Monday, January 21, 2013

Half Marathon at the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2013

1:32:23 (if you are like me and can't wait till the end of this post!)

I ran in the half marathon event for only the 3rd time in my 10 straight years at running in the SCMM event at Mumbai. Most of the reason to run the half rather than full was my CIM which was around 6 weeks ago. Since that was a hard effort and I recovered for 2 weeks after it, I had about 4 weeks to train for this race. And I did.

I had no plans to run a PB. Mumbai is not the course for a PB for me, whatever the distance and besides my body does not handle hard efforts so close to each other. My plan was to try and run 1:35 or  just a bit faster. I did 2 half marathons in practice but those were pacing efforts, below my PB pace. I did one 10 miler at just faster than target pace.

Since I had run below 2 hours, I was in the A corral. The start was good and within a mile, I had only the Indian elites and a few Western Naval Command runners ahead of me with a few assorted faster runners not aligned to any group.

I started with my first mile in 7:01 which pleased me immensely since I hate to run the first mile as the fastest of the race. The sea-link appeared soon enough. By the time I got to the highest point on the sea-link I had crossed at least 1 runner ahead of me, just by putting in a hard effort to hold pace. The 2nd & 3rd miles were both under 7 min each.

This was easily the best section of the run. I was feeling fresh. The sunrise was over an hour away. There was a gentle breeze and there were hardly any runners around! Pretty much to my liking.

I continued to hammer after 3 miles and the downhill helped me cross another runner or so. I am not sure I liked the stretch of the route where we went to Cadel Road and then came back to the Worli Sea Face, but I couldn't care less. I had a bunch of minor contests with fellow runners who were trying to peg against me and cross me. By the time we got to Pedder Road, all such contests were settled one way or the other because  we had a little over a mile of uphill to climb. And I really love uphills. On that section, I managed to cross at least 2 runners who had burned too much fuel by that point and lost pace. I did cross a bunch of Bangalore runners in the full marathon, all of whom I gave a good shout to. I think I will lay partial claim to the no of PBs set by my buddies ;)

My plan had been to run steady till 10 miles and burn the last 3 if I had any strength left. This didn't quite play to plan. While my average pace didn't dip, I couldn't push any more than I was running at. This was a surprise as I felt good but what seemed like a gentle upward slope from Wilson College to the Air India turn, ate up whatever strength I had, in just maintaining the pace.

To massage my ego further, I did manage to cross 2 people at least in the last mile, incl. one in the last 400m. The clock showed some 1:30:15 or some such time and I knew it was about 2 mins off since my Garmin showed 1:32:30 or thereabouts.

I am more than happy since my target was to not go slower than 1:35 and stay uninjured from the experience. While I had planned some celebrations at Leopold's with my trainees, only some of the Mumbai group turned up. So that was somewhat muted. However that was more than compensated within 36 hours by a series of visits to the Pint Room in Bandra, the home-bar of an ex-colleague, Rajdhani's in Phoenix, The Pali Village Cafe in Bandra and Lemon Tree also in Bandra and an overdose of filter coffee  - homemade as well as from Cafe Mysore.

The week-long visit to Mumbai was also made memorable by not just the run but also a meeting with Haile, Fauja Singh as well as the charming Tim Hutchings who I managed to meet before the "meet & greet Haile" session happened.

Since I had such low expectations from my own rather unvenetful run, the results were pleasing by largely being in line with expectations. I guess there is a lesson in there somewhere :)

I am looking forward to at least a month long layoff from running now!

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Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Training for the TCS World 10K 2013

Happy New Year to you!

This year, unlike the last one, I am announcing my training batches for the TCS World 10K, even before the race date is announced although it is likely to be the 2nd of June 19th of May, 2013.

I will start my batches for the race on 11th Feb 27th Jan 2013 from when there will be 16 weeks to the race. There will be 2 batches - batch 1 will train with me on Mon, Wed & Sat and batch 2 will train on Tue, Thu & Sun*.

The following are the key features of my training program

1. You will run for 3 days a week with my group (and ideally run 2 days on your own), of which you will do two runs a week with a group*. The 3 key runs will be a speed workout, a tempo run and a long run. All the 3 key runs will be outdoor.

2. For those who have already run a 10K in the past and are looking at improving timings, I may have a batch for just 12 weeks, but since you will pay the same as the people who sign up for 16 weeks, you may as well start earlier.

3. You will get a customized training plan in line with your capabilities (to be assessed using a time trial) and supervision of your training sessions.

4. You will get feedback as needed both at the key runs and at the end of the week.

5. We will set a mutually agreed target in line with your capabilities and performance for the final race.

6. The locations for the run are public parks - Lalbagh, Cubbon Park and occasionally other locations for special runs such as Nandi Hills, Kanakapura, etc.

If you are keen, I can also work with you on planning your diet based on my experience. While I have little experiential advice to dole out to non-vegetarians, being vegetarian myself, I don't see that as a constraint.

If you are interested in training for a different event, mail me at the id given below.

If you are interested, fill in this questionnaire, mail me at and we will discuss specifics like locations, timings, fees, etc.

In case you are outside Bangalore and want to discuss email/telephone-based coaching (Yes, there is such a thing. Even some sub-elite athletes train like that) mail me and we shall work something out.

About me

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My profile as a runner

I am 34 years old. I used to work as a manager in a premier Management Consulting firm until last year. I just found running more enjoyable and quit my job to become a full-time coach. I have been running for over 11 years. I had no running history before 2001. For that matter, nobody in my family has ever played any sport with any competence. I used to be a plump kid for a while. Then I just grew up to become a fat adult. I just decided to change this one fine day. So I know what it is to train as an ordinary person who has no sporting history. I have run 16 marathons and run a half marathon at least once a week (sometimes two). I started with a half marathon in 2 hours 34 minutes in 2004 and a full marathon in 2005 (in 5 hours 4 minutes) with little training or even an idea on how to train. I just ran them on a whim. So I began training since I thought I could improve with training. As recently as in 2009, I ran 10K in 47 minutes and 51 seconds.

However I ran without a coach till January 2011. My best marathon till then was in 4 hours.
In 2011, I found an amazing coach and trained under him in the US. I ran 2 half marathons in about 1 hour 30 minutes each and a full marathon in just 3 hours 10 minutes, qualifying for the Boston Marathon.

My personal bests as of 1st Jan 2013 are

5K - 18:38
10K - 39:45 (I am yet to race just a 10K. This was run as part of an 18 miler)#
HM - 1:30:12  (I am yet to race just a HM. This was run as part of a full marathon)#
FM - 3:09:46

I would love to show you what you can do with targeted training.

I have trained several batches of runners with a broad range of abilities for 5Ks, 10Ks, half and full marathons both in India & overseas.

I love to run. It has changed my life. It could change yours too.

One of my trainees who is Singapore based, came up with interesting names for my coaching options - remote and on location in Bangalore. He calls the remote model (email/telephone based) as the "Ekalavya" model and the on-location one as "Arjuna" model. I have loved the terms enough to quickly appropriate them

* I don't coach on Fri.
#  Although I have run both a 10K and HM in India, I run much faster in cold weather. I am a bit of a wimp in warm weather