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Our athletes speak

Pratik Patki is one of those lively runners who has been training with Running Potential since 2017. This is what he had to say about his experience so far!

It was back in 2013 when I was preparing for my first SCMM that I had a chance encounter with the Running Potential team. I had attended a lecture on long-distance running given by AH (Anand Hatwalne), and then another one on how to run the SCMM. Apart from a few concepts – like running tangential and increasing the cadence on uphills, most of the talk went over my head. Well, for an amateur happy-go-lucky runner who ran by feel, in weird-looking Vibrams and measured performance with a stopwatch that at times he forgot to set at the start line, it was a lot of technical jargon to handle. 

Cut to 2017, when I was looking to make a comeback to TMM after a 2-year hiatus, AH caught me doing one of my random runs on DP road and asked if I intended to train seriously for TMM. I remember signing up somewhere around October, and the rest, as they say, is scripted on Strava 🙂

3 TMM’s, a PB in TMM 2018 and numerous first-hand experiences later, I can guarantee that RP has the best team of coaches available to guide you to your goal. 

I believe that there are 3 things that are core to RP being one of the best in business:

Their understanding of their trainees and their goals – Between AH, Anand Takale (AT) and Aditya Kelkar (AK) they have a unique concoction of different training methods. The trainees get aligned to each one of them depending on their individual goals and the way they would be most comfortable training through the year. While understanding a goal might be easy, understanding a person and what kind of training stimulus will work for him is the most difficult part. You have to understand the psyche of the person, what keeps him going, what makes him train harder, what are his limitations, what are his strengths and so on. This is where RP excels – even though the trainees might be distributed amongst the 3 coaches, each one of them is well aware of the goals of each individual and the challenges and the nuances of the training that they are put through. At every point in time, there will be words of wisdom coming your way, things that will help you get over obstacles and sail your way through. Not only that, they are very open to feedback and will ensure that changes are incorporated in your training plans provided they align with your goals.

Technology & data analysis – at the core all three of them are geeks. Each workout of every individual is monitored, analyzed and the training plan is altered based on the parameters that are derived from every workout. The parameters also change from individual to individual depending on the capability and goal of that individual. Year over year, I have seen new technologies being adapted to evaluate running form, recovery state of the body and the performance in each workout. Their knowledge on the mechanics of running, the physiological parameters as well as the technological aspect is such that they are often invited by the Indian Army to deliver lectures on the scientific way of training for long-distance runs. If you want a data-driven scientific approach towards achieving your goal – then you should look no further.

Their love for the sport – be it triathlons, distance running or just your way towards achieving your fitness goals. Each one of the RP mentors takes upon themselves to help you achieve them, even if it sometimes means that they have to sacrifice their own goals in the process. I have seen all of them on multiple occasions giving up personal glory, and targets in order to pace their mentees towards the finish line.  I myself have experienced it when AH refused to go ahead in the last couple of kms of TMM 2018 in spite of being in a far superior position, just to ensure that I don’t end up missing my own target. 

Apart from the above three, there are numerous reasons that will make you stick to RP once you are a part of it. The never-ending rounds of Roopali Coffees, the dollops of sarcasm that come free with it, and the unending “puneripana” (पुणेरीपणा ) that comes your way are just some of them.

Trust me, if you are looking for a fun & sure shot way of achieving your goals (Yes, all of them can predict your race outcomes to the last minute) you should look no further. Caveat – well it’s not a one way selection process – your goals need to resonate with them too – else you will be put on the waiting list for the next year. Coz for them, coaching is all about finding true potential and helping people achieve it.

Vivek ran a huge PR (46 minutes!) at the New Delhi IDBI Full Marathon 2018, over his first Full Marathon earlier. He had been training with Running Potential for couple of years – as part of the Yearly Program. This is what he had to say about his training experience with us.

