Marathon

Preparing for Bangalore Marathon 2016

For the past few weeks, I have been under the impression that I have plenty of time to start preparation for the Bangalore marathon. Only now have I realized that I have only 7 weeks to go.

Sub 2 in 7 weeks?

I would be happy to have a strong run with 7 weeks preparation. Sub 2 is a far away dream.

With all the stuff with the marriage going on, I have totally neglected my preparation. I will be skipping this years AHM. After running it for the last 3 years, to have to skip it this year is disappointing. I just couldn’t make it happen.

I am in decent shape though. If I can focus hard and be careful with my preparation, I thing I should be ready in 7 weeks.

I will try to do 4 runs per week. One 6K fast run, one 8K tempo run, one 4K speed drills and the weekend long run. I will try to do a few flyover repeats on the weekend run. I am doing a bit of core and strength training in the office gym these days. That should add the necessary conditioning work and also keep my weight in check.

I need to cut down on chocolates, desserts and booze till the end of the marathon. I weigh about 70Kgs now. I should be able to cut down to 68 by the end of September. Lets see how it goes.

 

Strength Training

I started my new regimen in the gym in Nov last year. Since then, I have spent a lot of time doing research on exercise physiology and health. I learn’t about what exercises I should be doing, at what intensity and for what duration.

For someone who can boast of having 3 years experience working out in a gym, its amazing how many things I didn’t know. Even after everything I have learnt, I still make mistakes in the gym, all the while mentally pointing out the mistakes others are making.

For the first time in my life, I am working at controlling my diet. I don’t know how I missed this trick the last 8 months. I am definitely eating less, but I am not starving myself. I don’t go to bed unhappy every night that I am having to diet.

I am a little over 68Kgs now.  When I started going to the Gym, I was around 73. When I renewed the membership, I was above 70. I have made good progress over the last 2 months.

I want to record what I am doing these days and use this as a template to refer to in the future. My workout schedule reads like this:

Monday -> Arms, Back. Barbell row, Bicep curls, Dumbell curls, Lat Pulldowns.
Tuesday –> 1 hour cardio. Running.
Wednesday –> Lower Body. Deadlifts, Barbell squats, Dumbell lunges.
Thursday –> 1 hour cardio. Running.
Friday –> Shoulder, Chest, Back –> Bench Press, triceps cable extension, dumbell overhead press, shoulder raises.
Saturday –> 1 hour cardio. Running.

Most weeks I do 5 day gym routines. I try to cover the strength training days at sometimes skip the cardio when I don’t fell like it.

I have also started an alternating approach to the intensity of my workout. For 4 weeks, I do the lower wait high rep routine. I push the reps to failure and generally end up with sore body parts the next day. The next 4 weeks, I do the high weight low rep routine. I do not try to push to failure. The satisfaction at the end of a workout might be a little less but the results are better.

I now have a good understanding of my body. I can basically do the endurance stuff but am not very strong. Even after 10 months working out in the gym, I fail to do a single rep of a pull up. I lack strength. Strength is what I am focusing on right now. Weight loss is secondary.I hope to be able to do a few reps of pull ups soon. I do want to lose some more weight but am not very particular about it right now. Strength is what matters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Regimen

Two weeks back I picked up a book about health with the name: Don’t lose out, work out.

Reading this book has been a revelation to me. I had been working out fairly regularly at the gym in the last 7 months. While I have lost weight and have become fitter generally, I felt that for the effort I have put in, I haven’t achieved the results. Now I understand why.

For some reason I have always emphasized on cardio as a method for fat loss. Apparently, my judgement was without any basis. Weight training seems to be the more optimal approach to achieve that goal. I have already decided that I am going to extend my gym membership. I still don’t know for how long I will be staying here in Bangalore so I’m not sure for how long to take up the subscription.

I have a new regimen mapped out now. 3 days strength training, 3 days running and one day rest.

The schedule will look something like this:

Monday: (Back)

Barbell Row
Lat
Shrugs
Barbell Curl
Hammer Curl
Reverse Fly

Tuesday (Run, about 8K)

Wednesday: (Lower Body)

Squats with weights
Lunges with Weights
Leg Extension
stiff leg deadlifts
Leg curl
standing calf raises

Thursday (Run, faster 6K)

Friday: (Front)

DB Press
Chest Press
Machine Fly
Overhead DB Press
Side Lateral DB
Cable Push Down
DB Extension

Satuday — Break

Sunday (Long Run, 16K)

With this regimen, I will be covering 30K per week on the road and will be able to focus on only weights in the gym. The amount of time I will be spending in the Gym will reduce. Hopefully I will see the results.

