Another year, another run, and this time at Zürich marathon, I was part of a team relay, and my role was running a stretch of 11.4 km. Together with three other team members, we completed the marathon. This is the first of its kind for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed this after running single runs to date. This run, the first of this year (and many more in the pipeline for this year), is also unique in many ways – firstly, I ran more than 11 km at an event after nine years, and to prepare for this event, I experimented with a different training regime. I opted to cycle instead of running leading up to the event.


Since I completed the Winter Run in Zürich last December, my training leading up to March’s second week was negligible. Winter, being a touch harsh and no indoor gyming (I didn’t renew my membership), I went through a period of three months with little running. However, I did walk, and those were quite a few miles along with my wife leading up to her delivery. I had few issues with my throat during January, and I chose to go easy on my body until our baby was born. Easy, in my definition was – no outdoor training while the temperature touched below zero, during snowfall, and when it was windy. Walking was the best option!


I signed up for the run with Asha Foundation, Zürich, and I was grouped in a team where I would have to run 11.4 km at the Zürich marathon. This was a challenge as I usually prefer shorter distances over more than 10 km. On the other hand, the whole run was for a cause – a fundraiser for THE betterment of education in India for underprivileged children.

With less than a month to go, and by this time, our 5-day infant was back home and my wife recovering, I was slightly worried about my lack of preparation. I wouldn’t say I like running more than 5 km at a time – but I know on a given day, I can finish long distances. That’s not the point; to me, after any run (be it any distance), I must be able to continue with my life without any difficulties. And preparation helps you immensely in going about your life, usually post-race. I had to be prepared! And I was not sure if I wanted ‘running’ to be an integral part of my training.


It was in that indecisive moment of choosing how to train; I stumbled upon an idea. It was just a fortnight ago; while I randomly picked up the cycle and went for a ride, I came with the plan. The spring weather, with the cool breeze, light for most hours during the day, and the temptation to cycle more led to an experiment that I wanted to explore personally—cycling as a training method for running.

I have previously completed a half-marathon with fundamental preparation – but those times were different. I somehow cannot imagine me doing such distances as I have grown out of it. This 11.4 km was not my personal choice; however, wanting to run-ruled over the distance factor. Yes, let’s face it – I do not want to run 10 km every second day or more than 5 km each day, but I wanted to complete this 11.4 km, and at the end of it, the need to feel normal (as I had a four-hour meeting on a hill after the event) was paramount. The goal of preparation was not to feel exhausted and spent at the end of 11.4 km. And more importantly, at times during the race, an unprepared body gives up.

I decided to cycle hard and cycle alone as a part of the training. I started with 14.3 km and then 22.6 km the next day. Subsequently, 18.2 km, 21.3 km, 24.2 km, and 26.6 km. I concluded – if I were to cycle close to 90 mins and cover more than 20 km (keeping in mind the Swiss altitude), I feel I would have trained enough for the race.


I felt good after a good night’s rest (which was a premium considering one has to be alert to baby’s call, anytime). The first runner completed 9.1 km, and then it was my turn to run a further 11.4 km. I ran, picked up my pace slowly with each kilometre. It took about 75 minutes to complete this distance. This was not lightning quick. However, the goal was to meet the distance and at a decent time. I felt good throughout the run and never once felt the need to give up. I came back home, freshened up, ate four parathas, and off I went to Felsenegg for a meeting.

Since the beginning of 2014, I had decided not to run more than 5 km (ok, 6 km at times), and this one came as a mini-challenge. With each challenge comes an opportunity to do things differently, and that’s precisely what I did when I chose not to include running in my training regime.

Next up is the Bern run (in three weeks), and I am taking it easy with a 5 km run.


Asha for Education, Zürich has raised close to 23,000 CHF through the Zürich marathon 2015. We have two weeks for the final fundraising, and we are short by 2000 CHF of our target. Request you to contribute any amount of your comfort by clicking here in my profile –