Where to run in Delhi : Lodhi Art Colony

For those of you familiar with Delhi, you’ll know that there are parks and monuments a’plenty in the city, and we have a lot to be grateful for.

So please don’t look at me askance when I suggest a non-park, non-green-space, non-monument-y running route.

Trust me 🙂
The quiet government-housing area known as Lodhi Colony, just south of the Lodhi Gardens, has, over the past few years, become an urban canvas for street art.

The huge walls of the buildings lend themselves to large-scale paintings and they certainly brighten up the otherwise slightly peeling, slightly dingy, drab walls.

See what I mean?
Drab & peeling to the right. Jolly painting to the left

I’ve run around this area before, criss-crossing the streets, but there was a whole new batch of street art carried out over the winter which I hadn’t yet seen.

So, 2 days ago, i cajoled my young partner-in-crime, Ripu Daman, to join me and off we trotted to explore the latest murals.

What makes running round Lodhi Art Colony so good is its location. You can park safely and securely at the Lodhi Gardens and walk down.

There are loos galore in the Lodhi Gardens, too, so it makes a great starting point.

Accessible, clean loos are VITAL for runners, imho, which is why I always consider them in any route recce.

The streets in Lodhi Colony are nice and wide & the pavements are actually unencroached-upon (unlike my ‘hood, where the pavements have been taken over as parking lots 🙁 )

I love the architecture here, especially the high arches, with trees growing through them, and which have been happily incorporated into the art installations.

Here the artists has carried on from the tree…

If you’re looking for a short, slow run this area is great.

Ripu and I trotted slowly up and down each and every street, pausing to take photos, to admire the art, to critique the art 😛 and it made for a very easy-going, safe 6 or 7km. I hardly noticed the time or the distance, since there was so much to look at.

Art critic at work 🙂

Walk back up to the Lodhi Gardens and from there it’s a short, easy walk to Khan Market for breakfast. There’s also the India Habitat Centre, that is also open early for hungry runners.

So, yes, a good place for an easy, relaxed run.

Plus there’s some seriously cool art on offer.

Here are a few more favourites:

And my absolute favourite – this charming whimsical look at India:

So, now you know.

A nice, safe venue for a short-ish run – though obviously you could make it as long as you pleased, by running around the colony several times. We went early-morning, though not that early.

A few vendors were around, had we felt the need for juice or a snack.

The streets were blessedly quiet, there was precious little traffic, and the locals hardly gave us a second glance. 2 ill-matched runners, stopping every few minutes to take photos – of no interest whatsoever!

What did you see on your run today? #390 comes from Simla

Many of you know Harminder Singh, one of Delhi’s quiet, unassuming, super talented runners.

Harminder goes about his running life quietly, not making a hue-and-cry about it, BUT NEVER, EVER, EVER SKIPS A DAY’S RUN.

Yes, I was indeed cyber-shouting right now, and with just cause, because this insanely dedicated young man started the 100 days of running challenge 4 years ago AND HAS NOT STOPPED SINCE.

He is currently up to Day 1455 of daily running.

Just take that in, if you will. 1455 days of running.

Though it’s probably 1456 by now 😛

And every day he takes a photo.

Told you he was dedicated!

Anyway, Harminder was recently in Simla and shared this lovely cooling photo from his run up there:

Harminder, you have been a good friend to this blog over the years, sharing your daily run photos, and I am humbled by your stamina and guts and perserverance.

Thanks my friend, and #keeprunning #keepinspiring

When the workout totally works out

I went to my ASICS Running Club meet this oh-so-hot morning, & at the risk of boring the pants off everyone, it was a PERFECT workout.

As in totally, 100% perfect, and I am still basking in the glow of it, hours later.

Sometimes, it’s a struggle to get up at 4.45 am.

Not this morning 🙂

Hopped out of bed happy as a lark.

Sometimes, the thought of eating anything so early in the day is seriously off-putting.

Not this morning 🙂

Had a snack, drank loads of water, and I was on my way, all nicely fuelled.

Sometimes, the traffic is rubbish, and I end up arriving late.

Not this morning 🙂

Very little traffic, got every green night going, arrived bang on time.

Yeah, you’re right – this is getting WAY too enthusiastic!!

Anyway, you get the overall picture, right?

We did interval training, with a new trainer Bipin, and though I felt nauseous a couple of times, such was my mood this morning, that I actually took comfort in the nauseous feeling, as it indicated (I hope) that I was pushing myself physically.

I was in the second, slower-paced group, and we did 10x400m

Note to self: WORK ON THOSE FLABBY ARMS & LEGS!!!!

The fastest group did an exhausting 5x800m, no joke in the brutal heat.

These 2 (below) were the super-speedsters!

