While Flying Sikh Milkha Singh remained passionate about his fitness routine throughout his life, which also included playing 18 holes of golf at the 7,202-yard-long Chandigarh Golf Course and running light sprints at Sukhna Lake, the legendary athlete would also offer his insights to budding and national athletes. In his biography Flying Sikh written in Punjabi and released in 1977, Singh explains his training programme and the training programme for youngsters in three chapters.
‘No royal road goes till success. To reach the world level, I at least did not find any such road. Running is such a meditation for which one has to leave all the goods of the world to achieve success and to make your body ready to take on the challenge. Concentration, strategy and effort is a long process. I used to run 365 days a year and be it rainy or windy days, nothing could stop me from running. I did not find any work more important than my practice and there was a time when I would see myself running even in my dreams,” Singh writes in his memoir.
From running three miles ranging from running first mile slowly and then increasing pace each mile before his training in off-season schedule, Singh would run three 400m races followed by one slow paced 200m race followed by three 400m race fast followed by another 200m race slowly in the morning.
Apart from this, Singh would run two rounds of the 400m track in the evening before running 6-8 wind sprints of 15m each.
During the season schedule, 10 sprints of 150m on Mondays, six 200m sprints on Tuesdays, four 300m sprints on Wednesdays, two 500m race on Thursdays, two 600m races on Friday, running 350m or 500m once on Saturdays followed by full rest on Sundays. During his Olympic training, Singh would alternate training days to adjust to various strategies according to the memoir.
It also included hill training and weight training every week.
“I can advise today’s youngsters that they should do persistent training, running with passion and to compete in as many tournaments they can. This is the staircase to success. Above all, it is very important to make a goal of your life so that you keep working hard for the goal,” Singh writes.
Even though Singh was an athlete, he also writes in a chapter about what every player needs to ask himself before choosing or pursuing any sport. He would point out five important questions to ask yourself: “1. What is your purpose of choosing that sport? 2. Are you strong or willing to be strong to achieve that purpose/goal? 3. Are you ready to see your coach as your guru and to imbibe whatever he says as education? 4. Are you ready to treat your practice as meditation? 5. Are you ready to be disciplined and of good character?”
Singh ends this chapter by writing, “The day you become a champion, there will come a day when your name will shine in the whole world. This will lead to your country’s glory and will also open more doors for humanity,” Singh concludes in the same chapter.