Importance of proper diet & nutrition for a runner

| Thursday, May 28, 2015 | |
In January 2015, I completed five years of running. Running was my year 2010 New Year's Resolution. It was one New Year's Resolution that I have kept in my 42 years. On Jan 1, 2010, I decided to train and complete my first ever 10K that year. In addition to the running, I decided to work towards a 10 kg weight loss as well. I weighed 94 kg on 01-01-2010. Nicknamed as my 10-10-10 (10K run, 10 kg weight loss, in '10), I started working towards it sincerely. Lo and behold, I finished the Sunfeast 10K held on Sunday, May 23, 2010 and weighed 82 kg on Dec 31, 2010. Mission was accomplished above & beyond. I also completed the 10K at the Spirit of Wipro Run in 2010.

My passion and love for running took off to orbit over the years. Many Half Marathons (lost count) and five Marathons later, I realized that I had reached a plateau in 2014. I wasn't able to gain more pace and I missed the TCS 10K's prestigious Nike Finisher T-Shirt for two years in a row. On top of all this, my weight also reached 85 kg and a my tummy was showing up in an ugly way.

That's when I realized that diet control and proper nutrition is very important for me to improve as a runner. PaceMakers were introduced to Mrs. Deepa Suresh Kumar in Dec 2013. Her husband Suresh Kumar is a regular member of PaceMakers. In September 2014, I approached Deepa and asked her for her help with dieting & nutrition. She was happy to come over to my office and do a full body analysis of me. She also asked me to get a list of 15 items tested in my blood. The blood test proved that I was Vitamin D and B12 deficient. In Oct 2014, I started diligently following Deepa's diet chart, which was custom made for me. Deepa also brought her body analysis equipment to our workouts every week and kept on checking my body weight, visceral fat percentage, body fat percentage and BMI on a regular basis. I started losing weight and every week I was weighing lower and lower. Although I lost weight, my energy levels were high and I felt high intensity workouts designed by our coach to be easier. Coach kept raising the bar and I kept performing. My first true result was seen in the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon (SCMM) 2015 on Jan 17, 2015.

As I lined up at the start line of SCMM 2015, I felt much lighter and much higher on the energy levels. Although I didn't ace SCMM, I improved from a 4:36 hours finish last year to a 4:21 hours (a PB) finish this year. This 15 minute improvement showed that I had moved out of my plateau stage and once again started achieving better results. I weighed 78 kg when I ran SCMM this year.

My target next was to get below the 75 kg mark. For my height of 178 cm, being at 72 kg would help me achieve optimum results. I continued Deepa's diet plans after SCMM as well. On May 12, 2015, five days prior to TCS 10K 2015, I weighed 76.6 kg on Deepa's scale. More fruit was seen that weekend. My coach had given me a target of 48 minutes for this year's TCS 10K. That required me to do the TCS 10K faster by a whopping 7 minutes than last year. I was skeptical. I just wanted to do a sub 50 minute finish. Well, I completely under estimated the power of weight loss and proper nutrition. When I sprinted past the finish line of TCS 10K 2015 on Sunday, May 17, 2015, my fellow runners rushed towards me and hugged me. One of my fellow PaceMakers told me that I had finished in 46 minutes and change. When the official results were out, I had actually finished the race in a mind boggling 46:45 minutes. My jaw dropped. I went from 1147 overall finisher rank last year to 257 finisher rank this year in the TCS 10K (as per results on My mind went delirious! The missing piece of the puszle was, you guessed it right -- proper dieting and proper nutrition. Thanks a million to Deepa Suresh Kumar for pointing me in the right direction on dieting and nutrition.

I once read somewhere -- "Success is just part of growth". I am pretty close to achieving my next target of breaking the 75 kg mark and marching towards the magic 72 kg mark. I know you are all wishing me silently in your hearts for that. Yes, I will continue to follow Deepa's dieting plan for me and reduce to 72 kg soon! I promise!

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