Just once, on lap 8 of 10, I stopped, and cut short the loop, feeling a little sick.

But such was the mood this morning, that I pulled myself together, did an extra loop at the end, slow slow slow, but I did it.

So the final tally was 10 1/2 loops, and yes indeed, I felt pretty damned chuffed with myself.

Not the fastest intervals on the planet, far from it, (my average pace was 5:25), but the important thing is that I finished the workout and felt a million dollars afterwards.

Still do 🙂

Yikes! Such flabby legs!

And, of course, there is NO way I would have/could have done such a workout alone.

I am hopeless at this kind of training on my own, and totally need the group synergy and energy to push myself.

I’ll happily run long and slow alone – actively enjoy it – but for drills like intervals, without my group, I’m finished.

Sort of rainbow-colour-sorted…yeah, well, yes…sort of… 😛

Conclusion?

Any workout makes you feel better, but when everything goes according to plan like this morning, then there is a glow & a happiness and a feeling of achievement that is second to none.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Get up. Lace up. Show up.

If ever there was a morning for pressing the snooze button and going back to sleep, it was this morning.

I was so knackered when the alarm went off at 4.45 for running group that I ignored it, and the next thing I knew it was 5.15 and I was already doomed to be late.

Which I was.

So…arrive late? Or go back to sleep?

Obviously, I went to meet my running group, half dead with exhaustion and it was the best decision of the day. As ever.

We exercised and drilled and trained, in the bright sunshine of Nehru Park, and we did some new things today. Like doing all the regular pre-session drills uphill for a change.

Like so!

WHAT a change working uphill made!

I was, as is so often the case, extremely humbled by the end of the session.

I know full well that I’m not the fittest woman on the planet, but I didn’t know until this morning that I was (a) too scared and (b) too weak to hang from a tree – like everyone else was doing, as though it were the simplest thing in the world.

So that’s something I’m going to have to practise in the privacy of the park, or on gym equipment…I mean, for crying out loud – not being able to hang from a tree branch?

How silly is that?

As I said, all very humbling.

All of which is to say that no matter how tired or unfit one feels, just remember the mantra – “Get up! Lace up! Show up!”

Because there is always, always, always something knew to learn. About exercise and fitness. And about yourself 🙂

Do you #daretorun?

One of the first things I do, on waking up every morning, is to check the air quality index, which I often share on social media, on my running Insta feed, like so :

For those of you who don’t know me, I live in New Delhi, which has the unenviable reputation of being the most polluted city on the planet.

In the winters, our air is so toxic that you can smell it, taste it, feel it. Your eyes sting, everyone is coughing and spluttering, and we are all outraged.

Then the summer comes, and we forget.

But the pollution remains.

Never doubt it.

But we all get fooled, even old cynics like yours truly!

I was running in my local Biodiversity Park yesterday – a place with lots of trees and greenery, so naturally cleaner than much of Delhi -and there I was gazing up at the deep blue sky and smiling…and caught myself just in time, before I said something foolish…

Just ‘cos the sky is blue, Christine, doesn’t mean the air is clean.

And that is exactly the problem.

We all have such short memories, and because the sky doesn’t look grey and horrid, and the air doesn’t taste vile, we foolishly imagine that our air isn’t all that dangerous at this time of the year

But it is.

Our air is toxic.

PLEASE take time and read the excellent article (below) from the Hindustan Times 2 days ago.

It is spot on.

As the author points out, in the skewed reality in which we Delhi-ites are forced to live, our “moderate” is still 2.5 or 3.5 higher than the WHO safe norms.

So, no.

We cannot afford to be complacent about our toxic air.

General elections are approaching (sadly for me I cannot vote in India) but without anything resembling a green party or a green manifesto, I’m not really sure where that leaves us all.

The next day, I read about the State of Global Air Report 2019.

I’ll leave you to read the report at your leisure, but please note this one fact:

“Air pollution caused the deaths of 1.2 million people in India in 2017.”

WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE?

THE HORROR?

THE DEMANDS FOR OUR GOVERNMENT TO PUT A STOP TO THIS CRISIS?

Why are we all so complacent?

I’m in touch with a company based here in the Delhi NCR called Nirvana Being, and tomorrow I’m going to run with them, using one of their sports masks.

It’s shocking that things have got to this state, but what option do we all have?

Move to another city?

Stop going outside?

Stop running?

Stop exercising?

So, I ask you, what do we do?

Any Delhi friends, runners and non-runners alike, if you feel like joining us at India Gate tomorrow, Sunday 7 April, at 7am, you can see and try out the special sports masks, and talk to people who are trying their best to combat the poor air quality.

Do come if you can.

