Habit formation experiences
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05:15 PM – 06:20 PM IST
How did you start on this long-distance/ultra marathons journey?
Distance has always been something that intrigued me. Even when I started off with running, I was always curious how it would be to run a certain amount of distance.
Also the very fact that I am using the power of my legs to take me that far, is a really kick for me. And that’s why I picked the ultra category
Do you have any schedule or a training plan when you train for ultramarathons?
Oh yes. A very strict one at that. Having a schedule helps me plan my day around it. On weekdays it is usually about 60 - 75 minutes of work per day. This is split into runs and strength work.
Weekends are reserved for long runs. Long runs are tracked mostly by time. So I’m running for X hours. Distance / speed isn’t a metric during this time.
Apart from running do you do any kind of strength training, stretches, etc?
Yes, strength work is a large part of my routine. There are usually 3 days of strength work in a week since my aim to run long distances. There’s a day of yoga in there to stretch out everything that I’ve used in the week too.
How did the recent lockdowns impact your runs?
Largely. Living in Chennai hasn’t been easy either with the count skyrocketing. I haven’t done a run outdoors since Lockdown 1.0 — March 24th. That’s 3+ months now.
Although I am extremely privileged to live in a place where the terrace is quite spacious. So I have been running over there. But running in the such small places can bring up its own set of challenges so I haven’t done too much running.
The focus is more on building a strong base for when this all settles. That’s one of the plus points of building a habit. I now am used to the time I put in. Whether that be a run or strength work — its all the same to me :)
Do you run/workout after the lockdown has opened? If yes, what are the precautions you are taking?
The general sense of things seem to be to err on the side of being cautious.
Have you undergone any running injuries? If yes, how do you heal from the injuries?
Oh yes. When I was doing hill runs on trails, back in 2018, I misplaced my foot and my left hamstring had a tear in it. The pain was unbearable the following days and that’s when I went and consulted a doctor.
I had to undergo some really painful physio for the next month or so to even get back into running a few kilometers. So the only real way to ‘heal’, is to wait it out.
Apart from shoes what running gear does one require for ultra marathons?
It largely depends on the kind of ultra that you are planning to run. Ultras where you have good support (more often than not, these are ones on the road), you don’t need much of extra gear. A bottle and a few refreshments would be enough.
The real challenge are ultras that happen on ‘trails’. These usually happen in very mountainous regions where it is hard to set up aid station. In this case, there would be a need to carry a backpack with some water, food and something for emergencies.
A lot of such ultras have a set of mandatory equipment that they check before even they let you start the race.
How do you balance running with your professional and personal life?
I do a lot of my running and working out before even the day starts for many. I have alarms that start all the way from 1AM. To travel to a trail to start by run by 3:30AM.
So its just a matter of making time, not finding the time.
Also a lot of what I’m able to do, I’m able to do because I have a very very very supportive partner. I can’t even imagine doing these things without her support. She’s been with me through all the highs and lows I’ve had as a runner
How do you deal with the tough phases of running an ultra marathon?
This is something that I still struggle with. This is very colloquially referred to as the pain cave.
The way I deal with it changes with how my mental state is holding up at that time. Sometimes I tag along with a friend and that makes things so much easier on the mind. Talking to them, laughing really helps get out of the pain cave.
But off late I’ve begun to realize that the way to better tackle all this is to focus on training the mind as much as I train the body. So I’ve begun to introduce a lot of meditation into my schedule just so I understand what it is to live inside myself without there being any external help.
What do you eat and drink before, during, and after the runs?
For training runs that are under an hour, usually nothing.
For training runs that are an hour and above, a banana with peanut butter is my staple about 30-45 mins before I start the run. And during these runs, I always carry a 500ml water bottle and sip it every 20 mins or so.
For runs that are longer than 15 kilometers. I eat something after every 10 kilometers - this is usually a chikki or something like that.
And for runs that are longer than 25K. I have solid food (idlies / curd rice / energy balls) spaced out in time.
I’m not a subscriber to any synthetic forms of food — gels and the like. I prefer my food whole and chewable :)
After the runs — I don’t have any strict diet. I just eat till I’m feeling full, whatever is there :)
What is your view of road running? Ground inaccessible owing to current situation?
Same as this answer
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