Getting in Shape with ‘Ironman’ Kaustubh Radkar
Doctor Kaustubh Radkar has managed to finish the Ironman Triathlon in all six continents. He was one of the five contestants from India, including Milind Soman, to have successfully completed the race in 2015. He is also a full-time coach who trains aspiring Ironmen from all around the world. Here is a look at his daily regime and the kind of training one has to undergo, to get into shape:
I give myself six months of complete training, which helps me get into optimal racing form for the Ironman triathlon. This involves a good base-building of all three events — swimming, biking and running — along with competition-specific training for the last few months.
The Dusk Buster
My day starts at 5am. As soon as the alarm goes off, I have to be up and out as soon as possible, to beat traffic and have a quality workout. I never exercise on an empty stomach, because your body needs fuel to burn, and for aerobic exercise it’s pretty crucial to give it that. A typical snack for me, pre-workout, is a small bowl of cereal, muesli or oats. A typical weekday workout includes either a 45-minute run or a 60-minute bike ride. Post workout, I have a quick protein shake with water and milk and a small breakfast of toast and eggs. After this, it’s off to either the clinic or hospital, depending on the day, from 9:30 to 11am. I eat a small snack during this time, either a piece of fruit or a handful of dry fruit.
Afternoon Calorie Shakedown
After the clinic, it’s time to relax for a while before my second workout from 2:45to 3:45. This is typically either a swim or a complete body workout at the gym. I believe strength training of some form is essential for all endurance athletes, either with weights or exercise bands. Once the workout is done, I add another protein shake, and have some green tea while seeing patients in the evening. Another piece of fruit or handful of dry fruit is essential to keep the stomach grumbling to a minimum, while working.
The Early Bird
Post clinic, if it has been a stressful day, I sometimes go for a nice, easy 30 to 45 minute recovery swim, which helps me relax and get ready for the next day. I eat dinner early, between 7 and 8pm. Most nights of the week, a typical meal for me is a cut salad, a big serving of vegetables, dal and 3 or 4 chapatis. Dinner is the most important and complete meal of the entire day, so I try to get 1000 to 1200 calories out of it. If I go out, or order in, I opt for chicken (grilled/ tandoori/tikka) or sometimes indulge in a good gravy-based chicken. Post dinner, it’s a glass of cold milk with chocolate syrup, so that I don’t wake up hungry in the middle of the night.
On the Side
I do yoga about twice a week at home, mostly on the weekends, to help me stretch. As an endurance athlete with a busy schedule, it’s hard to find extra time during the weekday to deep stretch. Yoga is a great way to not only stay limber, but to control your mind and emotions via positive energy and breathing. I practice my visualisation and self talk skills through my training, because at certain times, the entire Ironman race becomes about your mental fitness. How you can push yourself when you are in pain is the difference between a strong finish or a walk to the end.
The biggest positive is the challenge to look forward to from race to race. I always say that the race is only one day, but the preparatory process of six months keeps you extremely healthy and focussed. It’s always good to meet new people in phenomenal places, a great way to see the world. In 2015, I got to go to places like South Africa, Switzerland and Colorado for my races. I am also actively coaching — I try to sign up for races where my athletes will compete. Last year, I had six Indian athletes cross the finish line of an Ironman event and several who finished half Ironmans, marathons and half marathons.
A busy workout and work schedule means you have to sacrifice personal and family life a bit. It’s tough to attend all social events, due to training, travel or just plain tiredness at the end of the day, but if planned ahead of time, this can be managed. Another negative can be over-training, so it’s important to stick to a training plan. Having a coach is a great way to make sure your workouts are handled properly.