How did Hari run 21:25 for a 5km, 8 weeks after the hardest, most stressful year of his life? 

Hint: Not through pushing harder, quite the opposite actually…

Meet Hari 

Hari Garimella has been a member of Coach Parry since the fall (autumn) of 2016.

He started running in 2005 to lose weight and completed his 1st 10km in 2006.

Hari moved up in distance, finishing his 1st marathon in 2007 (Dallas Marathon). 

From then on, he has gone on to complete many Ultras and stage races including the Comrades Marathon, Marathon des Sables in 2017 in Morocco, and the Coastal Challenge in 2019 in Costa Rica.

Out of every failure, I have learned what it takes to be successful.” 

Hari has a unique ability to find positives and sums up his success by looking at running as a journey and not a destination. 

I ran the Palo Duro Canyon 50 mile race in October 2013, and DNF’d at 39 miles. I did not train correctly for that race and the experience taught me the importance of training appropriately for endurance events (importance of long runs and strength).” 

Coach Parry has been a great motivator in helping me train appropriately for all of my races.  Since being with Coach Parry, I have not had any running injuries.”


2020 was mentally tough for Hari, his mind was occupied with keeping his family safe and getting his parents back home to the USA after they were stuck in India.  

At the same time…

Years of not sleeping properly (working late, getting up early for runs) finally caught up with him. 

As a result, Hari struggled with fatigue, showed symptoms of burnout, and gained 20lbs of weight.

After a 25:32 for 5km, we knew we needed to make a drastic change to how we were doing things…

The Reset

Hari did a complete reset.

He started focusing on getting more sleep (7-8 hours/night), Coach Parry redesigned his running program, cutting down mileage from running 6days/week to 4 days/week and controlling intensity through using MAF principles.

Over 3 months Hari has lost 8lbs and started to feel good again.

As is normally the case, once we start training easy enough, the progress is initially slow but steady…

Hari’s previous best in a 5km was 22:15 in 2014. 

There is a point, in Hari’s case at 8 weeks, where the magic starts to happen and the changes are exponential. 

We used a combination of a MAF test and a Time trial every 4 weeks to track Hari’s progress.

6 May 23:27, 3 June 22:22, and 7 July 21:25


KM1 June5 July
17:27 7:02
27:21 6:58
37:27 7:11
47:51 7:34

The Time Trial is there to both track how we are progressing at getting faster in a more competitive sense, as well as to make a better estimation of his threshold Heart rate rather than rely on an age-related random formula.

Hardest Part Of Hari’s Journey

I realize that getting that PB is not an overnight journey.  A PB happens because you did several things right – completing all of your running workouts, doing strength training, eating right, getting enough sleep, and not overtraining.”

Hari understands that recovery plays a huge role.  He trusts in the program that Coach Parry gave him because he has seen gains when he completes the workouts as prescribed. 

If your PB does not happen at your goal race, there will always be another race and another opportunity.”

Every failure needs to be viewed as a learning experience for a success that will eventually come”

Future Plans

My son keeps asking me when I will do a triathlon.  He is my pride and joy, and he recently qualified for the kid’s Youth Nationals Triathlon in West Chester Ohio (the race is at the end of July).  He is 14 years old. I know he will be a great athlete.  I hope to one day run the Comrades marathon and do the Marathon des Sables with him.”

MAF Explanation:

MAF training is a system of training developed by Dr. Phil Maffetone, called Maximal Aerobic Function. In simple terms, it is limiting the intensity of training through strict monitoring of your heart rate through a simple formula of 180-age.

This is a back to basics training methodology that is designed to develop aerobic function (body’s ability to use fat and oxygen for primary energy).

At Coach Parry, we have made a few changes when implementing this strategy on the older athlete, 1st and foremost by using the athlete’s individual estimated anaerobic threshold to determine 80% of threshold to use rather than an arbitrary number like 180-age.

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