World TCS 10k – 5 years and running in to PBs #belike

A 46:25 ripper in 2019 and making 44:39 happen is quite a journey to begin with. The shorter runs have become equally stressful when you thrive to always perform your best and conquer those new PRs and provided if all goes well, it ends well.
Post the Ultras in 2022, a recovery phase was in progress and had to be taken up at every cost to look forward to events you didn’t want to miss. So it was time to reset and start from -1. It was strength and strength all over the place that had to be channelized and curated to stop those frequent niggles in the glutes. A release cycle followed by some glute activation, courtesy Babu Vamshi at Vera Fitness Center helped realise the importance of those many minor workouts that lifted the weight off my back and made you feel much lighter. 

This was indeed an eye opener due to fact that I carry a L5 disc bulge and still wanting to build the much needed mobility and also let our fellow runners know that it can be done. 

A month past and progress in terms of less pain and infrequent niggles could be realised. The time off from running also lead to weight gains here and there and TCS 10k was in sight as a path to get back and make things right. 
The BIB collection was a crazy affair too with loads of brands making it present felt. Nevertheless, My usual takeaway was from fastandup and ended picking up the muscle recovery capsules. These are quite handy in your travels and so is the case with foodstrong travel packs made from cow milk protein.

The ritual had to be done right too. Getting clicked at the runners wall of fame that gives you quite a boost on how you can excel at your next TCS 10k is comforting. 
The start time was at 5:30am, so that boils down to a wakeup tim at 3:30am followed by an hour to answer natures call a couple of time out of nervousness and some muesli to begin with. Four fastandup gels this time too. One 5-10 minutes before the race begins, and then the rest between 2-3kms, 5-6kms and 7-8kms and a couple of sips of water to keep it gluey during the entire route. 
This year I wasn’t sure what more needed to be done as my thoughts were circling around the pace at which I could sustain to ensure I don’t discover the niggles again. That would definitely put me off track and was something I was not willing to go through. I also came across an article by geeksonfeet and was delighted to see how the entire route was described in terms of pace that you would intend to achieve. This was indeed helpful.
Here’s the link:-
Pasting here the elevation profile which I feel is the decider:-

And this 

This can be a deal breaker for some if you do not end up standing ahead as much as you can at the start line. In addition to the hustle to be at the start line, don’t ve surprised if you come across instance wherein other category runners get lined up before yours. It all depends on humongous the turnout is at the much appreciated World TCS 10k. So, if you are looking to line up in A section, try to get your personal best in other 10k events instead of submitting last years TCS 10k timings. The othe events will be less crowded and you will get to the category of your choice at TCS.

With the countdown nearing the start time, jitters blow out from every part of your body. One because you want to get done with 10km as soon as possible and second, put an end to the stress you may be carrying from the day you singed up till the day you run it out at the event. Because afterall it’s the D day that matters the most and can lead any results, be it positive or negative, embrace it and strategize accordingly to the next big what.

Okay, now that we scooted out of the crowd, running at the sides can help make way for your self instead of running in between runners. Mind you not to miss the timing mats wherever placed. Give way please or excuse me would be a nice gesture asking runners ahead of you to let you through. Be apologetic when you bump in to someone accidentally. The 1st km is more of a struggle due to the gradual incline and the crowd offcourse. If you have been training on elevation, the 1km gives you a upper hand over the others to get pass sooner as many would take it easy on the very first incline of the race. But do not burn out yourself hoping to just get out of the chaos as you may end up slowing down ahead. A good recce of the route prior to the event can also let you plan your race and you know how much can be pushed consistently on the race route. Hence, let those training miles draft you the story you want to etch on the D day.

Heres the elevation profile that gets competitive when you don’t want to drop down your pace and keep miling those kilometres under your belt to exceed the expectations. 

The heart rate is still a worry for me and I practice to keep it in 180 range and this varies for different age categories.

Here’s a tip:-
To calculate your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220.
For example, if you’re 30 years old, your maximum heart rate would be 190.
Keep in mind, this is just a guide. Your maximum heart rate may vary 15 to 20 bpm in either direction.
Having said the above, always indulge in tests as prescribed by your doctor to ensure your well being. Gadgets do help you keep a tab on it but for the ones who are not keen on wearing one should definitely have alternative methods to judge those spikes during the run. All this can be learnt from your goto doctor and physiotherapist. 
With 1kms done, the next 2 kilometres were a happy decline and helps you recover from the last climb. This is your opportunity to balance out the pacing strategy. One long stretch till the 3km and back till about 4-5kms is a good straight road for you to not worry much about turns. 
Your next short stretch of elevation would be around 6-7 kilometres as you reach Vidhan Sabha and is another long stretch for you to change gears before you enter cubbon park. 

A merry go round in the park and you head to the library and target the end gate towards kanteerva and is also the last stretch where you can go all guns blazing considering this is the last leg of the race. 
Don’t forget to sip water whenever required and you are into gels, monitor those intakes as an when needed. Bottom line is, do not get wasted thinking the time taken at water station and the time involved in peeling those gels sachets and consuming it on the route can hamper your timings, instead it will help you continue the way you wish to and the way you have laid your training plans in the past. 
Phew! , We are back where we began and such a relief from all the agony and kudos to yet another injury free or rather new injury free run. This was all needed to add some boost to your comebacks and guess what, we were never gone :).
Glad to have met a lot to known faces and greetings followed at this home ground. Run machines of Sutra had a good turn out and many ended up with PBs. A hectic morning  from 3:30am came to an end. 

The strava journey so far at TCS 10k route

Quote of the day
Remember all those hard training runs you did to get here. This is the payoff!