I am RamyaKrishna Pusala, currently working as an IT professional with an MNC from Hyderabad. I would like to describe myself as a Runner, Trekker by Heart and a Doodler by passion.
Before I start talking about my running journey, let me tell you why I even started running in the first place. Most of us have a reason to start with something, such as, Running, Fitness goal, or lets say any activity which requires a lot of hard work, persistence, dedication, and commitment. Well, some doesn’t need to have one. Yes, I didn’t think of becoming a Runner. I never thought I would enjoy running; not even after I ran my first Half Marathon. Then, how is it that, running came to become an inextricable part of my routine?
My first Half Marathon participation was in Airtel Hyderabad Marathon, 2015. I registered for a Half Marathon just because it was a part of a 23-year-old To-do List—you heard that right. I didn’t know back then anything about Running or Races nor did I do any practice. As a matter of fact, I’ve never run more than 5km. The whole point was to have an experience of running a race and to finish it. But, you should know that I’ve been a physically active kid since childhood doing Yoga and Gym- more on that later. Not knowing the guidelines of the race I reached late to the event and attached my BIB while I was rushing to the start point. My first run gave me a mixed experience. Though I enjoyed the run, I was also struggling after 2hours. I used to stop a couple of times and did stretches whenever needed; not that I intended to run continuously. I made an excessive use of all the sag stations filled myself to content and managed to run until I saw the next sag—well, I should mention I’m a foodie here. I managed to finish the race in 3:03. Though I was quite happy I finished it, I didn’t think of Running for the whole next year.
When I registered for Airtel Hyderabad Marathon the next year in August 2016, I decided it should be different from last year. As I was already into Aerobics for a year which included HIIT, Circuit Training, Strength training and Cardio, I thought I would fare well this time with a good practice. I was clear that, if I have to do better in running I have to train for this sport by giving extra time. My day would start at 4:30 am in the morning, run for 30-45min in the park behind my house and rush to my aerobics class after that. The initial days of training were not easy. In spite of being physically fit I struggled to run a distance in the specified time. That’s when I realized, “you can’t run because you are fit, you need to be fit to run”.
My dad is the one who motivated Me and my sister since childhood to be physically active. It didn’t matter what we choose to do Yoga, Gym, Swimming or Aerobics he wanted us to be Energetic and Fit. Sleeping after 5:00 am was big NO in our house. Diet was taken with utmost care. We could get away with low grades in our house but there can’t be any excuse for discipline—No doubt we rejoiced the days when dad was not in town. When my parents observed my interest towards Running in 2016 they initially weren’t very approving of this. Seeing me workout for 2-3 hrs in the morning every day, they felt I was being too hard on myself.
Since I started my practice for Airtel Hyderabad Marathon 2016, when I came home after the run, I remember my parents asking me a question often, “why do want to run, isn’t your Aerobics class enough to make you physically fit?” I used to keep quite change from my Running to Cross Fit shoe and rush to my aerobics class. Not that I didn’t want to answer them, back then I didn’t know the answer myself. Why do I run so earnestly? Why is that if I miss a run on a day, I feel the day isn’t complete? Why is that I didn’t mind changing my routine and food habits for Running? Little I was sure I wasn’t running to keep myself fit. There was much more to it.
Seeing me wake up on my own in the wee hours, not missing my runs no matter how the day was, giving up on Junk and being committed to my routine made my dad sense the passion I was developing towards Running. He made sure I had a much-balanced diet. Double care has been taken on what I eat. He made sure everything is ready for the next day. I still admire his tremendous knowledge on eating healthy.
During the practice sessions for AHM 2016 is when I absolutely fell in love with this sport. It’s amazing to see how my body, mind, and soul were united when I run, a sense of calmness and serenity is what I would call it. Soon running became a state of meditative and absolute bliss. I finished my Half marathon in 2016 will a much better timing than the year before. I remember, how I enjoyed running every km of this run, I couldn’t contain myself in the last 2km; a feeling of proudness and a satisfaction to finish it in the time I have set for myself was precious.
Since then there was no looking back, from August 2016 to till date I went on to run in various states across India. In last 2 years, I’ve run more than 20 races, of which 15 were Half Marathons, 2 Full Marathon and 3 10k. In my opinion, something more important than how many races you ran is, finishing you runs strong and injury free. Fitness is not something you achieve it and relax, it a continuous process, you got to maintain it as long as you are.
For anyone who is new to running or plans to start running, here are few tips from my experience:
• Take it slow: It’s ok if your running slow, that’s how I started too. I didn’t care about the distance or timing initially all I did was to run for 30min with whatever pace I was comfortable with. Don’t feel bad if you have to walk in between your runs, it makes you run for longer time.
Tip: Don’t set unrealistic goals in the starting and lose your motivation. Aren’t we here to hang around for long?
• Consistency is the Key: The key to becoming a runner is being consistent and realistic. Don’t increase your weekly mileage by more than 10%. For instance, if your total weekly mileage is 20km you wouldn’t be running more than 22-23 km in the next week. This will help your body adjust to the new needs.
Tip: So, there would be days where you don’t feel like getting your ass out, but those are the days you need to fight and get on the track.
• Consider a Running Group: Even if you run alone on weekdays make sure you run with a running group on weekends. It helps you to stay motivated, receive good advice and guidance, explore new trails, more likely to run new races with like-minded people and lastly even if your mind says to skip your run when there are others counting on you, you are less likely to miss a run.
Tip: Running groups are a great source of inspiration you are likely to meet some amazing people with stories you wouldn’t imagine.
• Don’t just run: This is an important aspect according to me. Like I said, it doesn’t matter how many races you have run/the medals you showcase if you are suffering from injuries after every race. What’s also important is to finish your race stronger. Cross training and Strengthening will help you run faster, longer and reduce your risk of injury.
• Eating Healthy: Like they say, “A good race is more than just your training” it is important that you eat right for better performance and to be healthy. Carbs, fat, protein, fruits and vegetables are the key to a runners diet.
Having said that, I don’t believe in going out of the way for right food. Eating local, seasonal and organic food is what I bet on. It is important to remember that while some things may seem slightly more expensive to buy locally and organically, you will pat yourself on the long-term health benefits.
My typical diet looks like below:
· Pre work out: Honey and Lemon water, soaked almonds/2-3 spoons of Honey and Ragi and Jowar juice( This would be between by Run and Strength training)
· Post workout: Vegetable Juice
· Breakfast: High protein sprouts, jaggery, eggs, dry fruits/nuts and fruits/Super Greens.
· Lunch: brown rice/Millet chapatti with 2 curries
· Snacks/ Dinner: For snacks, I have a fruit bowl and for dinner I have a light breakfast followed by Ragi malt.
I believe I have a long way to go in this sport and many more trails await me. My mom still keeps asking me, if this is going to be my last run”? Or I hear from people “How long are you going to run like this?”
I smile and walk away thinking to myself “As long as I’m”
I have seen Ramya from taking part in a few inner-city runs to doing a full 21km run at ~9,000 ft in Kargil, Many people struggle to walk at that altitude for a few hours, let alone running. As you read, this is one of many challenges she took up over the last few years. Hope her story inspired you to Run with all your heart 🙂
You can follow her on Instagram for more inspirations and also check out how she expresses her experiences by doodling.
Insta page – https://www.instagram.com/ramyakrishnapusala/
If you have any questions for Ramya, please do drop them in the comments section and she will get back to you.