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Inspiring Debut: Interview with Ladakh Marathoner Sridhar Bandi

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

I often encountered friends competing in different formats of long-distance running and wondered how they did it. In our WhatsApp group, one of my batch-mates from #IIMB, Sridhar, recently posted about his debut half-marathon at Ladakh. It is one thing to attempt a half-marathon. Sridhar took it to the next level, undertaking his debut half-marathon in one of the most challenging running conditions. It was inspiring to see, and I wanted to know how he did it, so I contacted him for an email interview as he was traveling. Here is what I learned from his experience.

1. Please briefly describe the experience in a few words.

Indeed, one will reach the goal if one believes in yourself and keeps going one step at a time. We can succeed by doing things sincerely, honestly, and steadily, while carelessness and haste result in failure.

2. How did you decide to take on this challenging race in such a high-altitude location?

Like every gully cricket player dreams of playing for the INDIA Cricket team, I wanted my FIRST marathon participation to be very special. I thought Ladhak High Altitude was a good challenge for me.

3. Did you follow a specific training regimen leading to the half-marathon?

Yes, training is essential. Dedicated every day and weekly run schedules. Full body strengthening exercises helped me prepare for the run.

4. Can you share some physical challenges you faced during the race and how you overcame them?

Running nose, headache, breathlessness, ear pain, muscle contraction, lack of sleep, etc. To overcome I needed to adapt my body to high-altitude conditions. So, every day, I put myself into running training in the morning at 9 Degrees. Gradually, my body understood the air pressure atmosphere and acclimatized to some extent.

5. Were there moments during the marathon when you felt like giving up?

I was determined not to give up. Just after 16 KM, I felt a bit tired, but I never allowed that thought to overrule me from STOPPING the race.

6. How did you maintain your motivation and mental focus throughout the race?

My Motivational Feeling: I will successfully complete my First Debutant marathon at high-altitude Ladhak. Every marathonist dreams of this event, and I am lucky enough to participate in this race.

7. Did you experience any anxiety or nervousness before the race?

No nervousness. I am always happy feeling that I will complete my debutant marathon.

8. What strategies did you use to manage your emotions and stay calm under pressure?

Never felt under pressure throughout the race, except for tiredness, which I managed to overcome, telling myself that I had almost done it and it was a few more steps.

9. Did preparing for the marathon significantly impact your work or personal life?

I balanced my work-life by allocating disciplined time to work and LIFE.

10. How did you balance your training schedule with work and other commitments?

Passion and work can go in parallel; with interest, prioritization, and dedication, balance automatically happens.

11. Did you have a specific diet plan leading up to the race?

Basic breakfast, lunch, and Dinner. No special diet, just Hygienic and healthy food. Absolutely no bingeing or overeating.

12. How did you prioritize recovery and nutrition in your training routine?

Yes, cooling down exercises, strengthening stretching exercises, recovery drinks, energy drinks, nuts, and food with good nutrition.

13. Did you have a coach or training partners who supported you in your journey?

There were no training partners; it was all self-training powered by self-discipline.

14. Can you share how your support system contributed to your success in the marathon?

My Support system consists of family members and friends who guided and encouraged my passion, were always with me, and wished me the best for my successful journey.

15. What were your specific goals for this marathon, and did you achieve them?

As a first-time marathon runner, my aim was to FINISH the race, which I successfully achieved and was rewarded with a Medal.

16. How do you set and work towards goals in your professional life, and did your marathon experience influence this?

No cheating, No laziness, Sincere efforts and dedication, hard work

17. Were there unexpected challenges during the race, and how did you adapt to them?

Pain, tiredness, etc., during that time, STOP running, START walking, Divert your mind, think about your body, talk to co-runners, keep smiling, listen to music, take in the scenic, etc., which will keep you moving in the race.

18. Can you draw parallels between your ability to adapt during the marathon and your approach to handling unexpected situations at work?

Both have unexpected situations; a marathon has sudden breathlessness, pace, muscle aches, etc., parallel to work management stress, delivery, and ergonomics. The approach is that one needs to get well-trained and equipped so that we are capable of handling situations.

19. What key lessons have you learned from completing this half-marathon in Ladakh?

Primary Lessons: One should be calm, disciplined, and steady.

First Lesson: I must keep moving steadily with complete dedication and determination to achieve my objective. Keep walking the route ( life ) despite all the obstacles we encounter. Never give up; persistence will help us be focused, humble, stay on track, and inspired.

Second Lesson: Never be overconfident, thinking we are best and better than others. This will make them disrespectful, self-centered, and rude.

Third Lesson: Never compare to others.

Never get discouraged if someone is faster and ahead throughout the race. Never complain about the advantage racers have; never complain about situations. Never fear the challenge, though you know the odds are stacked against you. Never let the differences STOP from competing in the race.

20. How can the experiences and skills you gained from this race apply to your role as a corporate professional?

Experiences gained from this race will definitely help because of a never-give-up attitude and cross-over hills successfully ahead in front, and this kind of calibrated mindset will help corporate professionals.

21. Do you plan to take on more endurance challenges?

Yes. Calculate, prepare, and execute, which will help take more challenges.

22. How do you see your experiences as a corporate athlete influencing your future personal and professional goals?

As a Corporate athlete, however, things are tough coming up on your way, either Personal or Professional. Create small steps ( break them down into simple multiple tasks ) to help you reach the top, i.e., GOAL. This way, anything is achievable.

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