Why do you run? “Running makes me be myself”

You know how there are people whom you “know” through social media?  Friends of friends.  Facebook.  Prominent members of a community.  That kind of thing.

And so you feel as though you know them personally, although…actually…really… if the truth be known…you haven’t formally met them…

And then one day you meet them for real, & bingo!

That’s how it went with the charming Suresh Srinivasan, when we ran together in the rain at the recent half marathon in Delhi’s Sanjay Van.

So, in order to get to know him better, we are Q & A-ing with him today.

Why do you run? 

A Running makes me be myself. 

When did you start running? 

A In 2000.

Q Morning/evening runner? 

A Evening runner converted into a morning one

Q With or without music? 

A Always without music

(if you run with music) What is your favourite running track?

A Instead of writing NA : let me do justice to this question 🙂 Birds chirping, peacock singing is music to my ears

(I love this reply)

Q  Next running goal ?

A Aspire to be a strong marathoner and experience scenic ultra marathon
And here is the man himself, in action.
Suresh, my “new” friend, thanks so much for chatting with us.
#keeprunning #keepinspiring
And thanks, of course, to the talented Atul Bounty Narula for this photo of Suresh in action. There’s a reason Atul is every Delhi runner’s fave 🙂  Photos like this!

“If you want to go slow, don’t go!”

And with those words from our Coach, this humid morning, a weary runner obediently set off for another fast loop.

Megha had agreed to do another, final set of long intervals, but said she’d take them slowly, whereupon Coach, quick as a flash, gave his classic reply – “If you want to go slow, don’t go.”

Having never had the privilege of training with a coach before, gosh, WHAT a difference it makes.

I guess if one is a super fit, super motivated athlete then you might have the grit to get out there and run in 94% humidity like today, day after weary day, without any supervision.  But for we lesser mortals, having someone there to motivate and push us to work harder, is a definite boon.

Our ASICS Running Club has a coach, Vijay Shukla, who is softly spoken, never ever loses his cool, but who manages to push every single one of just that little bit further and faster with every session.

I saw it this morning.

Brutal humidity, as we ran our 1km intervals, and yet we all racked up fast repetitions. Hey, what’s wrong with a collective pat on the back?

Everyone ran fast and strong, and – in my case – it is all down to team spirit and a coach who notices when you slack, and then gently pushes you.

So, yes.

Long intervals.

I might be wrong, but I think this is the longest interval distance we have done.

My group did 1km, rested for 3 minutes X 4.

I googled long intervals (of course I did 😛 ) and found this interesting explanation, below.

Admittedly they are talking about triathletes, but I thought this all made perfect sense:

“The purpose of high-intensity interval training is not to make you faster. Rather, it’s to make you less fatigable when going fast. From your very first day of training, you have all the speed you need to be the best triathlete you can be. What you lack is the ability to sustain high submaximal speeds over long distances. Long intervals do a better job than short intervals of increasing this crucial ability, which is sometimes called intensive endurance.”

Here is the link to the full article.  And I have bolded the part I think makes sense.  And, come to think of it, is “bolded” even a word?!  Suspect it isn’t, but you get my drift, right?

Our sessions follow a similar pattern.


Nice slow warm up jog, which is also a time to chat and catch up with friends’ news.


Then the main event.

Our 1km intervals.

It was tough in the humidity, but we all did it.

Navi (above) & Surbhi & Vidya (below)

Those of us who are injured trained as well, but differently:

After the intervals, we had a barefoot cool-down jog (the best, running on damp grass – super fun!) and then an amazing stretching & yoga session, led by Coach.

Our resident yogini Jasmeet, below, showing how it is done.

Ram (below).

I have no words…super fast, super flexible…

We had juice, we had Shrewsbury biscuits brought all the way from Pune by Deepti.

Gosh, it was all happening this humid morning 🙂

And, of course, last but not least – our team photo.

In awe of The Faith Runner

Many of us here in India – and around the world – are taking part in the 3rd edition of the #100daysofrunning challenge.

I am delighted to have been part of all 3 editions – well, the current one isn’t finished yet, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  FYI, today is Day 88/100.

I wrote about the 2015 & 2016 editions here in this blog, but this is an event that, year on year, has grown to amazing proportions.

