My Sub-2 Half Marathon Journey

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

It was in 2017 that I started running actively. That year, I participated in many 10K and Half Marathons. I then took part in the Tata Mumbai Half Marathon 2018 and got my personal best time of 02:07:34. Below are my half marathon timings from 2017 and 2018.

EventDateTotal TimeMinutes/kmAverage HRElevation
LSOMMay 28, 201702:10:0806:10170202
NIO Vision Half MarathonJuly 23, 201702:11:5506:02172153
AFMC Half MarathonSeptember 10, 201702:10:1706:01171210
Tata Mumbai Half Marathon 2018January 21, 201802:07:3406:0117161

After completing four Half Marathons, I set my goal on achieving Sub-2 in Tata Mumbai Marathon 2019. But after participating in many races in 2017, I did not run a single race in 2018 after the Tata Mumbai half marathon.

To achieve Sub-2, I started running faster, without building an adequate base which led to injuries. I had a Heel Spur, my Achilles tendon hurt, and I had Iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome. All the injuries impacted the quality of my training and I had my worst run in Tata Mumbai Half Marathon in January 2019.

EventDateTotal TimeMinutes/kmAverage HRElevation
Tata Mumbai Half Marathon 2019January 20, 201902:23:2706:4517271

I had to revise my plans, so I decided to take adequate rest before restarting the next phase of training. In June 2019, I registered for the 2020 Tata Mumbai Half marathon and was determined to get my Sub 2. I restarted my training on 2nd September 2019. I decided to run for six days a week and was very cautious about not getting injured. I clocked 12km in the first week and reached an average of 25km a week by the end of September. So far, so good, I was not injured

In hindsight, my first ‘The Alchemist’ moment (aka ‘When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.’) came in the last week of September when I came across the concept of Zone 2 Heart Rate Training articles and videos.

Running slowly as opposed to running fast, was counter-intuitive. In October and November, I decided to follow Zone 2 Heart Rate Training. I would typically run at 6:15 seconds with a heart rate of about 167. To get my heart rate around 140, I had to slow down my running pace to about 8 minutes 15 seconds.

Running slow was painfully difficult as it did not feel as though I am training. And it would feel awkward at times when people walking fast would overtake me. #TMM2020 was in January 2020, which means I had only 90 days left after the Zone 2 Heart Rate Training to introduce speed workouts. So, in the back of my mind, I was a bit worried about whether I would really make it or not as any deviation from the plan would put me off course. But the Zone 2 Heart Rate Training was totally worth it. In the two months period, I was able to run at a higher pace with a lower heart rate. And most importantly, I remained injury free!

My second ‘The Alchemist’ moment came when I came to know that there was no travel scheduled before the race day.

My third ‘The Alchemist’ moment came in the last week of November 2019, when my teammate Hemant Jaiswal introduced me to Get Shredded article by the founder of fittr. It gave me a great perspective on nutrition. By following the information in the article, and tracking what I eat using My Fitness Pal, until a day before the race day, I was able to drop 7.8 Kg (I went from 78kg to 70.2kg). My family’s support during this period was very significant.

My fourth ‘The Alchemist‘ moment came in December 2019, when I came across a blog by Dr. Purnendu Nath. The blog talked about a Sub-2 Tata Mumbai Half Marathon pacing strategy. The combination of information provided by him and the speed workouts explained in Daniel’s Running Formula helped me in a great way in building my own training plan. I was able to build an effective pacing strategy that I fed in my Garmin 935 and execute it on the race day. Below is my pacing strategy for Sub-2 Tata Mumbai half marathon 2020.


My fifth ‘The Alchemist‘ moment arrived on the race day, 19th Jan 2020, in the form of a pleasant Mumbai weather, 18 degrees Celsius. It was not humid, and I was able to do better than my plan of completing the marathon.

To summarize, in the last 4 months after

I got my first Sub-2 Half Marathon by clocking by personal best of 01:54:07!

Now, moving on to my next goal of completing a full marathon!