Sudarshan Ratnavelu

  • AGE: 32

I’m a keen multi-sport athlete. The last couple of years I have placed an increased emphasis on my nutrition to help me train, perform and recover
better. Whole Earth nut butter is a regular part of my diet! I compete in, on average, one race per month but sometimes up to one a week!


Each week each member of Team Whole Earth updated us on their training journey
leading up to the big event, Man V Horse!

This week I’ve mixed up running cross country in Cheshire and on the streets of London so it’s been quite varied! I’m preparing for the London Marathon so my mileage has dropped to about 42 kilometres this week. It’s been a great week of running – some of the visual highlights for me this week have included running through fields with the sun setting to the west in may shades of orange and red, followed closely by running through Tatton Park past a herd of no less than one hundred deer!

I have incorporated a lot of swimming into my exercise routine this week – it’s a great way of getting cardio exercise in with a much lower risk of injury than running, so it’s great just before a big race. I also like using my time in the water to focus on my breathing – something that people often neglect to focus on when running.

Nutrition wise, I’ve been loving the Whole Earth 3 Nut Butter Smoothie! That’s in my addition to my usual addiction: Whole Earth crunchy peanut butter straight out of the jar! On Saturday, the weather was particularly good round my way so I barbecued chicken satay with a spicy peanut sauce made with Whole Earth peanut butter, which was delicious.

Next week I’ll focus more on nutrition and I’ll keep working on light cardio (slower runs and swimming) during the week days and I’ll be putting time aside each day to stretch out all of my muscle groups.

I’ve been on three runs this week, including the London Marathon! I have run about 35 miles in total – the training runs have been on country paths and on trail, with the marathon being on-road through London, and that has to be the highlight of the week for me. The crowds were cheering and the weather was great and after four years of waiting to get an entry it was brilliant to finally run the London Marathon! I’ve been using Whole Earth peanut butter in protein shakes after training and breakfast smoothies most days this week. I spent Thursday to Sunday morning gradually carb-loading, but after the race on Sunday I needed to think about getting protein to help my recovery – cue Whole Earth peanut butter!

Next week is all about trails and hills. I’m going to find a small local hill, then structure a repeatable session where I can go up and down several times from different angles to simulate the undulating terrain that I’ll encounter on Man V Horse.

This week was a low mileage week after the London Marathon – I’ve run about 30km all in and it’s been a mixture of cross-country running through the hillier parts of Cheshire and road running through central Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Gateshead.

The highs this week have definitely included eating! I’ve been recovering from the marathon and trying to replenish my body’s energy supplies! I’ve been eating Whole Earth smooth peanut butter on thick sliced organic sourdough bread and experimenting with it in dessert – peanut butter ice cream anyone?!

The low point in training has been feeling slow and heavy in the first few days after the marathon – it took me a while to get back into my stride! But my body is recovering and I’ve tried a combination of gentle recovery runs this week and higher intensity work including sprint intervals, stair climbing and hill sprints. The higher intensity work is great for increasing your strength and recovery capability. I’ve also thrown in some cycling off-road for variety because training should be enjoyable!

Next week I’m looking forward to a weekend in the Lake District under the stars, training in similar conditions to Man V Horse.

I did my first gym-based strength session this week after a few weeks of focusing on building up my mileage. I didn’t exceed my PBs on weights lifted, but was pleased to see that I could pick up the same weights from when I’d left off!

This week i’ve done a bit of interval training on-road, and the rest has been running on trail and off-trail on hilly terrain. I’ve been focusing on hill work – this weekend I got about 3000 metres of ascent in, which I’m pleased with. Training for the ascents and descents on technical terrain is also useful training for Man V Horse.

The high point of the training week was fell-running with a couple of friends on Saturday. We were in the Lake District near Wastwater and did a loop of several of the hills. It was freezing cold at some points with wind driving into your face until it went numb, but the exhilaration of being outdoors meant it was worth it!

I’ve been using Whole Earth peanut butter in protein smoothies and I have made some treats for post-workout too – family and friends are amazed how much I get through! Next week I’m going to focus on more hill work – at the moment the 2000 metres of ascent is my biggest concern for Man V Horse…

Last weekend I finished with a big day out in the Lakes and caused damage to my Achilles so my running has dropped down this week – I’ve run less than 10 km in total. Despite this injury being a low point to my week, coupled with travel, I’ve had to become inventive about staying in shape, without all the usual home comforts so that’s a real highlight.

I’ve focused on core stability and strength this week. In the gym I’ve been doing a strict routine of weights and body-resistance exercises, combined with planks, pull-ups, push-ups, squats and far too many stretches to name! These exercises are an easy way to measure improvement, such as counting the number of push-ups you can do or how long you can hold the plank.

I’m in South East Asia now, which is naturally hilly, so am itching to get my trainers on and get back running in the tropical sunshine.

It’s always hard to keep the momentum up when travelling, so I ensure that I pack my running kit, have a pre-determined list of exercises that I can do from any hotel room and I think about what tasty local food I’ll eat as a reward!

I’ve continued to be inventive with Whole Earth peanut butter – just because I’m not running doesn’t mean I can’t improve on making my own peanut butter based running snacks….

