That’s Why I Run – Imtiaz Hasham

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I would like to start by thanking Stanmore Jaffery’s along with Kayam Moosa who invited me to join SJ Running. By profession, I am an IT consultant sitting at my desk for hours on end – just getting up to eat 😊 and pray. I used to swim 4 – 5 times a week, early mornings for 15 – 20 minutes daily – clearly this was not enough (as you can see from the image from Jan 2020).

  1. How did I get into running?

In March 2020, I felt breathless and rushed to hospital one afternoon thinking I was having a heart attack!! After being given the all clear, I now suspect I had COVID-19 which was not being tested for in the UK in the early days of the pandemic.

Once I got better, I decided I needed to do some alternative exercise with swimming pools closed across the country. The first time I went out jogging was last Ramadhan half an hour before iftaar. I could barely jog half a kilometre and thought I would never be able to take up jogging. I mentioned my attempt to jog to Mazaheer Rajwani who advised me to download the C25K app by PHE. The app slowly took me from the 0.5 km struggle to a 5k jog!

  1. What do you enjoy about running?

Being desk-bound, secluded behind monitors – I don’t get to see people, the outdoors or the wonderful farmlands and animals that surround the good ol’ village of Deanshanger☹

Running allows me to get away from my desk, enjoy nature as well as provide me with the opportunity to relax whilst improving my overall health and fitness.

The added advantage (or primary advantage 😉) is that I can get away from my other half’s nagging / never ending list of chores / shopping trips on a Saturday when I go for my “long” runs!

  1. What is your proudest running moment?

I feel elated after every run but I have two special moments that I would find hard to forget. The first one was after nearly 9 weeks of training, I managed to do my first ever 5k in 35 minutes. Considering, 3 months prior, I was unable to jog half a kilometre, I felt this was a massive achievement!

The other one was the moment when I finished my half marathon! Whilst parts of my body where I didn’t know muscles existed were throbbing, burning, aching all at once and I had to be rescued by my other half less than a kilometre away from home, it was indeed one of the proudest moments. The experience was so electrifying, I am planning my next one just before Ramadhan 1441 AH.

  1. Running tips

A few tips for runners who are starting out.

a. Don’t increase your distance by more than 10% a week. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

b. Take it easy – you are not a car with an engine – speed will come. Looking at past records, when I started running, it was taking me between 9 – 10 min/km and I am now at under 6 min/km. This improvement happened over time whilst I was busy building my distance.

c. Persevere – when you don’t feel like jogging, take an easy week but don’t give up.

d. Planning – As most experienced runners will say, “Plan! Plan! Plan!” – this is so true and I have built a schedule which helps me build discipline. My schedule is:

  • Enjoyable relaxed run
  • Training Run
  • Speed Run
  • Long Run

e. Rest days are just as important as days you go for a jog.

  1. Advice for aspiring runners

Undoubtedly the first few jogs will be a challenge, however, I guarantee, if you persevere for a couple of weeks, it will most definitely get easier and more importantly, it will become a routine. You can start reading section 4 on running tips 😊

Most important – join a running group (Welcome to SJ Running). In my experience, although going alone for the first 8 months I achieved my goals, having joined SJ Running in the last few months has provided me with the additional support and motivation which has been invaluable. I am eternally grateful to each and every member of SJ Running.

by Imtiaz Hasham