While the entire nation is facing a complete lockdown amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, it is challenging for runners to be confined to their homes.
Runners feel antsy when they are unable to achieve their weekly targets, but humans are creative and always come up with an alternative solution. In this case, these are home workouts.
Restaurants, malls, gyms and offices are all shut and the roads are completely deserted. After the prime minister announced a nationwide lockdown on March 24, the atmosphere was filled with anxiety. Few had foreseen this kind of a situation and there is no question of people being prepared for this.
“In India summers have almost started and majority of the runners are either running short distances or strengthening for next season. This is an unofficial off season for running and is merely limited to socializing and meeting fellow runners” says Deepak Oberoi, co-founder of Bombay Running, a group of runners.
“One common question which everyone had in their mind was this: what are they going to do for the next 21 days? Mumbai, a city which never sleeps, now had 21 days to sleep. As we enter into complete lockdown for the next three weeks, we have come up with innovate 21-day body transformation challenge,” he said.
Bombay Running has a strong connection with fitness enthusiasts. Once the 21-day lockdown was announced, nearly 700 people wanted to know what they had in store the next morning. Even I was looking forward to it since day 1 as this was the only certainty during self-isolation.
“We decided to go live every day for 90 minutes in the morning at 7.30 am through our Instagram handle. On the first day there were close to 100-120 fitness enthusiasts doing it along with us virtually from their own homes. My plan is to have interactive live sessions for 21 days and reach out to maximum people. So when I say interactive, I start my session with a short introduction about the workout and I have also given them a tool to keep themselves occupied though out the day. The tool is basically maintaining a small journal for the next three weeks,” Oberoi said.
In this digital age, people have lost connect with pen and paper. So this is a good opportunity for everyone to maintain a hard copy of their daily workout. They can plan and follow their schedule, note down how they feel about their moods and energies, what they like and dislike. By doing this they can make a conscious effort towards their goals and this way the 21-day challenge is not just limited to the morning 90 minutes.
“Pen and paper gets everyone nostalgic and writing down things makes them aware of what they are doing. In this conscious effort they realize what keeps them going and that is when they come back the next day for more intense sessions. In every session I target particular muscle groups and even explain how to overcome soreness, so there is a lesson to be learned after every workout. I have not planned a workout for all 21 days as I plan to go with the flow but there’s something new to be learnt for all age groups,” Oberoi added.
The isolation and quarantine life is not just limited to Mumbai. There are runners from Bangalore and Delhi who are locked up in their homes but yet not compromising on their fitness and nailing it every single day.
Karandeep Singh, 45 from Delhi who is the head Director of IT for PepsiCo has been running since the past six years. He has been working from home as advised by the government of India and his own organization. “I have to work 24x7 in different time zones as IT/technology plays a strong part in supporting users to work from home,” he said.
So, how does he keep himself active throughout the day as running is out of the question? “My wife and I make it a point to complete 10,000 steps throughout the day and ensure that we walk for minimum 10 minutes after every hour. We have also been motivating other runners to take up this 10 km walk challenge through social media. Social media is playing a major role during the lockdown and we have virtual fitness classes where the instructors are putting up videos about home workouts which we follow religiously. Being a runner I cannot be away from running, so I run on my home terrace and I advise my fellow runners to either run on terrace or inside their homes. We have created virtual runs for our running groups to follow, but strictly from home and it could be anywhere between 2-10 km. I am doing 2-5 km daily run on terrace.”
He also advises to meditate for 10 minutes each day, help your family members with the daily chores and stay away from the news right now as much as possible.
Chandrasmita Hazarika (26) from Bengaluru, Karnataka is an analytics consultant and is an active runner for the past two years. She has rarely missed a training run and is always surrounded by running buddies. Now, the inability to step out has been bothering her.
“Being in lockdown constantly draws us to social media and seeing all alternate home workouts and cardio sessions had not been giving me a good time. I do not have access to any gym equipment, no stairs at home and not even a jump rope. The best I can do now is body weight workouts, jumping jacks or burpees in the name of cardio, which is very demotivating for a regular gym goer like me. What is keeping me intact is the fact that I am not alone, there are runners who are crazier (in good sense) than me and they are handling themselves pretty well,” she said.
She believes patience is a crucial characteristic to be a long distance runner and this is the test of this patience. Like several others, Hazarika stays by herself away from her family which further increases the challenges. “The other day I found two bricks and that opened up a whole world of workouts I can do with them. We got to cherish these little things in such tough times, think logically how to sustain long with the limited food resources. Cherish the moments you are getting to spend with family and to all those who are alone in lock-down like me, you are not the only one,” she added.
Igor Pinto (40) a marketing consultant at KPMG in Mumbai, Maharashtra has been hitting up the streets of Mumbai for the past eight years. He considers himself lucky that he is getting time to spend with his family members and at the same time following live workouts with Bombay Running.
“I mix whole lot of workouts including jump rope, staircase climbing and weight training with the available dumbbells at home. I keep myself busy by indulging in a hobby, cooking and doing the household chores. I also make it a point to involve my kids in some physical activity every day to channelize their energies as kids have very limited options right now at home,” Pinto said.
Personally, I advise everyone to follow home workouts but at the same time know your body and do not overdo anything after watching it on social media. This is a tough time for everyone and only solidarity will help overcome this situation.(Tanvi Kulkarni is a sales professional working with an insurance company and part of Bombay Running crew)