23 December 2008


A frustrating 3 weeks.....

Had high hopes that my ankle sprain would improve rapidly, but the ligaments are still damaged/painful after almost 3 weeks. Spraining an ankle 2 days before a peak 10k race hurts, but the prospect of not being able to run for 2 months is even more painful.

Latest view from physio is that I might be out for another month from now, which will make it about 6-8 weeks off. She reckoned the soft tissues are still weak for running.

Two weeks ago (8-14 Dec), I went to see a GP and had an x-ray confirming no stress fracture or dislocation. The doctor said with RICE treatment, I should be able to jog within a week. This gave me a high hope that I could resume training quickly. I did no exercise whatsoever, but it turned out that I was still limping after a week.

M: off
T: off
W: off
T: off
S: 30 minutes
S: off

Last week (15-21 Dec), I went to see the GP again and asked for a referral letter for physiotherapy treatment (I need that letter, otherwise my insurance will not accept claims). She said to wait for another week as the swelling and blue/violet lines (from bruising) in my ankle has started to subside. I can't take any chance of losing my fitness materially and I duly began cross training. However, I found that they don't really push my heart rate up as much as running.

M: off
T: 20 minutes jog (virtually on one leg)
W: 30 minutes Arc Trainer
T: 30 minutes Arc Trainer
F: 30 minutes Arc Trainer + 60 minutes Spinning class
S: off
S: 30 minutes jog (still painful)

This week (22-28 Dec), I finally convinced her that I really need a physio treatment. I told her that I am a runner and I can't stand being a sedentary person and just stood there watching my fitness that I have built for years to be eroded away (I found going up the stairs tougher now). While there were no guarantees that the treatment will help, but I gotta take my chances. Had ultrasound, massages, and ankle strengthening exercises.

M: 60 minutes Arc Trainer
T: 35 minutes Arc Trainer + physio
W: physio
T: X-mas big buffet

Not a Christmas gift that I am looking for !

With this in mind, I might have to re-think about my plan for 2009. I was initially hoping to focus on 5-10k races for the first 3 months. But given the longer-than-expected rehabilitation, I really have to start from scratch again (short, slow runs, low mileage). Even after resuming training, I think it is still to risky to do any speed work with the weak ankles. Looks like I have to forget about doing any races for the next couple of months and instead just do base building.

Have a happy and safe holidays everyone

14 December 2008

2009 Plan (first half)

0 km this week. Had an x-ray on the ankle and the doctor confirmed that it wasn't a stressy. Nevertheless, after a week of inactivity, the pain has lessened during walking, but it's still a bit painful when I get ouf of the bed in the morning or when going down the stairs.

On the positive note, I think I should be able to start jogging in the next week or so.

Due to the temporary paralysis, I have some time to think about my plans for next year. I have penciled in Gold Coast Marathon (GCM) in July as my target race for the first half of 2009. The reasons are as follows:

a) My wife is expected to give birth in early April, hence running will be limited between mid-March and mid-April. This means that Seoul in March or Canberra marathon in April is not an option. Perth marathon usually falls on the same date as GCM, so it is still a possibility. However, Perth doesn't provide a big-race atmosphere like GCM, which is sometimes helpful for the morale, especially in the latter stages on the race.

b) Given the projected 'down time' between mid-March and mid-April due to the reasons above, GCM (or Perth) provides an advantage in terms of timing. Even after the down time, I still have a good 10 weeks to prepare for the race.

c) July also fits the family schedule perfectly. Our son will be three months old by then, so it's the right time to pick up the baby and mom and take them to Singapore.

Goal time wise, I'd like to target around 3:05 - which represents 10 secs/km pace improvement from my last marathon in November. A challenging, but not unattainable target.

My plan of attack is as follows:

1) Jan-Feb
I will focus on 5k-10k training for the first two months of the year, culminating in a 10k race in March. I plan to follow Brad Hudson 10k plan level #2 from the book "Run Faster". However, I won't treat these races are important races, given they are typically inaccurate in terms of distance anyway. I won't taper for these races, a PB will be a bonus but I won't kill myself if I don't do well.

16 Jan: SGRunners 3-person relay race (2 x 3.5km)
1 Feb: Macritchie 5k cross country

14 Feb: track meet
1 Mar: Newton Active 10k

2) Mar - April
I plan to loosely follow 20-week Brad Hudson marathon plan, mixing Plan #2 and #3. The key word is 'loosely' since I will have a down time for a month as mentioned above and I like to vary and mix workouts from other sources as well. I might not be able to run a lot during the baby delivery period, but since I will be in Melbourne, I hope I will be able to squeeze in a couple of 'big workouts' taking advantage of the winter climate.

3) May- July
After the down time, I will return to Singapore and re-join the marathon plan with 10-11 weeks to go. Based on the current schedule, I might do a couple of longer distance races between 10k to 20k as tune-up races for the marathon.

3 May: Macritchie 20k cross country
mid-Jun: PassionRun 10k or 15k race (no date yet)
5 Jul: Gold Coast Marathon

Note that this is the first time that I am planning my peak race about 6 months in advance. While I can solely do marathon training for 6 months, but my concern is that I might get burn out from the distance training. I hope that by concentrating on 5k-10k races for the first couple of month, followed by 2 months of light marathon training (including down time), and finally 10-11 weeks to do marathon-specific training, I won't overtrain but still sufficiently be prepared for the race.

07 December 2008


Only lasted 1k this morning, and walked back.

Despite the spained ankle, I decided to give it a go anyway. Walking was fine and I could do the alphabet movement with the foot, so that gave me some hope. Jogging at 5:00-ish pace was okay and I arrived at the start point with a 45 minutes to go. Took a couple of advil (ibuprofen) thinking that the pain would stay away.

Weather was very cool & breezy for Singapore standard, so very conducive for fast time. Unfortunately, my right ankle didn't co-operate and after 200m downhill start, I knew that I was gone. I virtually was limping and my running form was awkward because I could only run with one leg. I I tried to hang in for a while and passed the 1k marker in 3:55. But I knew that I couldn't run for another 9k with one fit ankle.

Not a great way to finish the season. Hopefully, I won't be sidelined for too long.

Guys, any tips for sprained ankle? Should I go to a doctor and will it self-heal? The pain is right at the 'ball' in the ankle area.

06 December 2008

Sprained Ankle :(

Damn ! Only a couple of days before the 10K, I sprained my ankle. :(

Near my home, there is a big constuction (7 towers apartment complex) work going on, so there are lots of cracked pavement, sand, building materials etc. On Friday, I slipped and landed awkwardly. Foolishly, I ignored the problem and continued the run (10k), even doing 400m at race pace and 6 x 100m strides.

When I arrived at the office, I began to feel the pain badly and I was hobbling all day. At home, I iced the ankle right away and applied some voltaren. I also elevated my lower leg and put an ankle band during the sleep.

This morning, the problem still persisted. I decided to go for a short run to test the ankle. For the first 5 minutes, the pain was excruciating and virtually I was limping. After around 10 minutes, it began to go away gradually. I did a couple of 15 secs strides at the end and I could feel the pain again (greater push-off and landing shock at fast speed).

So I am not really sure whether I can run tomorrow (i can definitely jog to finish). I will continue the RICE treatment whole day today and lets pray !

30 November 2008

Week 3 of 4 (10k SCSM)

Seven days to go to the SCSM 10k! I am not confident in getting a PB :( I think a 10k race four weeks after a marathon doesn’t provide you with sufficient window of training opportunities. You need to rest one week after marathon at the very least, do 2 weeks training, then taper in the 4th week. I feel that I need an additional 2-3 weeks to do more 10k specific training. So far, I’ve done a couple sessions (7*1000, 5*1600), and I wish I could have a couple more to have more confidence in tackling the race.

Monday, 24/11: - OFF
No run today, visited hospitals and maternity shops. Been in Melbourne for 3 days but gained weight due to fatty food indulgence. Ran only once in three days, legs are fresh.

Tuesday, 25/11: AM – 10k Tempo (40:40), total 20k
I really wanted to take advantage of Melbourne temperature by doing a 10k tempo run at LT pace. Due to the heat & humidity in Singapore, I typically break the tempo down into cruise intervals to make it more manageable. Warmed up for 5k from in-laws’ house to the end of Koonung Bike Trail. The initial pace was comfortable due to the conditions (15c, 60% humidity); however, I struggled a bit during km 2-5 facing a slight headwind. I felt much stronger on the return leg and helped by the tailwind, I was flying without trying. I averaged 4:04 min/km for out and back, totaling 40:40 for 10k with av HR of 169 bpm (87% max). I wasn’t very tired at the end and I felt I could hold this pace for 10miles or might be even for a HM (if I race in Australia, that is). My goal for the 10k in 12 days time is sub-39 meaning that I need to run 10secs per km faster than today’s tempo. Whilst this might be achievable in Australia, but it is gonna be a major stretch in Singapore given the conditions. Did 5k cool down including 5 x 12 secs hill sprints.

Wednesday, 26/11: PM – 7k Recovery (av 5:22 pace)
Flew back from Melbourne and arrived in Singapore at 10pm. After 7+ hours on the plane, legs were very stiff. Decided to do a shakeout run at 11pm to loosen up.

Thursday, 27/11: PM – ‘impromptu’ Intervals (3*1200m @ 3:40 + 3*400), total 13.5k
I intended to do 6-8k worth of 10k pace intervals as the last race-specific workout for the 10k in 10 days time, however, it turned out to be a short, impromptu session because I had problems in finding spaces to run ! First, I went to the track but they had a soccer game and the crowd was standing on the lanes. No luck! Then, I found an empty car park and duly started my interval. However, 900m into my first interval, a guard called me and said that I shouldn’t run there. Damn! Running intervals on pavement is not an option since there are crossings and traffic lights virtually every 100m or so. Finally, I found a 700m stretch of road which had cars passing now and then. By that time, I already lost a good 30mins and it was getting dark.

