Pune's tri-stalwarts gear up to battle it out at the Goa triathlon

Pranav Shahaney

With the first endurance event of the new year - the Goa triathlon - a week away, athletes are working on their last-minute prep routines in order to be in optimum condition for the event on January 13.

Michelle Gouveia, director, Enduro Sports Goa, organisers of the Goa Triathlon 113 says that Pune was one of the leading cities sending triathletes to the event. “As many as 21 triathletes are taking part from Pune. Ten in the elite category - two women and eight men - and 11 in the amateur category (all men) from Pune have confirmed their participation,” Gouveia said.

Shirish Pathak, is an orthopedic surgeon from the city with a specialisation in sports medicine. He will be in Goa, trying to eclipse his personal best timing of 7 hours 29 minutes (half ironman).


Dr Shirish Pathk is now undergoing streamlined training routines which are helping him set higher targets. (Ravindra Joshi/HT PHOTO)

Training outdoors five days a week and indoors on the other two, Pathak has never felt that his triathlon career has come in the way of his medical one. Speaking to Hindustan Times, Pathak says: “Being an orthopedic surgeon with a specialisation in sports medicine I deal with athletes in different sports every day. Basically, it’s about understanding the importance of fitness in life – everything else is secondary. I always advise my patients to focus on working out and staying fit. If you’re passionate about anything, you can spare time to focus on it. Fitness is also very addictive. It’s also about setting certain targets. I began with half marathons, then marathons, half Ironman and now full Ironman,” says the 42 year-old.

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Training under Kaustubh Radkar, Pune’s 22-time Ironman finisher across six continents, Pathak has certainly learnt the ropes of long-distance running, cycling and swimming and has hit new levels of fitness which he previously did not believe he could achieve.

ONE MAN’S JOURNEY TO THE LIMIT, AND BEYOND
Dr Shirish Pathak trains under a professional triathlete. This allows him to tailor his training schedule and to also keep him always raising the bar to ensure the next race is completed in a faster time. This is Pathak’s training regimen for the Goa triathlon

Only practising the aforementioned sports as hobbies, the orthopedic surgeon is now undergoing streamlined training routines which are helping him set higher targets.

Pathak says, “I was training on my own with a few friends who were running and cycling. I suffered many injuries, which made me realise I wasn’t on the right path. That’s when I got in touch with Radkar and started to streamline my routines. Luckily, I met him when he came to me as a patient and that’s where we decided to give it a go.”

Radkar not only trains with Pathak, but has also set up a number of training routines for him which he continues to monitor on a weekly basis.

Pathak feels that having someone to check on how he is faring in warm-ups is just the incentive he needs to keep pushing his body to the limit, and beyond.


Dr Shirish Pathak is an orthopedic surgeon from the city with a specialisation in sports medicine. (Ravindra Joshi/HT PHOTO)

Training for the three triathlon legs on the same day is nigh on impossible, so Pathak evens out his routines into five different days. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, he focuses solely on running, which is highly dissimilar to the layperson’s early morning jogs at 6 am. In fact, there are four different types of running categories he practices on a weekly or monthly basis.

The first is interval training which he splits into lengths of 400m each. Thus, for the first length he runs it at his maximum speed, before slowing down completely for the following one. This helps him conserve energy at regular intervals of time and also helps him build his stamina for the following length, which he is expected to run full throttle.

He then practices hill repeats where he scales the terrain of Sinhagad, Symbiosis College at SB Road, and even the tekdi on Law College road. Slightly longer runs also come into his training schedule which scale from 20-40 km with a gradual increment of 4km per run. This helps him build momentum going into a long-distance event and also helps him practice breathing patterns.

The final variation he practices is a tempo run in which he maintains a speed that is slightly faster than his race pace. However, the distances are nowhere close to the long runs, which are more tiresome.


Quotes:

Ten in the elite category - two women and eight men; and 11 in the amateur category (all men) from Pune have confirmed their participation.

Michelle Gouveia, director, Enduro Sports, Goa Triathlon 113

There are different diet plans available, but I have not changed my diet drastically. I calculated the number of calories I’m ingesting and then calculated how much I’m burning. After that I went into percentage detail to see how much is protein, carbohydrate and fat. I realised that I needed to increase my intake, so I added eggs, chicken, fish to my diet.

Dr Shirish Pathak , Pune triathlete competing in Goa Triathlon 113