When I logged on just now to enter today’s run, I saw our collective distance is a staggering 852,255.49km.  And counting.

Every single person who is running this challenge has undertaken a personal journey – to get out there in the brutal heat & humidity of an Indian summer and run, day after day after day.

So it is wrong to single out people for special mention, but having said that, there is one man who deserves whatever is beyond respect.  Mumbai-based Samir Singh has set himself the challenge to end all challenges.

To run 100km for 100 days.



Here, watch this video & then tell me you’re not blown away.

The Faith Runner – Samir Singh

Celebrate Samir Singh's exceptional '100km x 100days' running challenge. Watch him run as he makes history. LIKE, FOLLOW, SHARE this ordinary Indian's extraordinary feat!* Those who wish to contribute towards Samir Singh's healthy recovery post his challenge can reach out to the crowdfunding link on Ketto – http://www.ketto.org/fundraiser/thefaithrunner

Posted by The Faith Runner on Monday, July 24, 2017

I am proud & humbled to be a tiny part of the same challenge as Mr. Singh.

What’s on your running playlist? ROAR by Kate Perry

Chatting earlier today with Sonali Barshilia, she mentioned music she enjoys and, as ever, this section of my Q&As with runners is always a learning experience.

Take this song, ‘Roar”, for example.

Truly, truly awful YouTube video.

Fun song. (Only 90 bpm, though)

It’s catchy and upbeat, and once I’ve forgotten the silly video – Africa/India/tropical islands all morphed into one – I’ll enjoy singing along to this as I run.

Thanks Sonali 🙂

Any one who would also like to add “Roar” to their playlist –  couldn’t be easier.

Here you go.

Why do you run? “For the sheer love of it”

Today we are Q&A-ing with the lovely Sonali Barshilia, a fun member of the ASICS Running Club, and a young woman with a very special take on running.  Just read her answers, and feel the love for running 🙂
Q  Why do you run? 
A  For the sheer love of it. I huff and puff and trot and crawl along the route just for the happiness I get at the finish line.
Q  When did you start running? 
A   Like forever (my dad was an Army Officer, you see!!) but started running long distance (21 K) only last year.
Q  Morning/evening runner? 
A  Evening, though I’ve come to love love love our early mornings at Nehru Park.
Q  With or without music? 
A  Only nature’s music (at the cost of sounding sloppy!)
Q  (if you run with music)  What is your favourite running track?
A  Well, if I could, I would run to Daddy Cool, Shape of You and Roar on loop.
Q  Next running goal ?
A   ADHM -2017 within 2.10, with a kick-ass running form and a smile on my face (unlike the funereal expression i usually go around with). 
This is what Sonali means by a funereal expression, I suspect.
This photo was taken during our yoga last Saturday and, far from being funereal, shows her concentration.
And here she is (below) looking super-cool after her half marathon last November.
Here’s to this November, Sonali when you cross the finish line “within 2.10, with a kick-ass running form and a smile on my face” 🙂
#keeprunning #keepinspiring
To hear the music Sonali has recommended, just click here.

What’s on your running playlist? THE HEAT IS ON by Glenn Frey

My word, but running a running blog (pun intended) is such fun 🙂

Last Sunday, as you may remember, we had Deeksha Gahlaut from the ASICS Running Club, hitting 30km, her longest run to date, an experience she shared with us here in a guest post

Her “record” lasted but a week…

Yesterday, 2 more friends from the ASICS Running Club quietly & without any fanfare went for a long Sunday run and coolly clocked up 31km.  Hats off to the both of you, Karandeep Singh & Megha Meelu (also a guest blogger here).  This was the longest Megha had ever run.

This, of course, begs the question as to who will hit 32km this coming Sunday 😛


But, more to the point, our resident running music guru, Navi Singh, who has launched a lovely trend of music recommendations, following a brilliant post he wrote here, immediately came up with a song to celebrate the 31km achievement.

“The Heat is on” by Glenn Frey, a song which – goodness knows how – was missing from my own playlist.

What a brilliant song to run to.  Nice length & 150 bpm (beats per minute)

I have immediately added this song to my own playlist, and if any of you feel like doing so, it couldn’t be easier –  here’s the link:

Fart(lek)-ing around

It’s silly, I know, this childish giggling at the word “fartlek” but – hey – indulge me.

