Body & Mind, Running, Workout

Tata Mumbai Marathon – Analysis & Strategy

The race for perfection has no finish line, but, we know that a Marathon has one. 🤭

So, here I’m with the year end ritual – analysis for my performance at TMM comparing 2017, 2018 and 2019 and my race strategy in 2020.

My performance in the first half of the race in 2018 (1:42:05) and 2019 (1:42:07) was exactly the same, however, my endurance and strength was at peak in January this year and the result is noticeable in the second half of the race (2:01:16) in 2018 vs (1:47:06) in 2019. I was faster by 14-15 minutes in the second half and this helped achieve the target of running a sub 3:30 marathon. 😬

I was also able to pull off “Peddar Road” slope at 05:06-05:09 mins / kms in 2019, a tremendous improvement from 2017 (>06:01) and 2018 (>05:45). 😃👊🏼

Overall, I was 15 minutes faster in 2019 at the same Avg HR as compared to 2018. HR was still high, but the Speed looked good.

The goal this year was to increase my Lactate Threshold HR and further lower my Avg HR per run i.e. to run faster and finish stronger in 2020. ❤️

I included Tempos and Long Intervals in my training plan and did a lot of Long Slow running.
My Lactate Threshold HR improved from 176 bpm (in 2018) to 181 bpm (in 2019) and my Avg HR is now much lower, less than 145-150 bpm for most easy & medium runs. 🏃🏻‍♂️✅

At TMM I was always on a positive split strategy, and I may continue with the same in 2020.
I did a lot of progressive and negative split running in my training this year. The idea is to get the splits closer to Even before dreaming about running a Negative Split Full Marathon.
(someday) 😃🤦🏻‍♂️

The TMM route is ~500-600m extra, so I plan my timing accordingly. Also, the start in the race will be very crowded and I’d like to have a buffer of 1-2 mins over and above my target time to compensate for this and to avoid the zig-zag running. 🤪

#RunwithRaah 🏃🏻‍♂️


P.S. Successfully running a TMM is all about Hydration. Try and gulp on 180ml fluid (preferably water) every 20-30 minutes + electrolytes or gels every 45-60 minutes. 😅

P.P.S. Taper for 2 weeks and Sleep for 7-8 hours. 💤

Body & Mind, Running, Workout, Yoga

Hindsight: 2019 #Throwback

Berlin Marathon, 2019

Now is the time to reflect on your running in 2019 (and prior years) and think about what’s next for the year to come.

A month from now entire Mumbai will be back on the roads running or supporting the 17th edition of Tata Mumbai Marathon. The excitement and the spirit of Mumbai is something to run for.

But before I move forward, I’m taking an intentional look back. I did the same thing last year and it really helped me achieve my PRs 2019.

However, in contrast to last year, where I simply analysed my races. This year, I have answered the three essential questions to help explore my growth, lessons learnt and experiences that shaped my year.

1️⃣ What did I accomplish this year—big and small, planned and unplanned?

Big Goals that I saw to the finish line.

• A sub 3:30 Marathon – not once, but twice (Mumbai and Berlin).

• First International Marathon (Berlin)

• First World Major Marathon (Berlin)

Small but mighty wins that made me feel powerful.

• I became a Vegan 🌱 in January 2019. Been almost a year now and I feel so happy, strong and guilt free 😃

• 5K, 10K & HM PRs

• Discovered Yoga 🧘🏻‍♂️ and it’s physical + mental benefits. How it kept me injury free and helped maintain a positive mindset throughout the year. Especially during Berlin Marathon Training where I was running 100 kms week after week.

2️⃣ How did I challenge myself to grow this year?

• Advanced Marathoning – with more mileage per week. A lot of slow and long running. Touching almost 380-400 kms in back to back months.

• In 2019, I did not just run, I supplemented my running with a lot of Bodyweight training and Yoga practice.

It was difficult to clock high mileage, and at the same time not miss any Bodyweight or Yoga sessions. Not to forget I’m a Consultant and I have a work life too. 🤭

3️⃣ What did I learn?