What did you see on your run today? #389 comes from Shanghai

I”m slightly cheating in this post because I’m now back in New Delhi, where I live, but the Shanghai vibe is still very much alive & kicking, so bear with me!

I ran most days in Shanghai starting out from where we were staying in the Former French Concession, and discovering different local parks.

One day I ran along Fuxing Lu, where we’d stayed on our last visit, and ran around my old haunt, Fuxing Park, which was a big mistake.

Yes, you read that right.

A BIG mistake.

There was SO much going on in the Park, that the running immediately took second place to people-watching, and enjoying the amazing spectacle that is early morning Shanghai.

There were people playing the sax.

LOTS of people playing the sax, including one group of ageing hippies.

There was dancing.

LOTS of dancing – ballroom, line dancing, even a ballroom dancing class, complete with mic-ed up teachers for the men and another for the women, teaching them their respective steps, one group moving forward, the other backwards.

I got asked to dance by this fab fella (below) which totally made my morning 🙂 🙂

There were kites, and choirs, and tai chi and even a bunch of grannies with swords.

Oh, I can’t tell you how much fun it all was.

THE most brilliant people watching EVER 🙂

I spotted just 2 other people running – and one was another foreign woman – but our activity was positively dull in comparison with the crazy singing and dancing taking place all around us.

I stopped and people-watched.

I danced (as I said earlier).

I talked to a charming elderly man who told me that the park was, and I quote “an oasis of tranquility in the chaos of Shanghai”. Felt like telling him that if he hasn’t been to Delhi, he ain’t seen chaos, but it seemed churlish.

So I agreed with him, and also accepted his fanciful compliments on my excellent Chinese & the loveliness of my home country (Brexit-ruined England, forsooth) – and thought, “You old charmer, you! :P”

The funnest of runs in one of the coolest cities I know!

What did you see on your run today? #388 stars a city run & it’s hilarious!

One of the joys of cyber-living is that you get to connect with people from all over the world, sometimes without actually ever meeting them in person.

Like my Belgian friend Myriam Sleeckx who has contributed several fun posts for us here.

This morning, Myriam sent me an absolutely hilarious account of her Sunday run.

Here you go!

Last Sunday I run the urban trail run in Antwerp and again in the rain, typical Belgian weather.

The urban trail in Antwerp is a run through Antwerp and you go straight through buildings, houses.

(Note to self: how super cool is this as a concept?!)

I started in the wave of 10.40h and had the pleasure (I think)  to start with the mayor of Antwerp beside me. I didn’t had the courage to make a selfie. So, you have to take my word for it.😃

We started as first to run in Café Local, a popular disco, desert but full of music. A loud start.

Along the way to the next “building” people in the streets , shouting and cheering.

Our next stop was the University campus (and we did  a few), steps up and down, and students clapping, singing student songs.

We ran through the little streets in Antwerp, the smallest  “de Vlaaikensgang” with a road of real stones like in the Middle Ages.

Through the shopping “Stadsfeestzaal”, a very beautiful shopping mall, design shops, wine and champagne bar, down under in the parking garage Blauwtorentunnel, the Institute for tropical medicine.

I asked people to take a picture of me. Why not, hé?

The funniest part was that I lost my way in my own city. I ran behind a guy, no thinking, just running. Suddenly he stopped, turned and said : we are lost!

Really, we couldn’t find any other participant. We had to look for the trail on our mobiles, and google maps. After half an hour running in circles, we founded our track again.

How is that possible in a city where I grew up, went to high school, worked, and passed a lots of nights. Unbelievable !

I send you some photos.

The lady on the picture “we did it”, her mobile gave up, so we took the photo together, sent it to her by Messenger. Maybe we’ll meet again at another trail.

I had a wonderful Sunday.

Loved it.

Myriam, that sounds like such a fun run, and I LOVE the idea of a trail run literally through your city.

Sadly, I can never imagine it happening in Delhi, where I live…can’t see the authorities ever giving permission 🙁

So thanks for sharing your fun run!

Running differently

Even in something as wonderful as running, one gets into a repetitive habit.

Not out of boredom, far from it, but just a habit, basically.

Like always running the same route.

And always running in the same direction.

I do that.

I run in my local biodiversity park, and when I get to the fork in the road, I always head left and do my loops that way.

I know every incline and descent like the back of my hand.

I know where the peacocks gather in the summer.

I know where I’m most likely to see jackal.

It’s all delightfully familiar, and I look forward to certain views seen from certain points on the track.

Fast forward to a conversation with my Coach about a slight injury I have – here, listen to the short video I made last night while out running.

It explains our conversation, and what all this has to do with I call “running differently”:

So, yes, I did indeed run the other way round the park, as instructed, and I don’t know if I’m imagining things, but my hamstring definitely seems to hurt less…yeah, you’re probably right, I am imagining it!

