Friday, March 29, 2013

Random Runspiration Rubbish

hey! just so you know, i've been drafting this post for the entire week but i keep nodding off, signalling that it's time to sleep. otherwise, i have been cracking my head trying to be coherent with some suggestions that work for me.

Many moons ago when dinosaurs still roamed the earth, I provided a running tip or two from a beginner's point of view. They were located at the bottom of this, this and this post.

As the years went by (SCKLM '13 will mark my 4th anniversary in running), I neglected sharing other tips for fear of sounding like a know-it-all, when I am in fact, still a lil' noob. *sad puppy face*

If we're looking at numbers, you may say that my achievements are rather dismal with 2 handfuls of 10KM runs, a handful of half marathons and full marathons. Consistently however, I seem to sign up for an average of 10 events per year in year 2011 and year 2012. Year 2013 on the other hand will not hit that same average as I am focusing to improve the 3 S's: strength, stamina and speed. Oh, and endurance, too.

Total BS, by the way. :D

It's mainly because registration fees are too effing expensive these days and secondly, I'm trying to participate in different events from the previous ones, save for SCKLM. :)

Anyway, it's 10 8 days to Nestle Fitnesse Malaysia Women Marathon (April 7th), and 24 22 days to The Island Ocean Marathon 2013 (April 21st) and dear first timers, are you ready to rumble? Yes, we are all nervous!

Disclaimer: The views and ideas below are expressly mine and catered for nervous beginners who would secretly like to have a hand to hold or a good luck kiss when they're at the start line. Be that as it may, kindly take note that experience may differ from case to case and may not work for you. Do whatever you're comfortable with.

With 8 10 days to go (to MWM)
If you have been sticking to a training plan, you should have completed your last LSD (long slow distance) run of at least 27KM last weekend and embrace the next 7 days of shorter runs. Don't forget that you'll have to do a final 12 - 16KM run this weekend.

By now, you should already understand your body (and legs) quite well, knowing how far you're able to push without too much pain and how to deal with your mental anguish. I swear a lot when I'm having a difficult time during the run, mainly directed at myself for being such a wuss. :P

Sleep and eat well, make sure you take your vitamins and supplements diligently, drink lots of water (1.5 - 2L per day) and stay away from sick people, because it is NOT the time to fall sick.

Nor is it the time to go hiking or trail running, lest you injure yourself. I was thinking about this point as I rumbled through FRIM last Sunday. I almost tripped over a stone and I swore that I was a knuckle-brain for going out there just 2 weeks before MWM. Thank goodness the ankles are fine. Phew!

Don't start carbo loading just yet or you may end up gaining an extra 1kg to run with. :D

And oh my gawd, please don't ask me about period! I am worried sick that the Time of the Month is going to come just a few days before MWM. *grim look* Let's see if the continuous consumption of pineapple and papaya will help to welcome it earlier than scheduled.


My friend swears that it does.

With 22 24 days to go (to the Island Ocean Marathon)
If you're sticking to a training plan, you should be hitting the second of your ultimate LSD runs this weekend, 32KM at the least. You need to complete it, by hook or by crook, because the experts (and my conscience) say, "Never compromise on your long runs." This is crucial for marathon training!

A friend of mine once ran 30KM on Saturday and 20KM on Sunday just three weeks before the KL Marathon as he hadn't been able to run LSDs regularly due to his work schedule. He did fine during the KL Marathon!

You have the option of doing back to back medium slow runs, say, 20KM on Saturday and 15KM on Sunday, or vice versa but then again, you might as well get it over and done within a day.

Worst case scenario, if you happen to have to go away for the weekend where you won't have the time and place to slot in a long run, run your LSD on a weekday evening after work. I did that once and it was an epic feeling of achievement and relief to accomplish it. No guilt during the weekend, then!

Try not to skip too much of your weekday runs but if you have to, at least do the LSD on weekends. Even if it takes you 4 hours or more to complete 32KM, at least your body knows how it feels to have ran 32KM and you're prepared for it come race day.

A week to go to your marathon

Tapering week! Sometimes I love it and sometimes I don't. Your body is so used to the workouts and to force it to rest til race day can be tough to do.

Don't do more than what you're supposed to. Some runners are planning an LSD this Saturday and 12KM run this Sunday, and I think my eyes almost popped out! (Be that as it may, I'm sure they are strong and will do fine during their full marathon.)

Wear flats or low pump shoes to work, if you can. Why stress your legs in your high heels? Let them rest!

Some people start drinking 100plus throughout the whole week before race day, but that's because they sweat a lot and they feel the need to hydrate as much as possible prior to the race. (He was an ex-NS guy who's beefy to begin with.)

If the weather is humid and you're predicting hot weather on your race day, you may drink a can of 100plus  per day starting from 3 days before race day - if you think it will help you. I'd probably drink half a can each day.

