Race Report: Apollo Tyres New Delhi Marathon 2024 by Aditi

Training insights and race strategy of Aditi's BQ performance at New Delhi Marathon
Race Report: Apollo Tyres New Delhi Marathon 2024 by Aditi
Date: 25 Feb 2024
Start time: 4:15 AM
Start point: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi
Elevation: 45m ascent
Race Distance: 42.2km
  • Goal: 3h:42m
  • Achieved : 3h:37m:06s

Apollo New Delhi Marathon, is becoming a season finale for the Indian Marathon circuit. This year, the marathon was also qualified for the Paris Olympics trials and thus there was an additional frenzy to the course. We saw Indian Elites Gopi Thonakal, Srinu Bugatha and Akshay Saini trying their luck on the Delhi’s flat course to be qualified. Fate had something else, as none of our elites were qualified on this course.

Weather was also not predictable and our running group had a lot of discussions on the ever changing temperature. However on race day the weather gods were by runners' side.

For me, I was running this route exactly after a year. Thus, I knew the course pretty well.


This season, I was more experienced from the previous and thus gave a 19 week training cycle. My friend Satish helped me with the training plan, with 2 quality runs and the rest were easy long runs. I trained for 6 days and Sunday was the rest day.

My training was gradual, and to understand my base fitness we started with the Bengaluru Half Marathon, before working on the paces for the season. My timing for Bengaluru HM was 1:53:41.

This season the focus was on longish tempos during the midweek and a long run over the weekend. I had a good season, enjoyed all my runs, had fun during the run and the overall process.

Sample Tempo Runs - 1Km 6 ; 40 mins at threshold pace ; Mile repeats 5 ; 10k at threshold pace; 1Km *10. Initially my tempo paces were ~5:10/km and then gradually moved up to ~4:30/km. Of course this depended on the distance and goal.

Strength training was 2 days a week. A big shout out to Salah, from Stairs Physiotherapy, to keep me injury free, as I had a series of injuries in the first half of 2023. Thus, the first half of the year I had a low mileage. I was advised to keep myself away from speed training till August, 2023.

One of the things I discovered this season was that I enjoy running alone. I loved the conversation I had in my head, if only I could pen those chronicles. Having said this, I strongly believe running is a team sport. Running provides me with solid stability, I feel grounded with my handful of friends, they keep me sane post practice while drinking copious coffees.

In the beginning of this year, I did another dipstick check on my paces through the Vadodara Half Marathon, and here I finished 1:47:03. This race was a confidence booster as it was closer to the Marathon, similar weather conditions, and flat route.

This year I also took care of my nutrition, compared to last year. Few things that changed included eggs and eating early dinner. Here I want to thank my friend Rachna for explaining the importance of planning a meal and “why” and “what” of nutrition.

This year I peaked at 100km per week. And did four 30+km runs in the entire training cycle. I also simulated goal paces during the last 8 weeks before the race.

My last long run was a dress rehearsal, took gels, Reload and ran 24km of the 35km at marathon pace. This gave me a lot of confidence before taper.

My original goal was to run a sub 3:45:00 marathon, this was in late December, post the Vadodara Marathon I was aiming a 3:42:00 marathon, however in the last 4 to 5 weeks before the race there was a chance of doing a 3:40:00 marathon.


I followed a 3 week taper cycle, reducing 20% of mileage week on week from my peak mileage, while maintaining the intensity. My focus during these weeks was to remain injury free and keep my nutrition in check.

For recovery during the training, I ensured to take deep tissue massage.

Foam rolling was my new found love this season, along with mobility before the run and a cool down, ensuring no muscle screams once I start my day.


Unlike last year, I reached Delhi 2 days in advance. I skipped going to the expo and instead stayed at home on Friday. On Saturday I reached the hotel where the rest of my friends were staying. We caught up for evening tea and dinner, discussed the route, checked on each other’s health and usual feelings before the race and bid goodnight.

Race Day - Start

My plan was 10 miles-10 miles-10kms

First 10 miles - Avg pace 5:07/km

I had planned to run between 5:07 to 5:13 per kilometer and I stuck to that plan. The first 16kms were in the dark, this time there was no music on the road. However, a fellow runner who was with me well till the 35km was a savior as he had put loud music on his phone.

I personally felt, weather in the first loop was a bit warmer than the second. The first 10kms were very uneventful, till the time we entered Kartavya Path, that stretch was a beauty, as one side was India gate and the other side Rastrapathi Bhavan. The whole stretch was lit, & with a bit of morning fog it was just poetic, except, I was cognizant of the ache and pains that were knocking my body and were waiting to get aggravated.

By now all my friends had overtaken me and were on the other side of the road, we were acknowledging each other’s presence.

My fueling strategy was one gel every 7th km and sipping electrolytes every 3rd km. This definitely saved me. I was patient with my pace and constantly told myself to slow down a bit.

Second 10 miles - 5:08/km

I kept the pace constant, I completed the half marathon mark at 1:47:34, which was well below my expectations. Furthermore, around the 28th km I started experiencing cramps in my left calf. This was something I had experienced before and thus I started taking gels every 5th to 6th km and sipped Reload generously. I wanted to keep the cramps at bay. Furthermore, one of my gels had fallen around the 10th km and thus was hoping if I could get an extra gel.

It was my lucky day, there were a few people cheering and I asked if they had an extra gel, which was promptly shared and then at the 32nd km Madhu from Soles of Bangalore crossed and I asked him for another one. Later I came to know Madhu had just 1 gel which he gave it away. Now believe me, it takes a village to get the runner cross that finish line 😀

On the 33rd Km I crossed Ajay and he gave me the gel and electrolytes which was part of the plan. Those reading this, make your friends wisely, as only you run a race, but your team members make the journey worth it.

A big shout out to Ajay and Lavanya, for cheering and taking some amazing pictures on the course.

I had to stop at the medical staff to get a Volini as the cramps were too bad post 28th km and I sprayed and stretched every 3rd km after the 28th km. From here on I stopped looking at my watch, and was running with feel.

Last 10 kms - Avg Pace 5:08/km

I ran these kilometers with utmost precaution, I wanted to finish the race and not stumble. Thus spraying Voilini, a bit of stretching and keeping my nerves calm was the mantra.

At the 40th km I saw my watch and it was 3:25:xx. That’s when I realized I’m well within my target, sprayed one last time at the 41st km and then ran for my life and crossed the finish line.

Post Race

I saw my friends, Aravind took my picture with the medal before my legs gave in, all my friends had the best results. We hugged and laughed and started recovering from 42.195km.

Key Stats

  • Overall Pace: 5:09 mins/km
  • Rank: 289 of 1505
  • Category Rank: 9 of 104
  • Gender Rank: 13 of 194

Strava Link

Official Race Result

Overall Experience

It was lovely, the run up to the race was a memorable one. I enjoyed putting in the miles day after day and seeing the results.

Not being stuck on the end result, helped free up a lot of my mind space and enjoy the course.

And yes, did I mention I BQ’ed. See you soon at the course.


Aditi Pandya is a life long athlete. She was born to run and play sports. Aditi is the co-founder of geeksonfeet.com.

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