In conversation with Siddhant Chauhan, Nandini Reddy finds out how this Corporate Communications expert became a certified Ironman Coach.
Siddhant Chauhan, 36 yrs, working as Deputy General Manager – Corporate Communications and CSR with Nissan Motors India. He is also an Ironman Certified Triathlon Coach (completed last year) and Assistant Coach with Yoska under Deepak Raj. He recently completed the Cetlman – Extreme Scottish Triathlon is considered to be one of the toughest triathlons in the world which has seen only 1200 participants from across the world since its inception in 2012.
Triathlons completed so far Ironman 70.3 Bintan 2016, Ironman Nice 2017. Super Randonneour for the 2016-17 season.
Being a triathlete isn’t a decision that many people make, how did you decide to become one?
You are right. It wasn’t an overnight decision. I got introduced to the concept of triathlon at a time when I wasn’t pursuing any of the three disciplines required. On the contrary, my lifestyle was quite sedentary. I hated long distance running and when you stack it towards the end of a triathlon, it was definitely not the most attractive proposition. So I first began by getting comfortable with running and eventually cycling. And one thing led to the other.
At what stage of your journey are you as a triathlete?
In 2014 when I was working for Reckitt Benckiser India, then CEO Nitish Kapoor threw a challenge of running a half marathon and raising funds for our charity partner. I guess once I was able to successfully finish a half marathon, it gave me a confidence that I can take a shot at doing a triathlon. However, it was a step by step process and as you rightly said, it did not happen overnight.
What is your advice to anyone who wants to take up an endurance sport?
I am an amateur in endurance events, but with whatever limited experience I have, my advice will be:
- Have a goal and chalk out a roadmap to achieve that
- Invest in a good coach for a structured training
- Building mental toughness is as important physical endurance
- Focus on nutrition and recovery
- And of course, compete with yourself first to become better at it
It takes a lot of mental strength to reach the finish line, how do you motivate yourself to keep going?
Absolutely! With a regular job and family, it is tough to dedicate hours towards training day after day. It is fairly easy to get off the track, but you need to keep reminding yourself why you are doing this. It has to be for your own self instead of any other ulterior motive. You practice this through your training blocks and on race day, you give your 100%.
The day before the big race, how do you prepare yourself?
It is not just about the day before your race, one has to get into the mould through the week building up to race day. I run the simulation of this build up during my training blocks and it has helped me. On the day before, I try to keep myself as relaxed as I possibly can and get a good sleep. I keep a close watch on what I eat and it is an important part of feeling good on the race day. On the lighter note, the intensity of the peak week can often make the race day feel like a cakewalk.
Earlier this year you conquered the Celtman, how was the experience?
Once in a lifetime experience – the intensity of this extreme triathlon cannot be comprehended by the race video or report. The course is tough and the weather is harsh.
To give you a quick view of what it entails:
- SWIM – 3.4K in cold (11 degrees), deep and jellyfish infested Atlantic waters
- BIKE – 202K through cold, rain and winds through Scottish Highland roads
- RUN – 42K over the Beinn Eighe mountain range (trail)
From swimming in 11 degrees lake infested with jellyfish and riding in rain and cold winds to running across a brutal trail, there is no one part of the race which is easier than the other. It was quite a challenge for me as I trained for the event in conditions which were exactly opposite to what the race offered.
Watch a short video of the race – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaniAKBzoRg
Do you follow a specific or special diet and nutrition plan?
Yes, I follow certain guidelines for my diet during training. And of course, nutrition I believe is the 4thpillar of triathlon – extremely important to fuel your body right to take you through the gruelling day in the field
Do you have a particular race that is at the top of your wish list?
Yes, Norseman and Swissman extreme triathlons are on my wishlist.
Who is your role model who inspires you to keep aiming higher?
If you look around, there are enough and more role models who inspire you to keep moving despite challenges in life. But if you ask me for one, it has always been Michael Jordan since my childhood days. But particularly in the sport of triathlon, there are so many pros who perform at unimaginable levels and it is always inspiring.
What is next on your agenda of races?
For 2019, my focus is to improve my timing for a full marathon, aim for the races in my wish list and aim for ITT nationals.
You can follow Siddhant’s journey on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/siddhantchauhan/