Hello & welcome to what is probably going to be a breathless account of an amazing morning of training & drilling & fartlek-ing around this morning.

We were a large group this morning – our ASICS tribe keeps on increasing 🙂 – and the weather was brilliant.  Not too hot or humid, with a breeze that promised rain.  It didn’t actually rain, but there were nice fat grey clouds scudding across the sky, and oh, that lovely breeze…

We stretched, we did our warm up jog, we drilled.  This is how all our sessions start.

(Yes, we’re all surrendering, below, hands in the air 😛 )

Then came an amazing fartlek session.

Fartlek is Swedish for “speed play” we are told and…but, hey, why am I doing Wkipedia’s job for it?

Here you go:

We were divvied up by Coach into 3 groups, and ran – in our case – 17 fartlek loops.

Fast sprint across the training area, uber-slow jog back, fast sprint, slow jog, in an endless loop, with minimal water breaks and Coach encouraging us non-stop.

I pottered around on the internet and came up with a little more info about this training for you:

“Fartlek is a form of interval or speed training that can be effective in improving your speed and endurance. Fartlek running involves varying your pace throughout your run, alternating between fast segments and slow jogs.”

And before you ask “What is the difference between fartlek and interval training?” – here you go:

“Unlike tempo and interval work, fartlek is unstructured and alternates moderate-to-hard efforts with easy throughout. After a warmup, you play with speed by running at faster efforts for short periods of time (to that tree, to the sign) followed by easy-effort running to recover.”
That latter statement about recovery is important because I know that I, for one, was corrected by Coach several times for jogging too quickly during the recovery sections.  The idea really is to recover, slowly.

Don’t want to tempt providence, but I think we’re definitely making progress as a group. Every session, I see people getting fitter and faster, and – above all – there is a great sense of camaraderie and happiness, however tough the workouts:

Perhaps it was the relatively, sort-of-cool-ish weather that made us all super happy this morning, like Vidya (below)

and as for these fellas – I have NO idea what they were doing, except larking around 😛

We ended a pretty exhausting workout with a fab yoga session led by our very own Jasmeet:

Now – and here comes the next chapter in what was a fun morning…

Right, here are 3 of my mates doing yoga…but (with the benefit of hindsight) they do rather look as though they have some mischief planned, don’t they?…

…and here we have Mahendra sloping off from the yoga session…

And where did these guys go?

They went to try out running with a parachute.


I kid you not.

Some young men were training in the park, and next thing we know, these three fast sprinters from our own group, Abhay, Mahendra & Bhuvan were having a go, too.

I badgered Abhay into writing about the experience, so let me hand over to him right away:

“Lovely weather and beautiful ground made our gruesome Fartlek session very much enjoyable today.

As we were doing our Yoga session with Jasmeet, I saw a runner running fast with a parachute tied at his back.

I showed interest in trying it out and Bhuwan bhai went to the runners and arranged for a run (huge thanks to Bhuwan for that), Coach Vijay Shukla sir enlightened about this running, it’s basically for sprinters who have to run with a blast, so as you gain speed the parachute inflates and gives resistance to your speed, forcing you to run harder to gain speed, improving your speed and stamina, and mind you it’s very exhausting, 2 sprints were quite enough to tire you! But it’s very effective!! Totally want this to be added to our sessions!!”

Now HOW fun does that look?

Thanks so much Abhay & I definitely want to have a go at this sometime.

I asked Coach for some more info and he said it is used for sprint training, and is part of plyometrics training.

Er, what?


Plyometrics is…sighs as she quickly Googles yet another running term.

(I tell ya’ running = lots of learning 😛 )

Here you go:

Plyometrics, also known as “jump training” or “plyos”, are exercises in which muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time, with the goal of increasing power (speed-strength). This training focuses on learning to move from a muscle extension to a contraction in a rapid or “explosive” manner, such as in specialized repeated jumping. Plyometrics are primarily used by athletes, especially martial artists, sprinters and high jumpers, to improve performance,  and are used in the fitness field to a much lesser degree.

Whew!  What a session!

