Categories
Fitness Marathon RAAM Trans Siberian Extreme

How I got into Endurance Sports?

Many people ask me this question. What made you to take up endurance sports? It is a long story almost more than 10 years long and even more than that. I was never a sporty guy in my school days. Actually I was very chubby and plum school student. During my 10th and 12th standard years, I had a put on lot of extra weight due to all time studies and no physical activity. At that time it was about getting maximum marks in exams and scoring 90 to 95 % marks in your subjects to get into medical college. My friends used to call me Chota Hati. I was no where considered good for sports and I also remember that I was rejected to be a NCC candidate due to my physical fitness at that time. But I was never sedentary also. Going to school and college by cycle was a normal thing and I used to play lot of cricket but yes cricket does not make you very fit and healthy. It is more of a technical sport. I remember got extremely charged by watching the movie Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar in school days. At that I had no idea that I am going to do race like Race Across America and Trans Siberian Extreme in my life.

After my 12th Standard exams, for the first time in my life, I went to join a gym thinking that this will help me out. After one month of training and going through lot of soreness of weight training, I kind of started liking this new fitness regime. Then I got into MBBS, I started reading lot on physiology and biochemistry, so I started to implementing all the knowledge on to myself. I changed my diet and food habits and became obsessive about following them. At that time, gym, studies and watching Arnold movies was my life. Due to change in my food habits and gym training and cycling I lost quiet lot of weight and gained lot of muscle. I started to like the world of bodybuilding and started to train systematically. Sanju Sir of Barbarian gym was my coach. I remember I used to have a huge collage of Arnold pictures in my room. On provocation from my friends I started to compete in bodybuilding competitions in Nagpur and Vidharbha region. I was extremely shy and introvert so getting into a sport like bodybuilding was extremely un-natural for me. I started to get first three positions and became Vidhabha Shree in 2001 in above 75 kg weight group. One very distinct habit in gym I had was to train alone. I never used to like training partners. For some reason being the only child to my parents, I used to like to be alone and training.

After that came a very lean period of training. I got busy with final year MBBS and my career. There was no career into bodybuilding in India at that time. I had to shift from Nagpur to Mumbai. Gyms were very expensive in Mumbai so I used to do some body weight training at home and used to go for some running in a ground near by in Vashi, Mumbai. Then I had to shift to Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai again. So from 2002 to 2006 was the time of when there was no training. It was about trying to fit into the world but I was missing lifting some weights.

In 2007, I was in Hyderabad and was going through some serious personal problems. Life was very lonely and depressing. I wanted to get out of it. That is when I met Malik Sir. He used to teach Taekwondo – Korean Martial arts. I had done bodybuilding and I used to think that is the best sport. But all my thinking was shattered when I entered the world of Bodybuilding. I started to train in Taekwondo. It was hell of a difficult job. I had no flexibility and I had huge muscle mass from bodybuilding. So I had to become lean and mean machine. Again I started my transformation from a bodybuilder to martial arts player. Life was lonely and I filled it up with training myself in Taekwondo. I used to get up 4.30 AM and go to KBR park for training. I used to train again in evening. Malik Sir became my guru and my best friend in Hyderabad. I learnt a lot from him. To train better I rented a home very near to KBR park so that I don’t waste time in commuting in Hyderabad. Taekwondo – Office – Taekwondo – Sleep that used to me my daily routine. I went on to earn a Black Belt in Taekwondo. Life was fun again and I think those were the best days of my life in Hyderabad.

For Taekwondo, we used to do lot of running training. So one fine day I thought of running a 10 km run in Hyderabad. I ran 10 km in 39 mins. It was a great feeling of achievement for me. Then I ran a half marathon. At that time running half marathons and Taekwondo was a perfect balance. I went to US for further studies at Johns Hopkins University. I ran couple of half marathons in US during my study time. After coming back to India in 2010, I got married and in 2011 I started running full marathons at Hyderabad. 1st edition on ADHM was my first full marathon. Then came to know about Ironman, so I started to learn to swim and purchased my first road bike. Then got more into Ironman and marathon running.

At that time I had never dreamed of doing races like Race Across America and Trans Siberian Extreme. As you climb one peak you see the next peak and I just went on climbing peak after peak. Don’t stop, just keep going, that’s the golden rule of endurance sports. After getting into martial arts and endurance sports, bodybuilding seemed of no interest to me. Endurance sports is a mental battle and the very purpose is to beat your own self. You realize you are your best competition.

