Saturday 2 July 2016

The arithmetic on the frontier of running

"The Arithmetic on The Frontier of Running".   

I need a few things to improve my running and I'm trying to make a budget. 

I've analysed my race performance and have come to the conclusion that the following things are absolutely essential for me to improve :

1) A treadmill.   

I've created a gym in my home and added quite a lot of stuff in there but more is needed. 

For many days and months I've been thinking that a treadmill is absolutely essential. 

Once I have a treadmill it will be easy to sleep-in so as to get my 8 hours of sleep and yet put in the run that is so necessary.   At other times, it will be easy to put in the 2nd run during the day even when I'm pressed for time. 

A decent imported treadmill should cost between ₹ 2,60,000/- and ₹ 5,00,000/-

2) A new Garmin:
I do own a Garmin. But I  think that my Garmin 310 Xt is too old.  I saw my friend wear the latest Garmin which gives the heart rate data without the need to wear a chest strap.  

I think the heart rate data is vital in being able to train well.

I haven't spoken to my friend Dinesh who imports them but I think that should cost around ₹ 24,000/- 

3) Sun Glasses :
My sun glasses have lately been fogging up during the rains.  I can't focus.    A good pair of new Oakley's need to be bought.              ₹ 10,000/-

4) Protein shakes & GU gels

The right food at the right time is bound to help. I can't cut costs when it comes to nutrition. ( ₹ 7000 a month ).  

I also need to take help on a continuous basis from a sports Nutritionist to get rid of the extra flab that I'm carrying. ( ₹ 25,000 onwards )

5) Shoes & Socks
My shoes and socks are all worn out after all that comrades training.    Good shoes are the cornerstone of good running speed. 
I need new ones.

And while I'm at it, perhaps some new dry fits t's and shorts will help as well. ( ₹10,000/- for shoes every 3 months ) 

6). A good personal trainer for the gym and one for running might help as well.  ( ₹'s : the sky is the limit )

These are my very modest needs.   Almost everyone who wishes to run well must probably need all of this: Of this I'm sure! 

But as I did my technical research about running in some sports and scientific journals, I came across a very interesting poem. 

The poem written by Rudyard Kipling was first published in 1886 and is called, "Arithmetic on the Frontier ". 

The poem is about the British fighting in Afghanistan in the 1800s.  

Kipling talks about the massive discrepancy of wealth and weaponry between the British soldier and the Afghan freedom fighter. 

The British soldier was educated, from the best schools, in the art of war and had the best weapons of the day.  

The Afghan had nothing but a ₹10/- rifle !

Kipling writes that for 7 years the British soldier trained at a great cost to learn how to fight.  About £300 per annum were spent for him to learn : 

"A great and glorious thing it is To learn, for seven years or so, The Lord knows what of that and this, Ere reckoned fit to face the foe ------
Three hundred pounds per annum spent On making brain and body meeter "

But a poor uneducated Afghan with a 10 rupee rifle (jezail)  brings down the £2000 educated British soldier. 

"A scrimmage in a Border Station -- A canter down some dark defile -- TWO THOUSAND POUNDS OF EDUCATION DROPS TO A TEN-RUPEE  JEZAIL (rifle)  -- The Crammer's (school's) boast, the Squadron's pride, Shot like a rabbit in a ride!  "

All the profound education and knowledge which the British soldier had was of no use against the poor afghan who could strike hard and shoot straight. 

"No proposition Euclid wrote, No formulae the text-books know, Will turn the bullet from your coat, Or ward the tulwar's (sword) downward blow Strike hard who cares -- shoot straight who can -- The odds are on the cheaper man. "

So many of my friends don't need the things that I think are necessary to run. 

I've seen so many of them run without shoes or a watch. 

I've seen them run without a care in the world about the clothes they wear or about their protein or carb intake. 

They have never had a GU gel or an Isopure protein shake. 

They have never had a coach or a sports nutritionist help them. 

All they rely is on their hard work and passion and ability to push themselves. 
And they run like the wind !

So I've come to the conclusion. 

I don't need a new Garmin or new sunglasses or new shoes and socks and such.  All these things are superfluous. 

All one needs to run well and fast is courage and strength of character and hard work and the willingness to shed some blood and sweat and tears.  

I think this needs too much strength of character.

So I think, I'll just get the treadmill.


  1. You can save money on the treadmill too. I'm sure there is a road that runs right outside your house!

    1. dave, its just a joke. a punch line to illustrate the lack of character at my end

  2. Couldn't have read this post at a better time. I had been thinking about getting a new pair of shoes since last 3 days even though my current pair are doing just fine. Now i will wait for a few more months.
    Big fan of your book and blog.