Due to time constraint, I decided to do the intervals at 5k pace (in fact, slightly faster). Did 3 x 1200m in 4:22, 4:24, 4:26 with 3mins recovery jog (av 3:40 min/km). Geez, I was really fried even after only 3 intervals. After a few minutes rest, did 3 x 400m in 81-82 with standing rest to allow HR to drop to 140. These short reps were hard too! This really didn’t bode well for my confidence for next week’s race. Temperature was 30c with 70% humidity.

Friday, 28/11: AM – 7k Recovery (av 5:22)
A relaxing run on my usual route (Alexandra Park Connector). 26c, 85% humidity.

Saturday, 29/11: PM – 25.6k Long Run (av 4:22), AIBI 8-hour Treadmill Team Challenge
Teamed up with Roadrunner3, Acidburn, and Niwas from SGRunners message board to do this relay event (everyone runs 2 hours on treadmill and the distances were totaled). The organization was messy and our run was delayed by a couple of hours. The treadmills were located outside a shopping mall and it was bloody humid. To make things worse, we were asked to wear thick cotton tees and the air-fans were switched off because the power ports were not sufficient. In fact, we experienced a couple of power trips and had to re-start the run again! Anyway, I covered 25.6k in two hours (av 4:42 pace) on 0% incline treadmill. About more than half was done at my marathon pace (4:30 min/km). As a team, we covered around 90k.

Sunday, 30/11: PM - 7k Recovery Run (av 5:43)

A slow shake out run. Had skin chaffing in the groin area from yesterday's treadmill run. Ouchh!

Total 80k for the week, 322k for the month.

Photos from yesterday (me, far left)
Two hours on treadmill in mentally demanding, and the condition was hot too !!

21 November 2008

Week 2 of 4 (10k SCSM)

I am in Melbourne between Saturday and Wednesday to see the doctor and hospitals for the baby. Plan to run on alternate days, hence mileage will be lower this week and next week.

Too bad I can’t stay until the weekend to run/watch the Great Australian Race where Mottram and Gebrelassie will be racing the 15K. Ran the race route today with my brother in law and his friend who are running next Sunday. We started at Albert Park, towards the city, one lap of the Tan and back at slow relaxing pace. Nice flat route.

On the local news front, Luke Kibet, the 2007 World Champs marathon winner has confirmed that he will be running Singapore Marathon this year. This is great news for Singapore. He is probably the highest profile runner (2:08 PB) ever to race here. Beijing Olympic womens marathon winner Dita-Tomescu also ran a couple of Singapore marathons but that was before she became famous.

On the training front, I did 70k with 2 main workouts:

1) Intervals: 4 x 1000m @ 5k effort, 400m jog (aborted)

The plan was to do 5x1000m with one lap jog for recovery, but could only complete four reps. I thought that I could comfortably do1000m reps at my old 5k PB pace (53 VDOT) with around 2:30 jog, but I was dead wrong. The effort felt hard and I was straining, hence I decided to call it quits. Splits were: 3:44, 3:43, 3:45, and 3:42. I think I was over ambitious and the recovery time was on the short side for a runner at my level.

This just shows that how my running friends in Perth are in top form at the moment. Both Clown ad Epi ran a couple of 1600s at 3:30 ish pace with 3mins rest and the time for 1600m of alternating 100m fast, 100m jog was also faster than my 10k pace intervals (they did it on grass too!!). You guys need to teach me how to run fast !!

2) Intervals: 5 x 1600m @ 10k effort, 400m jog

Ran 5k warm up to the SMU track including 4 x 30secs strides (a couple were downhill ones for leg turnover). Felt lousy at the start and did the first one in 6:13. The next one was even slower in 6:18 and was actually close to my tempo pace. I realized that my running form wasn’t great and decided to run with a higher ankle lift. This seemed to make a difference and I was able to complete the next 3 reps in 6:09, 6:10, and 6:05 (last 150m kick). Average pace for all 5 was 3:52 min/km, av HR 173 with a high of 184 bpm. Felt toast at the end but happy to be able to squeeze in 8k worth of race pace intermittent running a couple of weeks before the 10K. Now I wish if only I could run 10k continuosly at that pace !!

Mon: 8k Recovery (av 5:15)
Tue: 2k wu, 4x 1000m (av 3:44) with 400m jogs, 2k cd
Wed: 12k Easy (av 5:11)
Thu: 6k Recovery (av 5:28)
Fri: 5k wu, 5 x 1600m (av 3:52) with 400 jogs, 5k cd
Sat: Fly to Melbourne
Sun: 15k Easy (av 5:30)

Total 70k for the week

16 November 2008

Week 1 of 4 (10k SCSM)

Did a bit of research about marathon recovery and it seems the consensus is 1-2 months to allow full recovery (typically 1 day recovery for 1 mile raced). Read a few horror stories how people crashed and burned when they race or run hard too soon after an all-out marathon. Since the body takes time to heal the microscopic muscle damages, races/intervals will get in the way of recovery.

Luckily for me, I was able to do a decent week (110k last 8 days) after just one recovery week. Perhaps I was one of those runners who didn’t go to the ‘bottom of the well’ to finish the race. To put it in another word, I didn’t run the marathon as hard as I could. Oh well :) Now lets just hope there won’t be any problems for the next few weeks (3 weeks to go to the 10k)

This week I did 90k with 2 workouts:

1) Intervals: 7 x 1000m @ 10k effort, 200m jog in between

Warmed up for 5k from home to the SMU track, including 2 x 20secs downhill strides. As usual, couldn’t get the pace feel correctly and ran the 1st in 3:46. I then did the next three in 3:51 (av HR 172-176) with 200m jogs in between. A runner called me right after I finished the 4th, and we walked 200m and chatted. He turned out to be a Melbournian who is in town for a few days. He was complaining about the 95% humidity and how his 1k split times were 10secs slower and he needed a standing rest instead of 90secs jog he normally does in Melbourne. The guy was training for the Australian Masters Championships (37mins goal time in 45-50 age group) in Geelong. I asked whether he is a CR, but he wasn’t.

Back to the intervals, the 200m walk break was a welcome relief and I was in the zone for the next 3 reps. Splits were 3:52, 3:51 and 3:45, av HR 174-182 with a high of 188. Average split for the 7k was 3:50 min/km. I am pretty sure that I can't race at this pace for 10k since my track speed is typically 3-5secs per km faster than on the road.

2) Ovett Tempo (3miles HMP, 1 mile MP, 1 mile 10k pace)

Tried this tempo run for variety. Did the HM pace segment in 19:48 (4:07 pace/162 bpm), the MP segment in 6:57 (4:21/168) and the last mile at 10k effort in 6:16 (3:52/). All up, 8k in 33mins flat (av 4:08/166) with a high HR of 180. I think this is a solid workout for Half Marathon since you are likely to find your speed oscillating between MP, HMP, and 10k pace. I found this workout on the internet, but not sure whether Steve Ovett actually did it given his focus was on middle distance. After a few minutes rest, I did 4 x 300m reps on a marked bike path with 150m walk breaks in between. All 300s were done under 1 minute (splits 59, 59, 58, 56).

Mon: 8k Easy on treadmill (av 5:17) + abs
Tue: 5k wu, 7x 1000m(3:45-3:52) with 200m jogs, 5k cd
Wed: am 5k Slow (5:30), pm 5k Slow (5:42) + weights
Thu: 11k Easy (av 5:06) with 5 x 10secs hill + 2 strides
Fri: 2.5k wu, 8k Tempo (av 4:08), 4 x 300m, 2k cd
Sat: 6.7k Slow (av 5:38)
Sun: 22k Easy Long Run (av 5:01), last 15mins moderate at 4:40s

Total 90k for the week, 3263k for the year

PS: I also passed 10,000 miles since I started running/logging my mileage in 2004.

09 November 2008

Post Mortem & What's Next

Lots of runners below the hill....

Struggling at km 40 (marathon is a bitch) .....

Last few metres inside the 1988 Olympic Stadium.....

Races in Singapore are very scarce. For the next 3 months, there are only (hear this) one official race and a couple of small, club races. The official race is the Singapore Marathon, which is the biggest running event locally with 40,000 participants. I've registered for one of the side dish event, namely the 10K. Counting down from today, I only have four weeks to prepare for the race.

I downloaded the HR data from last week's marathon: HR was hovering between 160-165 for the first half, then 165-170 for the second half. My Max HR is probably about 193-195 bpm (no test in the last 2 years). Using 165 as an average, this implies roughly 85% Max HR. It seems that I didn't race according to my physiological capacity and could actually give a bit more.

Anyway, after a barren spell of 2 years without PB, last week's race really boosted my morale. I felt that I could run a much faster marathon. My wife plans to give birth in Melbourne and she plans to stay there from January. Since I will continue to work here, then virtually I have more time to train. The problem is that I might not have a lot of chance to do a marathon.

There is Hong Kong Marathon in February and timewise it fits fairly well because it allows 3 months for training and still a good 6 weeks before the baby is born. However, the course is slightly hilly, especially in the last 7k coming out of the sub-sea tunnel then facing 3 steep ramps in a row. I'd say the chance for a PB is probably small. Then there is Dong A Seoul Marathon (flat course) in mid March, however this is only a couple of weeks before the baby, so my wife might get very sensitive about it and she probably needs a lot of support. Finally, there is Canberra Marathon which is two weeks after the baby is born. Again, I don't know whether this will be a sensitive issue and I might get some sleepless nights too. Although, I love running very much, but family is definitely the number one priority.

Training is pretty much in recovery mode this week. I tried to avoid runing as much as possible for 5 days to provide a mental break. Started running again during the weekend and did a tempo run today.