Dr. Yogesh joined Running Potential 2017 yearly program, and went onto run a successful first Half Marathon in Jan 2018 at Tata Mumbai Marathon.
 This is his testimonial in his own words!

One thing I noticed early on that when it comes to running Team Running Potential (RP) has great level of ‘Clarity of Thought’. Asking for ‘feel’ than ‘pace’ was a revelation for me when I joined RP. Prior to that I was runner who had burdened himself with creating his own schedules and judging own performances based on whatever random information (read: mis!) I could get.

Within first month of joining RP, I felt that burden wasn’t there anymore. Most importantly presence of no-nonsense scientific thought process made a huge difference. AH started designing my training schedule, giving feedbacks and fine tuning things as they come. What is required from normal amateur athletes like me is consistency in following these schedules and seeking feedback whenever required, that’s it!

If you are lucky and end up running some Sunday long runs with AH, AT or AK, then you will be treated with ‘words or wisdom’, these words will serve your running well for long time to come. I ran along AT in PIM 2015 and SCMM 2016 (for some part) along with words like ‘Control & Capitalize’, ‘Save till the end’ came clinically accurate splits; controlling, pushing at right times and in end making me do my awesome times while feeling strong after the races. ‘Feeling strong after the race’….. That never really happened before!

Thanks very much Team Running Potential.

(Harish ran his first Full Marathon while training with Running Potential)

Q: “What’s the Golden Rule of Training?”
A: “The primary goal of training is to stay injury free so you can continue training”

This was posted by team RP in June 2015 on their FB and Twitter page. And how they epitomize this motto! This philosophy just shows in their approach towards running and how they treat their clients

My journey with RP started in June 2015 when I filled up their questionnaire interested to sign up for the SCMM 2016 FM training program. At that time I was training for my 5th HM at AHM 2015 and eyeing my first FM at SCMM 2016. I had trained for all my HMs on my own, borrowing from training plans and advice on the net. But I didn’t want to take any chances for the FM and so I needed some professional help. I had heard about team RP from other runners who were training with them and decided to fill in the questionnaire on their website and talk to them about my chances of completing the FM given my running history
Right off the bat in the first meeting itself, the team made me comfortable about attaining my goal. They had read through all the running history details I had provided and felt that the FM was within my reach in the given time. They advised me to complete AHM and then start training with them for SCMM. They even offered to advice on the training build up for AHM as well, even before I had engaged them!

From the first training run with AT till the very end of the training plan, team RP’s approach was systematic and professional. The focus was always on the target FM race at SCMM and how the training and racing can get me there. I gained a lot of insights every time I met them at the University post my Sunday runs. They didn’t start me off with a 16 weeks standard training plan expecting me to follow it to the T. The plan was fluid, always prepared week by week and always tweaked based on feedback received and my body’s response on runs in the previous week

I interacted more with AT than AK or AH but I am sure that all of them had a hand in shaping the training plan and forming the nutrition strategy for the race or the race specific pacing plans. And that is the beauty of training with them. Any time you send a mail to them, you are assured that they will respond. It doesn’t matter who amongst them will respond, the advice is always consistent and accurate, never conflicting. The team diligently answered the host of questions I had on the training and nutrition plans, race specific pacing plans and also vetted my nutrition strategy for SCMM. They offered valuable one on one advice as well as through group presentation on the dos and don’ts for each section of the 42KM FM course. And their training plan didn’t stop on race day unlike all other plans. They provided me with a recovery schedule as well…again based on my race day feedback from the FM…not a one-size-fits-all recovery schedule. Just goes on to show that RP is truly committed to their clients and the love of spreading the joy of injury free running

I am proud to share that I completed the 4 months training with team RP as well as my first FM @ SCMM 2016 sans an injury of any sort. The team even accurately predicted my race day performance and advised me with the right pacing strategy. The result?? I nailed the “A” goal target pace and target time that the team had set for me. And the recovery was just amazing…I had a very speedy recovery from the FM and very little residual pain and soreness after the FM completion and the subsequent few days. I cannot thank team RP enough for making my first FM a memorable one

If you want to train injury free, be rest-assured of attaining your running goals and get scientific, reliable and timely advice from experienced aficionados then I ask you to put your faith in team RP…I promise that you will not regret it!

