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 –


The 38th edition of the annual Silvesterlauf (Silvester run) came to an end last Sunday in Zürich. Among the 21,643 runners who registered for the event, I, too, was one of them.

This was my first run in conditions that were below 5 degrees. Unlike my other runs in the past few years, this was different weather-wise while running terms; I did not feel a strain since preparing well in advance helped me get used to running in such conditions.

Well, in all fairness, I have run at the races without preparation (including a half-marathon). As a result, I have also suffered from those body aches, niggles, and other small bodily discomforts. I didn’t want any of this, and I wanted this run to be like a typical run, a feeling of routine from my daily life. This was my goal, and I am happy I was able to achieve this small milestone.


For a long time, I have spent winters that hovered around 15-20 degrees. Yes, it is a paradise by its looks; hence, my breathing and tolerance to cold weather and sub-zero climates had to be adaptive.

One of the best methods to adapt to colder conditions is to face them, train in them, and giving the body an incremental challenge to get used to the surroundings. Last year, I could not manage to take part in the ‘Silvesterlauf’, and this year, I was determined to take part if I were to be in Zürich.


I kept it simple – just made it a point to spend time outside with relatively less warm clothes by jogging and running. This time the weather leading up to the race helped me train better. There were many days late in the evening where temperatures were below ten °C consistently, and on few days, it hovered around five °C and less.

I spent anywhere between 15 minutes to 40 minutes training depending on the time, and I managed to complete the full-distance at least twice a week, if not more. This gave me the confidence early on – that I could finish the distance without gasping for breath and in relatively quick time!

I prefer variety over mundane training, and this included the route I chose each day. I measured a lot of distances within my town and the neighbouring two towns and came up with many options. For a given length, I had close to 5-6 route variations to choose from, which helped me a lot!

Maybe, it is me and something to do with personal preference and my curiosity to explore more ‘routes’ within the distance I wanted to achieve.


The race day was a Sunday, and I treated it just like ‘any given Sunday.’ As I mentioned in my earlier posts, short-distance running is an extension of my lifestyle and not something I have to spend a lot of time. My race was scheduled at 18:35, and the weather conditions were not too bad, or that was how I felt, minutes before the start.

The beauty of Zürich Silvesterlauf is – that you get to run around the busiest parts of the city, which is impossible on any other day or time. And once on the run, it was auto-pilot in action, and I ran at my own pace without bothering what was happening around me while soaking up the carnival atmosphere and managed to complete the race well within my target.


A day’s rest and the usual routine starts. Though there are no runs scheduled till the Springtime, I will use this time to get used to training in sub-zero temperatures and explore more on adapting to colder conditions. 


Have you ever tried searching for the term ‘Limit’ on Google? I see there are innumerable quotes which many renowned personalities have stated on one’s limits. What do these quotes convey? They all pretty much sing to a single tune – ‘never allow anyone to limit yourself.’ Taking the advice, I have decided to limit myself (instead of others) on essential things to my existence.

There are limits in life for a reason. Staying within limits has done wonders in life, and at the same time, one must remember, it is not easy to define a specific limit.

It is not something one can copy looking at what others have achieved. A limit should be defined in life depending on one’s lifestyle, surroundings, interests, profession, motivation, commitments, getting out of comfort zone, the need to create new benchmarks, and so on…

I do not believe in the adage – ‘there are no limits.’ From my experience so far, as long as human life is limited (as death is unavoidable), how can one define ‘limitless.’ Instead, I would say, we can reach a new limit, create a new benchmark, set a new time – all these are possible and within reach. Limitless cannot be measured and hence wonder, how can I achieve that state!

Let me give you an example from my own life. It took me a long time to admit to me not enjoying running long distances (10k and more). Was I limiting myself? No, I have been running long distances for quite some time, and it doesn’t entirely give me the ‘kick’ I need at the end of it.

Since this realisation, I have started to enjoy my short bursts of running and now confident of completing 5k at ease. Currently, happy with this arrangement, I feel my body and mind are in tune with this new set up. And, all that’s needed is 30 minutes of my time, three to four days a week. That’s 2 hours out of 168 hours, and I can gradually see the overall benefits devoting this little fraction of time in a week.

Now that I have worked out (till the time I realise something new), a schedule not following this routine is my definition to limit myself. Having many interests in life, committing myself to remain fit is just one of them – an important one indeed.

When I know I am good at other things (I can improve and learn more) or if I need to give attention to other aspects of life, why do something devoid of enjoyment and waste my time on just one part?

Fitness is essential, and there is nothing extraordinary here – I have just repacked my fitness schedule (lifestyle) to suit my personality. Let that be running or on a clear day cycling or just walking or just doing some floor exercises, swimming, playing a sport with friends, partner or kids, etc. An idle mind is a devil’s workshop; what about a passive body?

When you encounter a situation where you do not find any time, all you have to do is get out of everyone’s attention and honestly ask yourself if you want to do this. If the answer is yes, start small, learn to enjoy, and climb up.

Ensure you are not giving up other necessary commitments; instead, you are welcoming a value addition in your life. That’s how I look at it. If it is no, well……….. I leave that with you!


