The Bangalore-based chief executive of Reliance Trends began running two-and-a-half years ago, after he gave up squash. “I had injured my back, it was a prolapsed disc and I wasn’t allowed to play squash,” says Sirdeshmukh, who runs on Wind Tunnel Road and Cubbon Park in Bangalore. Having graduated from running 10km to the half marathon to a full marathon, Sirdeshmukh has read a stack of running books as well as done a fair amount of Internet research to perfect his running gear. He tells us why he never runs without his Garmin watch and why he won’t change his shoes even though they are beginning to fray. Edited excerpts:
What have been some of your recent runs?
I ran the Kaveri Trail Marathon; it’s beautiful but it’s also reputed to be one of the toughest runs. Last week, I ran the Bangalore 25km. I plan to run the Delhi half marathon, the Bangalore midnight run and then the Mumbai marathon.
Arun Sirdeshmukh. Photo by Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint.
What do you wear when running?
I wear Performax shorts and T-shirt and also socks.
Which brand of shoes do you prefer and why?
I have two pairs of sports shoes. I reserve the pair which fits me perfectly and is a favourite for my runs. It’s an Asics Gel Nimbus 8, and even though they are old and fraying I won’t give them up because they fit so well.
The other pair which I wear for practice runs is also Asics—Asics Gel Nimbus 11 (these shoes cost $80-120, or Rs4,200-6,300).
Also Read | Find the perfect fit
When I started running, I did a lot of reading on the Internet and discovered Asics is a favourite brand with many runners. It gives you options for different shapes of feet—for the flat foot, the foot with a mid-arch or a high arch. When I was in Singapore on work, I went to the Asics store and the salespeople there looked at my feet and recommended a high arch for me. The shoe follows the contours of my feet perfectly.
What about accessories?
I wear two armbands. I always carry my 8 GB iPod. It has a special play list of 250 songs titled “On the run”. I use special Sennheiser earphones—these are good for runners because they loop around the ears, and don’t come off like regular earphones.
On the fast track: Arun Sirdeshmukh’s running accessories include sweat-proof Sennheiser earphones (left); and a Garmin watch.
Which watch do you wear?
I always wear my Garmin. I bought it in Melbourne a year ago. I find it useful since it gives you the distance you have run and also gives you your speed. It beeps after you complete every kilometre, and also tells you how long you have taken to complete that kilometre.
Where do you shop for your running gear?
In Bangalore at Decathlon. It’s a massive sports shop with all sorts of gear. I got my water pouch, my iPod armbands, from there. There’s also a good shop in Indiranagar in Bangalore called Getoff Ur Ass which has good sports accessories. Also Sport XS in Bangalore.
The Mumbai-based managing partner at brand design agency Red Lion, a unit of Publicis Communications, Nanji began running in 2008 and usually runs from Nariman Point to Chowpatty. Her commitment to the track is evident—her closet features a stack of running shorts and T-shirts, while a large drawer houses the many accoutrements. She tells us what she wears while running. Edited excerpts:
Elsie Nanji. Photo by Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint.
How long have you been participating in marathons?
I have run the half marathon in Mumbai for the last four years. I’ll be 56 when I run my fifth half-marathon in January.
What do you wear when you run?
I wear a T-shirt and shorts. I’ve noticed a lot of women don’t wear shorts to run in India, and so the stores don’t seem to stock any good ones. But I don’t feel comfortable running with something covering my knees, so I always wear shorts. I wear a dry-fit T-shirt because otherwise I come back drenched in sweat. It’s less about fashion and more about comfort.
What about accessories?
I always have a wristband on to wipe off sweat because I sweat a lot. A headband, for the same reason and always a visor because it gets really hot. I also carry a small bottle of water and my shorts have a zipped pocket at the back for some money.
How do you choose your shoes?
I have two pairs of shoes, and I alternate them because they have different kinds of pressure points and you’re advised to do that. I used to have shoes that weren’t right for my feet—all my toenails used to fall off when I was in training. This summer, I was in New York and I visited The Running Company. They take a video of you running, analyse your gait and then make recommendations based on the observations. They said you have to have a distance of half an inch from the tip of your longest toe to the tip of your shoe for a perfect fit. So now I have shoes that fit perfectly. I wear New Balance shoes and another pair of Mizuno. I considered the “barefoot running shoes”, but they told me not to bother— those shoes aren’t made for non-standard feet. My second toe is a lot longer than my big toe, so there was no way I could wear them.
Top gear: A Nike wristband (right) and Puma visor are among Elsie Nanji’s essentials while running.
Do you wear a watch when you run?
I do. Someone gave me a complicated instrument with GPS and various other features. I was trying to figure it out but it was just beyond me! Finally, my trainer told me to just throw it out. I couldn’t see (without my glasses) so there was no point having such a fancy watch. Now I just wear Chanel J12.
Where do you shop for your sports goods?
I picked up a lot of stuff at The Running Company. Every little thing has so much thought put into it. The socks are so breathable and they grip your feet at the arch and ankle—so many things that I’d have never thought about. I pick up stuff wherever I travel. Sports bras in India are all like cropped tops that you slip into, and I find those uncomfortable. So I tend to buy them abroad where you get them with a hook closure at the back. I pick those in Bangkok or Singapore.