(Winner of Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon – (Half) 2015 in her “Golden” age group)

[ Smita also won a Gold in her age group for Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 2016 and a Silver in SCMM Half 2016 ]

My running journey started In 2013 with  Nikhil Shah’s Pune Running program. The last run of the month or LSOMs helped me work towards a target and before I knew it I was hooked to the sport called “running”. I got my first taste of distance running at the Pune International Marathon in 2013, wherein I managed to achieve a timing of 2.11.34 for the half marathon followed by the esteemed Standard Chartered Mumbai half marathon in 2014 with a timing of 2.04.50. While I had clocked a decent timing for a newbie I found myself  vowing never to run 21K again. This was primarily because of the soreness and injuries that one experiences during and after the runs. Overcoming the fear for aches and pains and keeping me from giving up running was that inner voice which made me have faith  to do better. By now I was also accustomed to cool running terms like, “Sub 2 “ “PB” , PR etc…. 

Running Potential came in at the right time. Boosting fortitude and confidence in a 50 plus year old myself, especially since I was being told by everyone around me to take it easy.

Your training program prepared me to run consistently and eventually attain the “sub 2” goal that I had set for myself for the SCMM  half marathon of 2015. 1.59.51 ( Just Made it! ) and a GOLD medal. The courage that came with attainment of my goal has encouraged me to look beyond  and possibly decrease my timing even further.

Thank you for a wonderful year of personal growth and significant development of my running abilities

Thank you and your great team for an amazing training season. I could not have made a better choice… Keep up the good work, you all rock!!!

– Smita Patil

My journey into the running world began in 2013 with cholesterol reading that was bad news.  I decided to apply myself to my health before it became a problem and started doing exercise regularly, progressing from walk to run slowly. I can see that I caught the running bug early, because within a year, I had done a Half Marathon.  Sadly, after this epic achievement, I had a strained IT band injury and was virtually unable to run. I knew this was due to poor training.

Fortunately, I found Running Potential and joined their training program. 

When I shared my running logs with them, their first observation was that I ran with a very high heart rate. They got me into a training regimen which began with a 6 weeks of base training and structural training to improve my general strength and endurance. After that, they mapped out a training program that went systematically and controlled my running in terms of distance and intensity in a very graduated manner.  I followed their regimen faithfully, but must confess that I sometimes overstepped it in my new found enthusiasm.  Whenever this happened, it drew “strong comments” from my coach; comments which I always found later were fully justified! Their approach was always systematic and personalized, based on my actual progress.

For the first six months, I did not see any startling benefits, but got in much mileage in this systematic way.  In the next four months, however, I began to see dramatic improvements.  My average pace went from 8:15 during base training to 6:15 for the Half Marathon and even to 5:54 during a tempo run of 14 km.

The numbers were not daunting anymore, all because of the systematic training in those (boring?) first six months. I believe the key to success is simple trust in the training and the rigor to follow every instruction in the schedule faithfully.

And now, less than a year after I began with them, a sub 2 hour Half Marathon is just within reach!

I can’t wait to put on my shoes and go for it!

Thank you so much Team@RP

This is how running happened to me!

I was always a dabbler – moving from the gym to yoga to morning walks. Then I happened to run (?)  walked will be the right thing to say here   in 2012 for the Pune International marathon just for fun, 
when a friend asked me to join in. Guus who is a pro-runner and at that time my mentor in office  suggested that I join the Pune running group at University and that’s where it all started. For first one year my motto was only to do a small walk-run routine and then have breakfast with a friend at the canteen and begin my week on a good note. I called those happy Sundays. 