Mon: OFF
Tue: OFF
Wed: Cross training (40mins elliptical + weights)
Thu: 5k Easy with 4 strides (av 5:12)
Fri: Cross training (10mins rowing, 10mins spinning, 10mins elliptical) + core
Sat: AM 9k Easy (av 4:58), PM 5k Easy with 5 x 12secs hill (av 5:06)
Sun: 5k wu, 5k Tempo (av 4:05 pace), 3 x 200m, 5k cd (total 16k av 4:46)

Total 35k for the week, 3172k for the year

02 November 2008

JoongAng Seoul Marathon 2008

3:11:31 (chip time)...

Overall, a slightly sub-par performance given:

1) All running calculators (VDOT, Mcmillan, 2 x HM + 10mins etc) predict 3:05-3:07 based on my last HM race in hot, humid Singapore.

2) The cool weather in Seoul (10-15c) should make that target easily achievable or even faster.

But today, I under performed because of :

1) I got beat up by the undulations. While there were no heartbreaker hills, but my legs were not just accustomed to the terrain. I trained exclusively on pancake flat terrain in Singapore.

2) Legs were heavy despite 2 weeks taper. Don't know why, could be due to stiff muscles from the cold temp or perhaps I did too much walking-cum-shopping in Seoul with my wife.

3) Erratic pacing, a combination of fast start, undulations, and Garmin inaccuracy (maybe time for an upgrade to 405 ??)

4) Carbo loading wasn't very optimal. Had burger, fries, BBQ chic, ice creams, & lots of donuts the day before the race.

5) Last reason, plain and simple, my general aerobic training pace (5:00-5:30) is simply too slow to warrant a low 3-hours marathon and the fact that I often make rest stops during my long runs contributed to the inability to run continuosly for a long time.

Nonetheless and on a positive side, after a dry patch of 2 years without a PB, I finally managed to PB by 6mins and also beat BQ by 4mins :) Hence, about 80% happy.

Official split times:
10k 43:56 (av pace 4:24)
Half 1:34:30 (av pace 4:29)
30k: 2:14:16 (av pace 4:29)
40k: 3:01:17 (av pace 4:32)
Full 3:11:31

As you can see, my pace got slower towards the end. The last 8k was a torture with my pace slowing to around 4:40-5:00 min/km. I positive splited by 1.5 mins - 1:34:30 vs 1:37:01

Now, the race report:

This week, I did about 40k before the race, including a 6k MP run on Wednesday. We took the Wednesday midnight flight to Seoul, arriving on Thursday morning. Friday was raining, so I ran in the gym for 30mins, followed by 10mins run outside. Saturday was an easy 25mins jog from the hotel to the start point and back.  We stayed at the Intercontinenal, a bit pricey but it is only 1.5k jog to the start. On race day, I woke up at 5am and had a bagel and cereal bar then went back to sleep until 6-ish. Jogged/walked to the stadium at 7-ish, about 40mins before the start, Met David, Anthony and Max from Singapore running forum at the start. Did a bit of stretching and went to the toilet. Before I knew it, it was 7:40 and all the runners were marching to the start point.

The gun went off at 8am and the cool temperature made the running really easy. Also, we had a long downhill in km 2-3 which made the pace faster than planned. For some reasons, my legs felt a bit heavy. Could be due to the stiff muscles from the cool temp (warm up was done 40mins before the start) or simply I walked too much in the last couple of days. It took me about one hour before I felt that my muscles got warmed up. The course itself was a bit on the dull side in terms of scenery. 

As predicted in last week's post, the undulations proved to my undoing given my habit to exclusively train on flat terrain back home. While the hills are not steep (long & gradual), but I still got beat up (from the downhills too). It also made even pacing difficult. To make things worse, my Garmin was really erratic today. In short, after a faster-than expected start, I hit the 10k mark averaging 4:24 pace, 21k averaging 4:29 and 30k averaging 4:29. As you will see the split times below, my split was really all over the place.

After 30+km, I simply got beat up and my stride got shorter and shorter. I felt that I was still okay aerobically, but my legs were heavy. My pace then snailed to 4:40-5:00 after 35k. It seemed that my slow training paces and habit to make a lot of stoppages during my long runs in Singapore led to my downfall. From km 35, it was virtually a damage control. My aim was keep my pace below 5:00 because I knew that even with a 5:00-5:10 pace for the last 7k, I would still got a PB and BQ. We ran back towards the city and I crossed the 40k mark in 3:01, so I still got a shot to get under 3:10. However, my legs just didn't want to run fast no matter I tried. The last 200-300m was done on the track inside the 1988 Olympic Stadium.

Had no complaints. I knew where the mistakes were done (see above). Also, I simply was unprepared for the undulations today.

Although, my hotel is chosen purposely so that I could jog for a mile to the start point (warm up). The walk back to the hotel after the marathon was a torture !!

Km splits (not accurate splits since there was a 30secs difference between my watch and chip time)

km 1: 4:22
km 2: 4:15
km 3: 4:18
km 4: 4:27
km 5-6: 8:59
km 7: 4:33
km 8: 4:27
km 9: 4:39 (marker was off)
km 10: 4:10 (see above)
km 11: 5:09 (drink, hill)
km 12: 4:06 (downhill)
km 13: 4:28
km 14: 4:30
km 15: 4:21
km 16: 4:43 (drink)
km 17-18: 8:58
km 19: 4:27
km 20-21: 9:18 (drink)
km 22: 4:16
km 23: 4:41
km 24: 4:28
km 25: 4:13
km 26: 4:27 (drink)
km 27: 4:29
km 28: 4:30
km 29: 4:20
km 30: 4:59 (drink)
km 31: 4:39
km 32: 4:39
km 33: 4:17
km 34: 4:38
km 35: 4:47 (started to feel it)
km 36: 4:53 (ouch)
km 37: 4:48 (ouch)
km 38: 5:00 (ouch, ouch, hills)
km 39: 4:25
km 40: 4:43
km 41: 4:42
km 42.2: 5:32

26 October 2008

Week 7 of 8 (Seoul)

Did 73k for taper, taking 2 rest days. The main runs were 18k (3 x 3k Threshold), 15k (7 MP + 5 HMP) and 23k long run. Despite the lighter workload, legs were still pretty tired.

Just realized that the Joongang Seoul marathon course is a bit undulating with 5-6 hills over 30-40m in elevation (start is 14m > sea level). My concern is that I’ve been doing all my runs exclusively on pancake flat terrain and track. As a last minute mitigation, I did a couple of runs on undulating route this week to get some familiarity into the legs. However, after my Sunday's hilly long run, my right butt got a bit sore. Hopefully the deep tissue massage on Wednesday will fix the problem.

I just went to check the weather in Seoul. Using today as example, the temperature is around 11-12c with humidity ranging from 60% at 8am to 40% at 11am. The 7-day forecast suggests the temperature to be the same (min 7, max 13c). In Singapore, the lowest temperature is about 24c (or 26c by the time I start my runs) with humidity around 70-90%, which makes the apparent temperature even higher. Tinman heat calculator suggests there is a 3% differential in performance levels between 80F/27c and 53F/12c. This translates to around 8secs/km difference.

Despite this, my plan is not to run MP much faster than what I have done in training due to a couple of reasons. First, I am still inexperienced in terms of marathons (3 marathons + 2 DNFs). Secondly, my preparation is pretty short (8 weeks), although it is a fairly solid block. And lastly, my long runs timing in Singapore hid the fact that I did a lot of stoppages/rest time during the runs. I simply can't run continuously for a long time due to traffic conditions and the need to re-hydrate. All the long run times that you see in my log do not include rest times. I don't really know whether I can run at solid pace for 3 hours plus continuously. I am just simply hoping the cooler weather will help me to delay the 'fading'.

Plan to do 30-40k next week pre-race. We'll fly to Seoul on Wednesday midnight and arriving Thursday morning. This will give me a chance to squeeze in a couple of short runs on Friday & Saturday. After living in the tropics for one year, the temperature in South Korea should feel like Artic-esque to me. Bring it on!


52mins Easy (av 5:11) + abs work
Treadmill, 0-2% inclines

Wednesday (11 days left):
4k warm up + strides
3k @ 30k pace effort (undulating route)
3k @ 1-hour pace (track)
3k @ 1-hour pace (track)
Splits: 13:00 (av 4:20), 12:02 (av 4:01), 11:56 (av 3:59)
Heart rates 159, 170, 173 bpm, jog/rest 3mins in between
5k cool down
Total running 18.3k in 1h:24m (av 4:38)

A super-humid morning. Found the effort on the first 3k to be manageable, but legs felt a bit heavy after that. I was rarely in the groove during the LT intervals but finished without a lot of strain. HR reached 186bpm during the last one.

36mins Very Easy (av 5:36) on treadmill + weights

Friday (9 days left):
15mins warm up
30mins @ MP effort, av 4:24 (undulating route)
5mins jog/rest
20mins @ HM pace effort, av 4:12 (flat route)
Total running 15.2k in 1h:09m (av 4:37)

The plan was to do a practice run of 2 x 7k MP. Did the first on rolling terrain, averaging 4:30 on the way out (mainly uphill), but the return leg (downhill) pushed the pace down. Went out a bit fast in the second interval (~HM pace) and decided to just lock-in the pace and ran on a flat terrain.


Sunday (7 days left):
23.3k Long Run in 1h:56m (av 5:00)
Ran on undulating terrain around Tanglin area. Consumed just water & salt tablets. Got tired in the second hour. Right hip was a bit sore from the hills.

Total 73.3k for the week, 680k for the last 7 weeks.

19 October 2008

Week 6 of 8

105km in 6 days, 4 main workouts.

Mon (20 days left):
3k warm up
4k Moderate Tempo (av 4:15)
3 x 1600m with 3mins jog/rest
splits: 6:00, 6:07, 6:06 (av 3:48)
7k cool down
Total workout 18k in 1h:25m (av 4:45)

This is Tinman’s peaking workout for HM, which I used for the Army Half. Ran the short tempo at just under HM effort around the outer loop of Botanical Garden (slightly undulating). After arriving at the SMU track, the plan was to do 3x1600m at 10k effort (~3:55 min/km), but ended up averaging 3:48. Felt good that I even had to hold back in the last 100 meters to keep the splits down.