Miles N Milers

ProHEALTH Foundation

Be your own Hero…!

Summary of my achievements in sports

Red Bull Trans Siberian Extreme Finisher 9100 km in 25 days in 2018

Race Across America Finisher 5000 km in 11 days 21 hrs in 2017

Ironman Busselton in Australia in 2016

12 times Ironman 70.3 Finisher

8 Full Marathons

1st Dan Black Belt in Taekwondo

Vidharbha Shree in Bodybuilding

Categories
Cycling Fitness Marathon

Cycling – gateway to running for beginners

There is a explosion of marathon races in India. Almost every city has marathon events and races these days. Thousands of people participate in these marathons. Some of them do training properly and some of them never train but just run for the sake of it. Lot of people want to adopt to running as a lifestyle or a hobby. If you want to become a good runner start slow and steady. Even though you are just a recreational runner, you still need to train properly. In the beginning invest your time on these.

Run Less in initial days of running. Invest more on learning the sport. Later you can jack up the miles. If you are fit and strong, you can run as much as you want.

Learn Proper Warm -Up – most of the recreational runners never to do good warm up. When I look at the warm up of a competitive runner or a professional runner, they always spend good time to warm themselves up. Investing in learning proper warm up helps you loosen your joints and muscles to do more rigorous work. It also helps in elevating your heart rate.

Learn running drills and stride – Invest time on learning important running drills. Running drills help you to learn to run the right way. When you run with proper stride and foot landing, running becomes effortless. When running is effortless then there is less chance of injury. There are some 10 most important running drills, learn them and always do them before the run.

Strength training – the more the strength, the faster you can run. Most of the beginners ignore strength training. They think that running is an escape from strength training. Training the entire body for strength is important. Exercises like squats, lunges, calf raises, push ups, mountain climbers and core exercises will help you to become strong and hold proper form while running.

Cycling as cross training – Cycling is one of the best way to train for running. I would suggest for a beginner to do cycling every alternate day for one hour or 2 hour. Cycling helps build lots of endurance without risking yourself for injury. You can keep working your heart at low intensity with cycling. This will help you loose lot of extra weight by burning calories for a longer time. Alternate day cycling for three to four months will be a great platform to step into running more kilometers injury free.

Barefoot walking – everyone who wants to start running forgets that they have been just walking or sitting for all those years. Apart from that they forget that they have been using shoes or chappals to roam around everywhere. All these lead to weak foot muscles. So when start suddenly running on tar roads, these weak foot muscles and tendons are bound to get injured. Running in shoes will not strengthen your foot muscles. You need to walk barefoot on mud or grass surface to train your foot muscles. These muscles will get strengthen over a period of 6 months and the arches in your foot will become strong. Your foot is what is going to get hammered on to those tar roads thousands of time. So investing time in strengthening your foot will be useful in long term life in running.

Stretching and flexibility exercises – another most ignored part of training is stretching. Investing 15 to 20 mins after your training in these exercises will help you relax your muscles and help them recover faster. The more flexible you are the more effortless your running will be. The more relaxed your stride will be and more distance will get covered in the same effort.

The entire objective of the above mentioned training is to prepare your body and foot for the high impact sport of running or jogging. In the initial days don’t run on hard tar roads. Run mostly on ground and mud surface. This will help you to prepare yourself for road running. If you invest your 6 months into training systematically as mentioned above, there is whole lot you will be able to do in the world of running and save yourself from injuries.

Your weekly program can be something like this,

Day 1 – warm up, strength and barefoot walking for 15 mins

Day 2 – cycling for 45 mins

Day 3 – warm up, jogging/waling for 20 mins, barefoot walking for 15 mins and stretching exercises

Day 4 – cycling for 60 mins

Day 5 – warm up, jogging/waling for 20 mins, barefoot walking for 15 mins and stretching exercises

Day 6 – cycling for 70 mins

And this can continue to build up….

Dr Amit Samarth

Miles’N’Milers

Be your own Hero…!

Categories
Marathon

My First Full Marathon – Hyderabad Marathon 28 Aug 2011

It was quiet a quest to keep myself away from long distance running. I used to keep myself telling that “no man, you don’t need to run so far distances like 21 or 42 kms to prove your fitness.” I used to think I am fine with this Taekwondo, it makes me feel good and I am kicking around the trees but without goal…I needed some goal so that I can train specific and put all my training to use to achieve that goal. Hence started training for Full Marathon, in May…not a very perfect time to start training for marathon in Hyderabad.

