India Cook on Using Vision to Power Her Running Journey

Photo: Na’Tasha Jones for RUNGRL

Photo: Na’Tasha Jones for RUNGRL

By Dominique Burton

When it comes to your wellness journey, the smallest step can make the biggest impact. For India Cook, what began as a way to kickstart her weight loss journey in 2008, evolved into a movement. The Atlanta-based runner created a successful vlog called Miles From India to educate and inspire other ladies, organizing races and events around the highs and lows of marathon training. India is also the co-host of The Run Duo Podcast, which welcomes runners of all levels into the running community and discusses the many ups and downs of running life. 

RUNGRL co-founder Dominique Burton sat down with India to discuss the process of diving into running head first, appreciating her fitness journey and how the power of positivity keeps her going. 

Note: Interview has been edited for length and clarity.

RUNGRL: Why did you start running?

Photo: Courtesy India Cook.

Photo: Courtesy India Cook.

India: I initially started running due to weight gain. However, it was after I stopped semi-pro cheerleading that I started getting really serious about running. I needed something to focus my time on and to help me stay fit.

RUNGRL: How did you ease yourself into running?

India: I am not sure that I “eased” myself into running, LOL. I actually started by running on a trail near my house for a couple of miles a day. In 2008, I signed myself up for the Peachtree Road Race, the world's largest 10K (I have no clue why I skipped the 5K). Since, I am from Atlanta, I always knew about and cheered for the Peachtree, so it was a great race to start with. I found that I would sign up for this race, train for it and run it, but then fall off. 

After I stopped semi-pro cheerleading in 2014, I decided that I would do one race a month to help stay consistent and in shape. My racing journey grew from there. The 5Ks and 10Ks pushed me to want to do half marathons and, later, two full marathons. 

RUNGRL: What’s always in your running bag?

India: My go-to running gear includes my Balega socks, my headphones, a Garmin 235 watch and my running waist pouch for my phone. I don’t run without these items!

RUNGRL: What is the most important thing you've learned about yourself on this running journey?

India: The most important thing that I have learned through my running journey is that I have to get out of my own head. I tell myself, “Don’t overthink things and just enjoy it.” I have pushed my body to limits that I never knew I could and this means that I can go as far as I want as long as I stay positive. If you keep a positive mind, your body will follow. 

RUNGRL: How does it feel to call yourself a runner?

India: It feels amazing and I love it! I battled so much with [believing] that phrase due to my pace, etc. But I started thinking positive and started saying “you know what India, you run, so you are a runner.” I feel like running is such an individual sport. You can be competitive but, ultimately, you are trying to do better than yourself.

RUNGRL: What are your running goals?

India Cook with her co-host Tommy Mitchell on  The Run Duo Podcast . Photo: The Run Duo.

India Cook with her co-host Tommy Mitchell on The Run Duo Podcast. Photo: The Run Duo.

India: My short term goal is to be able to stay consistent and get back to an easy, 10-minute mile pace. In the long term, I would like to complete a half marathon in each of the 50 states, as well as all six of the World Major Marathons. Lastly, I would like to continue to grow my running podcast, The Run Duo, so that I can inspire others. 

RUNGRL: Do you prefer to run for distance or for time?

India: I usually count my miles and not my minutes. When I think about the time, it makes me more worried, LOL. I tend to make three miles my minimum.

RUNGRL: What motivates you most during your runs? 

India: Knowing where I have come from and my goals really pushes me. I think to myself, “You are further than the person on the couch,” or “One step/one mile is better than nothing.” I also want to be able to run with my children when I have them, so I think about my future, too.

More about India Cook

India Cook is an avid runner based in Atlanta, Georgia. She started running in 2008 on a quest to lose weight and also engage in more healthy social activity. Within the process of training for her half marathon, India observed that there were many ladies that wanted to know more about her journey to her first full and therefore India developed a vlog to document her journey on Facebook called Miles From India. India used this vlog to educate and inspire ladies that were interested in her story of marathon training through the highs, lows and everything in between. To date, India has completed two full marathons, 13 half marathons and has lost count of her 5Ks and 10Ks. Since 2018, she’s hosted The Run Duo Podcast with her co-host Tommy Mitchell, interviewing runners, educating and entertaining listeners by talking all things running in order to make the sport less intimidating and relatable for their listeners. 

Follow India’s running journey on Instagram and be sure to catch her podcast, The Run Duo Podcast on Soundcloud, iTunes, and Google Play.

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Domonique Burton

Co-founder and Chief Partnerships Officer