A happy runner

Tania Roy
Sunday, 22 December 2019

Faridabad-based marathoner Seema Yadav’s climb to the top has been meteoric but she never allows her victories to get into her head

It’s all about the mind. Only because your mind is strong you can train hard and run well,” says 40-year-old Faridabad-based amateur marathoner, mom, doctor and yogini, Seema Yadav, adding, “Boston Marathon 2019 has been my biggest race so far. However, prior to the race, I had a knee injury. My training was hampered and I wasn’t able to run for three weeks because of which my confidence was low. I even thought that I wouldn’t be able to finish the race. The only reason I made it to the finish line was because I kept telling myself not to stop. Also, the crowd support and the cheerful environment helped,” says Seema who clocked 3 hours and 26 minutes in Boston. “Also, I achieved a Personal Best (PB) by 4 minutes,” she beams. 

Now, she is looking forward to Tata Mumbai Marathon 2020. “I am also running Bajaj Allianz Pune Half Marathon (BAPHM) on December 22,” says Seema, who is one of the mentors of the second edition of BAPHM. At Airtel Delhi Half Marathon (ADHM), held in October 2019, she secured the second place in the open category and won gold in her age group. “I wasn’t happy though because I could not execute what I had trained for. This happened for the first time. From the start of the race, I felt ‘This is not my day’. But to evolve as a runner, you need to experience both the good and the bad,” says Seema who started running only sometime back. “My first run was on January 31, 2016 with a running group in Delhi. I ran 7 km at a stretch. I was thinking of giving ADHM a shot that year, so I wanted to see how I’d fare,” says the humble runner who in three years has made it big in the running circuit and is a podium finisher in almost all the races she participates across India. 

Before she took up running, Seema used to practise yoga and continues to do so. “Yoga is my passion and has helped my running. It takes care of my stretching, improves my breathing pattern and makes me feel relaxed and calm,” says the mother of a six-year-old. “When I run, I am not a mom, a wife or a daughter. It’s my ‘me time’ and I feel very happy. I get a runner’s high. I run for myself, and try to do better,” says Seema who qualified for Boston (which is the Mecca for runners) within two years of her running journey. 

To train for a race, she runs four times a week — Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. “On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I do my speed runs. On Saturdays, I do my tempo and Sundays are for long runs. I do my strength training on Wednesdays and Fridays, and Mondays are rest days. After I finish my runs, I do 30-40 minute yoga,” says Seema who makes a special mention of her friend, guide and mentor Colonel (retd) Arun Malik, who has helped her immensely in her marathon journey.

Usually, runners keep aside early mornings or evenings from their daily schedule for practice. Seema goes anytime. “Sometimes, I drop my son to school, around 9.30 or 10 am, and then I am off for my run. Sometimes, I do it around lunchtime. Some days, I go in the evenings, from 5 to 7.30 pm. It all depends on my day’s schedule,” she says.
   
The tall, lean runner has made a few changes in her diet in the last six or seven months. “Earlier, I would have regular food which I would make at home for my family. But for the past few months, I have been following a dietary discipline. Now, I have oats with banana and peanut butter for breakfast. Lunch is dal-chawal or khichdi along with vegetables. Dinner is a bland vegetable dish or soup. I avoid chapati in the evenings, however, I consume sweet potatoes, potatoes or bananas when I feel very hungry. I keep munching on fruits, murmura and plain roasted peanuts throughout the day,” says Seema who is a vegetarian and does not even consume eggs. 
 
So is she a born runner or does she have it in her genes? She laughs and goes on to say, “Well, my dad was a national level kabaddi player and used to work in the defence. Both my parents are very hardworking. So something may have rubbed off.” 

Running has helped her evolve into a better individual. “I have become more mature,” says the coach for Asics Running Club, Delhi, and continues, “Running has become a part of me, it’s not something I do differently. I go for the races, come back home happy and get on with my daily responsibilities. I don’t celebrate my runs as I am not a party person. If I achieve my goal, I feel good. That said, I don’t let my victories get into my head. I would say the song, Main Pal Do Pal Ka Shair Hoon best explains my thoughts. You are good today, but there could be someone better tomorrow.”

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