Journey To First Full Marathon (Tata Mumbai Marathon 2020 ) And Race Report by N Muthukrishnan

by N Muthukrishnan

Journey till year 2018!

This section would be more interesting to read, if someone wanted to do his 1st full marathon! I’m in the running field since mid of March 2016 did 7-8 half marathons. I had bit knee pain in June 2016 and switched over to bare foot for more than 2 years, comparing the benefit of correct landing and correct posture. It was not convenient to run barefoot, nearer to my living area as of broken bottle pieces were seen sometime over and above gravels. It made my run further difficult. Decided to slow down my run and followed only aerobic pace run for the entire 2018. I used to run twice a week. One Long run at University. My heart rate was around average of 140 bpm. I do run 14-15km in 2 hours in a very comfortable pace.

Even such runs went into trouble as soon the temperature went to 7-8 deg C in the winter and roads are very cold and foot are started giving pain. By reading one of the barefoot running book and friend suggested me to use Vibram 5 finger, which could give 60/70% of barefoot feeling. Hence bought the same and started using the same since Nov 2018. Some improvement in pace is seen. Then decided to join an organized training group and through Ashish joined the Motiv8.

Jan 2019 to Sep 2019

As mentioned, I’m only aware of aerobic run and after joining Motiv8, listening new jargon of Easy run, Aerobic run, speed intervals, progressive run, tempo run, HM pace run, recovery run, fast finish, fartlek etc. It was interesting to know and then to follow it. I used to connect with Ashish and get it clarified, when necessary.

My focus is always to improve my cadence. Slowly improved from 170 to 175, 180 and above now. I ran 80km in a month of 2018. Gradually went into 120, 130 and 145km by July 2019. I was reading the Chi running book, which was guided by Ashish and tried to follow the correct posture, engaging the lean, both arm swing, both foot parallel to each other, short strides, breathing etc. Focused more on form and not much on pace and also injury free.

  • My goal is always as below wrt health, fitness and calm mind.
  • Run till end of your life, with no injury / minimal injury.
  • Do Yoga till your last breath!


  • It is a big learning for me to do warm up and cool down for every runs without fail. It is a small matter, however made a big difference to get into rhythm.
  • Also always tried to achieve given pace within tolerance of +/-2 to 3 seconds.
  • Also coach would be also very unhappy in case if the pace is goes by 15/20 seconds faster than the given pace and I ensure that I don’t reach to that gamut.
  • In Garmin, I used to mistakenly press the run button in between lap run, and also forgot to change to auto mode of lap to manual mode or vice versa etc.
  • I was down with cold and fever in March 2019 and coach ensured not to run in this period strictly. Also after full recovery only, he allowed to run in a gradual improvement. This is a much better approach. Though your mind wanted to do it, but body is not there to support!

Due to 3 runs in a week (still elites run 4/5 days a week), my body & muscles got settled. My appetite is improved considerably and I used to eat in time and thanks to Ashwini, my wife and who always supported for all the runs and healthy, tasty, warm food always. It leads to good long sleep and early sleep. I’ve not compromised in my sleep and always maintained 7 hours of sleep as an average.

Pace, timings, locations

My timings of 10k slowly improved from 68m to 65, 62 and then to 59.26min in 6 months’ time for time trial. Half marathon timing improved from 2hr 27 min, 2. 20, 2.18 and to 2.16 in 7 months’ time. My pace was improved from aerobic 8min/k to Tempo 6.30, 6.15 in 6-7 months time for 10k run. Cadence improved to 180 spm. Started improving hill repeats from the 1st run to 5th run to the extent of 15 seconds consistently. I generally used to run only in Pune. Then tried to start in wherever we travel. So ran in Chennai, Coonoor, Kodaikanal, Baroda and Tirunelveli etc. Different places having different weather conditions and I get used to it over period of time. Connected with coach in advance and adjust my plan as per that.


I’m fortunate, always used to get protein food (Paneer / Egg) on the running days b/f. lunch and dinner. My dinner time slowly shifted from 8pm to 7.30, 7 and now even at 6.30pm. Ashwini, my wife always helped me to served me better. Entire credit goes to her.

Comrades and World Marathons!