34mins Very Easy on t-mill, abs work

Wednesday (18 days left):
27k Easy Long Run in 2h:15m (av 5:00)

The plan was to do 2x10k MP as my last hard workout on Thursday, but due to work schedule, had to move it to Wednesday. This proved to be a wishful thinking because I haven’t recovered from the speed session 36 hours earlier and the 3x7k MP run 4 days ago. After 4k at MP, I decided that my legs were not fresh enough to do this workout. Instead, I converted the session into a long run which probably wasn’t a bad substitute. Weather was warm, so I had a number of stoppages along the way.

Massage, 30mins jogging

Friday (16 days left):
2.5k warm up
14k at MP effort (av 4:25)
2.7k cool down, 3 x 100m fast strides
Total workout 19.2k in 1h:29m (av 4:38)

A make-up session for Wednesday’s failed MP workout. Ran 1/3 of marathon distance without any drink stop in 61:45 (av 4:25). Av HR was 162 bpm, with a high of 165-170 after 12k. For comparison purposes, previous similar-type runs yielded av HR of 166-169 bpm (during 12 & 18k runs) from 3 months ago.

OFF. My 37th birthday (getting old…)

Sunday (14 days left):
2.5k warm up
26k Moderate Long Run (av 4:44)
1.5k cool down, 4 x 30secs light strides
Total workout 30k in 2h:23m (av 4:47)

Followed Brad Hudson's Marathon Plan level 2 schedule to do the last long run at MP + 20-30secs per mile. Took two Accelerage gels and 1.1 litre of water.

Summary of 6 weeks of marathon training:

Mileage: 94, 91, 105, 98, 115, 105 = av 101 kmpw (high-low-high method to reduce tiredness & burnout)
Long Runs (Easy): 32, 35, 35, 27, 30
Long Runs (Quality): 27 incl 21 MP intervals, 32 incl 28 MP intervals, 31 incl 21 MP intervals
Tempo/Intervals: 6 sessions, around 20-40mins of sub-MP running

For taper, the plan is to do 70-80k next week then 40-50k before marathon. No races in the last 2 months, with the last one back on 24 Aug, a 1:28 HM. Might do a 3200m race on Friday.

Do you think that I have done enough in 6 weeks?

11 October 2008

Week 5 of 8

21 days to go....115km in 6 days, 3 main workouts:

1) 3 hours Long Run at Easy pace

Did the long run on race day minus 26, which might have been a tad too early because most running programs suggest the last and longest LSD to be done about 2.5-3 weeks out. Started the run at 4:30 am and ran it at a constant pace throughout. Heart rate was steady at 140-150 bpm before increasing to about 160bpm in the last 40mins due to tiredness and rising temperature. Consumed 2 gels, 600ml sports drink, 1 litre water, and 2 salt tablets. This is my second 3-hour long run so hopefully my body & brain will get a feel of how to run for an extended period of time.

2) 8 x 400m at VO2Max

Did a little dose of speed workout since I haven’t ran any races nor done any session faster than threshold pace in the last 2-3 months or so. Did the first 7 reps between 83-84 secs, then ran the last one hard in 74secs. Not really sure if this session is useful for marathon since the interval distance is very short and the pace is about 1mins per km faster than MP, but perhaps it’s good for variety and speed maintenance purposes.

3) 8k ez + 3 x 7k @ MP

Stole this workout from a one of the top HK-based runner called by7, who did 10k ez + 3x7k MP during his marathon prep for Fukuoka. He will be running Seoul Marathon as well as aiming for a kick ass 2:3x something. Unlike my previous MP long runs where I just warmed up for a couple of ks and then went straight to MP, this workout provided a different challenge with a longer warm up and the MP segment was done between km 8-30. Splits were 31:27/158 bpm, 31:22/162, and 31:10/168, totaling to 21k in 94mins (av 4:29 min/km, 163 bpm). Recovery time was 7mins consisting of 4mins jog + 3mins rest. Took gels before each MP segment and consumed 1.3 litre of liquids. The last 7k was tough given the mileage in the legs and I stopped briefly in the middle to get a drink.

Anyway, I have done 4 long runs (35k, 32k incl MP, 35k, 31k incl MP) in the last 2 weeks. For these long runs, I woke up at 4am and started the session at 4:30. One thing that I wouldn't miss about marathon training is having to get up so damn early ! Really looking forward to a longer sleep time during the taper.

Mon (Easy):
am: 20mins Very easy (av 5:40)
pm: 40mins Easy (av 5:24)

Tue (Long):
35.4k Long Run in 3 hours (av 5:07)

Wed (Easy):
45mins Easy (av 5:16)
Started at 6:00, worked down to 4:50. Treadmill 1% incline, last k at 5%.

Thu (Speed, Easy):
Warm-up, drills, strides
8 x 400m at VO2Max with 1:40 jog (straight path)
Splits: 84, 84, 83, 84, 84, 83, 84, 74 (last one hard)
Cool down

pm: 72mins Easy (av 5:10)
Joined the CBD running group. Knees were a bit sore due to the recent mileage increases and lots of running on concrete surface.

Fri (Recovery):
30mins Very Easy (av 5:40)

Sat (Marathon Pace):
8k warm up
3 x 7k at Marathon Pace (av 4:29)
Splits: 31:27, 31:22, 31:10 with 4mins jog, 3mins rest
Total 31k in 2:27 (av 4:45)

Sun (Rest):
OFF (going to Jakarta for a couple of days)

Total 115k for the week, 2878k for the year

05 October 2008

Week 4 of 8 (Seoul)

Two quality workouts (one good and one so-so), while the rest of the week is filled with short easy runs.

1) 32k Long Run incl 7k-6k-5k-4k-3k-2k-1k ladder at MP

Borrowed this workout from Ronaldo da Costa, a former WR holder who reportedly did 6-5-4-3-2-1km ladder during marathon prep. To make sure I can complete the workout, I sandwiched 3mins rest/jog breaks between the intervals in order to take gel & rehydrate. I have a high metabolic rate, so I prepared 3 gels, 600m sports drinks, and 1.5lt of water. I read that Ritz took gels very 5k for his 24miles long run av 5:05 min/mile before Beijing. So if Ritz does it, perhaps I should make sure I am well loaded too (ghaha)

For a change, it was a cool morning in Singapore (24c?) due to the rain overnight. Ran both 7k and 6k intervals well under MP and the effort felt naturally comfortable. Legs were fresh after 3 easy days and the weather was cool and cloudy. Recovery time was about 3mins of jogging and/or standing rest to re-fuel. The latter intervals got harder & harder and my pace got slower by a few secs per km but still under MP. Fortunately for me, the interval distance got shorter and shorter, hence the pain flew very quickly (yay!). Overall, I accumulated 28k or 2 hours worth of MP running. With warm up & recovery jogs, the total run was 32k in 2:24 (av 4:31 min/km), excluding stoppages. After the workout, I was tired but not entirely spent because I was well fueled and helped by the favourable weather.

2) 23k incl. 4 x 10mins at HM pace (threshold)

The plan was to do Tinman’s style big workout of 1hr ez + 6 miles of HM pace running. However, my body had not recovered fully from Wednesday’s session. The morning was terribly humid too. The 305 showed funny HR reading of 200 bpm+, perhaps the strap was very wet as it was soaked in sweat. Decided to cut the warm up at 5k, then did 2 x 2400m in 9:56 & 9:55 with 400m jog. Took a longer break to re-fuel and go to the toilet. Did the last two in 9:47 and 9:41, hence I accumulated about 40mins of running at Threshold effort. Finished with ~7k cool down incl 5 x 12-15secs hill sprints (total 23k). In retrospective, I should perhaps defer the workout by another day to allow more recovery, so I could do a longer quality session.

Two more training weeks to go now……wish I could have a few more weeks to train duh!

Mon (Easy):
50mins Moderate (av 4:46)
Ran some sections of the Singapore F1 circuit where the race was held last night. It was an awesome feeling running in the middle of the track with high fences and grandstands around me.

Tue (Easy):
40mins Easy (av 5:15)
Treadmill with 0-1.5% inclines. Conserving energy for tomorrow’s big workout.

Wed (Marathon Pace):
10mins warm up
7km at MP, av 4:22, 162 bpm
3mins rest/jog
6km at MP, av 4:24, 166bpm
3mins rest/jog
5km at MP, av 4:26, 169 bpm
3mins rest/jog
4km at MP, av 4:25, 170 bpm
3mins rest/jog
3km at MP, av 4:26, 172 bpm
3mins rest/jog
2km at MP, av 4:27, 172 bpm
3mins rest/jog
1km at HM pace, av 4:16, 174 bpm

All up, 32k in 2h:24m (av 4:31 min/km)

Thu (Rest):
OFF. 30mins deep tissue massage.

Fri (Easy)
45mins Easy (av 5:25, 140 bpm)
A crap run due to high humidity, bad stomach, sluggishness, and stiff muscles from yesterday’s massage. Cut the run short.

Sat (Threshold):
5k warm up
4 x 2400m @ HM pace in 9:56, 55, 47, 41
7k cool down in 5 x 12-15secs hill sprints
All up, 23k in 1h:51m (av 4:51)

Sun (Easy):
78mins Easy (av 5:14, 145 bpm)
Ran on parts of FI circuit again and along the Singapore River.

Total 98k for the week, 2763k for the year

27 September 2008

Week 3 of 8

Today I realized a couple of things about my marathon prep:

Although I managed the last three weeks well (94, 91, 105 km) without any issues, injuries, or the feeling burnout(not yet?), but I sincerely felt that I didn't have a lot of challenging workouts (only one of two so far). Other sessions were mild to moderate. This is attributed to Hudson's principal of linear periodisation which is similar to the Australian (Deek, Mona, Bideau et al) system. Basically there is no separaton of phases (e.g. base training) and everyone trains at various paces all year around. Hence, Hudson designs the program in such a way that all the hard workouts are spread over 20 weeks. But since I joined the program only for the last 8 weeks, there is some disconnect here.