And the excitement wasn’t over!  Look who came a’callin – our very own Balbir, who was biking this morning, but zoomed over to say hello and collect his wife 🙂

No end to our collective talents!

We ended, after a blissful barefoot run on the grass, with our “traditional” group photo.

Just waiting for the time we have a parachute here, as well as our team banner!

Why do you run? “To motivate myself”

Now this particular Q&A was a real eye-opener for me.

Sunil Punshi, a member of the ASICS Running Club, is a good, dedicated, serious runner.

For example, he “respects’ his injuries – if that doesn’t sound strange.  Let me explain: he’d hurt his leg a week or so ago, so didn’t run with us, but came and stretched & then watched the rest of the sessions (& then took all our photos, which was sweet).  Not pushing himself.

So I naturally assumed he’d been running for quite a while.

Read on 🙂

Q  Why do you run? 

A To motivate myself & others around me

Q  When did you start running? 

A Last year (December 2016)

(Editor: Yikes!  You only started running 7 months ago?!  Wow.  Respect, my friend)

Morning/evening runner? 

A Mostly in evening & it depends on daily schedule. (As I am doing cycling in morning)

Q  With or without music? 

A Practice mostly without music but with music in events.

Q What is your favourite running track?

A Zindaa, hai to, pyaala, poora bhar le.  (Bhag Milkha Bhag)

Q  Next running goal ?

A Half marathon in 2 hours

Hang on a minute, Sunil.

Within 7 months you’re already aiming for a 2 hour marathon…but then again, just check out his running photo, below, which was taken at his first ever official race, the 10 km Super Sikh Run….which was in December…the same month he started running…double respect.

AND, though he doesn’t know it, by choosing a song from “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag” as his favourite son, Sunil has endeared himself to me.

Because THAT was the movie where I was a blink-and-you-miss extra 🙂

Thanks, Sunil, for giving me a perfect excuse to relive my brief moment of fame.

Here’s a link to the blog post I wrote about one of the daftest days of my life – being a Bollywood extra.

And as for that song, from “my” movie – it’s been on my running list for a while now – absolutely love it!

Here’s the link from nearly 2 years ago 🙂

Sunil – thanks so much.

#keeprunning #keepinspiring

What’s on your running playlist? A Mohammed Rafi classic

As I’ve said before in this blog – gotta love running.

It teaches you so much about music 😛

In our Q&A section, asking runners that elemental question “Why do you run?” I always ask them for their favourite running song.

Today we Q&A-ed with Ripu Daman, who shared a Bollywood classic he loves, and that meant I went and listened to it, and now here I am sharing it with you all.

Running = education, in so many ways.

Here is a great quote from this song from the movie “Hum Dono”:

“Main Zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya, har fiqr ko dhuen me udata chala gaya”

I go with the flow of life and blow every tension up in smoke.

Bit like running, really, blowing away all that tension.

Anyway, if you don’t already have this classic Mohammed Rafi number on your running playlist – here you are.  A link all ready & waiting for you.

You’re welcome 🙂

Why do you run? Read on, for the greatest answer ever!

Today we are Q & A-ing with Ripu Daman, one of the youngest and – yes, let me say it – one of the coolest runners in the already pretty damn cool ASICS Running Club.

Just check out his classic answer to the first opening question.

Q Why do you run?

A Coz I don’t have much else to do in the morning. Out of my three options of sleeping, catching up on emails from my US team or running, I thought running was the best 🙂

Q When did you start running?

A March 2017

Q Morning/evening runner?

A Strictly morning when the pollution is at its lowest.

Q With or without music?

A Love the rhythm of the breath accompanied by songs I hum.

Q (if you run with music) What is your favourite running track?

A I am a Bollywood buff and a song that works best for me – Main Zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya, har fiqr ko dhuen me udata chala gaya (I go with the flow of life and blow every tension up in smoke)

Q Next running goal ?

A One Marathon and two half marathons by the end of the year

Great answers, Ripu!

And wow for the running goals – we’re over half way through the year (as if you didn’t know that already) so that’s some serious running you’ve lined up.

And here’s the dude himself, at the fastest runner competition at the PUMA Urban stampede in 2013.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out Ripu’s own running blog.

Oh yes, one last thing – here’s a link to that Mohammed Rafi classic.

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