I have realized now that Biscuit (he needs no introduction, but, for those who do not know him yet, he is my 7 year old Labrador!) sells. I have this from a careful analysis of number of ‘likes’ the facebook post featuring him gets as compared to other mundane stuff like my running. To pander to his fan following, I have an interesting episode to narrate;
Biscuit normally has a peaceful stroll in the mornings as he is the king of all he surveys, the stray dogs look on enviously at his bright red leash and make way before he even looks in their direction. Any new challengers are quelled with a raised tail and a deep grunt, the maximum use of force he is called upon to show is baring of fangs. Today, Tiggy (his Rottweiler neighbour!), was having a restless night. Tiggy, paced his enclosure in the balcony on the first floor while Biscuit walked majestically right under his flat. What ensued was nothing short of the flag ceremony by the Indo-Pak soldiers with both showing elaborate war antics, Tiggy restrained by a iron grill on his balcony on the first floor and Biscuit firmly restrained by the leash with both my hands. Pity there was not much audience for the wonderful performance put up by the two but for a few disinterested stray dogs. They seem to be mouthing, ‘Nautanki Saala’.
Biscuit having had his reel space, let us now turn to the item on the agenda today! I will talk about the importance of breathing properly for running efficiently. Most people who come up for advice about running long, the latest being a gentleman who ran a little along side me before thrusting his visiting card on the beach yesterday saying that he wants to run long like me and that he would get in touch later. I stopped and said we can talk now. I asked him what makes him to stop his run. He thought a while and said that he runs short of breath.
We can enough food to last a marathon and with training even enough water to go for a marathon without a break. But, what we cannot carry is oxygen the life breath without which the fuel cannot be generated. There is lot of doubts on whether one can breathe with mouth open. I follow the principle that for something as essential as oxygen, it is not important how you get it, what is important is that you get enough of it.
What used to happen with me during a run in the initial days was that in my concentration to get the form, stride and cadence right, I used to be sometimes irregular in breathing or be shallow in breathing. When this led to shortness of breath, to compensate, I used to go full steam into breathing forgetting the other basics of running. Over time the synchronization of breathing and stride happens and then running becomes natural. I told the gentleman to concentrate on breathing long and from the tummy (like Baba Ramdev says for pranayam!) and see if he can increase his period of run. For recreational runners, the run should be measured in time and not the distance covered. If one starts increasing the period of run, speed and stamina build up over time. This is like a Over The Counter prescription, runners wanting to be professionals are requested to seek guidance from good coaches!
There is another significance of deep breathing, it is said that each one of us is born with a certain number of breaths for life. One’s longevity depends on how deeply one takes each breathe. Dogs pant in short breathe and they last only 1/7th of a human life on an average. I keep advising Biscuit to take it easy and breathe long. I am sure with even the PM of the country popularizing Yoga and Pranayam, Biscuit would get it right soon.
Last two days I had the usual quota of run and now timing has stabilized, today I clocked 3:18 for the 32K, slightly faster than the 3:21 yesterday. My mental exercise from tomorrow is to visualize myself in the 24 hour run which is just about a week away.