This continued till the next Pune marathon which was 2013. By this time I was doing a pole to pole run and of course long walks.  Only after 2013 PIM, I started feeling that I want to crack it and not just come for breakfast at the UoP . By then my friend Yamini was already training with Running Potential and I could see her improvement.  As a New Year resolution I dropped a request to Running Potential to train with them and I was unsure whether they would accept someone a beginner like me but they accepted and even agreed to start with me right from the first week of January as I had requested. For the first time I met the coaches,  I still remember telling them with little hesitance, that I wanted to reduce some weight as well. Aditya Kelkar advised very patiently that I should “avoid fried food and go less on sugar, slow running which will also help in burning the fat”. I was determined to follow his advice and I did. Running Potential put me on an aerobic training program for 3 months which was focused on improving my lungs capacity. It started with review of my existing fitness level and a time based schedule instead of a distance focus. 

The weekly schedule was shared online using a shared Google drive excel sheet, where one could give feedback and according to the feedback the next weekly schedule would be given. For the first training program I was so enthusiastic that I would write entire paragraphs with my feedback and talk in loops which I still do when I meet them in person. But the coaches were always patient and good listeners. Always giving one right feedback and making you feel comfortable. Within two months of my training I could see the improvement in my fitness level, there was no huffing and now I could run 45 mins nonstop. I was like a kid who had found a new toy and did not want to stop. Every night I looked forward to my run and sometimes even ran in my dreams. At the end of the 3 months I was running 60 mins. 
After that I enrolled for the next 3 months in the same program to improve more. All this while I wanted  to run a longer distance and did not care much about pace and time .I wanted to run through the nice country side and one small towns after another. I still do. However given my city life commitments I knew this was not going to happen quite often. One day all of a sudden I felt I should prepare for the half marathon to give myself a real goal. At that time, I wanted to give myself a definite time frame which would be a realistic goal. I did not want to travel very far so I decided to go to the Mumbai marathon since it was the closest and also the city I had stayed in and loved. Till then I was naïve enough to not know the difficulties in registering for SCMM. 

One day I wrote to Running Potential telling them that I wished to run for the SCMM 2015. I still remember Anand H writing back that I would be prepared  to do the half marathon by December time frame, however SCMM is very popular and registration requires qualifying for their timing criteria. I guess that’s when I started to getting serious about improving my time and my goals started changing. In the given time slot I was looking for some event which would give me required qualifying time and the only option left was to go Bangalore for the TCS 10k Event. However out of nowhere The Great Shivaji Marathon was announced in Pune and was also a qualifying event for the SCMM entry. I felt like my wish was granted . I ran The Shivaji Marathon and qualified by finishing my 10k run in 1:10:12 hours meeting the qualifying time of 1:22 needed for the  SCMM. My earlier 2013 Pune marathon timing was 1:32, so I could see the improvement in just 5 months.
I was so happy with it until summer came and the heat didn’t suit me well. I was getting thirsty and had low appetite. It sapped my energy and I got weak and developed heel pain due to lowered nutritional  levels. The coaches not only helped me with right advice but also stopped me from next run that I had  enrolled for. I was asked to take a complete recovery break of 2-3 months. Even in this period when I was off the support and guidance I got through Running Potential was great. After a 2 month break I was back with good energy, however I was too scared of the recurrence of heel pain and was skeptical on whether I should still pursue my SCMM dream. Anand H gave me his own example of recovering after injury and finishing strong. Since they have a lot of experience they do know when to stop (Like they did stop be earlier from the event) and what can be just an individual’s mental block .I started on a cautious note and enrolled for SCMM half marathon training program with Running Potential. It started in September. Given my condition I had to start from scratch after the injury and fight the added mental block as well. Running Potential took right care to make sure the training load was just right. As time passed I was back to my fitness level and my heel pain was also completely gone. The initial 1-2 months of my training had to be taken slow. Still in the time which was left the mileage was distributed so perfectly that I could see the results. I absolutely loved my long runs on Sundays and I was prepared to take on the SCMM half marathon both physically and mentally. I ran SCMM 2015 in 2:44:40 and finished strong. I was surprised with the post run state and could feel all the hard work of training had paid off and I had gained the fitness levels that I had not even dreamt of achieving in a year’s time. 

