The passion to find more to life than work and home led Vaishali Kasture to running in 2004. She started on the treadmill but soon moved outdoors, realizing that the fresh air actually helped her calm down and de-stress. Since then, the Bengaluru-based 47-year-old has come a long way, completing over 70 half and full marathons, with a personal best time of 3 hours, 36 minutes for a 42.2km race. Recently, she completed the Chicago Marathon (3 hours, 39 minutes), becoming one of the few to have run the six world marathon majors (Chicago, Tokyo, Boston, New York, London and Berlin) successfully.
As the managing director and country head of credit rating firm Experian India, Kasture also likes to connect with colleagues and clients through running. In an email interview, Kasture talks about how the topic of running often works as an ice-breaker. Edited excerpts:
What impact does leading by example as a fit leader have?
You can do a lot more in life, reach your maximum potential in every aspect of life. One can make intelligent choices and do the maximum without sacrificing anything else.
How does running influence your performance at work?
Running helps me focus and deal with mental stress and pressure. It keeps me physically fit. But from a long-term perspective, as you grow older, you create more neurons and running helps improve your grey cells.
Any leadership lessons from distance running?
When you achieve something like this, you realize that life is like a marathon. When you are training for a distance marathon, it is like a series of sprints. It vies with a long stretch in your career. There will be phases in life when you will not be in the driver’s seat, your pace will be altered by peaks and troughs. In such cases, it is of prime importance that you take enough rest at work as well to keep the balance steady. Running teaches you to maintain pace and remember that every day is not a race.
How do you balance your training and work?
To maintain consistency, I have trained through the year to ensure that my core is strong. Even on days when I’m unable to train specifically for marathons, I incorporate some physical activity. My daily routine includes at least half-an-hour of workout. Weekends are dedicated to longer training hours.
Has running made you more goal-oriented?
I have always understood the importance of being goal-oriented, in life as well. Running additionally taught me to make relevant adjustments towards my goal. It has taught me to be more adaptable, and not give up, even when things don’t go as planned.
Discipline in a runner’s life is paramount. Do you think this discipline also reflects your leadership style?
One of the biggest teachings of marathon is discipline, and this can be extended to life in general, and my management style specifically. Marathons have taught me how to manage my time in a better way.