1. Career Highlights - Medals of Glory
Neera has an impressive list of accomplishments with having BQed thrice and ran the Boston Marathon once. She has also held podium positions in 10Ks, HMs and FMs since 2009, in races held by Procam, Life is calling, Pinkathon etc .
2. Her sport & what she loves about it - Her Passion
Neera loves long distance running for it&s simplicity. She says, 'You don&t need expensive equipment, team/opponents, or great deal of skill to engage in it. You get a high every time you run, you burn a lot of calories and stay in great shape, get a sense of accomplishment and make like minded friends in this sport.'
3. What got her started - How the journey began
Neera had an active childhood with a love for outdoors. Track & field events in school translated into long distance running in adulthood when she took it up as a means to keep fit.
4. Her fitness mantra
Eat right, rest & recover, cross-train and don&t let your sport become a source of stress to you. At the end of the day you are an amateur runner who is into it for the LOVE of the sport.
5. Biggest sport challenge
Infrastructure provisions for athletes is Neera's biggest challenge. She says there is a lack of ideal training grounds /courses. The only decent synthetic track in the city has either timing restrictions or is overcrowded. The roads have busy traffic and are polluted, there aren&t good trails around and running in the dark hours poses a safety risk for women.
6. Favorite sport memory
In Neera's words, 'I am not a very sentimental person and don&t attach too much value to one thing in particular but I cherish every win and will fondly remember it if you ask me about it. Long runs in forest trails and lonely hills of my village in Himachal are memorable.'
7. What she'd like to share with fellow fitness enthusiasts
Neera says the following, 'If it&s an advice, it would be 'extremes are easy, strive for balance' and be 'passionate not emotional' about your sport. This is in the context of new athletes overdoing it by running too many miles, or races too soon and getting injured. Or even seasoned runners setting very ambitious goals for themselves, ignoring the science behind their training, overdoing it and ending up demoralized or injured. There are individual differences in the limits your bodies so understand your body over period of time and tweak or fine-tune it. Train it wisely and let it improve at it&s own pace without comparing it with others. Do not succumb to peer pressure and make it stressful to yourself if you wish to derive satisfaction from your sport in the long run (both literally and figuratively).'
8. Favorite Fast&Up fuel
In Neera's words, 'I would say Fast&Up Recover as without it my body takes longer to get rid of training soreness and fatigue. I also like its refreshing taste. I am also beginning to like ProTotal and have made a switch to it from Whey protein. For hydration Reload is my staple in the long runs.'
9. What her normal training day looks like
This is what a normal training day for Neera looks like:
-- Wake up at 3:20 a.m
-- Leave home by 4 a.m
-- Start workout by 4:20; finish it just as the training group comes in at 5:30. Coach the group for two hours; cool down with them and wind up by 7:30 a.m. She takes Recover immediately then breakfast with trainees at the stadium eatery.
-- Go home or go to take a personal training session for one of her clients if it is scheduled.
-- During the day take a nap for 2 hours
-- In the evening attend to personal training sessions for clients.
10. Favorite place to train - Training Haven
Cubbon park trails, GKVK Trails, Nandi Hills, the hilly roads of her village in Himachal.
11. Everyday fitness diet
Neera's aim is to have balanced meals and definitely have foods that are recommended for runners. Things that figure in her everyday diet are : Banana, apple, dry fruits, an egg, milk, curd, dal, carrots, beetroot, greens, other vegetables (all in rotation throughout the week or a saute of mixed veggies like brocoli, red & yellow peppers, mushrooms, celery, cottage cheese etc in one meal). Neera also has non-veg once or twice a week. In addition to this, Neera takes her mult-vitamins and Fast&Up Recover, ProTotal everyday and Activate & Reload during her training.
12. Her fitness inspiration
Neera takes her inspiration from Some older runners who she sees training hard and clocking some phenomenal times in races. Some runners she knows personally who win every time by sheer persistence and mental grit - their mental strength is truly amazing! Some leading athletes of cross-fit who seem to be able to do the impossible. The Iron men with such endurance and mind blowing race times, the para athletes who perform against all odd give her goose bumps!
Truly brilliant people to take inspiration from!
13. Her biggest motivation
Seeing her body improving steadily and exploring its capability is a big motivator for Neera. Prizes & wins are incentives and motivators as well :)
14. What pushes her to the finish line
In her words, 'I don&t know, it must be the breakfast at the end of the run! (laughs) Once you start the race, you are on a roll, you don&t think much. Your job is to keep pushing hard and pick up pace like crazy when you see the finish line.'
15. One goal she'd like to achieve
Neera says that she is content person with no big or set goals. She doesn't like to think or plan too much because life is unpredictable (you can break a limb, lose somebody dear or die tomorrow!) and she likes to approach life with an open attitude. So when asked for an ultimate goal, Neera says, 'To keep deriving joy from seeing my body breaking its earlier barriers, achieving it&s potential, grow old having led a long healthy life which was satisfying physically, emotionally and mentally.'
16. Importance of sports nutrition in her life
Neera says that sports nutrition is extremely important for performance in your sport. A healthy balanced diet is the basis of a healthy body but the supplementary right nutrition is what gives an edge in your performance.