Secondly, I found that my endurance is my shortcoming. Saturday's 35k long run was tough for me. Although, it was done at easy pace but I was struggling after 2 hours. Had to stop every 10mins or so in the last hour to drink and rest. Is this a signal that a marathon is too soon?

There are only five weeks to go to Seoul, meaning only three weeks of hard training left to go. It's now really the time to step up and start upping the ante.

In light of the above, I am thinking to ditch the Hudson plan temporarily for the next couple of weeks (talk about loyalty after three weeks of following his plan haha). He typically schedules 2 moderate hard workouts and a long run each week and this cycle goes for months. However, I feel Jack Daniels & Tinman’s principles of two ‘big’ workouts per week are more marathon specific, especially during the sharpening period. The big workouts entail long runs with lots of qualities, while other runs during the week are purely 'fillers'. I will probably re-join Hudson training plan again in the last 2 weeks to make sure I taper correctly.

Mon (Recovery):
42mins Very Easy (av 5:37) + abs work
Needs a slow day after yesterday’s MP practice workout. Treadmill with 0.5% incline.

Tue (Easy):
18.3k Easy in 90mins (av 4:56)
Ran the first 70mins at varying aerobic effort between 135-155 bpm, finishing with 4 x 400m to train leg turnover.

Wed (Easy):
45mins Easy (av 5:16) + light weights
Three easy days in a row, should be ready for a quality session tomorrow. Treadmill 1% incline.

Thu (Fartlek):
8k Easy (av 5:12) incl strides
5k Tempo @ HM pace in 20:28 (av 4:06)
5mins rest
2 x 1200m @ 10k pace (av 3:53)
Splits: 4:41, 4:40 with 400m jog in between
5k Easy (av 5:12)
All up, 21k in 1h:41m (av 4:50)

An ineffective, unstructured workout. Planned to do 4x2k or 3x3k at HM pace, but ended up doing 5k continuous. Was tired by the end of the tempo and didn’t feel like doing more long intervals. Decided to do 1200s at quicker pace afterwards but the body couldn’t do more than two. In retrospective, I should have followed the original plan so I can spend more time at Threshold.

Fri (Recovery):
36mins Very Easy (av 5:37) + core/stretching
Conserving energy for tomorrow’s long run. Treadmill 0.5% incline.

Sat (Long):
35k Long Run in 3hours (av 5:09)
Long run is definitely not my forte. Ran from home to Priece Rd and spent an hour running up & down on an undulanting terrain. Took gel after 90mins and decided I’ve had enough of the hills. Ran on flat terrain in the second half. Found the last hour to be very tough as I felt the effect of glycogen depletion and tired legs. Including today's long run, I totaled 124k in last seven days (Sun-Sat) The three hours exclude stoppages time to re-fuel & re-hydrate.

Sun (Easy):
39mins Easy (av 4:56)
Felt much netter than yesterday. Included 5 x 10-15secs hill sprints

Total 105k for the week, 2665k for the year.

21 September 2008

Week 2 of 8

This week's training is pretty much in-line with the Hudson plan. A total of 91k in 6 runs, with some shuffling here and there. He schedules two quality workouts, a threshold fartlek on Monday (which wasn't that hard) and 21k Marathon Pace Spec Test on Sunday.

All week, I've been pretty anxious about the 21k @ MP. Firstly, Hudson's plan is 20 weeks long and a 'spec test' after 14 weeks of marathon training is very timely. However, I jumped in only for the last 8 weeks of his program, meaning that I missed a solid chunk of aerobic support training. I also had 2 weeks of holiday (little running) and only started the training last week, culminating in my first 30k+ long run in 12 months, hence, I was really damn nervous. Secondly, given Singapore weather conditions, I had my doubts whether I could run almost continously in a non-race environment (solo) with limited hydration.

I decided to do the run in East Coast Park (near the airport, S$20 cab return) because it has a long flat, stretch of road of about 12k without any traffic. This is a rarity in a small country like Singapore. My plan was to run out and back for 21k with a brief stop in the middle. Because I wasn't sure whether it will have a vending machine at 10.5k mark, I decided to carry 500m bottle in my hand. Was very anxious during the warm up: even when running at 5:30 pace, my Garmin showed a HR of 140-150 bpm (normally around 5:00). The morning was humid as usual bit I thought it was warmer too.

I started at about 4:30 pace, but I wasn't feeling that flash initially, as the body probably took time to adjust to the pace and conditions. After around 5k, my body finally clicked into gear and the effort felt fairly okay. I reached the 10.5k mark (according to GPS) in 46:34, averaging 4:26 pace and 167 HR. Rested for just over 2mins to take gel, salt tablet, and 500m water and then started again. The second segment was harder and I felt like stopping after 2k. I continued to push along and tried hard to counter the negative thoughts. For some reason, the next 6k just flew like a breeze before I went into another bad patch with couple of ks to go. Legs were heavy and I really felt like stopping for a rest and drink. I continued to hold on and finshed the return leg in 46:40, averaging 4:27 pace. Average HR for this section was 169 bpm but reached mid 180s as I ran hard in the last 300m. The total for 21k was 1:33:15 (av 4:27 min/km) excluding 2mins rest.

Overall, I had a mixed feeling about the run. On one hand, I felt happy to complete the solo run with minimal stoppage and hydration (I am a heavy sweater). Given that I only joined the pgoram with 8 weeks to go and hence, missing a lot of solid endurance training, perhaps the result wasn't too bad. On the flip side, I felt that I didn't have a lot in the tank at the end. One thing for sure, I won’t be able to run at this pace for 42k in tropical country like Singapore!

As an aside, I bought a 2XU compression socks, which looks like a granny stocking. Since Seoul is pretty cold (5-15c) for someone who lives here, I am thinking to wear a Skin short and a long sock. I tried the sock during the MP run this morning but couldn’t feel any positve effects at all. Due to the length, it made the lower part of the body warmer too (extra sweat). At S$50, it is damn expensive for a sock !!!

Mon (Threshold Fartlek):
4.5k warm up incl dynamic stretching & strides
8 x 800m ON, 400m OFF (av time for the 800s = 3:11 or at approx One-Hour pace)
2.6k cool down
All up, 16.3 in 78mins (av 4:50)
Hudson plan calls for 3miles ez, 8 x 3mins @ HM pace + 2mins ez, 3miles ez, but decided to change it to 800s + 200s as they are close enough in terms of timing. Ran on the track clockwise for a change. The 800ms were done in 3:11, 13, 13, 12, 13, 11, 11, 07 - averaging just under 4:00 min/km pace or One Hour pace. Was ambitious in the recovery initially with low 2:00s but slowed to around 2:20 in the latter part. The total ON/OFF was 9.2k in 41:08 (av 4:28 min/km). Got no time to do a long cool down as I had to return to work.

Tue (Easy):
17.2k Easy in 85mins (av 5:00, 145 bpm)
Ran according to HRM on flat route. First 30mins < 140 bpm averaging 5:17, next 30mins <145 bpm averaging 5:00, and last 25mins at 150 bpm averaging 4:40. Felt so-so during the easy portion, but felt great when running at 4:40s. Wished I could have more time today.

Wed (Recovery):
6.5k Very Easy (av 5:30)
Treadmill 0-1.5% incline, also did 70 sit-ups

Thu (Easy):
14k Easy in 71mins (av 5:06)
Treadmill 0-2% incline. Started at 6:00 pace, worked down to 4:45.

Fri (Easy):
9.6k in 48mins (av 5:00) with 8 x 10secs hill
Circled a route with a 400m hill four times plus the hill sprints. Felt sluggish, perhaps the recent step up in mileage in last 1.5 weeks began to take its effect.

Sat (Rest):

Sun (Marathon Pace Run):
3.2k Very Easy (av 5:30)
2 x 10.5k @ 4:27 min/km with 2mins standing rest
Splits: 46:34, 46:40, an HR 168 bpm (total 93:15 for 21k)
3.2k Very Easy (av 5:30)
All up, 27.4k in 2:08 (av 4:41)

Total 91k for the week, 2560k for the year

14 September 2008

Week 1 of 8 (Seoul)

I've decided to follow Brad Hudson's training plan from the "Run Faster" book for Seoul. I don't normallly follow training plans per se because I believe workout structure & training efforts should be dependent on how I feel on the day. However, I am currently on borrowed times for two reasons. One, I have only 8 weeks (incl taper) to train, and two, I don't have any confidence in designing my own training plan for a 42k race (had a habit to over-train).

I like Brad's program (coach of Dathan Ritzhein who finished #10 in Beijing ahead of Ryan Hall ) due to several factors. Firstly, his principal is based on non-linear periodization. Basically, he suggests one to train at multiple paces consistently all year around with only a tweak in the final 4-6 weeks before a peak race to focus on specific race-pace endurance. For instance, for a 5k race, he recommends one to do 10k training (10k pace intervals, threshold) for aerobic support before focusing on 5k race-pace workouts in the last 4-6 weeks. For a HM race, the optimal aerobic support is of course, HM training (threshold, long runs). For a marathon race, he reckons the optimal aerobic support is also HM training. Why? By doing HM training, marathon pace will feel 'comfortable' because HM is a more challenging event aerobically. (Lets see and find out, haha) The good thing is my training for the last couple of months have been centered on HM training (race on 24 Aug), so I think there is something in common there.

Secondly, his level 2 plan seems to match for a runner of my standard. Brad has 3 plans: #1 for beginner, #2 for intermediate, and #3 for competitive runners. Level 2 plan encompasses 6 days of running (one rest day) and typical mileage of around 90kmpw. This training regime fits my life nicely. Thirdly, he schedules one interval type session (HM to 10k pace), one moderate session (MP run or progression), and a weekend long run in a typical training week. Again, there is some commonality with my training when I was preparing for the HM, except for the lack of long runs (duh !!)