Pre – Bangalore Marathon 2015

Chennai 2012. –> 02:02
Arouville 2013.  –> 02:16
Hyderabad 2013.  –> 02:31
Coimbatore 2013. –> 02.:34
CTC 2013.
Chennai 2013.
Hyderabad 2014. –> 02:56
Bangalore 2014.
Hyderabad 2015. –> 02:51
Bangalore 2015.

The one’s listed above are all the marathon events that I have registered for in my endurance running career. Of the 10 above, I participated in and completed 6 of the runs. For 2 of them, my registration was for a full marathon. I did not attempt either of them. For the Bangalore 2014, I did not even pick up the bib and the free t-shirt.

I will be running the Bangalore Half Marathon this weekend. My preparation for the run hasn’t been ideal but I am in decent shape. If I take care of myself these next few days, I should be able to complete a good run. I have no further Marathons planned this year. As such I have no plan about what I want to do going ahead.

I started endurance running in Chennai and in those days, I enjoyed running. For various reasons, my passion for running has reduced now. Nowadays, I am so worried about niggles and injuries that I don’t get to enjoy my long runs. Most of my running has been in the Gym and I’m not a big fan of that.

Running a marathon has been my dream for long but I have quite a lot of things stacked up against me. Wouldn’t it be easier if I just quit?

I am thinking of going back to the regimen that I followed during my Fitness One days. The results that I achieved in my 3 months in that gym were amazing. I have not been able to replicate that in the last 6 months. I don’t know what I am doing wrong now, but I feel its worth a try going back to what has worked in the past.

The new regimen would mean a reduced focus on running and increase in weight training. I will be extending my Gym membership for another quarter so I have the next 4 months to plan for. I can still do the Sunday long runs but with no Marathon to plan for, I don’t think I will be able to sustain the drive. Doing long runs is hard work.

I have to get to under 68Kgs before I start planning for the next  marathon. All of this to reduce the damage my weight does to my legs when I run.

Say I come down to 68 Kgs by Feb 2016. Will I start preparing for a full marathon in Aug at the Hyderabad Marathon?

AHM 2015

2:52:20

The timing is very near to the one that I got last year. But while last year’s run was painful and disappointing, this year it was painful but satisfying.

The week leading up to the run was up and down. I arrived well on Monday and had a plan set for the week. All my plans went haywire when Chaman called me up and asked me to do a patching on the weekend. There was no clarity whether the patching was on Saturday or Sunday morning. I mentally prepared myself to skip the run. Then, to my great relief Sriharsha called me later in the week and informed that the patching would be on Saturday.

I did one run during the week, and it wasn’t great. It was probably because of lack of warmup that led to the shins getting very tight. I decided against doing any further runs during the week. To improve my pre race day, I went and got the bib on Friday. Saturday however did not go as I planned.

I started patching at 8 in the morning and it went on until 4:00 p.m. I had a snicker and chocolate milk for lunch. Came back home and had a heavyish dinner. Slept at 8:00 pm.

To start off the race day, I had the same problem that I had last year.. no shit was given. The phone got switched off at night and there was no alarm. Luckily, I woke up at 4:15 and checked the time. There was no time for the warm water to do its trick so I didnt have any choice. Didn’t even take a bath, had a hurried breakfast. Got in the cab late and reached the venue at around 5:30.

I was worried about how my stomach will handle the run all the while. Didn’t focus on the warmup completely. I should have stretched the hamstrings more, among other things. Anyway the run started and I started off at a nice slow pace. I felt felt the hamstring ache at 4 kms and knew it would be a difficult run. At 6 kms, I ran out of gas.

I didn’t know the missed lunch would have that big an affect. From 6kms onwards, it was an uphill battle till the end. The time spent in the gym working on core strength helped during the run. I was able to hold posture till the end of the run. The pleasant whether helped too.

I tried to stretch the hamstrings at multiple points but it kept getting worse. Had the right hamstring sprayed at one of the aid stations. I somehow found a burst of energy at the end and managed to complete the last 500 mts running. Surprisingly, there was no shit problem throughout the run.

I think I am fitter now, compared to this time, last year. I hope I can build on this fitness and prepare better for the Bangalore marathon in mid-october.

Kota-Kinabalu will be the next adventure!

Preparing for AHM 2015 Part -3

I will be running the AHM next Sunday. I did my final practice long run today. In the last 7 weeks, I managed to do 5 long runs. Today’s run was the best of the lot. I ran 16k and could probably have pushed a couple more. Recovery has also been good so far.

