In order to be a world-class runner, just running isn’t enough. Your body needs to tone and strengthen and your muscles need to be supple and flexible. A workout trifecta that includes exercises that stretch, strengthen and increase your endurance are essential for upping your running game.

Gul Panag has run enough half marathons to know a thing or two about training for a race. She started in 2004, realizing instantly that this was something she could do with ease. Thereafter it was all a matter of beating her own time. Having always been a fitness junkie, training for half marathons was never a Herculean task for Gul. She, like us, believes in strength, endurance and flexibility. But it could be a tasking for beginners to follow such a training routine. Remember, to take on only as much workload as you think is possible at your running level.

“Flexibility is very important. One doesn’t have to be super flexible for running, but your muscles need to be stretched out. Ideally I like to practice Hatha yoga twice a week, and I focus on Suryanamaskars, since they stretch every limb of your body”, says Gul of her flexibility workout routine.

What about strength training?  “I do 30 push ups in perfect form in one go. And then I do 10 burpees”. And then her workout gets more intensive. “I do 10 burpees, but as the number of burpees increase, I match that number with my push ups. Third burpee means that when I’m down I’ll do three push ups”, says Gul. If this routine won’t make you strong as steel, we don’t know what will.

Her endurance routine is lethal as well. She runs three times a week on a regular basis, hitting 12-13 kilometers with each run. As marathon’s approach, Gul ups the ante by mixing up her runs with short 5K runs in a time frame of 26-28 minutes, and high intensity runs (1000 meters as fast as she can run). Leading up to a marathon, Gul runs up to 50-60 kilometers every week. “Each time you finish a marathon, you prove your endurance to yourself. You feel invincible. It’s a great feeling.”

That makes us want to lace up and hit the road.

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