Parenting and running- Finding a balance in the imbalance

Quad stretch

Avid long-distance runner, Suchitra Patwardhan, talks about running as a family and how that would help strengthen bonds.

I believe in the saying should go – “Couples who run together stay together”. 

A myth? Possibly but it’s true in our case – Deepak and I share a common interest which is running and that has worked wonders for us in many ways in terms of staying healthy, spending quality time and doing what we love most.

And the story begins.

Deepak started running at Lalbhag to get back into fitness as he missed playing a sport. He was part of his college football team who were zonal champions under Karnataka University. He enjoyed his runs and the feeling it gave him at the end. He then slowly graduated to running 10K’s.

For me, I have always had an interest in running from my school days which I was able to pursue only after I had my son. I began running in January 2014 and my first official runs were the Pinkathon 5K and Contours Women’s Day 5K run.

We did our first family run that year at the TCS10K. It was Deepak’s 4th 10K and my first and I beat him by 7+mins and there was no looking back from there.

Introduction to running in groups

Long distance running is often seen as the ultimate individual quest, offering tranquillity, solitude, and closeness with one’s body. But for many runners, running in a group offers camaraderie, creative stimulation, motivation and is a testament to the uplifting spirit of the sport.

The first BRUR (Bangalore Runners Unity Run) event that was organized by Jayanagar Jaguars (JJ’s) is what got us hooked to running with groups and JJ’s in particular.

At our first BRUR event, we learned how much fun running can be when there is team backing you by providing hydration, encouragement, inclusion of fun elements, and physio support at the end of a race.

By joining JJ’s, we received individual specific training plan based on our individual capabilities. We further had subgroups that were formed basis specific events/training goals which made it easier to find a team which not only challenges you but supports you in the journey. Running in groups helps women and slow runners’ not compromise on their workouts and training with the help of buddy runners who are always around.

Planning our lives around running

The annual running calendar is something we discuss at the start of the season in February. We decide on the races that each of us want to participate in separately and also of races we wish to participate together. There have been events that we have as a family taking part like the TCS world 10k, Ananda Yana, Stadium run, Bengaluru 10k challenge, and Bengaluru marathon.

Planning our runs for the year, being selective with what events we chose to run, the unconditional support from family and our coach Mr. Pramod Deshpande helped us immensely in planning our daily life around running as well.

Here are some simple things we do to ensure our lives run smoothly:

Running is like devotion to us. So, we never really felt like we were sacrificing something to make time for running. Clean eating, workouts and rest are our main preferences and our daily routine is usually set around it.

  • Keep the daily routine as simple as possible like cleaning, grocery, shopping, etc.
  • Follow the same routine before the run day. When I go running, its Deepak who pitches in to get our son ready for school, do the daily morning chores of preparing tea, breakfast, etc.
  • We don’t like to over complicate things and like to keep it simple by having the same breakfast on training days to save on time.
  • Running gear and all other things required for running are kept ready the previous day.
  • Try to hit the bed early by wrapping up with dinner at 7:30 pm and finish the day’s work as soon as possible.
  • We ensure a strict cut off time for house chores. If something is pending, we move it to the next day.
  • Make time for our son be it his education, playing and joking around together or taking him for classes.

In the last 2 years, with a lot of encouragement from our coach, I have moved to run longer distances and Deepak to amateur triathlons. Our training days are planned in a way that each of us trained on alternated days and neither of us had to compromise on our respective training. For e.g., if one person trained on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, the other would train on alternate days. Since swimming was a part of triathlon training, Deepak had different time slots which didn’t coincide with our JJ training hours and that has immensely helped us. One of the major changes we did was change our son’s weekend swimming class to a different batch in the evenings so we could focus on training for running long distances on weekends which was a requirement for running marathons/Ultras and also long-distance cycling.

Running together is a lot of fun. Running is something we have in common to discuss, share the experience of the day’s workout apart from just our conversation revolving around family matters. Our health has improved multi-fold. Running is a great stress buster for me as it has helped me manage any kind of work with as much ease. With a lot of pressure at the workplace, running helps me to disconnect from the stress.

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Suchitra Patwardhan

Suchitra Patwardhan

Suchitra is an amateur long-distance runner who believes in giving equal importance to strength, flexibility and nutrition.