Don’t just run. Cross-Train too. If you want to have a strong body, recover quickly and at the same time feel good about it mentally, you must concentrate on your overall fitness levels. You must exercise and build overall strength.

Try and include Weight / Bodyweight training, Yoga, Cycling or Swimming. Do breathing exercises daily or thrice a week to get all the mental benefits it has to offer.

You’ve collected wins all year whether you realised them or not. Savor the success – doing so fills us with positive emotions, motivates us, and keeps us strong in tough times.

Look back at all you made it happen and be proud.

Remember this. You achieve great things each and every year. Carry that positivity with you into 2020, and let it motivate you to achieve a lot more.

Don’t forget to #RunwithRaah

Running

Marathon Racing Strategy

My strategy to Finish a Full Marathon is to divide the Race into four segments.

One: 5K (1 to 5 kms)

In this segment I focus on getting into the rhythm. I don’t want the HR to shoot up too soon, so I start slow, and then gradually hit my goal race pace. However, this is perhaps the most dangerous point in the marathon when adrenalin can take over but you need to hold back. DO NOT START TOO FAST (even if you are on a Positive Splits). AVOID ZIGZAGGING in panic. Spend the first few kms by getting into the stride. You will have plenty of time left to cover up and beat your PR.

After 5K you’ll notice that I’m warmed up, I have a spaced out route (the start will always be crowded and chaotic) and am looking good to maintain the pace.

Two: 21K (6 to 26 kms)

In this segment I focus on running comfortably and maintaining my race pace. There are times when you feel overwhelmed by the crowd support, loud music and enthusiastic runners around you, but don’t make a mistake of going too Fast just yet. Go as planned, try and stay in the right zone, don’t lose focus and drink plenty of water.

Three: 10K (27 to 36 kms)

This segment is all about recreating whatever has worked for me in training. I want to get a feel of running at a FAST pace (10K Time Trials). So far I have been ticking off the kms and running pretty close to the target pace.

I take some chances, a slight increase in pace and longer strides. Not sprinting really, but a few seconds faster than race pace. This helps add 2-5 minutes of buffer.

Four: Smile BIG 😬 (37 kms to Finish)

Survival is the KEY here. If things are going well, I put everything I have toward the finish.

If things aren’t going well, I don’t have an option but to slow down. However, I know that I’ve covered up 2-5 minutes in the 3rd segment and am okay to finish slow, and yet set a PR.

I am positive and I SMILE BIG. Also, if I see someone else without a smile, I try to cheer them up. Things always fall in place, once I see the finish line. 😊

Run the first segment with your head. Be Smart.

Run the second and third segments with your legs. Be Strong.

Run the last segment with you heart. Be Inspired.

Happy Running.

Running

2019 BMW Berlin Marathon

2019 BMW Berlin Marathon – my first World Major.

The Joy of running a World Major Marathon is hard to describe.

SCC Events has done some excellent work there. There were sufficient aid stations and impeccable course marking to ensure your focus remains on running.

The crowd support was exceptional and like never experienced before. I was pleasantly surprised to hear my name being called out at least 10 times. It feels great when people you don’t know cheer you up by calling in your name. Sending out some Teddybear hugs 🤗🤗

From Power-Ups “that Red Mushroom from Super Mario” to little kids crying-out for a High-Five.

I tried my best to not miss any 😊😊

The Berlin Marathon route was fantastic. Mostly flat with a couple of tiny bridges. I’m so glad to have run this one and I highly recommend it to anyone from anywhere else in the world – You gotta run and experience The Berlin Marathon.

At the start of the race it was NOT a perfect “Race Day” weather. It was very windy (in the opposite direction), slightly sunny and cold with a humidity of 76%. It only got worst half-way into the race with heavy rainfall, strong winds and a further drop in the temperature.