However, there are a couple of main challenges. One, Brad's marathon plan is a 20 week program and I simply jump-in for the last 8 weeks. While I won't have any problems doing the intervals & tempo sessions in his plan, but I am severely short of long runs and aerobic mileage. My average mileage year to date is just under 70k, while the typical mileage in his plan is about 80-90k. Secondly, he schedules a series of tough long runs starting this week: 32k ez, 27k with 21 MP, 35k ez, 32k with 24k at MP+5sec, 37k ez, and 30k at MP+10-20secs. They might prove to be the archiles heel for me, who only did a handful of 20k+ runs this year.

Anyway, below is this week's training. Had no problem with the sudden increase in mileage. Made one tweak by replacing a 19k run with 5x1k intervals, as well as the normal shuffling here and there to fit my schedule. Reason for doing the intervals is to get back to fitness quickly after 2 weeks holiday.

Mon (Easy):
10k Easy in 50mins
Av pace 5:00 min/km
Ran the Leonie Hill Rd loop eight times. Haven't done any running on hills for ages, legs a bit tired.

Tue (Intervals):
2.4k Easy to the track with strides
5 x 1000m @ 8-10k pace with 90secs recovery
Average 3:51 min/km, 177 bpm (splits 3mins: 47, 51, 52, 52, 49)
2.6k Easy with strides
Total workout 11k in 52 mins (av pace 4:40 min/km)
Stretching/core + leg swings

Back to real world: lunch time run with apparent temp of 33c. Struggled after the 3rd interval. Av HR for intervals #2-5 was 177 bpm - higher than similar workouts a month ago at 172 bpm. Perhaps due to some fitness erosion from little running during the holiday.

Wed (Recovery):
9k Very Easy (av 5:25)
Treadmill with 0-2% inclines
Abs work (sit ups, torso rotation, back extension)

Thu (Threshold):
5.3k Easy to the track (av 5:14)
3 x 2400m @ HM pace with 3mins recovery
Average 4:05 min/km, 172 bpm (splits 9mins: 46, 48, 43)
5.7k Very Easy incl 4 x 10secs hill sprints
Total workout 19k in 92mins (av pace 4:52 min/km)

Ran at 6am: cool but awfully humid. The program had 3 x 10mins, but 2.4k at my pace is close enough (6 laps at track). The 2nd interval was tough, but managed to get back into the groove for the 3rd. I did a similar workout 7 weeks ago, averaging 4:01 & 174 bpm but with a shorter warm up, so looks like my fitness deteriorated a tad.

Friday (Recovery):
7k Very Easy (av 5:38)
0.5% incline treadmill
Gym work: pulldowns, deltoid, torso rotation, back extension, core exercises

Saturday (Long):
32k Easy in 2h:43mins (av 5:06)
Incl. 126mins on undulanting terrain (av 5:13), 10mins @ HMP, 18mins ez, 8mins @ MP

First 30k+ run in almost one year and it was difficult. Started at 5:45am to avoid the heat but it was humid. The first 2 hours was over undulating terrain and my legs were trashed by the hills. Ran the second hour in pouring rain too! To avoid getting bored, I spiced thing a little by doing 2400m on the track at HM pace in 9:57 (av 4:10). Then jogged home, running the last 8mins at MP effort. I think the av pace for today's run is a bit on the slow side, but given the terrain and the fact that it is my first long run in a long time, perhaps it wasn't too bad.

Sunday (Recovery):
6k Very easy (av 5:28)

Total 94k for the week, 2469k for the year

27 August 2008


Was on holiday for 12 days in Japan, hence training was very limited. Went to Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Fukuoka, and Hiroshima.

On one hand, I felt the holiday is a major disruption to my training. I have a decent patch over the last couple of months and it feels diappointing to break that momentum. Furthermore, after this holiday, I will only have 8 weeks left to prepare for the marathon. On the flip side, since there were no peak races this year, I've been training pretty much week in week out for the whole year. Hence a short break was perhaps good for the mind and body.

Overall, I did a total 90k for the last 2 weeks - which is not exactly marathon training. I felt the holiday eroded my endurance slightly - judging from the workouts that I had in Japan. Out of the 4 runs during the holiday, I only had one solid workout: 3 x 5k @ sub MP on the narrow streets of Kyoto. The two runs in Tokyo were so-so. I wanted to run in Imperial Palace which had a 5k unintterupted loop but I had troubles finding the place by foot from the hotel. I ended up runnning around the local streets under a myriad of skyscrapers and overhead bridges and railway tracks (GPS was out of whack). I also found Japan summer was only slightly cooler than Singapore but was humid throughout.

8 weeks of training left to the marathon... I wish I can buy more time.

25/8: 35mins recovery
26/8: 45mins easy
27/8: 24k in 2 hours
28/8: off (fly to Japan)
29/8: off
30/8: off
31/8: off
1/9: 8k in 37mins (av 4:40) incl 2 x 1600m in 5:42, 6:00 w/ 3mins jog (Kyoto)
2/9: 18k in 82mins (av 4:33) incl 3 x 5k @ 4:20-4:25 pace w/ 2mins rec (Kyoto)
3/9: off
4/9: off
5/9: Approx 11k easy in 54mins (GPS went beserk in Tokyo due to skyscrapers)
6/9: Approx 15k in 74mins incl 5k tempo @ ~ HM pace (GPS went beserk again)
7/9: off (fly back to SG)

24 August 2008

SAFRA Singapore Bay Run and Army Half Marathon 2008


Not a PB (about 1 minute slower), but given the temperature differential between Singapore (24-26c, 90% relative humidity) and Western Australian winter (5-10c, <70% humidity), I think the result was comparable or might be better than my running times in Perth.

My confidence was low this morning as I only slept around 2 hours. Watched Liverpool vs M'borrough until around 12, but couldn't sleep until about 2am+. I guess I got excited too much by the race! Woke up at 4:30am, drank a cup of coffee and ate a slice of bread. Left home around 5:15am and jogged 2km to the start point.

Given the crowd size (70,000+ runners doing 21k, 10k, 6k), I went to the start line 30 minutes before the start time. By then probably there were already close to 1000 runners in front of me. Felt like being trapped in a can of sardines but that's the way Singapore races are. Everybody (either fast or slow) always wants to start in front.

At 6:30 the gun went off and I went out at sub 4:10 pace for the first 2k. At km 3, there was a 300-400m bridge and my pace slowed down to 4:25. Passed the 5k marker at 20:44 (av 4:09) and still felt comfortable. After around 7k, my Garmin and the actual distance markers started to show discrepancy. We then went towards the East Coast Park and passed the turnaround point (chip checkpoint) at 9.5k.

Passed the 10k (according to Garmin) in 41:23 (second 5k in 20:39) so still sub 4:10 pace. At this point, my Garmin was 400m ahead of the distance marker and I passed the 10k road marker in 43:00. We now ran on pavement for the next couple of ks before going to the unpaved section of the race route. My pace started to slow down due to the uneven, sandy like surface which was also a bit tilted (the surface wasn't that horizontal). I also began to struggle due to dehydration. Passed the 15k in 62:14 (third 5k in 20:51). The unpaved section seemed to be endless and finally managed to get a drink and took gel at km 16.

We then went back to the paved road at km 16 and my Garmin was still off by 400m to the distance marker. I was suffering for the next 3-4 km and km 15-20 took me 21:16 (4:15 pace). I passed the km 20 marker in 1:23:10 and fortunately, the distance discrepancy was now narrowing to around 200m. Ran km 20-21 in 3:51 and passed the 21.1k mark according to Garmin at 1:27:50. Crossed the finish mat in 1:28:35 with Garmin showed 21.3k. Since I was zig-zaging throughout the run then the total distance should be accurate at 21.1k.

Av HR for the race was 175 bpm of 90% Max HR. Reached a high of 193 bpm while sprinting to the finish.

Thanks for everyone for the advices and good luck messages. Plugging the HM time to McMillan calculator put me in a 3:07 shape for the full marathon. The upside is that Seoul weather is cool at 7-15c, so should be conducive for running. The downside is that we will be on holiday for 12 days and upon returning, I will only have 8 weeks (incl taper) to train.

Splits (according to GPS):

1k - 4:05/155
2k - 4:08/166
3k - 4: 25/169 (300m hill)
4k - 4:02/171
5k - 4:04/168
6k - 4:05/171
7k - 4:12/172 (gel, drink)
8k - 4:05/173
9k - 4:10/175
10k - 4:07/175 (5k split 20:39)
11k - 4:14/175
12k - 4:14/176 (drink)
13k - 4:06/178
14k - 4:07/180
15k - 4:10/180 (5k split 20:51)
16k - 4:19/179 (gel, drink)
17k - 4:16/181
18k - 4:13/182
19k - 4:17/182 (drink)
20k - 4:11/184 (5k split 21:16)
21k - 3:51/188
0.3k - 1:05/191 (according to GPS)

Training this week:

Mon (treadmill):
55mins Easy Run (av 5:17)
2 x 30 torso rotation, 2 x 40 leg swings

Off. 30mins massage.
Tried a new masseur. He is from Traditional Chinese Medicine background and used point pressure techniques (different to the rubbing technique in normal sports massages)

Wed (pavement):
13.3k in 62mins (av 4:43 min.km)
Incl. 6k Moderate Pace Tempo @ 4:22 then 3 x 30secs strides

Felt sluggish for some reason and the Tempo run was harder than it should be. The av HR for the tempo run was 167 bpm compared to 169 for a 18k run (3 times the distance) at the same pace two weeks ago. Could be either due to muscle stifness from yesterday's massage or the 89% relative humidity. I hope this is just a temporary and one-off issue.

Thu (treadmill):
45mins Recovery Run (av 5:27)
80 sit-ups
Left knee cap was sore, after yesterday's run on hard pavement.

Friday (road):
45mins Easy Run (about 4:57) incl 4 strides
Garmin showed me running at 4:48 pace, but don't think I ran that fast this morning. Also, half of the run was on a hilly course and it was 90% humidity. Left knee cap sore.

