Soldier Sandeep Q & A
|©Great Strides 2008 Shelly Florence Glover|
Q. I looked
up the Indian Military Academy - its very
impressive. Did either of their mottos have an effects
on your running?
Q. About how many participants?
A Some background before I answer this. The academy back then was structured for 18 months of instructions split into three 6 month terms. In the first term, we only had cadets who had joined the academy directly after college. In the second term, graduates from the National Defense Academy (NDA)and from another academy for junior commissioned officers also joined. The NDA academy is for officer trainees who join after high school and get their college degree in NDA and the other academy is for officer trainees who joined directly as soliders and have now completed the requirements to train as officers.
Back then, during each of the 3 terms, there was one signature long competitive run and it used to be after a 3-4 day field exercise. The objective was to simulate war conditions, so we would dig up trenches and set up security parameters and do other field exercises and sleep in tents etc. During first term, it is called Silver Belt and is only for first termers. The distance for that one was less than 30km. The run during second term is the marathon distance run and is called Golden Belt. The run during the third and final term is called the Diamond Belt and it is close to 75km long so similar to an ultramarathon.I ran the Silver Belt and the Golden Belt only as I left the academy during my second term.
They have recently changed the academy format to a 2 six-month terms so I am not sure what the format is these days. Now to the question, I think the number of participants was close to 500.
Q. Did your unit win?
Q.Was it purely a military event? This was purely a military event for Cadets in the second term. If I recall correctly, the academy was split up in to 4 battalions with each battalion having 2 companies. So the competition is between the 8 companies. Within the academy, it was one of the key events of the term with huge bragging rights for the winner. The time for the company was the time it took the slowest cadet in the company to complete. It reinforced team spirit in that way as you had to carry the slackers along.
Q What advice do you have for first-timers ?
A.This event requires an equal amount of mental and physical preparation. It requires a lot of commitment, focus and fortitude. You need to take a holistic approach to do well, eat well, get adequate rest and most important is to train well. The long runs are the key to simulating your race day experience. Have a plan for the race and stick to the plan. Have your objective clearly defined in your mind and do not change it during the race. So for my second marathon, my objective was to complete the race without injuring myself. The miles between 14-20 were the hardest for me, once I crossed the 20 mile mark, the goal seemed achievable.
Q. What is your occupation?
Q. What would you do different?
I will run my long runs closer to my race day pace. I took too many walking breaks during my training and it all showed up during the race.
Q.Why did you pick running for exercise? What is the best part of running? Anything else you want to add?
The best part I like about running is that in order to
become a decent runner you need to take the holistic
approach. You have to watch what you eat, what you
drink and give your body enough rest. It is an
activity you can do by yourself though I highly
recommend having one or more running partners and you
can run most anywhere these days.
Q How many long runs and what was your weekly mileage going into the Long Island?I think my weekly mileage was less than 25 miles and I probably did 3 long runs. I just had to go out there and run the marathon again because my mind feels a lot younger than my body actually is.
It has been fun answering these questions
and it has brought back a lot of good memories. I am sure some of
the information I am providing you about the events at
the academy may not be totally accurate as it was 22
years back. I do recall sitting in the cafeteria after
the event for 2-3 hours with some of my fellow cadets,
our legs stretched, our minds totally empty and a lot
of good food in front of us. It is truly a unique
A Little More
Running Coach Shelly Glover has a master's degree in exercise physiology from Columbia University. She co-authored The Runner's Handbook and The Competitive Runner’s Handbook. Coach Glover is a veteran road runner and marathoner. She coaches The Greater New York Racing Team is available for private coaching. Coaching Services