A marathoner, Adidas Running India athlete, running coach and founder of FitRabbits, Nivedita Samanta says she discovered her passion for running at the age of 13.

This year, the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon is my first race for the year. My biggest focus is to do well in a full marathon distance in February 2018.  For ADHM, I have put myself on a 12-week coaching plan, because I have been running regularly this season.

For a full marathon, you need at least 16 weeks of active preparation. For beginners, this should ideally be a 20-24 week preparation.

I train 6 days, and rest on Mondays

On a weekly basis, I try to run 4 times a week and strength-train for 3. This involves intervals on Tuesdays, upper body strength work on Wednesdays, easy run + legs work on Thursdays, another run on Fridays, dynamic mobility on Saturdays and long runs on Sunday. Mondays are always complete rest days.

Luckily, I recently became a running coach, so I can easily tweak my plans. I invest at least 1.5 hours on weekdays, and upto 2.5 hours on Sunday mornings. My family supports me completely to do this and I thoroughly enjoy every moment. Of course, there are days when you have to rely on that extra bit of self-motivation, but that’s absolutely fine!

Nivi Samanta- Runner

My routine depends upon stage of training

When I am just beginning to build my base, I work on developing more endurance through lighter-weights and more reps at the gym, slower long runs upto 1.5 hours with at least one week of intervals.

When I am in the middle of my training, I do more hills and intervals training and combine that with longer easy runs on Sundays. Strength training then becomes fewer reps and more weights, to help me develop more power in my muscles.

I have seen how simple bodyweight based training can work wonders in running. Specifically, single-leg squats have helped boost my running like no other move.

The weather is of major concern to me

I absolutely dislike hot, humid environments. Also, I am concerned about the availability of enough water points in the race course. So in certain races, such as Ladakh in 2012, I carried my own hydration pack. The ability to break my own personal barriers is my biggest motivator.

Nutrition really counts

I wish more people paid attention to pre, during and post run nutrition more. Before a long run, I usually eat croissant/almond butter and jam sandwich or a piece of cake, a banana, some yogurt and drink some tea to wake myself up at the crack of dawn.

Before my regular workouts, I drink about 500 ml of water on waking, and another 250 ml before heading out to the gym/park to work out or run.  I eat my usual breakfast – overnight soaked oatmeal with some fresh cut fruit/frozen berries, poha, chilla with coriander chutney, upma or toast with eggs and sautéed tomato. Some orange/cranberry juice usually accompanies this meal. I drink at least 1.5 litres of water before I go to bed.

Getting your shoes right

Every runner has a unique foot shape and running style. Your shoes should cater to this. For regular training runs, I wear durable, cushioned shoes. After trying several brands over the last 7 years, I think the Adidas Supernova shoes are the best for the easy, long runs. For races, I usually keep aside a separate pair of low-weight responsive running shoes. For the last year, I have worn Adidas Boston Boost.

Gear up for comfort, safety and speed

Do wear moisture wicking tees/tanks/shorts/tights and socks that are specifically made for running. Also, women runners must invest in a high impact sports bra, since this reduces the risk of injuries.

I also keep aside a pair of adizero shorts and adidas supernova line racerback vest, in addition to my tried and tested sports bra and socks that don’t chafe or cause blisters. I need to wear sunglasses too, because I don’t enjoy the dust going into my eyes and contact lenses.

Technology to track runs

I try to run free of all technology because running is “MY” time. However, I do use a Garmin Watch to track my runs and therefore the Garmin Connect app is helpful in analysing data.

Though I barely listen to music while running, I do like to crank up the volume while driving to/front runs. Eye of the Tiger is my all-time favourite. Currently, it’s a Finnish rap song called Kuplii.

 Tips for Raceday

#1 Please take your time and warm up the usual way that you do in all training runs. Do not try anything new.

#2 Eat the same food that you usually do.

#3 Do drink water every 2.5 km, at the water stations.

#4 If you don’t know this already, you must eat some carbohydrates in addition to electrolytes, after 60 minutes of activity. Try Unived gels, my personal favourite.

Nividita has run over 15 half marathons, 5 full marathons and countless 10 km races. She has enjoyed running in Ladakh & Spiti, particularly.