I was drenched and shivering 🥶

Rains ☔️ started at around 25 km mark for me and then the weather changed from being slightly sunny to extremely cold and wet. My HR belt was slipping again and again, so please ignore the HR stats. 🤦🏻‍♂️

I had a perfect start to the race on a not so perfect day and I was going amazingly strong until 32 kms. After that, I felt tingling sensations in my quads, they felt a little tight and I got shit scared 😧.. within a couple of kms I got the worst cramps EVER (never had one in a race before).

I stopped for a bit, had a glass of water, and realised that I was not able to walk. With more than 7 kms to go, running a world major, I cannot screw this one up right?

So, instead of walking, I tried running again (and I don’t know how), however not so fast, a minute to minute and a half slower than my race pace. I somehow crossed the finish line.

I lost a lot of time in the last 7 kms and was not able to clock a sub 03:20. I know I have disappointed a lot of folks who believed that I could even clock a sub 03:15. I’m Sorry. It was also great to know later that my expected target time was showing up as 03:16 at 30K and then it dropped to 03:19 by 35K mark and then 🤭😞 *blahhh*

Thank you each one of you for your motivation and support. You all know my training journey had been amazing and I exceeded all my expectations in clocking more than 100kms in a week to almost touching 400kms a month. No Human is Limited right? I strongly believe in it too. I have thoroughly enjoyed my training and journey to Berlin Marathon. 🏃🏻‍♂️😬✈️

So what went wrong in the race?

NO EXCUSES.

All I know is that I have to work harder and go faster to be able to manage a stronger finish.

After thorough analysis, I felt I should have included at least one 30-35K Time Trial at Race Pace. I had included runs at Race Pace but none of them exceeding 23K. I will work on it the next time and get back stronger for sure. 👊🏼😃

There are Good Runs and Bad Runs, and if a Bad Run can give you your Personal Best, you know you have a lot of potential in you. I was faster by a minute and 26 seconds than my last Marathon in January 2019.

Overall, I’m not Happy Happy, but I’m still Happy about it.

I will celebrate this run. 😃🙏🏼

Keep Running

#RunwithRaah

Body & Mind, Running, Workout

LITTLE by LITTLE, a LITTLE becomes a LOT

I like who I’m becoming. A lot.

I was able to clock a sub 1:50 Half Marathon in 2016 and that was after running 8 Half-Marathons in 12 years since 2004. The difference between sub 1:50 HM attempt vs all those years from 2004-2015 is that I only trained for it in 2015.

I never really ran as much as I run today, and it was a couple of short runs prior to race day. My yearly mileage was less than 30 kms per year back then and it was the Mumbai Half-Marathon where I covered the maximum distance.

Running a Mumbai Marathon was a ritual, but then in mid 2014 after not being able to register for Mumbai Marathon 2015 (I did not have a timing certificate), I realised that I am spending too much time in the gym with all the weight training and stuff, I was Strong and Fit (for sure) but I was not seeing any improvement in my running speed and endurance. I always knew that progression beats perfection, and after doing some speed drills and running tests, I had to have a plan to improve my overall running performance. You can say, that’s when I actually got into running.

I am super thankful to my wife , I got disciplined only after I got married. 🤗😘

It all started with Goal-Setting and I promised to myself that I’ll attempt a Full Marathon only when I can clock a sub 1:50 Half Marathon (my last best being 2:05). I worked on an Annual Running plan in 2015 with a goal of achieving a sub 1:50 HM in Jan, 2016. I was sincere and focused on my goals. I clocked a 1:48:21 in Mumbai Marathon, 2016 and that’s how I crushed my first ever running goal. 😃😃😃

Later that year in June I registered for my first Full Marathon in 2017. Since then I have been consistent, taking small steps each day, striving for progress and celebrating every time I cross a checkpoint. It could be a tiny step, a sub-goal or a Marathon.

Raah has been Running ever since. 🏃🏻‍♂️

So, just pull your shit together and go for a run.

P.S. Don’t forget to celebrate every tiny victory. 🤗
#RunwithRaah 🏃🏻‍♂️

Body & Mind, Running

Start Running Today

Running has taught me that I’m capable of so much more than I ever imagined.