I thought of changing my training to run a full marathon…what a good decision it was, to start training for full marathon…42 kms…the king of long distance running…and I learnt very good lessons about life and running. So,  I started training for full marathon from the month of May…hoping that I will run my first full in September but along came the announcement of Hyderabad Marathon, being organized by own people – Hyderabad Runners. I got registered for it thinking that I will take it as a practice run. No matter what I will run the full in my city with the support of my own people. Along with running the marathon, also took small responsibility of taking care of pace groups for the half and full marathon.

Over the next three months, I was able to increase my mileage and increase the number of kilometer per week. In the world of distance running, they say….its all about mileage. A professional marathoner runner runs somewhere around 100-120 miles per week. I started from 60 kms per week and was able to increase it around 70 kms in few of the weeks. The major problem for the training was my liking for Taekwondo and also for cross-training. So never really trained like a pro-does. But anyway no more excuses, I tried to train my best, with all the responsibilities and juggling around my work. Nobody pays me to keep running and doing all this madness, I wish I could get paid to do all this.

So, in came the week when I am going to run my marathon. First scary moment, pain in the right heel on the Tuesday evening, send me the warning signals of keeping myself safe until marathon. So I kept myself away from running for the rest of the week, hoping that I will be able to run better on 28th of August.  The day before the run I started carbo loading and all that stuff to make sure that I will have enough energy to run through 42 kms. Till about 9 pm in the night I was roaming around to get the pace setters group work done. Actually, it was a busier day than the usual week days.

Anyways, then came the morning of the run, it was perfect weather, no rains but very cool breeze for my first full marathon.  It was great to have My wife, Mukul at the starting point. Then came the flag-off and I started my first quest to conquer this long time dream of running 42 kms. Honestly speaking, I thought of taking it as my training run and hope to finish somewhere around in 3 to 3.15 hours. I was pretty confident to making the 42 kms in that time…but 42 kms is a kind of distance, which will destroy all your myths and assumptions. The distance of 42 kms will tell you…boss…I am the king…and you need to do something special to run over me in quick time.

But then came the two flyovers and the 3 kms uphill run from Punjagutta to KBR park. I was running at decent pace, till 25 kms…but then came the Gachibowli flyover, which took kind of my energy off. Then the ISB hill…and hill after hills keep coming on this dreaded route…crafted by own people from Hyderabad Runners.  Around 32 kms, I was still running at decent pace…trying to hold by my pace and dream together of finishing fast. But man…this 42 kms is a killer of a distance and on a terrain like Hyderabad marathon route, it become doubly difficult.  I kept running confidently into the HCU campus, but man….they had planned another crazy thing inside the HCU campus. All those twists and turns really took my patience off and after running so long one kind of looses his ability to think. The only thing I kept thinking was to finish and only hope I had that when I will get on that highway…..I knew finish line is not very far off from highway…..! the route inside HCU really fried my brains off..!

Then came the highway and the 40 kms mark….good sign…i would say God Sign…so I kept running…steady. On the way, I was able to get past some of the professional runners….some of them walking and I was shouting at them….chalo…chalo….lets keep running. It was also very nice to see some of the policemen encouraging the runners. Then came the stadium and the last few meters…inside on to the track. Thanks…to Ram and Sunita for accompanying me for the last few meters….it will go down the memory lane for the rest of my life…!

It was amazing…to finish in the presence of my wife, parents and my 6 month old baby boy…! The most precious moment of my life…indeed came through running. All the friends and well-wishers from Hyderabad Runners have made it possible..thanks to all of them for motivating me to run a full marathon.Special thanks to Rajesh, Satish, Gupta, Vinay, Ram, Ravi, Sunita and everyone from Hyderabad Runners to motivate on the way to first full. Special thanks to everyone at home to support me in all this madness.

It was tough…but I was tougher….hence I conquered it….it gave me the one of the best lesson of life that 21 + 21 is not equal to 42 kms….! Believe me it is not equal in the world of distance running…! Your body and mind behaves differently at these long distance…! Full marathon is the truest test of one’s mental and physical abilities…it when your un yourself in the unknown and unsafe zone…you will understand more about yourself. I will train better to beat myself next time. This is what is amazing about the distance running, you get to beat yourself and that is what matters…there are many more miles to be run and many more kicks to be thrown…and I will keep running to conquer myself.

Lesson learnt….21+21 not equal to 42…this blog is all about this magical distance of 42 kms and endurance running.

“It does not matter how slow you go so long as you do not stop” – Confucius