Every day for 30 days, Milind Soman is covering 50 to 60 kms, not in a swanky car, but a trusty pair of running shoes. The actor-model will reach Mumbai on May 20, concluding a run that started from Delhi on April 20.
“I run for about nine hours a day, from 4 am to 1 pm, followed by a short run of two hours in the evening, which I finish by 7 pm. During the break — which is five or six hours — I eat and sleep,” says Milind.
The ex-supermodel has been a competitive swimmer in the past, crediting his parents for getting him “addicted to being healthy, fit and positive, as well as not developing bad dietary habits.”
Although Milind has never followed a rigid fitness regime, he makes sure he works out for half an hour three to four times a week, apart from indulging in a physically challenging activity once a month.
Did he need extra training to prepare for this seemingly endless marathon? “Given my lifestyle, it’s not possible to really train for an event of this sort. Training starts on the first day of the run itself. It’s agonising for the first five-six days, then the body starts to adapt and you survive. After the first ten days, it gets physically more comfortable, but mentally the game is just beginning and it’s a big fight to stay focused and committed till the end. This kind of an event stretches you to the limit, physically, mentally and emotionally.”
Ask him why he undertook the gruelling run as part of the NDTV Greenathon campaign’s fourth edition, and he says, “Any habit that you cultivate that is good for your health is also good for the environment. Climbing stairs instead of taking the elevator is good for you and also saves electricity. Any little eco-friendly act helps. If you are committed to it, your effort will never be insignificant.”
Want to run marathons, but can only manage a few rounds of the park? Milind offers some advice for those who want to go the distance, provided they’re ready to be patient:
Work on your posture and technique, especially when you’re tired; it will protect you from injuries.
Take it slow. Speed will increase automatically as your
Increase distances gradually, keeping the hike comfortable and energising. Don’t exhaust yourself, except maybe once a month, then take a couple of days off before starting your training again.
Listen to your body – all the messages that it sends to your mind about its well being. Listen to your breath too. If you are panting, you are going too fast.
Remember that distance running is all about the mind. When you are in good physical shape, it is only the mind that can stop your performance. Train the mind to be calm.
Eating right for the road
A strictly light diet is what’s fuelling Milind’s stamina during the exhausting run. Here’s what his daily intake for the month includes: “I don’t follow a diet, and normally eat whatever I like. I generally have no rules or restrictions when it comes to eating or drinking. During the run, however, I eat very light, just fruits and tea till 1 pm, then lunch and dinner of rice and dal with vegetables and curd. I am drinking approximately 14 litres of water every day.