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Interview: Bipin Kaul speaks about his life as a triathlete, his training regime and much more..

We interviewed Bipin Kaul, a banker by profession who was the winner of ¾ Iron Triathlon in Hyderabad Triathlon 2016. He recently participated in his maiden Ironman event in New Zealand on 4th March, 2017 and successfully completed it in a time of 14:36:31.

by Swathi Vasireddy


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Tell us about yourself Bipin.

I work as a National Head at a Private Sector Bank IDFC Bank Ltd, am based at Gurgaon. I can call myself a fit middle aged man with an active lifestyle as I regularly pursue long distance running, cycling and swimming.

Nothing drives me more than challenging myself to perform better at each event I participate in.

Sports has given me a new perspective and I can now say that I have a fairly balanced life as a professional, family person and an athlete.


How many times have you participated in Hyderabad Triathlon and in other events? Which is your favourite kind of race?

I have only once participated in HT i.e. 2016 in 3/4th category and was winner with time of 10:57:45 hr.  My daughter Vadanya also participated in Olympic triathlon category same year and completed the same.  

My favorite endurance format is triathlon and favorite event is Ironman New Zealand which was my first full IM in 2017. My next big event lined up is IM Langkawi in Nov’17 & have applied for Ultra Man Florida 2018 & Comrades 2018.


How do you manage your training with a mainstream or full-time job/college/school?

Well, I understood long ago that if I get involved in anything I do, I give it my 100%. Prioritizing what I need to do and minute planning has been ingrained in me having studied at Tyndale Biscoe School Srinagar and having worked at organization like TATA Tinplate and ICICI Bank. What one loves to do, one always finds time to do.

I plan all my event well in advance so that I can synchronize with my office work and travel and family vacations. Most of the major events are planned such that it becomes a family vacation cum event…this helps give exposure to my daughters to the world of sports. Every city I travel I have a group of fellow athletes with whom I train when I am travelling.

I try to start my day at 4 am to train persistently as per my training plan which I make for every month keeping in mind the next event. I am usually at my desk at One Horizon in Gurgaon by 9:30 am unless I am travelling for work.


What workout pattern would you suggest for beginners?

In sports and specially for endurance, knowing your body is important. Lack of awareness is usually the reason of not pushing yourself enough. First and foremost, you need to know strengths and weakness of your body and then build on it keeping in mind what event or sports you want to pursue.

Depends on the kind of sports or event you are planning to do accordingly should plan training, for any kind of endurance sports one must have outdoor training combined with good gym training. Equipment, diet, discipline make a huge impact on performance, hence learn to listen to guides / coaches and experience of accomplished fellow athletes.


What are your pre-race rituals?

60 days before any event I specifically make a training plan for that particular event i.e. if it is triathlon then training is different or if it is running then accordingly I make a different plan.

10 days before I start tapering down for the event which means while I train regularly but intensity and volumes is reduced.

Prepare the night before – layout clothes, double check everything, eat early and sleep early. Make sure to read all instruction of the event once more.

Eat food high on carbs but do not over eat.

Do not experiment with anything new (clothing / equipment/ food etc.)


What is your favourite discipline in the race; Swim/Cycle/Run?

My favorite discipline is cycling; I have done lot of long distance cycling i.e. brevets which are intercity long distance cycling event of 200/300/400/600/1000/1200 km without any external support and within specified time limit.

In 2015 I went to France to participate in Paris-Brest-Paris 2015 (PBP) after qualifying for the same and had the honor of representing India at the event, it is 1230 km cycling event to be completed in 90 hours. Event is organized in France once in 4 years. This event is organized in France for last 30 years and approx. 7000 cyclists have participated across the world.

I successfully completed the same in 87hours against the time limit of 90 hours.


What was your best time till now and what would be your target for the next triathlon?

Ironman is not about timing but endurance and finishing within time. Anyone who finishes within 17hr is an “IRONMAN” and that is all that matters.

My best timing has been IM New Zealand 14:35:28 hr and I am targeting sub 13hr the next time.


What music helps you push your limits?

I don’t listen to music while training as it is not allowed in IM events, hence have stopped training with any kind of support or music.


Would you recommend any book for beginners to train themselves?

I have No recommendation for any specific book.

Triathlon is about “Anything is Possible” which is the Mission statement of IM , hence would strongly recommend everyone to watch “100 Meters” movie which is a true story of person who diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and how he manages to do multiple IM despite all odds.


How do you plan your diet for the race?

I prefer carb loaded foods a day before the race. Prior to that while I am training I focus on fruits, green leafy salads, dry fruits, milk, eggs and chicken and lot of complex carbs.

I have learnt to control my craving for sweet as I am targeting 70 kg body weight with 40 kg muscle mass


What do you do to recover after the race?

After race the most  important is the  recovery period which most amateur athletes like me ignore. We tend to over eat or eat junk post event and abruptly stop training which is strict no no ! .  Have regular diet with a lot of water and do recovery training or gym with low intensity.

Post event I do lot stretching and gradually pick up on my training regime. Very important to give rest to body to recover.

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What precautions do you take to protect yourself from injuries like shin splints, stress fractures, ligament tears etc?

I used to suffer lot of injuries after every event or high intensity training, based on feedback from lot of trainers I have in built very strong strengthening training schedule which is combination of weight and functional training.


What motivates you to go through the rigorous routine and take part in a Triathlon?

A chance meeting with some crazy people during my long-distance cycling and a trifle challenge from a fellow gym enthusiast (I did begin to realize when I touched 98 Kgs was that I needed to lose weight and started some physical activities) subsequently led to a realization that I wasn’t challenging myself enough. Everything was easy and I had nothing to look forward to. Achievement of business targets at my level were a given and probably the kick I required to enjoy life had somewhere gone missing.

My motivation is that I like to challenge myself, put myself in discomfort zone and that is when I deliver my best.  Most of the time it is not lack of ability to perform but lack of ability to dream big which stops people from giving their best.

I am passionate about Triathlon sports event which challenges both physical and mental ability of any athlete.

"What u ACHIEVE does not remain relevant anymore...what becomes relevant is what u FEAR"


Who's your role model in triathlon?

No single role model in Triathlon however I do closely follow and admire Michel Phelps and Chris Froome. 


We wish Bipin all the very best for his upcoming Triathlons across the globe.