Journey to the Full Marathon

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After umpteen promises, am finally typing out this post. I just wanted to get through a bit of the training so I could write about it confidently.

I decided to run the full marathon – 42.2 km this year because….. I don’t know why. I just want to do it once. After that? I may continue to run one full marathon every year and a few half marathons or I may focus on hitting a good timing in half marathons only. It depends on what the experience is like.

I plan to run the my first full marathon on 1st November in Gurgaon at MCM (Millenium City Marathon). It is organized by elite marathoners and ultra marathoners in Gurgaon. In case I cannot finish it or am not confident by then I will run the full marathon organized by Running and Living in December 1st week. I am not too keen on it because it has 4 loops of 10 km each and I hate loops. There is nothing fun about running loops.

There are a lot of people helping, guiding and supporting me through this and I will thank each and every one of them when I reach my goal.

This is the training plan given by Shshank Pundir (that is how his name is spelt). It is a killer plan. As soon as I posted this on facebook, Rishabh (a junior from B school and an Iron Man) pointed out that it is a very hectic plan. I spent all day thinking about it and realized he is right. I changed it to a 5 days running plan from a 6 days/week running plan.



Here are the components of the training:

  • Running : Of course. Running all kinds of distances. The plan includes below kinds of runs
    • Run : This means running slowly. 2-3 days in a week I have to run slow
    • Pace : This means running at the marathon pace. For example, if I plan to complete my half marathon in 2 hrs 30 mins, the average pace should be 7 mins/km. Whenever pace is mentioned, I need to run at a pace of 7 mins/km.
    • Hill Repeats : Run up and down a slope 4-5 times. I did this today but on a beginner slope and we walked down the slope and then ran up. Torture. Next time, I will do this on a bigger slope.
    • Tempo : A run where you warm up, increase your pace, run at the highest pace for a certain distance and then slow down. Example, if am running 4 km, I jog at 8 mins/km for the first 1.5 km and the last 1.5 km and for 1 km, I run at 7 mins/km or less.
    • Interval : This mean, after warm up, I alternate between fast and slow runs. My runtastic pro app has interval runs. In a 40 mins run, I slow jog for 10 mins each for a warm up and cool down. In the intermediate 20 mins, I run as fast as I can for 1 min and then slow jog/walk to catch my breath for 1 min, then fast run again followed by slow jog. In all, those 20 mins have 10 mins of sprints and 10 mins of walk/jog. Would you believe that with only 10 mins of sprints in a 40 mins run, I end up hitting my best pace in the entire run?
    • Long distance runs : The biggest change in my running because this plan has long runs on consecutive days. Till now, I would rest on Saturdays and Mondays and run a long distance on Sundays. Now, I run long distances on Saturdays and Sundays and a short distance on Monday.
  • Strength training : Every runner should strength train. Long distance running burns muscles and is not good for the body. If you want to lose weight, avoid long distance running. I have run 32 km over a weekend without significant fat loss despite eating right. Why is that? Because I burned muscles. The more muscles you have, the higher your metabolism, the more calories you burn. Between running and strength training for weight loss, I would always choose the latter. I lift weights in the gym 3 days in a week. Apart from this, I spend 1 hour/week on core workouts and 1 hour/week on TRX.
  • Yoga : Strength training and running stiffens the muscles and reduces flexibility creating problems later in life. Hence, yoga. Flexibility is a true sign of fitness whether you are fat or thin. I try and do yoga 2-3 hours/week. The great part about yoga is that you don’t need to spend money on expensive classes. Just buy a DVD available in the market or download some videos online and do it at home. That is how I started off.
  • Foam rolling : Since my injury in February, I have been extra careful and make it a point to stretch properly after a run. I foam roll my calves, thighs, shins, inner thighs, hips, lower back and upper back on a foam roller. Please don’t go out and buy one if you only run 5 km. You only need this if you are running long distances frequently.

This is what my ideal week looks like. I don’t plan a day off because I know I will end up bunking one day in the week.



This is the plan for the next few months:

  • September : Dwarka Half Marathon
  • November : Full Marathon and Airtel Delhi Half Marathon
  • January : Half Marathon at Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon
  • Also looking forward to the half marathon from Qutab Minar to Chandni Chowk sometime in quarter 4. I don’t know the exact dates yet.

Let me know if you have any questions. I have completed 4 weeks of this killer training plan and am alive and looking forward to the next 4 weeks.


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