An open letter to my running coach

For almost 2 years now, I’ve been going regularly to a Delhi running group, twice a week. The ASICS Running Club was started just after the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon in late 2016, and indeed I attended their very first session, and have been a regular ever since, travels notwithstanding.

Nearly 2 years on, & I have made definite progress in my running and overall fitness, that’s for sure.

But I haven’t made spectacular progress. That’s also for sure.

And the blame for that lies uniquely with me.

I don’t train as much or as hard or as diligently as I should. For example, I still can’t do push-ups properly…note to self – need to restart that aborted 30 day push-up challenge I started a couple of months ago.

Our Running Coach, Vijay Shukla, is dedicated, caring, and treats every runner with equal attention and courtesy.  Which is why he deserves better than the performance I fear I’m going to give in this Sunday’s Airtel Delhi Half Marathon.

I’m not really sure what is going on in my head and in my heart right now, but I’m feeling possibly the least confident and the least psyched-up I’ve ever felt before a race.

Is it nerves?

I’m not sure.

Is it being under-prepared?

Most definitely.

I have yet to get close to cracking a sub 2 half marathon, which is a sort-of magical figure for runners.

My best was 2:05 about 3 years ago, when I ran on the Formula 1 circuit in NOIDA in torrential rain, and just wanted the damn thing to be over and done with as quickly as possible 😜

My ‘average’ HM time hovers around 2:10, and so that elusive 1:59:59 remains just that. Elusive and, this year for sure, totally unattainable.

It’s silly to be so fixated on a time, isn’t it?

As if 2:05 is a ‘bad’ time. Or 2:10 or 2:15, for that matter.

In earlier blog posts, I’ve chided people for apologising for their ‘slow’ timings, and yet here I am, already pre-apologising for what I suspect will be another creditable, but totally middle-of-the-pack performance.

But not an outstanding performance.

No siree.

But, playing Devil’s Advocate here with myself, isn’t the mere fact of completing a half marathon outstanding in itself?

Hells yeah, as my children would say.

So what’s the solution?

Stress about my ‘mediocre’ pace and not enjoy the race?

Or enjoy the race and not stress about my ‘mediocre’ pace?

The latter is is.

This is the approach I intend to take on Sunday, Coach.

I plan on enjoying my race, and not spoiling my enjoyment by stressing and fretting about a dream that won’t happen this year.

I would like to do you proud, Coach, and turn in a great performance, but will you please accept a good, happy, enjoyable performance instead ?

6 Comments

  • Abhay kohli

    True Christine, the basic aim of running is to be stress free and not stress and fret about time!!

  • Narpat

    Well said Christine. I share your thoughts – the fun of running and enjoying the experience of each event is very much an important element of doing distance running. Some of us get so stressed about logging spectacular timings and in the process, deny themselves the fun of the experience…..

  • Narpat

    Well said Christine. I share your thoughts – the fun of running and enjoying the experience of each event is very much an important element of doing distance running. Some of us get so stressed about logging spectacular timings and in the process, deny ourselves the fun of the experience…..

  • NB

    Every soul has the question and its answer within..Just that it is expected to come from somebody else’s mouth..
    Till the point you are feeling satisfied and happy your coach will feel the same…So the onus is on you.

  • vijay shukla

    you give me four months and get Breaking 2 performance! why walk when you can fly………#DontRunFly

  • Sanjeev Chhabra

    A sub 2 is like a century in cricket. A man made mountain of expectation to die under bit by bit very day.
    Run the Heda way. Free of your watch.

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