It is a big learning from our fellow runners how do they train for such programs, they share views just before the run and after the run and also via race reports. I appreciate our Coach Atul to summing up in a nice way in a timely manner which motivates everyone. Running commentary in our Motiv8 group is a treat to see and sometime nail biting experience from the start to end. It is like watching one day or 20/20 cricket match live! In parallel, in a year time, I formed a small running whatsapp group in my office, and pushed 5 members slowly to run up to 10km and I’m happy on this front as I could make some difference in their life towards healthy life style!

Full Marathon Journey – the last 15 weeks!

Sumitra and Ashish suggested me to plan for a full marathon and also in Mumbai by looking into mental support we get in Mumbai! Before reserving for the TMM race, we reserved the hotel 2 weeks in advance and then in end of July reserved for 1st full in TMM. It was very big step forward. When I got the plan & pace for full marathon seems very comfortable, compare to half marathon.

I was really happy to have a Sam and Ashish Jr in the same bus (pace) and we started to running together for entire long run and tempo runs. It is always a pleasant feeling, when couple of them are running together with you. I was blessed. Also having warm up and cooling down with Ashish, Sumitra Amit and Rahul and getting tips from them time to time. All is always well in a not good sign.

In mid-October I need to do long run at Saturday evening at Race course. It was raining heavily and ankle level water in 500m area of with gravel etc. I was running with barefoot and in the 2nd hour with multiple loops and I was only running alone in the entire race course and got totally dark too. I did not give up and slowly completed at the end. Probably that aggravated to my plantar fasciitis in the right leg. It was really painful time for 1-2 weeks and approached coach and did exercise as per his guidance. Then approached to sports doc and got his guidance and rigoursly did exercise in the morning and evening.

In between planned for Aurangabad 25km run and not sure of preparedness. Due to proper leg exercises, I could do well in Aurangabad. That boosted my confidence. Then I was looking forward for runs in general. Then 1st challenge of 1st long run of 32k! Me, Sam and Jr Ashish and Trupti started together and ran together. It is the best part of our running. After 1st 32k, I was dehydrated as water got over at 27k! I was really worried about further run.

Also full marathon pace was found to be bit challenging towards end of the same. However Ashish supported me and asked me take plenty of nimbu water and keep the leg upside on the floor and rest for an hour. That helped on that day. Then I was bit worried for my 2nd long run of 32k. Surprisingly it really went very well as I drank plenty of water and at the end I was very comfortable. That finally boosted my confidence. Mileage improved to 170, 175 and 220 in December 2019. 80k from a year back to 220k in December journey was interesting!

TMM full marathon run

I met Kavitha couple of days before the race and got her guidance. She said do your best, it would be always bit challenging for the last 5km, due to tough humid weather at Mumbai and graciously accept the results. Focus on finishing in a best way. Enjoy your run.

Fortunately Mumbai weather this year was @ 3 deg lesser compare to last year and humidity was not that bad and we were fortunate in the morning and sun was also not that harsh. I was happy. Ran started bit earlier at 5.15am compared to previous years of 6.00am.

As planned me, Sam and Ashish jr started together and running together till 26k and exactly maintained the pace. Good rhythm was there around 6k, by that time body was warmed up. It was fun running in Bandra-Sea worli link.

It was a good run. Then they were bit ahead of me till 28th km. I was bit exhausted after the same. Then did 80% run and 20% walk strategy till 35k. I was kept in my mind to reach lot of small target (breaking) like reaching every electric pillar / big building and as soon as cross the same, find next one! 36k really tough and 38k.

At 39th K saw Sameer Chitre and he pushed me and Trupti. Otherwise I was running in a comfortable aerobic pace. At 41k, Ashwini was happy to see me and she pushed me further. I was fully hydrated myself (4-5liters) of water, had to to do grinding stop twice to go for loo after 32k, also had salt tablets and energy gel time to time as prescribed.

I felt comfortable to run 39k to 42.2k and however my Garmin showed me 42.68k and completed in 5.18.41!

I thank Ashwini, Ashish, Sumitra, Sam, Jr Ashish, Amit, Rahul, Stephen and Trupti and you all made my 1st marathon memorable one. I never dreamt of full marathon, however thanks to Coach once again. He is always very good in his coaching plans and persistent to follow through it, not to deviate unless emergencies! Perfect strategy!

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