My weight is at around 69 kgs now so it hasn’t been a drastic reduction. The core strength training has paid some dividends. My hamstrings feel much stronger and should be able to carry me over the finish line in the AHM.

The last 3 months have been good to me in terms of running. I have been able to visit the Gym regularly and the weekend long runs are keeping me fit. I think after the AHM, I will take stock of the situation and decide about how I want to prepare for the Bengaluru Marathon which is another 8 weeks away.

I think I will start from Aliabad again this time on the morning of the run. I will be doing morning shifts the entire week but I should be able to sneak in 2 short runs in the week. That will be my preparation for the run. I have to avoid any kind of binge eating during this week. Specially important will be what I do the day before the run. I will be doing M shift so there won’t be any lunch available. I will also have to go to the pre run event so I will be doing quite a lot of travelling. These things can’t be avoided I suppose.

I hope I have a good run this year. After 2 horrible years, I think I deserve some luck.

Preparing for AHM 2015 Part -2

So 6 weeks after the last running post, I want to track the progress made so far. The biggest disappointment for me has been that I haven’t run a single long run till now. I was supposed to run 2 and this weekend would have been my 3rd run. There is good reason for this though. I was busy  patching in the first weekend of July and had spent the last weekend travelling to Chennai to write the IELTS exam. It’s not a huge setback, and nothing that I can’t make up for.

My runs in the Gym have been consistently getting better. I have dropped down to 70 now, and if I am able to control my diet and keep up the good work, I should be about 68 when I run the AHM. That is in 7 weeks.

So I am able to run 5K’s with 1 incline on the treadmill in about 37 mins. With practice the timing should get better. I think I have figured out the root cause of the shin pain. Whenever I have worked to relax and stretch the calf muscles, the subsequent runs have been painless. Tomorrow will be the first big test for my fitness. I have a 10k planned for tomorrow, it will be my first long run in the last 11 months.

Hopefully, tomorrows run goes well, I have the schedule mapped for the next 6 weeks:

19th: 10k

26th: 12k

2nd: 14k

9th: 14k

16th: 16k

23rd: 14k

30th — AHM

I am thinking of sticking to the 5K routines on weekdays in the gym for atleast the next 2 weeks. In the subsequent weeks, I will increase it to 6k right upto the AHM. Depending on how the AHM goes, I will plan my training for the next run which will be the bangalore run.

Preparing for AHM 2015

I caught the running bug way back in 2012 in Chennai. I decided to run the Wirpo Chennai half marathon then and that has been my best performance in a run so far. I think I was physically the fittest in October 2013. I had built up that fitness over the course of 5 months and I was in very good shape. I was lean, had built muscle fitness and was raring to go.

Fast forward a couple of months and all the effort that I had put in, the months spent in the gym and the hundreds of hours running and preparing for running, came to nothing. I went upto 70 from a lean 65 and have struggled to come back under 70 since.

I can clearly see the affects of aging here. I put in the same amount of effort in 2013 that I am putting in the Gym these days. I saw the results of the training better back then. Work was relaxed then and I could work out in the mornings. I also had the advantage to being fitter generally. In a sense, I started building fitness in July 2011. I wasn’t working out that much but I was putting in hours of running and Gym time so I was decently fit, leading upto Sep 2012 when I started running seriously.

I can generally divide my running “career” so far in 4 stages:

1. Pre Wipro Chennai Marathon 2012 — This is the period when I had started running. I did mistakes in the preparation that affected me post my run but in general I think that was a good period for me. My timing of 2:02:34 is much better than my next best of 2:16 which happened couple of months later.

2. Auroville 2013 and the Fitness One — My shins got banjaxed post the Chennai run in 2012 December. By January, I knew that I had muscle issues that needed serious work and I cut down on my running. I was still decently fit in Feb 2013 when along with Sainath, I got into the Xylo heading to Auroville. The run itself was a good experience. Post the Auroville run, I quit running and enrolled into Fitness one. I worked out for 4 months and then started building up again in the summer.

3. Stupid AHM 2013 and the following high — AHM was my first run post the shin splints recovery. I wasn’t in perfect shape yet but was decently well prepared. If it weren’t for the stupid mistakes that I did the day before the run and during the run, I would have finished much better that the 2:30 that I managed. Coimbatore happened, where I spent the previous night fighting bed bugs but still was fine enough to do a good run but chose to selflessly sacrifice my timing to help out my friend who was fighting cramps. 2:34. Okay. The next run was the October 2013 Chennai trail run. In the build up to the run, I got super exited and decided I wanted to run a full marathon in the Wipro Chennai marathon 2013. I was putting in the long runs and was working very hard at the time. The fateful night before the Trail run, mom died. I caught an early flight to Hyderabad the next morning and returned to Chennai a couple of months later with an additional 4 Kgs of fat. Fat that I have still not lost.