3 days before your event
Space out your carbo loading within these few days instead of overeating the night before. For example, if you normally consume half portion of rice/noodles for each meal, you may choose to increase the same to a 3/4 or full portion for at least one of the meals that day.

Don't forget that carbo loading does not refer to fatty food, but food with carboyhydrates per se. Mmm, I'd opt for wholewheat pasta, if possible.

Rest, don't run!
Sufficient sleep!

1 day before your event
Itchy legs? A slow 3KM run to shake them off, then.
No high heels.
No walking around too much. Especially if you're on holiday in a foreign country and you want to sight see as much as possible? Hmmm, I did it once (Fubon Taipei Marathon) and it was definitely a bad move.
Get your running gear ready.
Deep breathing exercises? Good idea.
Some stretches? Up to you.

Race Day
You know what to do so I won't preach on this: fuel up, lace up and warm up. 
Don't be late, as you need sufficient time to warm up and be at the starting pen in time.

I've come to realise that I need a 200m - 500m jog to warm up my body, followed by deep breathing (for 10mins, to expand the lungs) and some stretches (or dynamic stretches for some). Twice I failed to do this, twice I found myself having more cramps than usual (see Fubon Taipei Marathon and Putrajaya Night Run 2012).

Oh, don't forget to visit the loo in time before your race!

During the race
Similar to my useless tips, these are a few points you may wish to keep mind when you're racing, or not. They are pretty useful before a training run, too.

1. Regularise your breathing.
If you find yourself panting and sucking in air through your mouth, slow down. Try to inhale through the nose, and exhale through your mouth. Your breathing will regularise after a while.

It pains me to hear friends keep gasping for air when we run and I don't know how to bring it up to them. I find that giving advise to men tend to fall on deaf ears, so I gave up after a while.

This technique is especially useful when you're struggling uphill. In through the nose, and out through the mouth. You may also end up tensing your shoulders as you do this, so try and relax.

2. Keep your back straight, shoulders back.
I cringe every time I see pictures of me slouching forward while I run. Usually it happens when I'm tired during longer distance races. So now, I consciously do my best to hold my head up high and straighten my back. I'm still not 100% straight, but I'm still trying.

You only need to lean slightly forward as you propel yourself uphill. Not crouch down like the Hunchback of Notre Dome.

*Best way to practice your posture is running on the treadmill once in a while. There, you are able to observe yourself in the mirror.

3. Walk if you can't run.
You see, the more you keep gasping for air, the more you tend to stop to catch your breath. You will feel the need to walk and argh, isn't it frustrating?

If need be, regularise your breathing and walk until say, the next lamp post. Or 10 - 15 breaths. Don't walk too long or you will lose momentum. Just slow your pace down.

OK, fine. If you're cramping up badly, stop and do some stretches. Move on immediately.

4. Hydrate and fuel up.
Some believe that you only need 2 gels for a half marathon, and up to 4 for a full. You know your body, so how many do you need? This excludes the one you had at the starting point. :D

1st gel at 12KM, 2nd gel at 20KM, 3rd at 27KM, 4th at 35KM?
Don't forget the isotonic drinks every now and then, but don't overdo it or you'll have water swooshing in your belly as you run!

Just because you don't feel the need to hydrate doesn't mean you don't NEED to hydrate. Well, you can skip the first water station, though.

After the race
Crash on the ground and cry. You finished your run!

In reality, refuel with protein (I'd go for 2 cups of MILO, at least) and some isotonic drinks. Yes, do eat that banana they gave you, too.
Stretch, stretch and stretch. That is, if your legs don't seize up in a certain position. Spare the time to try and stretch, please. I know most of us don't do this at all, but that's just bad practice. (Some will rather go home and use the foam roller instead.)

The day after the race
Bragging rights. You finished your race, congrats!
You may swap horror stories with your friends now.
Write your race report somewhere, note the time and distance you covered. It'll be a good reference for your next race.
No high heels!

So there, that's my random runspiration rubbish for you. Hopefully some of the tips will help you (re: regularise your breathing and do some side stretches!) and honestly, I'm still learning, too. :)


Oh, and if nervous and jittery at the start pen, don't be. Take deep breaths, think happy thoughts and let me wish me you good luck and all the best then and there. :) Just don't go too fast during the first 2KM, ok?

p.s. I fell asleep again!


  1. All the best in the MWM, may the marathon gods be kind and lay a path of ease along the route for you. If not, you can just curse the bugger ... LOL!

    1. you know what i just realised? i won't be able to hear my phone beep if/when you send me a pic of your breakfast as the earphones will be stuffed into my ears. hahahahaha!

      unless of course, it so happens to run out of batteries... :D