Country Head, General Mills India
RUNNING IS IMMENSELY REWARDING
I have been running for several years now, and I have learned that it offers a great deal of benefits. It helps me perform better in my role at work. Running gets the endorphins flowing, and helps clear your mind. I have more energy on the days that I run – I manage to last longer at work and I can stay more focused. Moreover, it allows me space and a calm mind to plan and ideate. You know how people often say that they get their best ideas in the shower? I get some of my best ideas when I am running. This is also the time that I switch off from everything – my phone, emails, social media and everything else. The time that I spend running is just my time, and that is immensely rewarding.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
As a child, I used to play various sports; but mostly a lot of tennis and squash. Then later, as it is with most people, once I began studying and working, sports took a backseat and I started to gain weight and kind of lost that basic fitness. That is when I decided to take my fitness a little seriously. I decided running was the simplest thing to do, especially since I don’t enjoy workouts at the gym or lifting weights. I started running just a couple of kilometers at first, and then gradually began running 10 kilometers. Today, I begin my day at 5:30 in the morning, and I run a distance of 6-10 kilometers on the weekdays, about four days a week, depending on my travel routine. My Sundays are my long run days, so I run approximately 15 kilometers on Sundays. That also means I am not a Saturday night person – I don’t want to go out, socialize and meet people. I just want to sleep early, and my wife too has accepted that. At some point, my competitive instinct kicked in, and I decided to start training for marathons. I have run around ten marathons so far. I begin training for marathons at least 16 weeks in advance. The training is progressive – I start with 30-40 kilometers a week and then go up to 70 kilometers a week. I run with a bunch of passionate runners, a group called Striders. I prefer to run in the mornings, and a lot of my early morning runs are driven by the fact that I have this wonderful group of people to run with. Running with this group has also helped me understand that the ideal fitness regimen is different for different people. There is no one size that fits all. It’s easy to get caught up in comparisons with other people when they are running faster or longer distances than you, but it’s best to do whatever works best for you.
A DIET OF MODERATION
Earlier, I was a lot more particular about my diet. However, now to be honest, I have become more chilled out, because I realize that food and health fads keep changing all the time. There was a time when everyone kept saying fats are bad. Now everyone says fats are good, and carbs are the enemy. It can get really complex and confusing for the average Joe like me, so I am happy to eat most things, as long as I am eating in moderation. For me, portion control is important. I am more than happy to have a few beers on the weekend and I even enjoy fries on occasion, as long as I keep my portions controlled. The only challenge I face during the day is at 4 pm, when my glucose levels drop, so I am most tempted to eat unhealthy snacks at that time. Things like fruits and nuts help me tide over that dip in energy. I try to manage my energy through the day, more than my time. So I tackle the more difficult tasks or issues in the mornings, because that is when I am at my best, most energetic self.
(As told to Christina Moniz)