The Solefest runner of the fortnight is Priti Chawda. Those who run on the roads of Vadodara, it is highly unlikely that they may not have come in contact with her. Priti works with the Railways as Chief Staff & Welfare Inspector. Let us hear from her about her running exploits and what knowledge she would like to share with the fellow runners of Vadodara.
Solefest: Priti Chawda you are a sportperson, you played Table Tennis and currently you are an officiating Umpire also in the game. Please tell us something more about your sporting journey.?
Priti Chawda: I Sports is in my genes. Started running with 800 mts event at the age of 6, representing at State level. My father was an athlete but couldn’t continue due to knee injury, so he always wanted me to choose some other sport. At the age of 7 started playing Tennis with my younger brother. Later at the age of 8 seriously started pursuing Table Tennis and played my first National at the age of 11 in under 12 category. Have played 15 Nationals in various age groups and have been a Gujarat State Champion in various categories over the years.
Presently, I am the only woman in Gujarat to be certified as International Umpire and a Level 2 International Coach. So far, I have officiated as Umpire in two International events. I am also on selection board of Gujarat State Table Tennis Association.
Now, I am not an active TT player and have renewed my connection with athletics developing a passion for running.
SF: Being from active sports, I can say that maintaining a proper diet was one integral part of the sports journey, throw some light on that
PC: Nutrition is an integral part of any sports. It’s important to eat before starting activity in the morning and equally so to appropriately refuel after workout for recovery. Our body requires right balance of carbs and fats and supplements like multi vitamins, minerals and protein as per individual requirement for performance and endurance. Since childhood my mother cultivated habit of eating healthy balanced meals in many times a day.
SF: How did you take to running?
PC: I quit playing TT four years after birth of my second child. It was the year 2013. It was becoming difficult for me to do long hours of practice and that too always dependent on partner for practicing to remain in form. But being away from sports is difficult for an active sportsperson and it creates a kind of vacuum and edginess affecting the daily life.
One day early morning when I was going to drop kids for school saw a few runners on road and a spark lit- Dimag Ke Batti Jal Gayee. Got back to running and in 2014 ran my first HM at Vadodara. That’s how I renewed and developed my passion for running. Most beautiful part about it is one doesn’t have to be dependent on any partner and can be done as per convenience and time.
SF: With the advent of social media, right now runners are deluged with information, what would be your advice on selection of the right information?
PC: Personally I prefer to consult senior and experienced runners. Social media is surfeit with information and advice but I believe you are the best judge for your own self. Before trying anything just tune in and listen to your body and keep sustainability in mind.
SF: Being a sportsperson, you know that rest is one of the important factors of the game, tell us something more about why rest is given such huge importance?
PC: Rest and recovery are extremely significant aspect of any sports as it allows the body time to repair and strengthen between workouts. It is in this time that body adapts to stress of exercise and the real training effect takes place. Recovery allows the body to replenish energy stores and repair damaged tissues. It is also important to appreciate that, the greater the intensity and efforts, the greater is the need for planned rest and recovery.
SF: You took part in the master’s athletic and represented India; tell us more about your participation.
PC: I have been participating at National level Master’s Athletic Championship since last two years. Based on my performance I was selected to participate at 2017 Asian Masters Athletic Championship at Rugao, China where I stood 5th in 5Km and 10Km. Based on this performance I was selected to represent at 2018 World Masters Athletics at Malaga, Spain but couldn’t participate.
SF: What is your running schedule currently, how much do you run in a week?
PC: I usually run not more than 3 days a week. Rest of the days are for strength training, cross training and yoga.
SF: Priti we have seen that many runners now a day’s run long distance week after week, is it advisable to run a distance of half marathon week after week?
PC: Won’t advise for obvious reasons. As I mentioned earlier body needs recovery time and not giving enough time to body leads to injuries. There can be nothing more disheartening for a runner than injuries. Very important to understand the physical stress body undergoes during a marathon.
SF: Suppose someone wants to take to running, what would be your advice, what care should be taken?
PC: Running is fun learn to enjoy it. Understand your fitness level and go gradual, taking into consideration Four pillars of healthy body i.e. nutrition, exercise, rest and positive mind. Not to get influenced by performance of fellow runners in terms of over doing things. Remember in running – you are your own competition.
SF: A runner of your caliber should always give some wisdom thoughts, runners reading this will be surely enlightened …..
PC: Running is not just physical, it is transformative and liberative in every way. Influencing all aspects of life, giving you confidence to face the world. Experience it and see your life change forever. Specially I would exhort all women to come out and take wings to feel the wind on your face.