I believe a personal level of acceptance (Read Previous Post – Why I don’t love Running) has helped me understand and look at the concept of ‘running’ in a completely different way. It is nothing elaborate, just that I feel a lot freer whenever I run, jog, or sometimes ‘waun’ (walk+run).

All along, I wondered – why conform to the norms of training? Though I never took any active measures to ponder what or how I wanted to run. Now, I want to know more.

I realise the importance of training to suit my body type and to get better with time. I had some ideas, and reading perspectives and runners’ life stories helped me get few ideas on various elements associated with running.

However, it is important to start testing those perspectives one by one. I ran, ran from time to time before realising I was not enjoying it. Instead of holding on to it tightly, I thought about rediscovering the touch by starting from scratch.

Most would know instinctively what’s möglich and what isn’t? It is a matter of effort, and it might involve some time (proportional to effort) to trust those instincts and enjoy the process of training. Be it anything, work out a pattern. Here’s what I did:

When I realised I could use the treadmill to train myself (I was not too fond of it before), I thought, why I never fancied myself training on a treadmill early. It’s simple – I never gave time to treadmill training nuances and instead preferred running outside, where I could control speeds and choose roads at will.

Now, I still love running outside but what’s changed is that – I do not mind using treadmills. Acclimatising to ever-changing seasonal weather also helped me to decide to give the treadmill a go.

Ok, coming back to the pattern. This technique is a work in progress. More work has been done, so I can comment on the progress I have had so far. Have a target time and commit to engaging yourself on the treadmill – it helped me define a direction because it was a personal project.

I would suggest ‘music’ helps – but it masks the feelings you undergo during this training process. I prefer to hear my feelings out during training and focus on achieving a zone where I just run, oblivious to what’s happening around me. Again, choose the method that aids you to train better!

I get a lot of ideas if I listen to my thoughts on how to make this process of training better.

Start by selecting a raw walking speed, a factor that indicates the km/h or miles/h. When you start to feel comfortable walking, shake up the order – plan to move outside your comfort zone gradually.

I devised a test on myself to simulate the outdoor running conditions at will. No, it isn’t the 3D views of my surroundings! I continuously increase the speed by 0.1 km/h every 30 seconds. I start my training with – say, 7 km/h (again, this is my comfort zone). A gentle walk for about a minute or two, and then I start jogging. The moment I begin to jog, I increase the speed by a factor of 0.1 and continue this trend every 30 seconds.

Now, my concentration is focussed on those 30s and multiply into as many intervals as you can. My target is not to run more than 5km at any point in time. Start at some speed, run, walk, jog for some time and track your progress.

We all love change for the better. The more challenging part is the path. I believe humans are creatures of evolution and not a revolution in the long run. So keeping this in mind, my training involves a gradual increase in speed.

It does not harm you and will only improve your fitness levels and, more importantly, the confidence levels. Who doesn’t want to feel better? This method of training is one such way of creating ‘those feel-good factors’ within you.

And why am I doing this? I believe in testing my abilities and move towards excellence, if not perfection, during my lifetime. So I pick up hobbies (trial and error), habits that trigger my brain, fuel my creativity, and test my limits.

I love experimenting with something I fancy or inclining to shake up the norms from time to time.

I don’t love Running!

I took to the treadmill very late in my life as a basis of training. There is something about these treadmills that create a feeling of ‘suffocation’ while I am on it. And this feeling stayed on with me until very recently.

Eureka! It took some beating to accept that I do not prefer treadmills, and more importantly, I am not a massive lover of running. I like running – but I am not a big fan of it. I run when it is needed, I sprint when I least expect it, and I speed walk as a matter of habit.

The bottom line is – I don’t love running. Oh, this sounds very different from saying – ‘I hate running,’ which I don’t. Isn’t it?

Now that ‘particular ego’ has been conquered let me move on. It has been so far smooth sailing in the past few weeks when it comes to running. Mind, body, and my inner soul connects well whenever I wish to run. The only question I had to answer was – How much is too much?

I began expecting too much from college and ended up running 21 km and several 10 km runs. I had injuries to my ankle (not while running), which made me feel not to run for close to two years until the time I started to run again in Doha, Qatar.

After completing a few 10 km runs in the past year and a half (five), I realised one important thing – ‘I do not enjoy running for more than 30 minutes’.

Yes, it’s me! It took me time to understand this level of understanding after running more than an hour all these years. What a revelation, phew!

Now, I revel in my 5 km runs and not sure how long this will last. However, I must admit I never relished so much during these 20 to 30 minutes of the run than I ever had in my ten years of running life. I believe that’s where I learned a key message – “It doesn’t matter where and how you do it as long as you like the process of doing it in the overall scheme of things.” And another important message – ‘Run your race.’

This belief of ‘enjoyment in the process of running’ is my secret of sorts for constant motivation to turn up any given day and run. And while I am at it, one never knows if this expands my boundaries!

And who knows few years down the line, I will be enjoying running the entire duration of 60 minutes or more. For now, I let myself savour this new ‘discovery’ within me.

Like I said – ‘I don’t love running,’ but I am more comfortable with the idea and benefits of it whenever I run these days. And in fact, this discovery has only made me run more regularly and consistently than I ever did in my entire life. To top it, it doesn’t matter where and what I run on!