Sanjeev Patel
Sanjeev Patel

Sanjeev Patel | My long-term goal: being fit and injury-free

Successfully completing the races gives a sense of accomplishment, says this delivery manager

At 45, Sanjeev Patel is neither a greenhorn nor a slowcoach. After his days as a sprinter in school, Patel returned to running in 2008, this time long distance. A delivery manager with information technology consulting company Wipro and father of a teenaged daughter, Patel’s best half marathon timing is a mere 90 minutes. He has run the fastest of his five marathons in 3 hours, 27 minutes.

Bengaluru-based Patel, who runs about four to six races a year, speaks about his training, what keeps him going and how he got to run so fast. Edited excerpts from an email interview:

Why, when and how did you start running?

In 2008, I joined a gym to improve my health. Around the same time I attended a running training session on the Wipro campus. The running session felt so good that I continued training even after the Wipro run.

The following year, I joined the Nike Running Club and also started participating in running events. These days, I train with the Wipro Running Club.

What keeps you going?

Keeping fit is why I head out and run.

Your favourite running gear and soundtrack.

I’ve found good running gear in almost every popular brand. I keep three-four pairs of shoes. I don’t run with music.

How do you deal with the weather and traffic in Bengaluru while running?

Living in Bengaluru, I can’t complain about the heat. I stay hydrated and cover my head when running long distances. Luckily, the areas where I run are relatively traffic-free, but on the roads with traffic, I run against the direction of the traffic.

How do you handle work, training and travel?

It is a tough to balance the three. When training for key races, making and sticking to a training calendar helps. I try not to skip a scheduled run even when travelling.

What is your training regimen like?

I run two-three days a week, and reserve one day for strength, stamina and stretching exercises. I usually train in the mornings. Sundays are for long runs. Training for a specific event takes between three-six months with gradual progression in quality and quantity of training.

What changes have you made to your social life and diet since you started running?

Training often takes priority above other social engagements. I stick to healthy home-made food, with an occasional meal outside. I used to be that way even before I started running.

How do you recover after a long run?

By hydrating immediately and eating within an hour. I try to sleep an hour or more after the long run on Sundays.

Is there some personal goal that you have set yourself in terms of races, time, etc.?

My goal is to be consistent in training. Being fit and injury-free is my long-term goal.

How has running changed your life?

Since I started running, I have become quite fit and rarely fall sick. I read a lot about fitness, running in particular. Running helps control day-to-day stressors.

Successfully sticking to the training and completing the races give a sense of accomplishment. I have made many like-minded friends through training together, participating in events and on social media groups dedicated to fitness. We have a very lively group at the Wipro Running Club.

Your toughest race till date and why?

The full marathon in Mumbai a couple of years back. I had trouble with my foot during the last hour and I didn’t want to give up, so kept running despite the pain all the way to the finish line.

On the Run is a monthly series that profiles the most enthusiastic Indian marathon runners.

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