Marathon running is a sport that requires a lot of strength and endurance. The Physeek CafÃ© host, Vijay, interviews Navneeth GuruJagadeesha, an Ultra Marathon running expert from Bangalore.
Not many people know entirely about Marathon. Can you talk about the Marathon running? The definition and your journey?
A marathon run is running for a distance of 42.2 km. The origin of it is from Greece. A person named Pheidippides ran from Marathon to Athens, and the total distance covered is now the standard Marathon distance. To be very specific, it is 42.195 km. 21.1 km is a half Marathon. And anything beyond 42.2 km is called an ultra marathon. The Ultra Marathon run can go until 100 miles or 160 Kms. Other runs are like a 24-hour run, 48-hour run, and 2000 km run at one stretch.
I was always into fitness. I joined the corporate world, and I was working in night shifts. Because of this, my body cycle changed and made me very lazy. I wanted to be active and started walking, jogging, and running for about 20 mins every day. This practice not only made me fit but also improved my job performance. I was doing this only for my fitness.
When we start something and make it a routine, life gets better overall.
Did you think you will become an ultra-marathon runner?
It is not easy to become an ultra-marathon runner. For this and anything else, you need a team and good support. It would be best if you started from a small benchmark.
I was thinking of doing a 5 km or 10 km run, which was huge. If I turn back and see that I have run 110 Kms in Malnad, 72 Kms in Khardung la, it creates chills in my spine. It looks scary, looking back on the training that I did all along.
One crucial thing in my journey was my consistency, discipline, dedication, and systematic training plan. My group followed the right training, good nutrition, and well-planned recovery routines.
Initially, there was no clue that such a distance is even possible.
Now, yes, we have done it.
How does your body recover from such a massive impact of running long distance?
When you feel like you are hitting a point of injuring yourself, you should stop. It would be best if you do not try to accomplish something too soon, too early. When you start fresh, run how much you can and increase incrementally, not more than 10% per week. First 4-6 weeks, keep it very simple. Have a training plan. Talk to a coach.
Stretching is very important to avoid injuries. There are various recovery tools available, like foam rollers.
I stress that the mother of all training is strength training. Look out for your weak points and do strength training in those areas.
Is there an organization or body which governs Marathon running?
In Bangalore, there is a Bengaluru Runners Group on Facebook, and plenty of other groups. We have our group called Run machines of Sutra. It is a non-commercial group with around 125 runners.
There are plenty of coaches online, and you have to lookout someone. You will generally get a lot of good support from the coaches and groups.
You have already achieved a lot. Do you have any other goals?
Until now, I have run for 12 hours and 18 hours. Malnad was 110 km run, and the route was pretty challenging. I wanted to do more than 100 km within 12 hours in a stadium. Due to COVID19, I couldn’t do it.
Can you talk about your diet?
When it comes to the diet, no one size fits all. For bodybuilding, you should consume more proteins. But for running, you should have more carbohydrates. If you cut short the carbs, you cannot run. Avoid oily foods, eat lots of fruits, boiled vegetables, and drink plenty of water.
Banana and citric fruits like lemon and orange play a huge role in running.
At one point, I used to eat 12 eggs every day. I used to have five meals with 2 hours interval. Later I realized, I don’t need so much for my training. The food you consume for a 10 km run is different from the longer distances.
Is there any app/website you use?
In our group, we use the Garmin watch. Apart from that, there are friendly apps like Strava, Nike running. In my personal opinion, Strava is very good.
How do you train your mind amid stress related to work, family, and everything around you?
The mind is the culprit, which quits much earlier than your body. If your body reaches the quitting point while running, you will go unconscious and fall. The mind plays a lot of tricks with you. It’s not just the run; preparation for the run needs mental preparation as well. You should hydrate well and get an adequate amount of rest. Only then will you perform well. What is the point if you don’t enjoy the run?
Always you have to remind yourself that you are capable, you want to do it, and you have been waiting to do it. The passion should be bombarding inside you.
While running, you will get ankle pain, and sometimes heart rate goes up to 200 beats per minute. You have to tell yourself to stay composed. Then you will realize that all the pain you had disappears.
After you finish half the distance, you start feeling good. You get more motivation as you progress.
Sometimes you have to remind yourself of your best performance. For me, I will look back to Khardung La and remind myself – if I can do that, I can do this.
You should ask yourself – why are you doing this? If you can answer this question, then you have the passion and love for the sport. It will take you to success.
Is there something called Runners high?
It is a different feeling. If we had spoken after my run, it would be completely different. You will be in an elevated sense of being. That trains you to take hits of life very gracefully.
At Khardung La, at 17500 ft, I remember that it was snowing. I had altitude sickness. I was on my knees. The army personnel told me that I should take an ambulance, quit this, and go home. I will not survive.
If I survived there, then now I can do anything.
About the Marathon Runner
Navneeth is an Ultra-Marathon runner from Bangalore, who has big dreams.
1. Malnad Ultra 110K 2019 : 110.08 km : 17hr:50m:26s
2. Khardung La Challenge 2019 : 72 km : 10hr:06m:05s
3.80K Ultra Marathon : Personal Best : 83.44 km : 10hr
4. 50k Ultra Marathon : 6 times :Personal Best 4hr 34m 52s
5. Full Marathon : 25 times : Personal Best 3hr 25m 27s
6. Half Marathon: 50+ times : Personal Best : 1hr 36m
7. Covid Relief Charity 2020 : 21 days – 21 half marathon
8. Numerous 10k : Personal best: 42m 34s (TCS World 10k)
9.Numerous 5K :Personal Best : 19m 37s
10. Bangalore to Mysore Relay