4. Bangalore and still stupid AHM 2014 — I couldn’t create any fitness regimen unto June 2014. I started running again in Bangalore from June in PSN which offered a good running track. My target was AHM 2014 but I didnt have enough time. The first few weeks of the training went fine but shin splints hit me hard in late July. I had to stop running completely leading upto the AHM. Then I went onto do even stupider mistakes the day before the run and in the run itself.

Last year’s AHM was the second most humbling moment in my life. I was fighting the terrain, the heat and my body and ended up walking the final few Km’s of the run. During the course of the run I seriously questioned myself on why I took up running in the first place. I was terribly disappointed and defeated. 2:50 something. I didn’t even care to remember the exact timing.

That was my last shot at running a marathon. The next event is AHM 2015 and I find myself in familiar territory. I am grossly unfit like last year and am fighting an uphill battle. The good news this year is that I have a few more weeks to prepare. The bad news is that the fitness regimen is proving to be difficult and is taxing.

Its been 2 months since I joined the Gym. The same 2 months effort in 2013 had shown great results but its been slow progress this year. I lost 3 weeks in between so it’s not like I have been at it all the time. 2 months and I have barely lost 2 Kgs. I still weigh upwards of 70 Kgs.

What do I do? I am caught in a terrible circle. I need to lose weight to start serious running as the additional weight is putting more load on my already imbalanced muscles. But I need to run to lose the weight that I need to lose to run. Added to that is the tight timeline for the AHM 2015. With about 10 weeks to go for the run, I don’t want to repeat past years mistakes hurrying up the preparation and injuring myself. So I give myself rest. Which means staying away from cardio which I need to do to lose weight. So the equation is:

Run –> to reduce weight.

Reduce weight –> to run

Rest –> To give time to heal

Nightmare.

I am putting to good use the wisdom gained over the past few years. Shin splints has done me the most harm. I have to avoid that at all costs. Which means I need to do three things: Increase my mileage very slowly, build muscles with strength training, and give myself adequate rest. But all of these things will mean progress will be slow and it will be incredibly difficult to keep up the motivation.

I have no other choice. I have now got to know how my body works. I need to workout to stay fit or else I will start ballooning like, well a balloon. Lack of workout makes me look fat, feel fat, produces gas problems and I don’t have the general confidence in myself that I do when I am fitter. I need to build up the required fitness to sustain even a moderate training regimen. This “season” is very crucial for me. I will look back at this season in the years to come as having been a great season, or an opportunity missed.

I hope some luck goes my way this time.

A letter to Sridhar-2015

 

one-year

I am such a lazy ass sometimes. I’ve only just realized that I did not in fact write the Letter to Sridhar 2014. I wrote a reply to the letter from 2012 and I wanted to write a letter to 2014 but I never got around to doing it. Such a opportunity missed. Anyway I’m going to rectify that mistake now and write a letter to myself in 2015!!

 

To,

R. Sridhar Reddy,
Aged 26 years 9 Months.

Hi pal. Its me, you in the past. How life going?

Probably for the first time in the last 3 years, I am in good place right now. I am exited about life and am looking forward to November when I join Oracle. I hope I am still in Oracle and I am reading this in Hyderabad by the time I get to be you. It’s not that everything’s positive right now. I still need some closure after Mom’s death. Bro’s contract didn’t get extended so he will be staying at home for an extended period.

I hope by the time I am reading this, he is married and is happy. We have seen enough bad days till now. I am desperately hoping for the good days to come. And I am confident they will come. So how was the marriage? Did you take all the responsibilities and do your best. If he is not married as yet then are you doing your best to help him. You know you are the only one he has to take care of him. It’s a duty you don’t know how to perform.. but its something you will have to try.

I had booked the tickets for Malaysia trip.Did you go to the trip? Or did the marriage get scheduled at that time. I hope one of them happened. If both didn’t happen then its a sad one indeed. But I hope you managed to get through it. I am hoping that you got the chance to do both.

I have changed over the last 10 months. I have become more self aware now. These days its not enough for me to go through the day. I think I am getting back to the early Mangalore mindset. That was a fantastic period for me. That along with some of the time that I spend while on bench. I am starting another period of intense productivity starting this week. I hope I manage to keep this up for a long time.