Saturday (pavement):
30mins Easy Run (av 5:16)
5mins stretching

Sunday (road):
2.3k warm up
SAFRA Army Half Marathon in 1:28:33 (av 4:12 pace, 175 bpm) . 13th in Mens Closed (local) category.
2k cool down


Total 72.4k for the week, 2284k for the year

16 August 2008

One week to AHM

One week to go before the Army Half. This week I did two quality sessions:
1) Tempo/Intervals Mixed Workout: 5k moderate tempo @ 4:20 min/km + 3 x 1600m @ 3:55
2) Long Run/Tempo Mixed Workout: 12k easy + 2 x 3200m @ 4:08 min/km + 7k easy

Next Sunday is the SAFRA Singapore Bay Run & Army Half Marathon 2008, which is the second largest race in Singapore with over 20,000+ runners (gulp). I assume that the race will be crowded with runners at all levels (fast and slow) wanting to start at the front area, so there will be a BIG BOTTLENECK (ggrrrrr…..)

For a change, I am trying to closely follow Tinman's HM peaking program. The plan is only for the last two weeks and a couple of people have gotten success with it (including Moby from CR Oz). It puts emphasis on volume maintenance rather than intensity. In fact, normal mileage is maintained until the last three days before the event. The plan is below in miles:

Week minus 1 ==> T: 8 ez; W: 2ez + 3 tempo + 3 x 1600m CV + 2 ez; T: 8 slow; F: 8 ez, S: 10 ez + 4 MP; S: 5 slow
Race week ==> M: 8 slow; T: 3ez + 4 tempo + 2 ez; W: 5 slow; T: 7 ez; F: 4 ez; S: race

What I did differently from the plan was less warm up/cool down for Tues due to heat, shorter recovery runs Thurs & Sun, and a longer/harder long run on Saturday (HM reps instead of MP continuous).

I don't know what to expect for next Sunday's HM. Back in 2006 in Perth, I did two half marathons between 1:27-1:29 under a different training regime. My current tempo and intervals are faster & longer than back then, but my long runs now are only about 22k due to the tough running conditions (versus weekly 30ks previously). Moreover, my mileage for the first 8 months of the year is about 400km lower than 2006. Hence, endurance seems to be my weak link. On the flip side, I did a HM last December here in 92+mins, but training is heaps better and I am better acllimatized this time around. All in all, anything near 90mins is a decent outcome for me, I think….

Can anyone give me an idea on what pace should I run for the HM?

Mon (treadmill):
36mins Recovery Run (av 5:38)
15mins upper-body weights

Tue (treadmill):
1 hour Easy Run (av 5:05)
5mins stretching/core, 60 leg swings
First 20mins av 5:24, second 20mins av 5:04, last 20mins av 4:50

Wed (road/track):
10mins warm up
5k Moderate Tempo @ 4:20
5mins walk to the track
3 x 1600m CV Intervals, av 3:55 min/km, av 176 bpm, high 187
Splits: 6:14, 6:17, 6:15 with 400m jog (2:30)
Cool down (total workout 14k in 63mins, av 4:30 min/km)

Cloudy but bloody humid! To make things worse, legs were still tired from Sunday's 18k tempo run. The effort for moderate tempo run felt harder that it was supposed to be. After 5 mins walk, did 3 x 1600m CV intervals and I was toast after the second interval. Just didn't have a lot of power in the legs, Decided to hang tough and completed the 3rd interval amid some difficulty.

Thu (treadmill):
30mins Recovery Run (av 5:40)
80 sit-ups

Friday (treadmill):
1 hour Easy Run (av 5:10)
Felt good. First 30mins av 5:27, last 30mins av 4:55

Saturday (pavement/road/track):
1 hour Easy Run (av 4:59/145 bpm)
2 x 3200m Cruise Intervals av 4:08 (13:13/168, 13:09/177)
35mins Easy Run (av 5:00/160)
Total workout 26.2k in 2:05 (av 4:47 min/km)

Ran 12k from home to Dempsey Hill to Cluny Park Rd to MoE track, did the cruise intervals on the track, 10mins rest to rehydrate, then 7k easy back home. The aim of doing the intervals after one hour run is to get a feel how the last 1/3 of the HM is like. Felt pretty buggered during the second interval.

Sunday (pavement):
35mins Recovery Run (av 5:22)
94% relative humidity !!!!

Total 83k for the week, 2211k for the year

10 August 2008

Pearl Izumi Run Series 2

A good week with three quality workouts:

1) 5 x 1k intervals @ 8k pace, av 3:51 min/km with 200m jog in 1:20 for recovery
2) 2 x 5k Tempo Intervals @ HM pace, av 4:10 min/km
3) 18k Tempo Run, av 4:25 min/km, av 169 bpm (Pearl Izumi Series 2)

Had a good run today at the Pearl Izumi Pure Run Series 2 in Kallang. Planned to run it at 4:30 min/km (or 3:10 marathon pace), but felt good from the start. Started at around 4:20-ish pace and the pace was pretty much locked-in from there to finish, despite 2 sets of staircases and 2-3 walking breaks at the drink stations. Never felt laboured with the exception of slight tightness in the hip. The distance turned out to be 18-ish km compared to the 20k advertised. Finished in 1:19:48 in in 8th place (I think), so a good training run for the HM in 2 weeks time and Seoul marathon in Nov.

Mon (track):
10mins warm up + strides
5 x 1000m Intervals @ ~8k pace (av 3:51)
Splits: 3:51, 3:51, 3:53, 3:52, 3:49 with 200m jog (~1:20)
2 x 200m Repetitions (40, 41) with 200m jog
8mins cool down (total workout 10k in 45mins, av 4:30 min/km)

Felt unenergized and the morning was super humid. The plan was for 6-7 x 1000m at ~3:55 pace but ran faster in all of them (akin to approx race 8k pace). Consequently, started to feel the legs burning after the 3rd interval and could only complete 5 sets. Afterwards, did 2x200m compared to my usual 4x200m of Reps post-intervals due to tiredness.

Tue (treadmill):
40mins Recovery Run (av 5:30)
10mins upper-body weights

Wed (bitumen):
10mins warm up
2 x 5k Tempo @ HM pace with 1k jog in between
1st: 20:40 (av 4:08 min/km, av HR 169 bpm)
2nd: 21:00 (av 4:12 min/km, av HR 178, high 187)
Cool down (total workout 14.4k in 65mins, av 4:33 min/km)

Ran during lunch time, 30c, 80% rel humidty, apparent temp 35c. Found a 800m of (light traffic) stretch of road and ran back & forth. The aim was 2x5k under 4:10 pace. Legs were a bit heavy and the body is yet to fully recover from Monday's intervals. Ran the first 5k in 20:40 with av HR 169 bpm - same HR as my 5k tempo run in 20:00 a couple of weeks ago. So definitely I wasn't in a good form today. The second 5k was an uphill struggle from the start and my pace faded after 3k. Continued running at slower pace before picking up the pace at the end to finish right at 21:00. Av HR for the second 5k was 178 bpm.

Thu (treadmill):
45mins Recovery Run (av 5:30)
5mins abs exercises

Friday (treadmill):
62mins Easy Run (av 5:05)
Felt average. Initially used Hill level 3 but decided to downgrade to level 2 to make it easy effort.

Saturday (pavement):
35mins Easy Run (av 5:12)
Av HR 140 bpm, did 6 strides

Sunday (pavement/road):
10 mins warm up
18.2k Pearl Izumi Run Series 2 in 1:19:48 (av 4:24 min/km), 8th place
10mins cool down

Total 81k for the week, 2128k for the year

03 August 2008

So-so week

So-so week. Couldn't run as much as I wanted to, with two off days :(

Did a good tempo run at HM pace on Thursday then a medium long run with Rob who is in town. It was nice to catch up with hime again. His improvement was indeed impressive.

Ran over 330km for the month of July and just above 2000ks year to date.

Was planning to do a 8.4k race this morning in Botanic Gardens, but couldn't make it. There is a 20k race (Pearl Izumi series 2) next Sunday which I plan to run as marathon pace training run.

Mon (treadmill):
30mins Recovery Run (av 5:38)
Busy day. No time to run.

Tue (treadmill):
93mins Easy Run (av 5:11)
First 9k in a slow 49mins (av 5:25), second 9k in 44mins (av 4:55)

Wed (treadmill):
35mins Easy Run (av 5:20)
Another busy day. Three treadmill days in a row.

Thu (pavement):
10mins warm up
8k Tempo in 33:17 (av 4:10 min/km), HR 169
4 x ~80m hills (00:17)
Cool down (total workout 13.2k in 60mins, av 4:33 min/km)

Hot afternoon even at 5pm. Started at 4:20 pace but the pace got naturally faster. Was tempted to run 10k (~41-42 mins) but stopped after seeing the HR climbing above 180 after 30mins. Still, av HR of 169 and a high of 182 bpm are lower than the same 8k tempo run 6 weeks ago (33:08) when I was averaging 176 bpm.

Off. Felt a bit unwell from yesterdays tempo run in hot temperature.

Saturday (pavement):
107mins Long Easy Run (av 4:55)
Ran with Rob who is in town for the weekend. Started at sightseeing pace for the first 3k along the river to Singapore flyer. Then ran to Fort Canning and Botanical Garden at a decent clip (~4:50ish pace).


Total 65k for the week, 2047k for the year

27 July 2008

Mizuno Wave Run 2008

Had a scare early in the week. My left ITB was hurting like hell and I was unable to run. Even walking was really painful, especially going down the stairs. Fortunately, my massage therapist was available and I could arrange a one-hour session on Wednesday. The massage was really a torture and I had to take Panadol for a couple of days to get rid of the pain.