The thing I liked about the Running potential team is that they are very professional and you will be spared of any overtly personal questioning. They are passionate about running and they talk and guide you thoroughly. Your queries/emails will be addressed properly and in a timely manner. They will provide you feedback on your running form constantly giving you improvements steps. They have many good runners training with them and each at different level of fitness, yet you will never be compared with anyone but only your own previous fitness levels. They will not advertise any merchandise or any events and you will be open to choose for yourself unless you ask for their advice in which case you will get their honest feedback. 

I am thankful to Running potential for my improved fitness. 

P.S. I forgot to tell you by 3rd month in the training I had shedded most of the fat (Sorry I won’t give the before and after numbers :P) People who see me everyday can surely tell the difference. I am much leaner now 🙂

I first heard about Running Potential people when I had asked Nikhil Shah who are the most consistent runners in Pune and he mentioned both Anands in that context. I already knew Aditya through his apparel business. So after my melt-down in Hyderabad (2.39 finish after completing 18 k in 1.57 or so) I approached Aditya to train me for Chennai full marathon. Surprisingly Aditya and Anand both refused to train saying I was not ready for a FM yet, something I found to my own pain after crawling to a 7.03 finish there. This struck me deeply as an example of their integrity. It takes some courage to turn down a client for a new business. This however did not stop Anand T and Aditya from giving some valuable tips just before Chennai.

I enrolled with team Running Potential (RP) for Hyderabad marathon. The first few weeks was little strange since I had to do lot of unlearning, including getting rid of the habit of entering in any event I saw on FB. Train frequent, race rare is Guruji Anand H mantra and it works. We started with a time based run 4 times a week and gradually replaced time with distance and added interval and tempo runs over a period of time. This program was good for me because 1) it depended on me being self motivated to train, something I am and 2) it made me quit the habit of worrying over one bad training session or one slow time. The timings improved over a period of time. I dropped out of Hyd because of domestic difficulties and chose to do a self timed run a day before in Pune. When I had started to train I had told Aditya I wanted a 2.10 HM and to my delight i did 21.095 in 2.09.08.

A thing that struck me – one is that the method of RP’s training module not only made me faster (30 minutes in one year is a lot) but also made my recovery time shorter and relatively pain free. Last year I used to apply pain relieving lotions/spray practically after each run, this time there are a lot of weekend long runs where post completing the stiffness and soreness was noticeably lower. As runners we all like to brag about the pain and running through it, but believe me it is indeed better to build gradually and have less soreness to deal with it.

I am training for a FM (thankfully this time they agreed to train 🙂 ) in Mumbai and now my runs are up to 5 times a week with an average of 50 kms. If my body holds I am sure I would give a much better accord of myself at SCMM.

Couple of warnings: 1) RP will give you the building block and Aditya/Anand and Anand will be happy to reply to your queries, but the running belongs to you. Remember the rules of success only work if you do. 2) This program is for moderately serious recreational runners, you should be somewhere between “i only run for fun” and ” i can run a half marathon any time i want”. 

Thanks to team RP, I am looking forward to my training and the race season to follow.

Before I joined RunningPotential, I was a 47 year old who ran. Working with RunningPotential has changed me into a runner. It has made me understand the technical aspects required for success. RunningPotential helped me understand the importance of running form and what effortless running is all about. I attribute my improvement to RunningPotential’s well thought out training regimen and my  being very disciplined in following it. My advice to starting out to be a runner – join RunningPotential and 3-4 times a week; come rain or sun; late nights or distractions; hit the road for your prescribed run. You will come out hooked on running for life.