Trust me, running can work wonders for you and your body.

Imagine that day when you can finally say “I did it”, when you can say “I never gave up, I never quit”, where these moments of pain turn into memories and your dreams become reality.

It may take long to reach that moment, but as soon as you get there you’ll thank yourself for the rest of your life.

All you got to do is Start, Today.

#RunwithRaah 🏃🏻‍♂️

Body & Mind, Running, Workout

The only FAILURE is when you say “I Give Up”

I set a goal, put out a strategy to keep me on track and I gave it my best shot.

Result: I did not succeed in setting a PR and I have NO EXCUSES for that. I believe it is okay to fail sometimes. 😐

One thing I did not anticipate in my run today is that the 10K Runners would occupy the entire road for the last 3-4 kms and then it is not so easy to run past them at a FAST pace OR to find your way to the finish line.

To fix this, I would remove a couple of minutes from second half of my Negative Split strategy and run the first half slightly quicker. That should compensate for the loss in time towards the end of the race.

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

It was my last Half Marathon “Race” attempt this year and in the next two months now I will concentrate on my training plan for TMM 2019. 🏃🏻‍♂️👍🏼

So what to do when you don’t reach your goals? Keep calm and stay relaxed, recover and get back stronger. 💪🏼

PRs will come. If not today, some other day. Don’t ever give up. 🙌🏼 Okay?

#RunwithRaah

Running, Workout

Sub 2 hours – Half Marathon (21.097 kms) with a negative split racing strategy.

Firstly: You must set your Half Marathon goal time 2-3 minutes faster in case the course is a bit longer (it usually is) or if you have to beat the crowd at the start of your race. Don’t worry. These extra minutes will also come in handy when things get really tough towards the end.

Secondly: AT THE BEGINNING OF YOUR RACE SLOW DOWN!⠀⠀⠀⠀

Now, coming back to the negative split racing strategy. It is a strategy that involves completing the second half of the race faster than the first half.

For a 21K, things may not seem as easy as it did for a negative split 11K strategy I shared last week. However, it follows the same disciplined technique to progressively increase speed, to conserve energy for the 2nd half of your race and to finish strong.

As I said earlier, YOU MUST start slow.

Go for a 06:20-06:10 mins / km in the first 3-4 kms and allow your body to warm up.

Towards the end of the 4th km you should be running at 06:00 mins / km. From there on in the next 3-4 kms progressively move from 06:00 to 05:45 mins / km, and then go steady at around 05:45 mins / km for the next 3 kms i.e. until the end of 10th km.⠀

  • 1-2-3 kms @ 06:20 -> 06:00 mins / km
  • 4-5-6-7 kms @ 06:00 -> 05:45 mins / km
  • 8-9-10 kms @ 05:45 mins / km

You should be able to manage a 10k in less than an hour.

Now that you have conserved good amount of energy by going slow in the first half, you should be feeling good about it.

It’s time now to move closer to your race pace of ~ 05:35 mins / km in the 11th km.

Let’s go for it !⠀

In the 11th km shift gears from 05:45 to 05:30 mins / km and then go steady for the next 3 kms. You have now covered 14 kms in less than 1 hour 22 mins.

  • 11th km @ 05:45 -> 05:30 mins / km
  • 12-13-14 kms @ 05:30 mins / km

In the 15th km again shift gears from 05:30 to 05:15 mins / km and then go steady for the next 3 kms.

  • 15th km @ 05:30 -> 05:15 mins / km
  • 16-17-18 kms @ 05:15 mins / km

Go FAST in the last 3 kms @ 05:00 mins / kms or the best that you can (I usually sprint the last 2-3 kms). 🏃🏻

  • 19-20-21.1 kms @ 05:15 -> 05:00 mins / km

Yay 👊🏼 and you have NAILED IT !

Stay hydrated through out your run (and have 100ml of water at every water station 3-4 kms away). This can avoid injury or cramps towards the end.

Good luck. 😀👍🏼⠀

#RunwithRaah 🏃🏻‍♂