Are you still desperate. I realized recently that I had made it a habit to denying every emotion that seemed sad to me. I don’t think about it much but I am very lonely. The sudden crying session that I had a couple of months ago brought out something in me that I didn’t know existed. Accepting that you are lonely is not doing any help though. Are you also lonely?

If it were in my hands to do something about it, then I would do it. It’s so sad that for me to get a girl, I will have to go so far away from my comfort zone and be someone that I am not. There doesn’t seem to be any choice though. I have to take my chances now. I want you to be happy and I am willing to put in effort to bring you that happiness. I am just hoping for some luck to come my way.

What else is going on with you? Where did Arsenal finish in the league? We bought Danny Welbeck last week. I am guessing he will score 12 goals and give 10 assists in all competitions. Did he do better than my expectations? And what about Nadal? Did he win another Grand Slam. The man is simply amazing.

I am siting in the hall in 6122 right now. You will remember the room if you close your eyes. What do you see? Do you see Marella’s bed, my electric to the left, cycles and book stand and tv?

I am planning to move to the solo room today. I’ll spend the next 2 months in that room. Who are you living with currently. I think by the time I get to be you, Marella and Bala would have left. That doesn’t leave a lot of people. Did Siva join us?

My second attempt at doing the Marathon has also ended in a flop. The legs are just not up for it. I think I will quit running for a while and work on general fitness. Did I start running again?

The first time I did this letter thing, I had listed out 5 criteria using which I wanted to judge the quality of my life. I want to do the same again.

1. Money : This one is currently a mixed bag for me. All the while that I was in Chennai, I think I managed my expenses pretty well. When the car loan went off, its burden reduced a bit but the housing loan got added to that so it was pretty much tight for me. Then we got the money from land and from then on my money management has gone haywire. I think I have spent a lot after coming to Bangalore. I am spending more money on Luxuries these days. It’s something that I have to work on.

Managing money is not a goal that I need to achieve. It’s a continuous activity for me and I can only rate myself based on how I am doing right now. A I can do much better than this. Given that my Salary will be increasing after I join Oracle, I will have to be even more careful with regards to my expenses.

My Current Rating : 6

My Expectation for you : 8

2. Peace of Mind/Pressures: I am very relaxed these days. The offer from Oracle has eased that burden from my head. Managing Dad and Bro is still a little stressful for me right now. By the time I get to be you, I hope that Bro will be married.

My Current Rating : 8

My Expectation for you : 9

 

3. Health: I have come to realize over the past few months that my body is not as robust as it used to be. I need to take better care of myself now. I think I am doing alright at the moment. I was training for the full marathon for a while but shin pain forced me to leave that. Now I am doing weight training in the gym. So I’m not in the best shape but considering how I was 6 months back, I think I have improved a lot. There is still scope to get better though and I will continue to utilize the gym while I am still in PSN.

My Current Rating : 8

My Expectation for you : 8

4. Interest/Hobbies: So one day a couple of months back I got very impulsive and went and bought myself an electric guitar. I have to say till now I have not made the best use out of it. I am not practicing enough on it. Music aside I have continued writing this blog although the content has reduced, I am still working out and I think I am mostly covering all the things that I need to cover.

My Current Rating : 7

My Expectation for you : 8

The last criteria makes me so depressed that I am not even going to go into it right now.

I hope you are hale and healthy when you read this and I hope you will write back to me.

R. Sridhar Reddy

Aged 25 years 9 months.

The road to the marathon -1

This is my second attempt at running the marathon. I have 13 weeks left to prepare my body for the run. I don’t think the time will be sufficient. I might be able to complete the run but I don’t think I will get any decent timing. I guess for the first marathon finish the run should be the primary target.

This Saturday I ran an 18k. I finished strong and still had some energy left. Enough to do another 3 maybe. Not enough to do another 10 or 20. Which is what my biggest concern is. I don’t know how I will be able to increase my mileage over the coming weeks.

So far so good though. The shin is still not ready but it’s getting there. Have to put in more work on the calf and glutes. I have decided to start following the 3+2 program described in the book that we bought. The runs are fewer but more difficult. Specially the speed drills. But its good training. I did the last long run in 2 hours 1 min pace 6.45 per minute. Decent timing but not good enough. At that timing it will take me 2:20 to do the half marathon. My target for the Hyderabad half marathon is 2:10. So I need to cut down another 10 mins. Will take a lot of work but hopefully I’ll be able to get there.