A writer and editor currently working in digital advertising, Girija Naiksatam was born in a naturally athletic family; she’s been running competitively since childhood and is keen on taking up newer challenges till date. When not working or running, the Mumbai-based professional likes to doodle strange things and make low-budget stop motion videos.

When did you start running and what do you love most about it?
I started running competitively at the age of 8. Both my parents are athletes, so my sister and I naturally gravitated towards sports at a very young age. I like my post run breakfasts… a lot! Jokes apart, I love that every run is a challenge to see how far or fast I can go — how much my mind is willing to ask of my body and whether or not my body will comply. It feels like a game!

What’s one of your favorite running memories?
When I was in school, our annual Sports Day was a big deal and in my house it was a family affair! My father would drop us off for our trials/heats, my grandfather would sew ribbons on the sides of our shorts and my mum would place herself at the 50m mark just behind the barricade and cheer us on. I’m pretty sure she was the loudest parent in the whole stand! It was all very exhilarating.

What upcoming race are you running in? Could you give us a glimpse into your current training schedule?
I’m currently training for the SCMM Half Marathon. It’s the first time I’ll be doing a distance run that’s more than 10K. I train about 4 times a week with my coach Giles Drego switching between the road, the beach and hills. I also dedicate some time to core strengthening and flexibility.

What are your favorite running spots in the world and what falls in your go-to running gear?
I can run anywhere but the best place I’ve run in so far has to be the streets of Chamonix, a small town at the foot of the Alps in France. There’s nothing quite like sunlight at 8 PM, 7°C weather, great roads and the mighty Mont Blanc looking over you. The Promenade des Anglais in Nice comes in a close second.

I currently train in the Nike Free Flyknit 3.0; I love how snugly they fit. I’m a fuss-free runner — just a sipper and a phone. No music for me.

Are there any nutrition and lifestyle hacks you follow to keep up your running form?
I’m a vegetarian and a teetotaler by choice. I also try to eat clean which means no junk or carbonated drinks. Just recently I made an exception and added eggs to my diet. Before a run, I prefer a fruit and a spoonful of honey; post running it’s anything loaded with protein to build muscle and yes, lots of fiber.

What would say to inspire a beginner to go running?
Running is the single easiest way to get your mind and body in sync and truly understand how powerful the two can be when they’re working together. If that doesn’t inspire them then the thought of saving those $$$ on a gym membership should!

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