Rushabh Vora, 32, started running in 2002 as part of his training routine for squash, as a competitive player at the under-19 level. But he became more serious about running longer distances once he graduated from college in the US. In 2011, he finally ran his first half marathon at the Mumbai Marathon, clocking a time of 1 hour, 28 minutes. “I should have done better. The maximum distance I had run leading up to the marathon was 11km, so I didn’t really time the run too well," says the co-founder of SILA, a real estate services company. In an interview, Vora, whose mother too took up running seriously after watching him, tells us about his need to work out regularly, and inspiring his colleagues to do the same. Edited excerpts:

What is your training regime?

I run twice a week, do weights at the gym twice a week, and twice a week I either play a sport or attend a boot camp. To me it is more important to be active and fit than just practise one thing. So, even for our employees, we encourage them to get used to a more active lifestyle and choose something that works for them.

Has running/sport made you more goal-oriented?

Setting goals is the first step towards achieving anything in sport. Very early on, my coach had told me to define my short-term (what you want to achieve that season), medium-term (where you want to be in two years) and long-term goals (those that would seem improbable). What it does do is give you direction and a target to work towards. I had a notebook with my goals and a timeline. So yes, it has made me more goal-oriented.

In business as well, it is important to know where you want to be in a month, in a few years, and in the long term. It might not be the path that you take in the end, but you need to be able to think about it. For example, every entrepreneur writes a business plan. However, maybe 70% of it changes completely when the business is actually set up. Still, it gives you a direction.

Any leadership lessons from distance running and sport?

Participating in competitive sport teaches you many leadership lessons. Three very important lessons that I have learnt are how to accept failure and then identify and correct the shortcomings that resulted in the failure, how to work in a team environment, pursuing a common goal by setting targets and milestones, and the power of a community.

Does running help in team-building?

I am a solo runner, and have never run with a team. However, I have seen family members—including my mother—running in a group. And that encourages and pushes the runner across the line. My mother’s group trains together. This can also be translated at work.

Did you inspire your mother to run?

While she started running after I did, I wouldn’t say I introduced her to running. She saw me run, and decided to give it a shot. Now she has already done more half marathons than I have. But being active influences others for sure. This has translated to a lot of our employees.

How does running influence your performance at work?

I often use my time running to think about newer ideas. More importantly, running or any other form of workout gives your mind a break from the day-to-day worklife. I need to work out six times a week.

How do you balance training and work?

I work out either before or after work. It’s not hard to carve out an hour in the day to exercise. On busy days, I do some stretching at home if I don’t find time to work out.

Running With The Boss is a series in which CEOs, MDs and senior executives talk about the importance of a fit team and striking a work-life balance

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