Question: If your goal is to run fifty miles per week, is it better to run seven miles a day or to vary the distance?
Sri Chinmoy: It is always good to have easy and hard days. It is best to have two easy days and then one hard day. Even having alternate easy and hard days is not good enough. If you run fifteen miles one day, it is not good to run seven or ten miles the next day. Instead, on your hard days cover twenty or twenty-five miles or even a full marathon. Then take two easy days. In this way, you can cover seventy or eighty miles a week.
Only those who are very strong and who are seriously training for long-distance running should do more than seventy miles a week. They can run one hundred miles or one hundred twenty miles.
Question: How much importance should we give to physical exercise in comparison to our regular work?
Sri Chinmoy: You are working very hard at your business, but you are thinking that that is the only work you have to do. You are giving one hundred per cent of your attention to your business and not even one per cent to your body. You have to feel that the body is also something necessary. So when you are here taking exercise or practising sports, you have to think that this is the only thing in your life. Otherwise, while you are practising sports you will still be thinking of your business. If you give importance to sport, you will get extra energy from it for your work.
Question: How do you feel about bicycle training to improve running?
Sri Chinmoy: I did a great deal of bicycling when I lived in India in my youth. For at least two and a half hours every day I used to cycle as I did errands. It does not increase running speed at all, but something is better than nothing. Sometimes cycling can actually be a hindrance to running speed, because it develops special kinds of muscles which do not complement the speed muscles. Bicycling does help for endurance, but if you want to increase your running speed, then I don't advise it. You can cycle for endurance, or if you are injured and cannot run. For a little bit of stamina you can do it. But again, cycling stamina is totally different from running stamina. If one wants to become a good runner and maintain a five-minute pace, then cycling is not the answer. Quality road work is the answer.
Question: What is a good exercise to strengthen the legs when they get tired from standing all day?
Sri Chinmoy: If your legs get tired from standing all day, there are two exercises that are very good to strengthen them. One exercise develops the knee muscles. You sit on the floor with one leg straight, and the other leg bent with the knee up, both hands on your hips. Then you switch, bending the straight leg and straightening the bent leg. Then keep switching.
The other exercise is to do a deep knee bend on one leg, with the other leg out in front of you, and then stand up again, still keeping one leg in front of you. First you do it with a flat foot, then on your toe. If you can do it three or four times, your legs will have tremendous strength from top to bottom.
Question: Do people really need more sleep when they are training for athletics?
Sri Chinmoy: For ordinary people, it is true. If they run a few miles, they need more sleep. But for spiritual people, especially advanced seekers, it is not necessary. By drawing down cosmic energy, in two minutes they can get the rest of two hours, three hours, four hours. It depends on how effectively you can draw in cosmic energy. But ordinary runners do have to sleep longer.
Question: What time of day is best to run?
Sri Chinmoy: It depends on the individual runner. Whenever the individual feels most physically fit, most vitally fit, most mentally fit and most psychically fit is the best time for that individual to run.
Running makes the body young. Striving makes the vital young. Smiling makes the mind young. Serving makes the heart young. Loving makes the soul young.