I’d really been hoping to get out trail running in Malaysia this week but the reality was that I didn’t know the area well enough to safely navigate through tiny paths which I know have snakes, leaches and other undesirable critters lurking in the shadows! A shame, but I made do… I completed three runs totalling 15km so a steady increase from last week showing that I’m recovering from my minor Achilles injury. Hooray! I found some quieter roads to run on hilly terrains with natural rainforest on either side. Aside from being chased by monkeys (try that for motivation!), it was thoroughly enjoyable! Plus it was in temperatures almost reaching 40c and 100% humidity! Knowing that I can run in high temperatures (adjusting my speed of course) will be good when it comes to Man V Horse in case it’s a scorcher!

I missed Whole Earth Peanut Butter this week as I was overseas. Note to self; don’t leave home without a jar of crunchy peanut butter!

Last week was a bit of an off-week as far as running was concerned but I’m happy that I’m back running and that I now seem to be running injury-free again! This coming week I’m continuing to build up the miles once more. I see it as the final push before tapering off again before the big event. I’ll throw in some hills, more trails and off-road too.

This week I’ve been on three runs totalling 32km. It’s been mainly on trails and cross-country with some beautiful spots, I wish I’d had my camera with me! The high for me was running late into the evening, making the most of the late sunset this time of year. I only wish I’d had more opportunities to go out running this week!

This week’s training has been a combination of interval training and working on my core strength and stability and I have been putting a lot of hours in at the gym. I used an old newspaper recipe this week and my peanut butter flapjacks turned out great! I also made some delicious Whole Earth peanut butter shortbread cookies.

I have noticed an improvement in my fitness levels as I’ve been building up the distance. I can run flat out, indicating that my lactate threshold is increasing and I have achieved an unexpected PB with some of the weights I was working out with in the gym.

Next week is going to continue to be about hills and distance. Not long to go now until the big event!!!

This week I have completed several shorter runs totalling 38km. These have been across both road and cross-country. I spent the last couple of days running around in Rome, which was a particular treat. I made the most of the hills the city has to offer (whilst partaking in a bit of early carb loading, pizza and pasta style!) This was a real highlight to my week as I felt really strong running at race pace, plus it was lovely getting to run in varied scenery. The majority of my runs this week were mainly slower hilly runs but they also included one at race pace.

This week I have been enjoying Whole Earth peanut butter on toast with yoghurt! Not sure if this is for everyone but I like it! I also used peanut butter as a topping on Greek yoghurt with fresh fruit and in breakfast smoothies and of course straight from the jar!

I am feeling really strong and I have been working on improving my core strength and stability and keeping up my overall level of fitness. Man V Horse is very nearly here so this week is all about tapering and then racing.

This week I completed three runs in Cheshire and of course Wales! These runs were on hilly terrain and totalled 31km.

What a week it has been. The highs were being in Llanwrytd Wells for the Whole Earth Man V Horse event. The event was superbly organised, there was a great atmosphere and the terrain was challenging and spectacular. Even the weather (light rain) was in our favour.

The lows for me this week were related to my performance at Man V Horse. Looking back upon it, I’m still trying to nit-pick what went wrong. I think I may have overindulged in pre-race carb loading and eating carb sources that I wouldn’t normally touch with a barge pole (like half a pack of chocolate digestives)! The results were that I didn’t feel great on the morning and didn’t perform the way I would have liked but you learn from every race you take part in!

I’m looking at lining up a few triathlons over the summer, so I’ve already started back swimming. Secondly, I need to build up the mileage on the bike, without losing my running fitness. Triathlons are great for keeping you interested – if you’re sick to death of swimming laps, there’s the bike. If you’re saddle-sore, there’s the run. And if you’re a glutton for punishment, you can link them all together in ‘brick’ sessions so I’ll be focusing on these in the next few months.

As Whole Earth ambassadors each member of our team have taken part in two additional events
and we have asked them to share their experiences with us.

Congratulations on becoming a member of Team Whole Earth! How are you feeling?

I am really excited and I was quite surprised!! I entered and just thought what are the odds they’re going to pick me? So I’m very happy I have been chosen.

What made you enter to become a Whole Earth sponsored athlete?

I am always looking for things which challenge me. I don’t get much pleasure out of running a standard 10k or marathon. Standard triathlons are great, road running is fine but off-road running is much more challenging and being chased by horses will definitely keep it interesting!

How are you feeling at the prospect of racing 60 horses cross country?

Very excited. Physiologically horses have a bit of an advantage but I’m foolish enough to take on the challenge!

Tell us about your running background?

I started off as a cyclist then around eight years ago someone at work said I should start running with a local running group. I turned up and then went back week after week. I really enjoyed the social side of it and a few years later I did my first 10k run. That became a half marathon, then a marathon, triathlons and Iron Mans…it just started to snowball. When you take part in events you meet people who tell you about all of these other events you’ve never even heard of! It was never about the exercising or keeping fit, I just loved running with like-minded people. It takes a while to improve. When I started out I was at the back of the running group and now I am at the front so it can be pretty rewarding.


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