Zahir Javeri, M.D.
Dr. Javeri has continued entering half and full marathons all over the United States, completing four full marathons, 13 half-marathons and two sprint triathlons.
What motivated you to start running?
My cholesterol was a little high at the time – I was on medication for it – and I have a family history of heart disease. I thought this would be a good way to try to be heart-healthy. I was a runner all through college and in medical school but never tried anything longer than 6 miles. In 2012, a friend suggested I kick my running up a notch by trying a half-marathon. That’s when I ran my first one and it was tough, but that triggered something. I decided I would try to lose weight and get in shape and see if I could do better the next time.
What changes did you make?
I started by making dietary changes: cutting out fast-food, choosing healthier options when eating out, and eating more vegetables and fruits. Those changes alone were largely responsible for me being able to lose a large amount of weight and get in shape.
What does your workout routine look like?
I run four times a week, plus I do cross training, lift weights and swim.
Do you still compete in long-distance running?
I mostly do half-marathons, although I have run in a few full marathons. In 2012, I was set to run the full New York City Marathon for charity. I was to run on behalf of Fred’s Team, which raises money for cancer research, and I raised over $4,000. I trained all summer for it. Then it was canceled because of Hurricane Sandy. But I ran the following year and raised even more money.
Since 2012, I’ve run in four full marathons, 13 half-marathons and two sprint triathlons. It’s a great feeling to do these races. There’s a feeling of competition and camaraderie with other runners. I’ve made so many friends. The great thing is random strangers are lined up along the sidelines just cheering you on. It makes you want to do it again and get in even better shape.
My dad was real big on being outside and taking in nature – going on hikes and walks. I get that nice, warm feeling again that I had as a kid.
Have friends and colleagues noticed the changes you’ve made?
A lot of friends have asked what I’ve done to make these changes. I emphasize that it’s 80 percent diet, especially in the beginning. Then, if you incorporate a little exercise at least five times a week or so, you’ll find you start feeding off that and want to do it more and more. You’ll find your energy levels will increase and you’ll start to make healthier choices without even thinking about it.
Do you have any other advice?
Don’t be afraid to take that first step. Make small changes in your diet and then add in exercise. Don’t worry about how fast you’re going. Just the fact that you’re out there is an accomplishment. Join a running club if you like running – like Houston Striders or Houston Area Roadrunners.