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 – 2

Today I will run for pure, absolute joy!

(September 29, 2019)

Flashback: May, 2019

I had Berlin Marathon scheduled in 20 weeks and I wanted to train differently than I did for Mumbai Marathon. After some analysis and research, I observed that my Heart Rate was too high at 173 bpm (Race Avg) and Cadence too low at 134 spm (Race Avg)

The goal was to lower down the average HR over the training period and increase the cadence.

I came across Advanced Marathoning by Pete Pfitzinger and picked up the 18 weeks plan that varied from 88 kms and upto the max weekly mileage of 113 kms. I customised the plan slightly so that I could also accommodate Yoga Practice and Strength Training as supplement with my Running Schedule.

I chose this plan because more than 80% of the training was at lower intensity. Also since most part of the training was scheduled in peak summers and then in rains, it would be easier to run slower than normal.

This training journey helped increase endurance, build strength, and lower down the HR weeks after weeks. I was also able to concentrate on increasing my running cadence (by running more slow runs than hard runs).

Training Journey to Berlin Marathon – 18 weeks

Running:
Runs: 91 times
Distance covered: 1414 kms
Duration: 128 hrs 43 mins 32 secs
Calories: 70713 kcal
Average Intensity Factor: 81%

Yoga & Strength Training:
Workouts: 126 times
Duration: 57 hours 8 mins 34 secs

On Race Day I was able to run with an average cadence of 176 spm – a great improvement from 134 spm (in early 2019), 118 spm (in 2018) and 106 spm (in 2017).

Due to heavy rainfall, my HR belt slipped a couple of times and I was not able to log the average correctly, but it comes to be somewhere below 167 bpm. Considering the fact that I was quicker in the first 35 kms as compared to TMM, I was able to run faster at a lower HR. 😬😬

I would say Goal Set and Target Achieved. It was one hell of a journey, and I have enjoyed every bit of it.

#RunwithRaah 🏃🏻‍♂️

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 🏃🏻‍♂️

Running, Workout

Tata Mumbai Marathon, 2019 (03:28:43) – sub 3:30

Race Strategy #TMM2019 sub 3:30

I started slow allowing my body to Warm Up and not worrying too much about the Runners who sprints too early into the Race. Always remember they are having their own Race Strategy and you are on your own.

I chose to stick to my plan.

Split @ 2 km – 00:10:07 (Pace 05:04)

From NCPA to Peddar Road the roads get wider and I progressively picked up my pace. Not pushing too hard yet. Just keeping it cool and slowly moving closer to my race pace. The strategy was to conserve as much energy as I can for the 2nd Half of the Race.

Split @ 10.4 km – 00:51:36 (Pace 04:58)

Next up was a quick downhill from Peddar Road to Haji Ali and one of my favourite “sprinting stretch”. I clocked a 04:19 in my 11th km and got back into a steady mode from Haji Ali until the end of the Sea Link, making sure that I’m not pushing too hard yet.

Split @ Half Way – 01:43:47 (Pace 04:56)

Note the Avg Pace progressing from 05:04 in the first 2 kms into the Race to 04:56 at Half Way mark – and I knew by then that my race strategy was working.

The next stretch from Sea Link to Worli Sea face via Mahim was MY ZONE. Here, I was faster than my Race Pace starting from 22nd km until the end of 32nd km. The idea is to push hard when you are at your Best. (Also, at this point I was not too sure how things will workout post 35 kms – so I decided to go Fast instead).

At Half Way mark I was a lot more confident, my heart rate was steady and I had conserved sufficient energy to help me push as hard as I wanted.

It was time to run FAST🏃🏻‍♂️💨

Split @ 27.5 km – 02:14:52 (Pace 04:55)

Split @ 32.1 km – 02:36:53 (Pace 04:54)

At the end of 32 kms, I knew that I had another 2-3 kms to go before I climb the “Peddar Road” uphill and also that I was super strong in the last 10 kms. My strategy then was to slow down a bit and go steady at ~05:00 pace for the next 2 kms. I wanted to get into the climb without getting too tired and wanted to try and maintain that pace (not trying to push too hard before the climb).

I was trying to conserve some energy before the uphill stretch, because I had no intention to slow down or walk at Peddar Road. I knew that I had already covered some distance at a great pace and it was a good idea to slow down a bit from there. (I had Time in my bank there!)

I clocked a steady pace (05:00 – 05:05) for the entire stretch and then pushed harder again from downhill of Kemp Corner bridge towards Babulnath.

Split @ 36.1 km – 02:57:37 (Pace 4:55)

As you all know, I was Targeting a sub 3:30 Marathon and I had exactly 6.1 kms to go and less than 33 mins to get there. 🎯

Honestly, I was too overwhelmed by now, a little bit tearful and I had to wear my shades to cover it up. 😢😎

All I had to do now was to go steady and not lose my momentum. I was somewhere in between 05:00 – 05:10 for the next 30 mins, relaxed, chilled out and super happy to finish the race on time.

Full Course – 03:28:43 (Pace 04:57)

If you train well for your Race, hydrate well, follow the right nutrition, NOTHING can go wrong. Even the Mumbai Weather will not affect your timing.

If you want to do well and meet your Target, then you have to be consistent and you have to focus on your Goals. Don’t make a mistake of setting too many Goals. Target them Little by little, one at a time.

P.S. Forget the mistake, remember the lesson. 🤗

#RunwithRaah 🏃🏻‍♂️

Results link:

Tata Mumbai Marathon, 2019

Body & Mind, Running

2018 you were FANTASTIC!

