I recently wrote a blog-post about my insane love-hate relationship with running. As already mentioned, my hate for running stems back two decades when I did Basic Military Training in the South African Air Force. The idea of someone screaming at me and making me run for 3 months straight was enough to put me off running for a lifetime. That was until I met Jayindri Shanmugam. We met the same way I met Botle Kayamba, at the Women’s Health event held at The Cookery. Ever since, Jayindri has been encouraging me to pursue my running. She’s the little angel sitting steadfastly on my shoulder reassuring me that if she can, so can I. We recently got together to chat about all things running.
1. How did your life as a runner begin?
Five years ago (at the age of 40) I went for a standard medical checkup, and the doctor asked if I exercised, I responded that I had two daughters and they kept me active. The doctor in turn wrote down Sedentary. So for some unknown reason this was my wake up call. It really was my aha moment. I must admit that I didn’t start running immediately. At first I did the Women’s Health Magazine DVD called “Look better naked” and I slowly grew in confidence as well as in my fitness.
2. When did you start running
It was my mission to get fit at 40 after that doctor’s visit. Once my fitness was up I started running and started with a little 2 or 3 km and used the Nike app. My goal was to complete a 5km or 10km. My first race was the Spar race which I did with my daughter who was 12 at the time. Before I knew it I was doing a 10km and had convinced my husband to join me. We also joined Discovery Health and later the Discovery Vitality Running Team which was pivotal in getting us from COUCH TO COMRADES.
3. Which goal do you most identify with?
Initially my main goal was being healthy but now it’s all about getting stronger.
4. How many km have you run per month in the last 3 months? How does that compare with what you averaged last year?
I have run 474 kms since January 2018. It’s pretty close to my figures from last year as I’m currently training for the Two Oceans and Comrades.
5. What injuries are you susceptible to?
Common ailments are low immunity and ITBS injuries. Iliotibial Band Syndrome is one of the most common overuse injuries among runners. It occurs when the iliotibial band, the ligament that runs down the outside of the thigh from the hip to the shin, is tight or inflamed. IT band pain can be severe enough to completely sideline a runner for weeks, or even longer. Basically these injuries are due to the higher volume and intensity of the training.
6. What’s your brand of choice when it comes to running shoes and when do you need new ones?
Running shoes are the most important gear decision you’ll make, so make a concerted effort to buy a good pair of running shoes suited for your feet. I run in Asics Nimbus and generally get 500-600 kms out of a pair.
7. Who is your running support network?
I’m extremely blessed and fortunate to have the support of my husband, both my daughters and my in-laws. My husband and I train and run together. He was the one who suggested we start running 21km races. I also have a running coach who supports me.
8. What training phase are you in right now?
High mileage starts now in order to peak for Comrades in June. Two Oceans Ultra is at the end of March. Running is very much part of my lifestyle and it doesn’t end. It is an all-encompassing routine that requires commitment, dedication and perseverance.
9. What are your top three things that you do to prevent injury?
I take supplements, fuel my body with wholesome food, stretch often and have regular massages. I’ve learnt that sleep is the most vital part of recovery. You asked for three and I have given you more things but these points are essential for my life as a runner.
10.How do you stay motivated when you don’t want to run?
Running takes a considerable amount of discipline. My husband motivates me. Also I’m inspired by women like you, Amy Hopkins and veteran runner Deidre Larkin who is 85 years old.
11. What has been your running highlights?
My first race with my daughter will always hold a special place in my heart. That was the start to my life as a runner. The Two Oceans Ultra 2017 was another highlight. For Comrades 2017, I raised over R13000 for the Pink Drive. I did complete the race but sadly it was just after the 12 hour cut-off.
I have always been in awe of Jayindri and the fact that she is an Ultra-runner, a title she modestly acknowledges. After chatting to her about the nitty gritties of running I have a new found respect and admiration for runners. Aside from being a runner, she is an amazing mom and wife, and her family comes first, despite her hectic training schedule. She teaches us that its never too late to chase those goals or try something new. Jayindri is passionate about everything life has to offer, but the way she speaks about the women who inspire her, shows the character of a woman of strength.
If you don’t already know, I have a love-hate relationship with running. The hate part began 2 decades ago when I did basic military training in the South African Air Force. Running has never been my thing but I have always secretly wished that I could run. Like just run non-stop for a mere and insignificant 5km. The love part is where running (or run-walking in my case) helps me clear my head and process things. At the end of a run I always feel rather strong, but it’s also the exercise the improves my fitness level the quickest.
When I started my weight loss journey, my biokineticist wanted me to run 30 minutes on the treadmill daily. Oh my word … I think I almost died that first day. Needless to say that there was no running involved but my chest was on fire and my breathing was heavy. It was complete and utter torture. Thinking back my speed on the treadmill was a 4. I started doing parkruns with my husband and kids. Time for my first 5km was more than 60 minutes. I have however had slow but steady progress over the last year and now run on the treadmill with my speed setting at 8 and I can complete a 5km in 38 minutes. It’s all about progress and not perfection, but I’m ready to take my running to the next level. So I a 12 week program and my blogger friend suggested a running app that gets you to 5km in 8 weeks, so at least we have choices.
12 weeks to a 5km
A Few Pointers to Keep in Mind
Remember to always get medical clearance before starting on any exercise programme. It’s also important to listen to your body. Road running and trail running has become increasing dangerous in South Africa. Try and join a running club or find a running partner. Avoid running on your own in isolated and/or dark areas.
The single most important piece of equipment is running shoes. If at all possible have your feet analysed to determine the if you are a pronator or not. I, in particular have flat feet so stability running shoes are best suited for me. I’m torn between my Asics Noosa Tri 11’s and my New Balance 860v8’s. I’ve heard that feet, particularly those of beginners, tend to swell the further you run. Something to consider when running longer distances.
When it comes to running, runners prefer comfort far ahead of fashion when it comes to fitness gear. Begin with basics: a pair of shorts or tights (helps prevent chafing) and definitely invest in a good quality high impact sports bra. Layering is essential in colder conditions. Reflective gear is import for night races and road running. I definitely can’t run without my buff and peak cap. I’ve yet to find a good quality pair of running sunglasses but it’s definitely on my list.
GPS watches and fitness trackers allow runners to measure time, distance, pace, and much more. Personally, I love my Fitbit and seeing I’m not a professional runner, the Fitbit Charge 2 does everything I need it to do
Don’t forget to start with a 5-10 minute brisk walk or jog to warm up before every session and end with a 5-10 minute brisk walk to cool down.
After cooling down, take the time to do some stretching.
Easy run – comfortable pace, where conversation with walking partner is easy.
Moderate run – you might be left slightly breathless.
Moderate run with hills – a moderate-paced run that includes about 3 to 4 hills of 300m each.
Fast run – make a concerted effort to maintain a fast pace.
Repeats, tempo, hills, strides – speed-work sessions.
Strength training – not essential for you to finish the 5km distance, but it has tremendous benefits, both for your running fitness and your health.
Cross training – not essential, but makes your training programme more balanced.
Rest – a vital part of any training programme when your muscles increase in strength
So while running is an internal and mental battle for me, 2018 will be the year I overcome this and the year I run a 5km non-stop. 1July 2018 Im coming for you.