In essence, I was lucky to be at the starting line at today's Mizuno Wave Run 2008. There were around 5,000 runners in total starting at Temasek Polytechnic stadium. Before the start, the race organizer mentioned that the course is about 10.3k. Therefore, not an accurate 10k race but at least they are being frank upfront and it showed that they have actually measured the course. Temperature was good for Singapore standards, probably 25c. However, I really wasn't expecting a good timing today due to the big crowd and since 4km of the course is on gravel, sandy surface. Given my ITB problem earlier, anything near my Lactate Threshold pace for 10k is good enough.

Started near the front and passed the first k in 3:56 among hundreds of runners. The next 2km were on a very narrow running pavement which can only fit 2 runners at max. My pace slowed down to 4:05 & 4:10 as I found it difficult to pass people. Then we started to enter the Bedok Reservoir which is on gravel, sandy surface. Km 4-7 passed by effortlessly in 4:01, 3:56, 4:01, 4:05. Heart Rate were hovering at mid 170s which is typical for LT-type run. Felt a bit tired during km 8-9 as I began to feel the effect of humidity and the pace slowed down to around 4:07. I picked up the pace slightly in km 10 (3:58) as we ran back to the stadium. Passed the 10k mark (according to Garmin) in 40:30. Ran the last 0.3k in 50++ secs but got outsprinted by a 17min 5k runner near the end.

Finish time was 41:21, averaging 4:01-4:02 min/km for 10.3k, which is right at my usual LT pace. Average HR was 174 bpm or 89% Max HR - again consistent with LT HR. High HR was 187 bpm (in the last 300m) versus my Max of 195 bpm, so I wasn't pushing it at all. In short, I wasn't labouring and the effort felt comfortably hard. Given the relatively cool weather this morning, perhaps there was a chance for me to get under 40 for the 10k. Still, it is a bit frustrating to see that I am training hard just in order to be able match my Australian PBs.

Anyway, I felt happy given I was unable to run early in the week. I will try to crack my 10k PB in December (a side event of the Standard Chartered Marathon) where the course should be quite accurate.

Mon (track):
10 mins warm up
5k Threshold Tempo Run in 19:55 (av 3:59 min/km)
3 x 400m Repetitions in 83, 85, 84, one lap jog for recovery
10mins cool down (total workout 12k)

Light rain, so it was cool (25c) for Singapore. The plan was to do 4 x 1600m at Threshold due to a weekend race. But I felt good so I decided to turn it as a continuous run. HR ranged from 140 at the start to 179 bpm at the end, averaging 159 or 82% max - the lowest ever . Three months ago, I did the same run averaging 176 bpm (90% max). Similar tempo runs a year ago in Australia showed average HR of around between 165-175 bpm.
Thinking about it, I might have been glycogen-depleted, resulting in lower HR (did a long run on Sunday). Hence, the HR comparison is not that perfect.

Tue (treadmill):
40mins Recovery Run (av 5:34)
Regretted doing the 400s after the tempo yesterday. ITB was painful and sore for the whole day.

Wed (treadmill):
Off. Sports massage for 1 hour
Cannot run, even walking was uncomfortable. Called for an emergency massage and had a painful one hour session. Took pain killers.

Thu (pavement):
15mins warm up
30mins at marathon pace (av 4:29 min/km), HR 163
15 mins cool down incl 6 strides on grass
Legs were stiff and rusty from the massage. Decided to test the legs by doing a short MP run. Conditions were hot, av HR higher is than Monday's faster LT tempo.

Friday (treadmill):
45mins Easy Run (av 5:14)
10 mins weights

Saturday (pavement):
35mins Easy Run (av 5:11) incl 4 strides on grass

2.2k warm up + strides
Mizuno Wave Run 10.3k in 41:21 (30th Mens Open category)
6k cool down

Total 66k for the week, 1982k for the year

20 July 2008


Received an email from the JoongAng Seoul Marathon organizer:

Dear Sir,
I confirm that your registration and payment has been completed. We'll keep you updated about this marathon by email.
Best regards
JoongAng Seoul Marathon

So, the entry form is in. I have also successfully persuaded my wife to move forward the holiday date. We are now going end-August and coming back early September, giving me 7.5 weeks of training block (including taper) after the holiday.

The tough task is now how to properly train for the marathon. The good thing is that I am training for the Army Half Marathon on 24 Aug, so hopefully there is a natural training progression. Really gotta start ramping up those long runs !!

Anyway, training was good this week. Unlike other weeks, where I had to cancel or shorten my sessions due to weather/work/family etc, I was able to do all my targeted workouts. I've also shifted the time for quality workouts (interval, tempo) to the late afternoon after work (5pm). The weather is still hot but the humidity is lesser.

My next races are:
Mizuno Wave Run 10k next Sunday
Charity Run (tentative). Clown will be in town, looking forward to run with him again
Pearl Izumi 20k on 10 Aug (my plan is to run it at marathon pace)
Army Half Marathon on 24 Aug

Mon (treadmill):
40 mins Recovery Run (av 5:39 min/km)
15mins weights

Tue (pavement):
1.6k warm up
12k Tempo Run @ 4:20 min/km (av HR 166, 85% Max)
1.4k cool down (total 15k)

Cloudy and windy, which was a nice change. HR was steady between 160-170bpm throughout the run and was only in the 170s after 10k. Av HR for the 12k was 166, which is lower than 170 during a 8k run at the same pace 2 months ago. Interestingly, the HR was similar to the tempo runs in Australia where it was only 15c! But wait a minute, Singapore weather is never cooler than 25c. So either I have made improvement (despite no PB to show) or the HR monitor was wrong !!

Wed (treadmill):
45mins Recovery Run (av 5:32)
Abs crunches

Thu (track):
10mins warm up incl strides
6 x 800m intervals @ 5k pace with ~2:30 jog (400m)
89, 90 = 2:59
89, 89 = 2:58
89, 89 = 2:58
89, 89 = 2:58
89, 89 = 2:58
88, 86 = 2:54
Average: 3:42 min/km, av HR 171, high 185
3 laps of sprint straights, jog curves, then 6mins cool down

Was targetting 2:56 (3:40 min/km) but legs were a bit tired. Anyway, was happy to complete all six under 3:00. Recovery time between the intervals was right for me, I think.

Friday (treadmill):
36mins Recovery Run (av 5:38)
10 mins weights

Saturday (road/pavement):
2h:05m Long Run (av 5:07)

At last, a long run !! Longest run in 3 months - which showed how pathetic I am. The time did not include 4 drink stops and traffic lights.

36mins Easy Run (av 5:20)

Total 80k for the week, 1916k for the year

13 July 2008

Toying with marathon idea (again)

Inspired by the success of fellow bloggers --- Clown, by7, Epi, Trailblazer etc in their marathons, I've been thinking (again) to do a marathon later this year. There are a couple of regional marathons around November/December, such as in Bangkok and Singapore but gee, the weather in these places are hot and therefore, unconducive for marathon running. Given the strong Aussie dollars, Sydney & Melbourne marathons are too pricey to my liking.

That leaves me with the Far East where the weather is cool (autumn). There are Beijing & Shanghai marathons but the air quality is terrible. The only one that appeals to me is JoongAng Seoul Marathon on 2 November. Morning temperature is around 7c - which is 75% cooler than Singapore. It is a large marathon with over 20,000 runners. The route is a bit undulanting, especially in the first 30k but flat in the last 12k, finishing at the Olympic stadium.

The catch is that registration closes on 15 July, so I must decide really quickly. Personally, I think I am still far from marathon shape given I always struggle running more than 1h:30m-1h:40m in the heat of Singapore. Another complication is that we will be going on holiday between 12-22 September (hard to do running), which leaves me only with a training block of 5.5 weeks before the marathon.

My thinking is just to register for the race anyway (US$50) and decide around late August before deciding to book airfares, hotel etc. If I am not up to it, I'll just forfeit the entry fee.

Training wise, I did 80k this week - highest in 3 months. Longest runs were 1h:30m. Gotta start increasing the duration pretty soon, I think !

Mon (treadmill):
30 mins Easy Fartlek (av 4:46 min/km)
incl 8 x 1min HMP on, 1min MP off
Only had 1/2 hour to run, so decided to do something a little brisk but not hard.

Tue (track):
12mins warm up incl strides
7 x 1000m Intervals @ 10-12k pace with 200m recovery
3:51/155 bpm
Average = 3:54 min/km, av HR 174, high HR 184

5 x 200m Repetitions in 40, 42, 41, 42, 42 (200m jog)
13mins cool down (total 15k)

Felt good in the first four, jogging 1:20 as recovery. Last 3 intervals were harder, took 1:20 jog plus ~30secs drink/towel stop as recovery. Ran the 200s clockwise.

Wed (treadmill):
45mins Recovery Run (av 5:38)
15mins weights

Thu (treadmill):
1h:30m Easy-to-Moderate Run (av 5:09)
Weather wasn't cooperating, so ran indoor. Started at 6:00 pace ending at 4:45 pace. First 30mins av 5:30, next 30mins av 5:07, last 30mins av 4:52

Friday (treadmill):
37mins Easy Run (av 5:20)

Saturday (concrete):
36mins Easy Run incl. short sprints (av 5:13)
Incl 3 x 10sec hill sprints + 3 x 10sec grass sprint
Slept at 3am last night. Felt sluggish.

Sunday (track/road):
2.5k warm up incl strides
3 x 2400m Lactate Threshold Intervals with 400m jog + drink
94, 95, 97, 96, 98, 97 = 9:37 (HR 165-168)
95, 97, 97, 98, 97, 96 = 9:38 (HR 171-174)
96, 97, 97, 98, 96, 95 = 9:39 (HR 176-184)
Average = 4:01 min/km, av HR 174 bpm, high 184

4 x 200m Repetitions in 44, 44, 42, 41 (200m jog)
6.7k cool down (total 19k)

Legs felt a bit heavy from the start. Last interval was tough because the sun was in full force. The 200ms in 44secs were the slowest that I've done in a while due to tiredness.

Total 80k for the week, 1836k for the year (av 65 kmpw)