Do you feel unsatisfied with your fitness routine even after doing everything required of you? Well, maybe you haven’t found your calling yet and the good news is that it is never too late. To prove this point, let’s have a look at the story of Tarun Walecha, who has been practicing fitness since childhood, but only in 2010 at the age of 40, he discovered his ultimate passion, running. Tarun who is an architect by profession witnessed growth in his physical and mental well-being and learned a lot after he started running. On average, he runs 60-70kms per week. In conversation with SocialBoat, he talks about this discovery, the lessons learned, and his motivation mantra. Read on to benefit from his lived experience-
The Beginning in the Middle
For Tarun, running was very incidental and the least anticipated. He had always been a sporty person but all the sports that he had played had been very non-running oriented. During his school and college days, back in the 80s, he played different sports. After graduating, for a good 20 years, he was a regular at the gym but running never crossed his mind. Finally around 2010, one of his friends got a medal for participating in a marathon. Influenced by his friend, he also participated. Although it definitely wasn’t one of his best performances, he was intrigued.
“I registered in 2011 for the same event, and since then there has been no looking back.”
Today at the age of 50, he's run a 50+ official half marathons with a personal best of 1 hr 38 min and 12 full marathons with a personal best of 3 hr 44 min. He's also run a few ultra-marathons and hill runs.
What Changed with Running?
Reflecting back on his journey, Tarun tells us how different his experience has been with running and gymming.
“When I started going to the gym, there wasn't as much awareness then.”
Today, twenty years later, the fitness community has evolved immensely.
When Tarun was playing sports for his school, the coaches back then gave very basic training. Even when he started going to the gym, he and his group of friends would discuss fitness and learn from each other through conversation.
"We would educate and teach ourselves."
However, when Tarun started running, with time he realized that fitness was about a lot of other things. The two most important are-
1. One of them is the diet.
“The diet is so important. Earlier, I used to eat like a pig- half a chicken and twenty chapatis every day.”
With running, he learned a lot of things about body maintenance. One thing was learning them and the other was imbibing all this knowledge in everyday practices. He was doing both.
2. Another important lesson that he learned was about the importance of holistic growth.
“Being mentally and physically connected is important to be able to perform better. It is not just about going, playing your sport, and having a good-looking body.”
How do fitness challenges help?
Tarun has had significant experience with participating in fitness challenges. In fact, he was even featured in an article in “The Hindustan Times'' about their importance and relevance. He says,
“For someone who hasn't been very active, who hasn't adapted to fitness that well, fitness challenges help get involved in what they are doing. Fitness challenges and their rewards give them something to look forward to.”
He further adds that for someone like himself, fitness has become an inexcusable part of his life. If he isn’t doing one thing, he will take time out for another. So for him, these challenges add a fun element to the process.
Taking from and Giving to Social Media
Tarun posts regularly on social media and explains this by saying,
“When a person is browsing through social media and comes across someone doing something, it gives them the belief that this particular task is doable.”
He has been both on the receiving and the giving end. The latter is more in recent times. He tells us about how people in random places recognize him from his social media and tell him how they have been inspired. Tarun receives many such heartfelt messages on Instagram as well.
Tarun’s mantra for setting targets is that
“We must always try to do better but also give our bodies time to adapt. Compete with ourselves more than compete with others. We know our bodies better than others.”
Adapting this mantra in his life, Tarun has impacted not only his but his children’s lives as well. In the last two years we lost to the pandemic, he recognized that he wasn’t able to improve much on his own so he decided to focus his attention on other places.
“Instead of focusing on myself, I started focusing on others.”
Tarun took it upon himself to train his son. As a result, his half-marathon timing improved immensely. Plus, his daughter also made a half marathon debut after being trained by Tarun.
“My own timings did not improve, but I count getting them on track as an achievement. Maybe now I can focus on myself.”
You can reach him on @ta.run_rw on Instagram for any advice and questions.
For more such stories, visit SocialBoat.