2007, Venkatraman underwent heart surgery.
In January 2008, he ran the Mumbai half-marathon once more highlighting the second coming of the inspirational founder of You Too Can Run.
You Too Can Run’s mission is ‘To Promote Running For Good Health’.
Venkatraman divested his stake in one of India’s largest BPOs where he was a Promoter Director and founded his social enterprise.
The book is an attempt to inspire others to take up running for their health and is published by You Too Can Run Sports Management Private Limited who have registered themselves as a publisher with the HRD Ministry.
Chapter 5 onwards tackles the actual subject of running for beginners.
IITian and running coach Daniel Vaz is the technical editor of the book while nutritionist Kinita Kadakia is a major contributor to sections dealing with weight loss.
Venkatraman initially lists the psychological, social and physiological reasons for running.
There follows an entire chapter devoted to getting started—the most interesting part is how to handle aggressive stray dogs.
Chapter 7 deals with progressive loading and has a beginner’s 5K running plan pull-out.
Most beginners are astounded that they don’t start losing pounds immediately or sometimes for quite a while despite being quite regular and disciplined with their exercise programme. Kadakia answers these questions in the chapter ‘Running and Weight Loss‘ and how losing weight is simply about burning more calories than you consume i.e. a calorie deficit has to be created and maintained.
Finally, ‘Staying Motivated‘ is simply about that—how to keep oneself going and how it all begins with setting a goal.
The book also provides a Daily Health Log sheet that helps runners cultivate a habit of checking their progress towards their goals.
The book is of value specifically to someone who wishes to start a running regimen.
Recommended for beginners—you could do worse.
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Madhav Roy Kapur
P. S. Bharathi
The Race of My Life by Milkha Singh and Sonia Sanwalka
The movie begins with the Flying Sikh’s heart-breaking loss at the Rome Olympics in the 400 metres. Milkha Singh is far ahead of the field but turns his head to see where his rivals are and loses vital seconds. The result is a fourth place finish; yet, he too breaks the Olympic record along with the medallists.
Milkha is haunted by ghosts of his childhood past from Govindpura, in the then Punjab Province, British India—now Muzaffargarh District, Pakistan.
Milkha’s parents, a brother and two sisters were slaughtered before his eyes in the violence that ensued following the partition of British India.
The film takes off with Milkha’s return to India and his refusal to lead a contingent of Indian athletes to Pakistan to race against Abdul Khaliq—-the fastest man in Asia.
Milkha’s back story is narrated by Pavan Malhotra as Hawaldar Gurudev Singh, Milkha’s initial coach, and how he made the journey from a refugee camp to becoming the foremost Indian sportsperson of his generation and arguably of all time.
The movie is gripping while depicting life in a refugee camp, Milkha’s initiation into a life of petty crime but meanders in the scenes portraying his first love Biro and his moments with her.
To prove himself worthy of Biro, Milkha quits his criminal ways and joins the army.
The young Sardar starts running to gain an extra glass of milk, two eggs and to be excused from regular drill.
Milkha is soon on his way to becoming one of India’s top athletes and makes the cut for the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.
There he meets and falls for Stella, played by Rebecca Breeds, the grand-daughter of his Australian technical coach. Breeds is charming, delightful and lights up the screen with her cameo.
The Games, however, are a disaster for Milkha on the field. He loses his race and vows to make good by breaking the existing world record of 45.90 seconds.
He trains hard over the next four years with unyielding determination and even rejects a romantic overture from Indian Olympic swimmer Perizaad.
Milkha takes the world by storm in the run-up to the Rome Olympics and is one the pre-Games favourites for the 400 metres.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Milkha makes the journey across the border for the Friendly Games against Pakistan after being persuaded by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
The highlight of the movie is his visit back to his village Govindpura where he exorcises demons of the past and is reunited with his boyhood friend Sampreet.
The Friendly Games race against Abdul Khaliq is a formality with Singh much too strong and powerful for his opponents.
The film ends with an adult Milkha Singh completing a victory lap visualizing his boyish self running alongside him.
Overall, an enjoyable movie especially for sports fans and a ‘Don’t miss’ if you’re a follower of Indian athletics.