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