Could the strain really have eased up after just one 6km run?

But I’m going to follow Coach’s advice going forward, and vary my route.

The views were indeed different.

The inclines and descents were different.

All in all, that has to be a good thing, right? Changing one’s perspective etc etc.

Anyway, even though I trust my Coach, I did go ahead and Google “hamstring…strain…runner”, and guess what?

Bingo!!

So I read further, & this also made sense:

And then came the nub of the matter…

The message is loud & clear.

Gotta exercise around running, complementing it & not simply run, run, run – which is what I do.

I’ve been avoiding gym and strength training for years now, because they don’t really appeal, and actually all I want to do is to be outdoors & running, but this article + Coach’s advice pretty much indicates that I really do need to start exercising.

Run “differently”, in other words.

Team work making the dream work

No matter how much you enjoy solo running, there are times when you really do need your mates.

Perhaps I am spectacularly undisciplined, but the truth of the matter is that I tend to avoid formal/structured workouts like intervals and fartlek when I run alone.

On my own, I’ll happily run long – that’s my “speciality” long, s-l-o-w solo runs – I’ll even run fast, but drills and hardcore training…nope.

I avoid.

Which is why I need my Coach and my running group.

This morning (and WHAT a fabulous morning it was, by the way! Delhi at her best) we did pyramid intervals in my ASICS Running Club.

Like so:

4 x 800m

4 x 400m

2 x 200m

I was in the slowest group, but it was still a stiff workout which left us all gasping for breath at each authorised recovery break.

Our pyramid intervals worked as follows:

We did the 800m loops at a pace of 5:45 m/km

The 400 m loops a little faster, at a pace between 5:30 to 5:15 m/km

And the final 200m at a rather impressive 4:30m/km

All of the above details are from one of my running friends, Saurabh Garg, who paced our group. At the end we were just 5 running together in a tight little posse, matching each other step for step:

I actually didn’t realise how much we were ramping up the pace, leaving it to Saurabh to set the pace, and by virtue of not using the interval programme on my Garmin & simply recording the distance run/pausing it for the recoveries, I theoretically ended up running my fastest 5km ever!

Got one of those “congrats” messages on my watch which made my morning 🙂

Of course, it’s not a PB at all, I know, I know, but it all goes to show – running with your friends definitely makes you work harder.

If I’d even attempted to do this pyramid interval workout on my own (& it’s a big “if” 😛 ) I would have given up, slowed down, walked.

But by dint of running in a group, I kept up, didn’t slow down once, didn’t stop – and felt amazing afterwards, as a result.

I also felt – fleetingly – nauseous as we did the last, fast 200m loop. Coach Vijay says feeling nauseous is a good thing, since it’s proof that you’re pushing your physical limits. So I’m trying to embrace that nauseous feeling!

As well as the pyramid intervals, we did the usual warm up and cool down laps, and then a nice long session of yoga and stretching where I yet again made a complete fool of myself.

I have always been stiff and not very flexible, but with age it is only getting worse.

I’ve said it many times before, but I really do need to start yoga or at least stretch regularly and consistently, but left to my own devices, all I want to do is run.

Anyway, I’m going for a trial Pilates class tomorrow so perhaps this will turn out to be the kick up the proverbial that I need to make me start exercising holistically.

In the meantime – long live my running group!

What did you see on your run today? #387 stars a rainy zoo

Running brings you friends from all over their world, linked by our shared love of the sport, regardless of place or language or time zones.

Like my friend Myriam Sleeckx, a Belgian runner whom I haven’t actually met in person. We were cyber-introduced by a Belgian friend of mine who used to live in South Africa when I did, and now I count Myriam as a friend I’ve yet to meet 🙂

United by this love of running, we make friends across the globe 🙂

Myriam has just sent me this cute message:

“I’m running, and that’s a good thing.

Still 5 km every time but.. I’m doing it.

Last sunday, a raining day in Belgium, a day for staying in  bed, watching TV or some DVD from a long time ago.

My daughter An asked a month ago if I want to run a zoo-run. A run through a zoo in Olmen (a little town in Belgium), running past the wolves, the bears, some birds, the lions.

Why not?

Let’s do this.

So, in the dripping rain, cold and wet, we ran (I 5 km, An went for the 10 km).

We left Dirk, my husband in the bistro of the zoo, and started running.

It was amazing. It felt so good.  Afterwards, back home, a shower and  a Sunday nap.


“Running is nothing more than a series of arguments between the part of your brain that wants to stop and the part that wants to keep going.”  

Now isn’t that a great running story?!

As someone who also ran in the rain on Sunday, here in Delhi, I sympathise, my friend!

And PS – you 2 look like sisters 🙂

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