What started off as a random shot in the dark casual experience, proved to be the turning point of Sankalp Jain’s life. Going from a normal everyday office worker to a proper marathon runner. This is Sankalp’s success story about how he became a runner.
Here’s what we learned in an interview with him.
How did you first get into running?
I never had a background in running except for the casual runs in the school ground as a kid. That slowly developed my stamina and running skill. I came 1st in my class in a cross country run during 10th standard. I pretty much quit running during my 11th and 12th and that seemed like the end of it.
It all started with the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon back in 2015. I had discovered the event on Facebook and thought I’d give it a try. I had been working out for basic fitness for a while but I had no training exclusively for running nor a proper diet. It was just for fun and experience. I tried to adopt a running training regime but my social lifestyle kept distracting it. I trained for about 12-13 kilometres. I half prepared for about 2 months for the event and went in mostly physically unprepared for the set stage. I felt tired midway through the run and dragged myself with a run/walk pattern through the rest of the course. I completed the run in 2.45. I felt pretty proud and satisfied since I had such less training and practice leading up to the event.
That particular event changed everything. I saw all types of people running. Young, old, overweight, skinny, everyone. They all ran the same. It made me realize that age and weight don’t matter. I changed to a proper training regime specific to running to prepare for ADHM 2016 while participating in various other events along the way.
Evolving the mind and body
Firstly, it all came over a long period of time. Nothing is instant. I feel a lot less stressed now. The unnecessary destructive anger has lessened significantly. The feeling of achieving, doing something and on a whole feeling proud of myself in life was pretty awesome. My social recognition has grown after people see my social media posts about my running shenanigans. I feel it has built my social relevance which I feel is very important for any individual.
As for the body, I feel more confident about myself now since clothes fit and look good on me. My body is, needless to say much more athletic, agile and fit on a whole.
What events have you participated in and how has the experience helped you over time?
I’ve participated in over 40 events so far. The major ones are Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 2015 & 2016, IDBI Federal Life insurance Half Marathon Delhi & Mumbai, 2016 & 2017, Standard Chartered Mumbai Half Marathon, Pink city Marathon and so on.
I most important thing I learned from various events was to adapt to each event. All events have different surfaces, rules, organizers, and distances. It helps you understand and adapt to the variety.
How Fitso came in your journey?
I vaguely heard about Fitso and other fitness apps but didn’t pay much attention to it at first. I met Sourabh at the 2016 Millennium City Marathon who, after the run, told me about Fitso. There was a workshop by Fitso in Gurgaon which actually taught me a lot of new things. I failed to do well at the ADHM 2016 with a time of 2.20 which made me book a coach immediately after. Later I met Abhishek Rathore in a pre-run test at the Standard Chartered Mumbai Half Marathon 2016. I wasn’t exactly following the app routine then. I started following the regime properly after my meet with Abhishek.
Offline sessions and video analysis at Fitso
Offline sessions were much more intense than other days. Besides that, it helped connect with the trainer as well as gets real time advice and guidance from the coach. It’s a fantastic balance between app sessions and offline sessions.
The video analysis helped evaluate and correct my running style. Length, pace, cadence, posture. It helps understand where and what to build.
Fitso: Coach? More like a Friend
The coaches are more like friends who understand you and are always down for a conversation. They even take suggestions from sometimes and are open minded about things which are new and frankly pretty awesome. They don’t impose their goals upon you. Rather they let you choose a goal and help you achieve them. Simple as that. And most importantly, they kept changing my plans and programs according to my lifestyle regularly which is very convenient as a client.
I had a trainer for a month at the beginning from Fitso before moving to Abhishek Rathore. Like I mentioned earlier, I had met Abhishek before and it sort of worked between us. He, like all experts at Fitso, was always welcoming and open to any ideas and suggestions. Despite the fact that we have become good friends, he never holds back on criticising me whenever necessary. I feel it’s a very important quality to a better self. He created accurate monthly reports without any manipulations or bias. He changed my training regime regularly based on the results of these reports. The change works as it is adapted to the goal and current status. Besides that, the regular change kept it fun and enjoyable as opposed to following the same routine for months and years.
The most appreciated quality with Abhishek and other trainers/experts at Fitso is their ability to listen. They always listen to what I have to say and customise everything according to my exact needs.
My Half Marathon Personal Best: Fitso Cut my time by 37 minutes
I finished Standard Chartered Mumbai Half Marathon 2016 with a time of 2.28 after which I joined Fitso.
Now my personal best was at the IDBI Federal Life Insurance Mumbai Half Marathon 2016 where I finished with a time of 1.51.
Being Vegan is not a Sacrifice
I’m a vegan so getting in my daily protein is a challenge at times. But I try to cope with dal and other lentils. I have a high carb, high protein diet. I used to have a heavy dinner before but now I have a reasonably heavy lunch only. For dinner, I mostly go with liquids such as juices but sometimes when I’m too hungry I have some fruits or salad.
During the day I have coconut water, jeera water. I try to avoid oil as much as possible.
The X Factor
Being different and doing something different than what people usually do in their ‘normal’ lives. Having that ‘X’ Factor in life is what keeps me motivated. I aim to avoid a monotonous life. To not get trapped in the jail of the ‘normal’ lifestyle. Plus I travel across various places and explore them all while participating in events which is great.
Patience & Practice
Go slow. Don’t hurry. Have patience because it takes a time for distance running. Face the prospect as a journey and go at your own pace. Let the body adjust to the changes at its own speed. Don’t stress out too much over unrealistic targets.
Full Marathons and Ultras, Here I Come!
The immediate plans in sight for next year are the January Full Marathon and Ultra Marathon. I want to up my training and get into full marathons and Ultras after that. I plan to reduce the number of events and increase the distance in the events. I realise it’s a long way to go and I intend to take my time getting there while I build my body, mind, and name as a runner and create a foundation for myself.
We, here at Fitso as more than happy for Sankalp success and progress and wish him the best for the all great things to come. Kick off your running life today.