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.