“Once you cross about 70km, no matter how hard you’ve trained, your legs will be tired and you’ll then need to run with your heart!”

Not many people can juggle a high-profile professional life with their love for running. Vaishali Kasture is not one of them. The Managing Director of Goldman Sachs in India, is an accomplished runner who has competed at various marathons – ranging from half-marathons to ultramarathons – over the years. In a two-part interview Kasture discusses her love for running, training and preparation for the various marathons, including the Comrades Ultra Marathon in 2014.

How and when did you get involved with running? What do you love the most about it?
I did not participate in sports events in school or college. I was an extremely academic child and teenager. It’s only after I started working that I realized the value of doing something apart from work. I took up running and going to the gym just to stay fit and try and do something outside the office. I was living in HK at that time and slowly started running outdoors. I enjoyed it so much, that I never went back to running on a treadmill.

What was it like to participate in the prestigious Boston Marathon this year? How did you train for the event?
This was my second Boston Marathon. I typically train all year round – so I didn’t do any specific training for Boston. I like to run 3 to 4 days a week and hit the gym for strength training 2 to 3 days a week. For Boston, I made sure that I got in some amount of Hill Training as the race has a very hilly course. The weather can also be very unpredictable in April. You need to be mentally prepared for sunny, cold or rainy weather. Specificity of training is important if you want to do well on Race Day.

I run 3-4 days a week and strength train at the gym 3 days a week
I run 3-4 days a week and strength train at the gym 3 days a week

What would you consider the most challenging race you’ve participated in till date?
I think it was the Comrades Ultra Marathon in June 2014, which is a 90km race in South Africa. It’s extremely hilly and it gets quite warm during the day. They also have progressive cut offs along the route. For example, you need to cover 40km in the first X hours. If you don’t get there on time, you are taken off the course. There is also an outer limit of 12 hours to finish the race. You have to run this intelligently, and conserve and plan. Else you can burn out. If your run lax, you are at risk of not making the cut offs. In any case, once you across about 70km, no matter how hard you’ve trained, your legs will be tired and you need to then run with your heart!

Give us a glimpse into your daily running routine.
I typically work out early in the morning. If I’m running, I head out at 5.30 and if I am going to the gym then it’s 7 am. I run 3-4 days a week and strength train at the gym 3 days a week, where I do weight training. I like to do plyometrics – heavy weights with multiple movements, not static weight movements. I focus a lot on overall body and specifically the core. I monitor my body fat and muscle percentage regularly. The focus is on muscle percentage and not on just the overall weight

As for running, I regularly do tempo and long runs. I throw in speed workouts closer to the ramp down period of my training.

I regularly do tempo and long runs
I regularly do tempo and long runs

Which upcoming events are you looking forward to running in this year?
I’m looking forward to the Comrades Ultramarathon in June. I’ve done several key races this year including the Mumbai Marathon and the Oxfam 100K in January, the Tokyo Full Marathon in February, and of course, the Boston Marathon in April.

After Comrades, I will focus on building my strength and go back to running shorter distances to sharpen my speed. In November, I look forward to the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon.

Watch out for Part II of our tête-à-tête with Vaishali Kasture later this week.

Main image: Oxfam India

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