| Saturday, March 28, 2015 |

PaceMakers is not only about training.

I have been the lucky one to be associated with Coach Pani for over 5 years. Every time I get the opportunity to be with him, I feel I have lots to learn. Though a very humble person by nature, his training plans does not reflect the same. His workouts shows no mercy and literally is an overkill, where we get to witness his ex-Air force trainings. He instills discipline in the workouts and innovates through variety in the trainings.

For the 10 Km trainings, we start with a 30 mins warmup session and a 30 mins drill through skipping, ladder workouts, shuttle workouts, medicine ball, sand running or anything similar. By the completion of the 1 hr warmup, we are almost exhausted by 90%, but have not yet started with our running workouts. After around a 5 to 10 mins break, we form groups of similar paced runners to train on the interval, tempo, fartlek or hill workouts. The motivation and competition within the group keeps the energy alive, in-spite of a tired physical state. Again the focus of the training is to put in around 90% effort and be in a position to support and push each other. Our workouts also focus on ensuring that we dig out the balance energy remaining in the body, to go the strongest during the final repeats and get the thrill of a super strong finish.

Our workouts are still not over. Now comes the 30 mins cooling down & strengthening workouts, where either Coach or Neera leads us. Both compete with each other on who can make every part of our body the strongest. This ensures that we continue to remain strong for our workouts and also remain injury free.

Our Full Marathon trainings too are pretty similar, with less drills and more long distance runs. Our long runs focus on the negative splits, where the last few Kms of our long runs have to be the strongest. Here we see the value of group running, where my running buddy Brijesh goes the strongest. I am usually weak in the final Kms, but running with Brijesh gives me the energy and motivation to push myself to the finish.

Pani’s training programs ensures that the body gets the required recovery, during the week, and also between months. Focus of his training is to run less but be strong.

The best of all is that, he continues to give me the confidence, that I have room for further improvement.

PaceMakers is not only about training. Our parties tests our endurance too, in terms of fun and celebration. Birthdays, Farewells, Personal Best performances, Podium finishes, Boston qualification or any festive events can be a reason to celebrate. We believe that PaceMakes is our group and Pani is only a Coach here. We together run this entity and are happy to invite new runners to experience this journey.

Thomas Bobby Philip

Warm Up, Cool Down and Run in between

I have been running since February 2011. I had signed up for multiple events in 2011 and also had injuries in 2011 and 2012. I was a greedy for miles and would not give enough stress to warm up and cool down sessions. Sometimes my cool down workouts were like a rush session. Only after joining The PaceMakers did I realize what is the importance of a warm up and dynamic stretches and the importance of cool down. I have improved my timings in Half Marathon from 1:48 to 1:36:20. Doing a 45 minute 10K seems so much like a walk in the park now when I had struggled in the past to do a 50 minute 10K.

I have had multiple injuries when I was training alone. After training with the group, I have not had niggles in the last 12 months (except for a minor calf issue). I have cut down on events heavily and focus on only selective events. It took me around 2 months to get into the training chart but now I am so glad that I have made the decision to be a part of this wonderful group. I have never seen such a humble coach and I feel blessed.


The 3D Mantra

Three D's ( Discipline, Dedication and Determination) are the three things learnt under the guidance of Coach Pani Sir and The PaceMakers team which helped me in evolving and improving my running life to new level.Customized training plans and the PaceMakers running partners always inspires me in getting better each day and in achieving the personal Milestones. Achieved my first podium finish with PB under the guidance of coach in six months is phenomenal experience.Take courage and proud being part of The PaceMakers team.

Manjunath Rajendran

The fun, the family and did someone say PB also?

There are 2 main reasons why I wanted to join a running group - one is I was tired of training for a marathon alone, and found it difficult to be consistent and improve my marathon pace.The other was to get to meet with a group of like-minded folk that was currently way outside my friendship circle.

Let’s talk about the first point - the marathon training bit. I joined the PaceMakers in early October - when I realized that running alone was no longer being fun .. when I started looking at it as a bit of a chore .. completely the wrong attitude for preparing for the SCMM 2014 that was just about 3 and a half months away. My PB was at SCMM 2012 (4:28:54) , and at the time of joining I did not have the motivation to train hard enough to beat that. Moreover I registered for the Wipro Chennai marathon 2013, that was on 2nd December (less than 2 months away) , and if asked at that time I felt it would be a struggle to complete it.

The 5:00 am training sessions would be a challenge to attend diligently, but heck, after the first couple of sessions with Pani sir and the PaceMakers gang, it became kind of addictive - the cycle ride to Kantheerava stadium at 4.30 am, the warm up run at 5.05 am with all the cheerful banter, the warm up exercises (that I truly believe built in a lot of leg muscle) and the training runs themselves. I must admit I did miss quite a number of sessions - one in 2 weeks or so.

Jumping to the results - in the wipro chennai marathon, I completed it in about 4:36 - respectable considering that I was pretty much out of shape early October. There after I took two weeks off due to some work related travel - coach was extremely disappointed that I did not keep up with the training schedule that he would send us every week - this motivated me to train really seriously for SCMM 2014 ... with just 5 weeks left.

SCMM 2014 - the run that every marathoner in india prepares for the whole year before.

The weekend before SCMM – coach laid out the strategy to tackle the big day. He handed out the target timings for each person, with a breakup of the whole marathon into milestones. I was very shocked to get mine - his expectation was that I finish under 3:45. Impossible. I would have been super thrilled with a sub 4 hr performance, but this was stretching it too much ... I thought. The subsequent instructions and talk about energy conservation, pace strategy etc got me really pumped up. Honestly. And with coach and my fellow PaceMakers giving me the encouragement kind of made me think that a 3:45 finish might actually be possible. What fantasizing !!! To an extent that my office colleagues thought I was suffering from some kind of marathonditis - my desktop wallpaper was a photo of coach's timing targets that he prepared for me so that I could take a look at that 100+ times a day till race day.

Results - I followed coach's strategy almost to the T ... and had my strongest run ever from the 32 km mark to the 42 km mark ... and finished with an time of 3:43:13 - my PB beaten by almost 45 minutess ... something that my friends and I thought was completely crazy and unbelievable.. and I finished strong and injury free. A feat that was possible only because of Pani sir and my PaceMakers friends.

Now about my second objective - expanding my friend circle - over the last three months I have come to realize that the PaceMakers group are not just a bunch of people that have running as a common interest ... they have evolved to be a some kind of extended family for everyone. People are genuinely happy sharing within the group and helping each other out. The cheerful banter from 5 am within all the members on the training runs makes these sessions so addictive - enough to brave the early morning cold when heading to the stadium. Running has truly become fun again.

The story would be incomplete without a word about coach Pani sir - an inspiring coach, a very humble human being, an expert who can gauge what a person is capable of, creates stretch goals and really makes you believe that they are achievable. He does

Sandeep Janardan

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