My name is Ilanchezhian and here is my second blog (read the first one here) on the learnings I had after completing the first full marathon last year successfully. I’ve decided to pen it down for my reference in the future and also for helping any run enthusiastic.

A brief history

Having completed the full marathon with satisfying finish timing of 4:37 hr in Oct’18, my heart went towards running an ultramarathon. I decided to register for the OOTYULTRA in April’19 along with my friends Subbiah and JP. Even though my friends were confident that we all could do a 60K, I was sceptical because of the elevation profile and the tough course. Moreover, hill running was very new to me. I discussed this with my mentors Prasad and JP and both had suggested to take it slow and run a 30k instead.

My training for OOTYULTRA

I started training with JP regularly from Dec’18. We ran the LSD’s at the Bangalore pipeline road and at Cubbon park on weekends. We gradually built the long run mileage from 15k, 20k and 30k till Feb’19. Strangely, I started experiencing some issues and my legs started to give up in Feb’19. I found to have stiffness on my legs and started feeling an uneasy level numbness quite often. I still remember the music and the pain cries from my legs! Concerned about this development I consulted a sports Doctor/Physio and started doing prescribed muscle stretches twice a day.

By that time the registration for OOTYULTRA ended. With 3 weeks of regular stretches, the pain levels started to ease and I started feeling better.

Around that time my friend Priya Gopi recommended me to Coach Kay.

New goals, new directions

I later discovered that Coach Kay was also the OOTYULTRA event organizer. I spoke to him by the end of March’19 and found his approach to be very systematic. By assessing through all the discussions that we both had and the inputs I provided, he asked me to consult Dr Ranganath, a sports Physio and get an FMS test done. I met the physio in Bangalore and he performed a few assessments. He then helped me understand that I had movement limitations due to chronic muscle tightness and provided me with an array of improvement steps which included strength exercises and stretches.

Coach also reviewed my condition with Dr Ranga and suggested me to work on base building this year and postpone the marathon and Ultra goals to a later time. He was able to sense that if I would have gone ahead of my goals, I might have landed in serious of injuries impairing my performance. We agreed to build up an adequate level of strength and stability and also focus on two shorter running events, a half marathon at both the TRORT & the Bangalore Marathon.

Around that time my friend Priya Gopi recommended me to Coach Kay.

The training

He worked out a nice looking training plan through Trainingpeaks which had a speed session, tempo and a long run (mostly LSD’s in a controlled pace) along with some balance, core and different combinations of strength training every week. During the first two weeks, I had some challenges in adapting to the schedule. On some days I even struggled to cope up with the needs. I regularly consulted with my coach and with some more adjustments done to the plan, from the third week onwards I was able to adapt to the plan. However, I found the Tempo pace was challenging since I had never done a structured long tempo runs. On a few occasions, I had stomach cramps soon after the tempo runs.

I again consulted with Coach Kay and he recommended to consult a doctor. I consulted with my doctor who also analyzed my blood reports and suggested a few diet changes. I would like to thank my dear wife Subha in helping with the diet changes immediately. Along with this change, Coach suggested few fueling strategies before and during running. I started following them rigorously.


Today, during the TRORT half marathon, I had realized the importance of structured training and the speed tempo routines. I was not only able to run at a 5:40 pace for a long and sustained time but also finished the TRORT with a personal best time, an improvement of over 12 minutes from my last half marathon.

Ilanchelizn with friends

How did I achieve this?

Having recovered from numbness a few months before, I did not want to have any pacing strategies/target time. My friends had warned about the toughness of the undulating and tough TRORT route. I decided to participate and enjoy the run and put all my training time into testing.

At the finish line

I made up my mind not to see the Garmin often and saw the timing at the end of every kilometre. I enjoyed the scenic route, fueled (banana, dates & chikki) at regular intervals. I sipped water as and when required and took electrolytes every 2 km after completing 8 km. Believe me, I never saw the cumulative running time until about 18k and also did not engage in calculating the pace and time to complete the race. I felt unusually strong at 18k and realized a sub2 was in the making.

By that time, I had climbed up the last hill, and the last 2.5km was a downhill. I thanked Coach Kay and the training and started pushing myself with loads of happiness. I completed the last 3 km in 5:44, 5:14, 4:26 respectively and completed the race in 1:58:51. On top it, I felt very delighted to experience that it was an injury-free race 😊.

I’m still enjoying the satisfying feeling of a sub-2 PB run along with the pleasure of running on a scenic hilly terrain. The event was well organized and I had a good time with my friends. I dedicate this run to my mentor Prasad who watered and grew the running seed in me when life was getting very tough.

I’m looking forward to advancing my training and the Bangalore Marathon this year. I’ll certainly approach my ULTRA run goals with more confidence in the coming months.

Many hurdles may come and go, but my journey continues with the support from family, friends and mentors!

Ilanchezhian Vellaichamy


AMBALAVANAN SIVAGURUNATHAN · July 30, 2019 at 1:51 pm

You are a STAR Ilan! So proud and happy for you! All the best! Keep Rocking! God bless!

    K.Vellaichamy · August 2, 2019 at 6:20 am

    நலமே நாடி நடை பயிவோம்

Narayanan Muthuswamy · July 30, 2019 at 3:57 pm

Spectacular… clarity in thought .. in the writing , so on the run too! Congratulations Ilanchezhian … happy for you! The manner in which you approached resolution to some of the bodily challenges, the openness to accept views, and right decisions have ensured this run.. more than a trot for sure! Thanks for sharing!

Prasad · July 30, 2019 at 4:03 pm

What a champion. We all are so proud of you. Wishing you many more success

K.Vellaichamy · August 2, 2019 at 6:15 am

Congratulations.we can excel everything we do

Ramapriya P Purushothaman · August 4, 2019 at 6:29 am

Congratulations Ilan, you are born to run.I had the chance to witness you in action WHAT A RUN!! This is just the beginning,All the best my friend for more such PBs.

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