Thanks for the final three deadly kilometers, Ladakh. I will cherish you my entire life. The final 3 km were more gruesome than the entire race itself. None of my techniques nor skills nor motivation worked. You literally got me on my knees made me cry and curse out loud. But in the end, I conquered you
-Abhinav Wadekar, Triathlete and Iron Man aspirant
A P.E. and a BBA graduate, Goa’s Abhinav Wadekar has always had a burning passion for running. Little did he know that this passion would one day fuel him to complete the Ladakh Marathon in the beautiful Leh. Hailing from the port town of Vasco in Goa, getting acclimatized to 3500 meters above sea level was just the beginning of Abhinav’s journey in the mountains. But he pushed himself and managed to complete this challenge despite all the adversities. In an exclusive interview, Abhinav opens up to mobiefit about his struggles as a runner and what still keeps him going.
Since when have you been running and what inspired you first to run?
I’ve always loved running, but my first memories are when I started running in school as a sport. From there on it has become my passion. I’ve always been stubborn about pushing my limits, and this helped me find a higher threshold for pain and consequently build my endurance.
What was your experience with running the Ladakh Marathon?
The marathon felt like a dream sequence! It was definitely very difficult to run. I arrived a week prior to the marathon and started training with the rest of the runners on the third day for 400 meters. The first few times running was terrible. My body was getting acclimatized to the high altitude and this would leave me feeling nauseous, dizzy with nosebleeds. My mentor and good friend, Dinesh Heda helped me naturally get used to the climate and the altitude, which is what helped me get through the entire marathon itself.
I can proudly say out of all my marathon I will cherish this one as my greatest achievement. This truly tested my limits as a marathoner, and I can gladly say I overcame all the fears that held me down. I have bloomed as a runner and I can't be thankful enough for this opportunity all the moments of hardwork for past months this has been the best reward, I'm at the stage of life where I can say 'I MADE IT'. For me, I feel like I've conquered the leh marathon… P.s: this would be absolutely impossible without that one woman who got my back through all the craziness, and believing that I could achieve all this greatness. My beloved MOTHER… #leh #adventures #lehbiketrip #kardungla#shatistupa#sangum #runningstories #jumpers #bucketlists # #World'shighestmarathon #lehmarathon #memories #friends #journeytoironman 🏊🚲🏃
On the day of the actual marathon, I couldn’t push myself despite my best efforts. The last 3 km especially felt like forever! It was as if I was running in a desert and seeing an oasis but I just could not reach it. When I finally finished my body had crossed all its limits but the accomplishment was definitely something I could brag about. I completed the race in 2:30 minutes.
What keeps you going on a regular basis? Any particular motivation or person who inspires you?
I’m determined to complete my journey to become an Iron Man. The fact that very few people have achieved this feat makes it even more desirable. When I train every day, I try hard to surpass the bar that I’ve set for myself and keep doing better.
Is it difficult to maintain your daily routine with running? What about your work? How does that get affected?
I have a fixed schedule for the whole week that accommodates running, swimming and cycling. I can balance both as I’m working as a basketball coach and that doubles as training for me.
Who is your running icon or inspiration?
I admire Richard Murray because despite facing many physical as well as professional hurdles, he still kept going. He currently ranks at number 4 in the International Triathlon Union.
How do you prepare and train for marathon days?
For the Ladakh Marathon I followed a strict schedule of high altitude running, hill running, sprint running, intervals, LSD (long slow distance), cross training and stadium running. This is how I planned it out:
- Monday: As goes for most runners, Mondays are rest days.
- Tuesday: I will include 35-45 minutes mid-pace run.
- Wednesday: I take to the hills or stairs on Wednesdays. To increase intensity I would also latch on bags filled with sand to my ankles.
- Thursday: 10 min fast run coupled with 5 min slow continuous running and aim to cover 9-10 kilometers.
- Friday: Is reserved for cross-training drills and indoor games.
- Saturday: A stadium run that will consist of 1500mts-800mts-400mts-200mts-100mts-50mts
- Sunday: I schedule my long slow distance runs for Sundays. If I feel like then I also join a running group or participate in an event.
What kind of strength workouts do you do, if at all?
Warmups are essential before commencing with any activity. I start with a couple of Yoga asanas and light stretching. For strengthening workouts I usually stick to bodyweight workouts such as squats, burpees and planks.
Do you run with any clubs or groups?
Yes, I run with the ‘Vasco Susegado Runners‘ once a month.
What about your diet?
I believe in consuming nutritious home-cooked meals. This includes 3 whole meals through the day and snacking on chickpeas.
Is there a particular marathon or run that you want to achieve? What’s your ultimate marathon goal?
Right now I have two marathons on my checklist. One is the Comrades marathon that takes place in Durban, South Africa and the second is the Rangers Ultra that takes place in the land of ultra racing, Kenya.