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Lt Gen S A Cruze, Vishist Sewa Medal and Bar, having retired after reaching the Highest rank as a doctor in the Indian Army, is based in Pune and is the President and medical leader of Krumur clinic a spine ,joint and neurodynamics centre., a leading physical medicine and rehabilitation Centre that has treated over 2,500 patients and trained hundreds of athletes.

Blog Published On : 4 May 2020 |
Preparation for 5000 km, Mundaman Ganga Parikrama
  • 4 May 2020
  • Lt Gen S A Cruze, VSM and Bar ( Retired)

Preparation for 5000 km, Mundaman Ganga Parikrama

Atulya Ganga Project (AGP) by veterans, is a target oriented multi-faceted, 11 year plan to rejuvenate Ganga and deliver it to the future generations in its pristine glory.

5000 km, 7 month long walk – Mundaman Ganga Parikrama (MGP) is the backbone of Atulya Ganga Project ( AGP). MGP is revival of an ancient Indian tradition in which you walk on foot clockwise, circumnavigating the length of Ganga covering both its banks. One is permitted to cross Ganga only at its origin – Gaumukh and at the end – Gangasagar where is meets the ocean. And you cannot go more than 12 km away from any bank.

MGP is one of the most challenging adventure and physical activity one would ever undertake in your life. And hence it would need the most meticulous physical and mental preparation to successfully accomplish the MGP. This is the first ever attempt at MGP by a bunch of hard-core adventure enthusiasts.

By the grace of Ganga, we have as our chief MGP mentor – Lt Gen SA Cruze, VSM** ( Retd), a leading international expert on sports training and medicine – who has mentored to put Indian teams on Asiad and Olympics victory stands. A brief on his illustrious career as a sports meter is attached at the end of this blog.

I have listed below, the excerpts from his interaction with AGP team on 02 May 2020, via a video conference. This is what he said as fundamental direction setting to prepare for MGP –

Define Mission

You have to set the mission and remind yourself every moment of the task at hand. Tell yourself that “I will accomplish 5000 km target – Gaumukh to Gangasagar & back in 2020-21”. Write it down on your door or any prominent place so that you see it all the time. It is important to raise your mind’s level to the epic mission at hand.

It is Different

Please do not equate this to anything you have done is past. Walking 5000 kms, continuously for 7 months – is very different animal. You are no more recreational walker, it is an ultra-professional walk – you have to get very serious – you have to do it the right way – otherwise this will not happen. So change you way of thinking – you would need a different set of rules, training and skill-set.

It is a ‘Walk’

All said and done its a large volume of walk. And walk is fundamentally an aerobic activity on your legs. So no gyming is required – it us walking, that is required. It is different from ironman or marathon or cross country or mountain expedition. You have to find innovative ways to gradually but consistently increase the volume of walk. Tell your brain this – you are doing a very long walk – your core, lower back and legs must be  made super strong.

No Over or Under Doing

From your current fitness level to the required fitness level – this is a passionate and interesting journey you will take over next 6 months. The volume and intensity of walk has to be gradually and consistently improved – without getting burnt out or injured. As a rule –  you will not do any exercise where you begin to feel breathless. This practice will be in low gear – say Gear 1 & 2. Avoid any walks or runs on hard surfaces – because in a few months some problem will develop with you knees etc – and you cannot afford an injury.

Training will have to happen in 70-80% of your peak heart rate capacity. We shall under-do and never over-do the training.

Monitor Workouts

This is an interesting and meticulous capacity building exercise. Your body weight, heart rate and walk or exercise has to be recorded and closely monitored. Take the heart rate and weight everyday in the morning – and measure and record heart beat post every exercise / walk. Use of Polar Heart Rate Meter in important – please obtain one – it would be your main coach to monitor the right pace of your training. Gen Cruze will fine tune your workouts based on this data. You need to send this daily data to him.

Capacity Building

Realise this in your mind – a 7-8 hours of daily physical activity level has to be reached – to walk 5000 km over 7 long months.

While you build your capacity – by Oct we should be able to walk – ’50 kms in a 2 days’ cycle. This would be planned on alternate days – doing one day long & one day short walks. In our case  for a 50 km- the first day will be longer walk – 30 km, and second day is shorter  walk – 20 km.

Realise that there is no need no do the whole ’50 kms in 2 days’. We would gradually train to reach 70-80% of our target kms. Say 40 kms (80% of 50 km) in two days is what we should plan to achieve by Oct 2020. That comes to – Day 1 – 24 kms, and Day 2 – 16 kms.

For mountain portion we need to build capacity for climbing up and down – preferably find yourself a natural gradient surface to do this instead of stairs. If you don’t find such gradient and it has to be stairs – then walk up the stairs but avoid walking downstairs (it may lead to injuries)  – instead hold railing and climb backwards.

It is good to evenly spread the daily volume of walk & workout in 3-4 parts over the day. Static cycle is yet another method to put in a work out. You can do cycling while doing fun things like watching news or TV or music etc.

Eat Right

You have to put in the right fuel in your body for it to perform at higher levels. The daily diet should  include milk, curd, eggs, paneer, ghee, dal, salad,  etc. When you are working out – you have to eat – one glass of dalia in skimmed milk (no sugar) + One banana + boiled potato –  this is the thumb rule for every one hour of exercise. If you are working out for say two hours – then eat two times the above mentioned diet – and so on.

Hydration

Water intake has to be regular – as a rule of thumb a quarter glass every 15 minutes is a must.

Daily Measurements

It is paramount to avoid injury and burnout at all costs. And hence the need to monitor your work-out training closely. The following measurements have to be made in your journal or excel sheet on a daily basis –

  • Morning weight & heart rate
  •  Heart rate pre and post any work out
  • Type of Work out – Volume & Intensity

If you follow the above fundamentals – you would steadily but surely build you capacity to successfully accomplish the first ever Mundaman Ganga Parikrama.

Lt Gen Swaminathan Anthony Cruze, Vishist Sewa Medal and Bar, having retired after reaching the Highest rank as a doctor in the Indian Army, is based in Pune and is the President and medical leader of Krumur Healthcare, a leading physical medicine and rehabilitation Centre that has treated and trained over 2,500 patients and athletes.

He completed his MBBS from Armed Forces Medical College in 1974, winning a Gold Medal as the best student, another one for being the best sportsman.

He also won Pune University’s gold medal for having represented the University’s Hockey, Football, andAtheletice team in the same year.

He participated in mountaineering expeditions to Kachenjunga and Nandadevi. He represented India Juniors in 1970, was selected for Asian Games 1972-74, and Montreal olympics 1974.

Gen Cruze did his sports medicine from Germany and Switzerland from 1983 to 1985.

He set up Sports Medicine and Human Performance Lab for Army’s Sports Medical Centre. He set up similar lab for Sports Authority of India.

Gen Cruze headed the Scientific Support Team of Armed Forces and National Team. He was a member of Planning Commission for developing Sports Scienc

The Team
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