Let’s go for A run

According to Ashok Nath, following a proper fitness regimen and a healthy diet plan are prequisites for good running.

According to Ashok Nath, following a proper fitness regimen and a healthy diet plan are prequisites for good running. The marathon runner, who was in Chennai recently, urges the government & private organisations to promote running.

CHENNAI: Always a sports enthusiast, Ashok Nath took to running when he joined the corporate world over 30 years ago. Now, he is one of India’s finest runners and also a participant in several well-known marathons across the world. The Bangalore-based runner who was in Chennai recently for his Ultra-Running workshop talks about his fitness secret, his venture, Catalyst Sports, and his desire to promote running as a serious sport in India.

Tell us about your training regimen.
I run and train by ‘feel’. I prefer to listen to my body and workout accordingly. I adhere to the broad principles of training, but remain flexible about (a) the day I do what workout and (b) the distance or pace of that workout. I use my breathing as a guide for pace.

What are the key elements to focus on while training?
Every runner is unique and what works for one may not work for another. But you should focus endurance, strength and skills. When these are developed, turn to the other important elements such as muscular endurance/tempo, anaerobic endurance/speed and finally power. They form the basic ‘six running abilities’ that make a complete runner. It takes some time to develop these skills.

Of the several marathons you participated in, which one do you consider the toughest and the most memorable respectively?
The toughest so far was Jerusalem Marathon (Israel) as the entire course is undulating (the running course is over 22 hills). The most memorable is the Boston Marathon; it’s akin to the Olympics for amateur runners, given its stringent qualifying standards. The buzz around the race is truly something as the city supports the event and crowds line the entire route, screaming and cheering.

Is it important to train differently for each marathon, depending on the terrain? Or is endurance the only key factor?
While endurance is always a key factor, you need to train with some specifics depending on the race in question-the terrain, weather, time of the race, so on and so forth.

How important is a good diet to maintain your body stamina?
You can throw away all the gains from training with a poor diet. You should establish your body composition (weight/fat percentage/muscle percentage/BMI/BMR/WHR) and set some fitness goals like gain muscle and/or lose fat, etc.

What would you advise to plus-size persons who wish to take to running?
Running welcomes everyone but they need to go about it correctly. Initially, a plus-size person should focus on improving fitness. This can be achieved through cardio exercises and following a healthy weight-loss diet. As fitness improves, You can take to jogging
first and gradually increase mileage.

 You initiated Catalyst Sports to encourage running in India. What can be done to improve this
further?
For a healthy running eco-space, several players have to work in synergy. For example, the government and private players can come together and provide for better infrastructure or the media can promote awareness of the benefits of running. Teamwork is the need of the hour.

What do you think of the approach to running in
Chennai?
Chennai is a key city on the running map and has several events that attract runners from across India. I have participated in some races in Chennai and look forward to returning in future. The weather is not very favourable because of the humidity, but it is possible that this aspect has toughened local runners. They find conditions elsewhere easier, and therefore perform well!

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