Can you briefly introduce yourself?
Professionally, an IT engineer and pursuing my passion in running and a coach at Asics Running Club, Bangalore. I have completed more than a dozen half-marathons and four marathons till now.
When did you decide to take up running seriously and are there any specific moments that made you pick up running?
It’s the usual story, I wanted to shed some extra weight back in 2011. My desire to run, stumbled me to TCS 10k run. I used to run a 10k race every year from then on. I got a podium finish at Spirit of Wipro (SoW) run in 2014. That encouraged me to take running more seriously. Running gave me some amazing bunch of friends which made me stick on to it till date.
You have stellar performance gains in races over the last 1 year; successfully completed the Procam Slam. A Sub 3:30 marathon at NDM, and a sub 1:45:00 half-marathon, tell us about the journey?
Back in September 2019 at Stok Kangri trek, my body was totally drained, but my mind kept on saying “Few more steps, you can do it”. The bliss I experienced after that summit gave me a new perspective in life. I realized my body listens to my mind and I can reach my optimal level.
After coming back from the trek, I started preparing for the marathon, it was a 11-week training plan. This allowed me to push my limits.
- My training included medium to long runs twice a week (15-16km) and endurance runs on weekends (>25 km) and short easy recovery runs in between.
- One speed workout per week which was combined within medium to long runs. Speed workout was not more than 5 - 8km Tempo or 1km/1 mile/ 2 miles intervals.
- Kept a pace target for every weekend long run to train my body for enduring longer distance.
- Recovery was a very important aspect for my schedule. For this I resorted to yoga at least once a week.
- Limited strength training for 2 days a week with light weight or body weight exercises so that I won’t be sore for my runs.
- Regular foam rolling, deep tissue massages, balanced nutrition helped me recover quickly.
Tracked every training of mine to keep the focus on my goal, this was a solitude period without any external distractions. To benchmark myself and prepare mentally, I registered for a few runs in December and January and raced with full heart and effort.
Can you talk about strength training during this period?
Strength training is a must for all the runners. I do at least 2 days of strength training in a week. I like to do weight training, generally go with heavy weights during off- season and light weight or body weight training during the season. I focus on full body strengthening.
When did you take up coaching and how is your experience so far?
I started as a running coach in 2017 December with Cult.fit and now with Asics Running club. Coaching is a great responsibility. Coaching runners of every level makes it interesting.
What do you focus during coaching for beginners, intermediate, and advanced? My main focus is to teach them the right form and make them understand the importance of strength, flexibility and mobility training. As a coach I have to ensure workouts are interesting and keep reminding my students about their individual goals. Since I coach in a group setting, being sensitive about individual requirement is important. Group setting helps in motivating each other, and acts as a stimulus on low energy days.
Running is a journey with a lot of commitment, and how have you handled the naysayer in your ecosystem?
Yes, running is a lot of commitment and a lot of sacrifices has to be made. We sacrifice food, sleep, parties and many more. Running for me is a top priority and plan everything else accordingly.
What are your next running goals, and how are you preparing for them?
I’m focusing on a few time-based goals. I am also working more on strength and mobility now, before I start with higher mileage training.
Quick fire questions:
- Favourite shoe : As of now Asics Dynaflyte 4
- Favourite running race : ADHM has been my favorite run
- Marathon / Half-marathon or 10k: Half marathon
- Favourite route: ADHM route
- Favorite running book: Advanced Marathoning
- Speed or Endurance: Endurance
Deepa is a marathoner with a personal best at marathon is 3h:28m:22s. She is a running coach at Asics Running Club, Bangalore.