A DREAM written down with a date becomes a GOAL. A goal broken down into steps becomes a PLAN. A plan backed by ACTION becomes a REALITY. 🤗

Running 2018 kms in the year 2018 – it did scare me a little at first, but when I was successfully putting my plan into action, it seemed rather easy.

They say “All things are difficult before they are easy” and it’s so true. All you need is Patience + Consistency and everything works just fine.

In 2018, I was actively running for 208 out of 365 days in the calendar, on the roads in Pune and Mumbai covering a distance of 2106 kms in around 189 hours and 32 minutes. 🏃🏻‍♂️

I burnt a total of 133157 calories by just running. That’s an average of 640 calories per run for 208 days of running, and an average of 365 calories per day in the calendar year. 🤭😅

My year was FANTASTIC. I hope you had a great year too and are as excited as I’m now for setting “New Goals” for 2019.

Let’s DREAM and set our GOALS on fire.

🔥🔥

Happy Running

#RunwithRaah 🏃🏻‍♂️

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

P.S. Goals always get accomplished when they MATTER to you.

Body & Mind, Running, Workout

3 hours Time Trial @ Race Pace

The Long Run and how to do it RIGHT! 😃😃

Time Trial @ Race Pace

(04:50 – 05:00 mins / km)

STRATEGY: Negative Splits (1%)

PLANNED:

10K: 49:30
21K: 1:43:27
30K: 2:27:16
35K: 2:51:27
~ 36.3K in 3 hours⠀

ACTUAL:

10K: 49:26 ✔️
21K: 1:43:15 ✔️
30K: 2:27:27 ~✔️
35K: 2:51:34 ~✔️
36.71K in 3 hours ✔️

Ran a total of 37K in 3 hours 1 minute 30 seconds.👇🏼

P.S. With this run I completed 300 kms of running in the month of December. 🤭🏃🏻‍♂️🤗

Yes it was 12 degree C this morning 🥶⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

#RunwithRaah 🏃🏻‍♂️

#TMM2019 #MumbaiMarathon

Running, Workout

Mumbai Marathon 2017 vs 2018

However strong the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.

Here’s the Take Away: To know more, connect with me on Strava or just IM me with queries.

1. Heart Rate – My BPM was too high throughout the Race. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

This year, I have been working on running faster at lower heart rate (BPM). 80% of my Runs are at Lower Heart Rate (Easy Pace) and 20% are Hard Runs. That’s my training strategy for Tata Mumbai Marathon, 2019.

2. Worli Sea Face segment

Looking back.. this is the point where my breathing was absolutely fine but my legs were unable to take me any faster due to fatigue. (Although, I did not suffer with cramps, but I know a lot of people who did).

I have been working on two methods to overcome this.

One by lowering my heart rate (as mentioned in point 1). This will help prevent fatigue and build endurance overtime, thereby allowing the leg muscles to help me go faster for a longer duration.

Two is the Negative Split strategy that I have already shared with you guys last month. Start slow – Finish strong & fast.

3. Peddar Road Uphill stretch

We all know this one is hard to beat, and it’s not just because of the elevation. In a normal training session this slope is definitely long but easily manageable. However, in a Full Marathon Race, this segment comes at KMs 35 & 36 and it becomes a challenge to maintain the pace in the final leg.

I ended up losing 30-40 secs here and yes also the momentum.

Lots of Hill training sessions and the usual negative split strategy (i.e. preserving energy for the final leg of the race) should help overcome this one too.

Hydration plays the most important role in sustaining the pace throughout the race. My strategy is to gulp on 180ml fluid (preferably water) every 30-45 minutes and occasional round of electrolytes, gels etc.. 2-3 times during the race.

#RunwithRaah 🏃🏻‍♂️

Running

Worth it!

I’m a Runner. I’ve been trained to keep going, even when it’s hard, it hurts or when I don’t want to.

I look past it.

Call it what you want: stubbornness, endurance, determination or guts.

Deep down, I don’t know how to give up..

(..and in the end it’s always worth it.)

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

#RunwithRaah 🏃🏻‍♂️

Running, Workout

TMM 2019 – Day 50

Today, I successfully completed my 50th training session for Tata Mumbai Marathon, 2019 without having skipped a single session. It feel great. 😃

Key Take Away:

  1. Focus on your goals.
  2. Don’t look in any direction but ahead.
  3. Don’t stop.

Be a Goal Crusher

#RunwithRaah

Running, Workout

Train slower, Run faster!

You should Train Slower, if your ultimate goal is to Run Faster.

When you Race or set a PB you may not realize this but you’re putting tremendous stress on your bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. (This is one of the reasons why you tend to feel more tired after a Race then a Long Distance Slow Run). Also, there is a high risk factor involved if you are racing too often.

It is advisable to limit the number of times you run hard if your long-term goal is to run for years without any pain or injury.

Advantages of Training Slow,

1) You can run more often and cover more mileage per week.

2) You are allowing your muscles to get enough oxygen thereby reducing the risks of injury.

3) You are “Actively” Recovering from those Hard Runs and you may not have to take a day off from running. 👍🏼

So, it is OKAY to Run Slow – especially when you are training for a Long Distance Race (Half or Full Marathon). In fact 80% of my training Runs are designed to be at Slow/Easy Pace and remaining 20% include the Intervals, Fartleks or Tempo Runs (i.e. not more than one Hard Run per week).

You don’t have to compete with any one else. If your goal is to stay FIT then you must build yourself slow and steady. 🙏🏼 Make sure you plan your training runs accordingly – to include a lot of “Slow” running and register for Races only if they are evenly spaced out.

Happy “injury-free” Running 😃

#RunwithRaah 🏃🏻‍♂️