26 December 2010

Merry X Mas

Mon: 3k wu, 2 x 10 mins threshold interval (3:55 min/km), with 3mins jog, 5mins rest, 6 x 25secs hill with walk recovery, 3k cd, Total 12.5k

Tue: 8k easy (av 5:10)
Wed: 3k wu, 5 x 1100m with 3mins rec (CCAB track); splits 3.59.2, 4.00.2, 4.00.2, 4.02.7, 3.58.6 (av 3.38.5 min/km), 5k cd, Total 14.7k
Thu: 40mins recovery (av 5:46), treadmill
Fri: 20k long run in 97mins (av 4:52)
Sat: off
Sun: off (couldn't wake up early)
Total 62k for the week

After two weeks of crappy training where I only managed to do only one workout, this week I did two: tempo and intervals. Unlike other programs, Magill does not put a lot of focus on tempos - in fact, only a couple 2 x 10mins and 2 x15mins. Did the former early in the week and upgraded my tempo pace from 4:00s to 3:55 since the length was short, before finishing with 8 x 25 secs hill. I am now in the 3rdweek of the plan and my intervals have progressed from 5x3, 4x4, and now 5x4 all with 3mins rec. Did this week session on the track aiming to complete each 1100m under 4:00. Got stuffed in the fourth one and had to take walk recovery to do the 5th one. Average pace for all five were 3:38min/km (approx 18:10 pace) with HR hitting 187 bpm.It was bloody tough, but it's good to push myself a bit. Had 3 more Magill specials to go: 4 x 5, 5x5, and 12-16 x 400. Out of these three, the 5x5 looks like a badass session - that is equivalent to 5 x1400-1500m at 5k effort/pace.

Next week, we will have a short holiday in Sentosa for a couple of nights, hence no runs early in the week (it's road to nowhere training anyway, right?). My original plan was to do a 3000m track time trial on Friday, but now I am having a second thoughts. Not sure whether it is better if I just do a nornal training then do the time trial when Rob comes to town the following week. Anyway, he is 36min 10ker and 2.53 marathoner, so my 3k or 5k pace should feel like a tempo run to him ;) LOL

Merry belated Chirstmas everyone !!!

18 December 2010

Too heavy

I stepped on the weight scale today after an absence of 3 months and it showed:

71 kg !!!!!!!!!!

That's too heavy for a 169cm guy. I was around 65-66 kg whilst training for Melbourne Marathon just 3 months ago. A combination of 1.5 months of injury layoff, 1.5 months of sporadic training (~30-50k a week), and festive seasons dinners have ballooned my weight by 6 kg :(

That's probably also the reason why I began to get niggles and soreness again. Joints such as ankles and knees were sore, especially after interval session. My racing time got slowed and I struggle regularl during intervals/tempos.

Anyway, training this week

Mon: 8k easy in 41:05 (av 5:08), treadmill
Tue: 11k watchless tempo in ~50:00 (av 4:33)
Wed: 8k easy in 40:20 (av 5:10), incl 4 x 15s barefoot strides
Thu: 12k in , incl. 4 x 4:00 intervals, av pace for the fast segments 3:37, 3:36, 3:45 (???), 3:35 min/km
Fri: 8k easy in 43:20 (av 5:25), treadmill
Sat: 18k easy long run in 91:30 (av 5:05)
Sun: rest
Total 65k for the week

A so-so week in terms of training. Was supposed to do intervals on Tuesday but GPS battery was flat, hence I decided to run at strong effort on a measured loop. Forgot to run the hill reps this week, The 4 x 4mins intervals with 3mins jog on Tuesday were difficult effort wise. Three of them were in the 3.35-3.37 min/km range, but for one of the rep, my pace was about 10secs per km off due to a lack of concentration and fatique. Covered on average 1.1k for the 4mins, so essentially it was a 4x 1.1k workout.

With about 5 more training weeks to go before my 5k TT (our holiday is now 1 week earlier than scheduled), it seems that sub 3.36 min/km for 5k is a bit of pipeline dream for me right now. Next week calls for 5 x 4mins (~1.1k), 3mins jog and hopefully I will have better idea whether sub-18 is doable or whether it will be a bridge too far.

One thing for sure, I can't run fast with this weight, duh  :(

12 December 2010

86 ??

Two months of 'road to nowhere' training before taking 1 month off for holiday in February.

For this couple of months, I will be doing 5k training based on Pete Magill's plan as written in Running Times (Magill is the oldest American to break 15:00 at age 47). The beauty about the plan is that it is very simple (one interval, one hill, long run) and has a week-by-week progression in terms of structure (e.g. 5 x 3mins interval, next week 4 x 4mins, following week 5x 4mins etc).

The only little tweaks that I make are 1) the original plan alternates hill session and drills, but I decided to skip the drills since I don't have anyone to monitor/correct my techniques. I normally do simple drills such as buttkicks, high knees, leg swings uring warm up prior to intervals anyway; and 2) I insert a 3000m TT in order to gauge my 5k goal pace

Currently, I have earmarked end January to do the 5000m time trial at CCAB track. Road races in Singapore are infamous for its inaccurate distance. There could be a track and field meet in middle of January, but the schedule is usually not released until two weeks prior.

In terms of goal, my minimum target is to better my PB of 18.33. This was done in the middle of marathon training back in May this year. Did the TT solo and actually targeted 88 per lap (3.40 min/km) but ended up running 1sec per lap slower than the target. I will be happy if I can get 18.20 or below in January, but I'll keep 86 per lap (sub-18) in the back of my mind (just in case) !!

Anyway, training this week

Mon: off
Tue: 9k easy (av 5:15)
Wed: 5 x 3mins (av 3:40 min/km), 3mins jog, total 14k (av 5:00)
Thu: 7k easy (av 5:25), in Jakarta
Fri: 9k easy (av 5:20), in Jakarta
Sat: 16k long run (av 4:55) including 6 x 200m hills
Sun: off
Total 55k for the week

Wednesday was my first 5k effort session and it felt damn hard. Paces for the 3mins segments at 3.40, 3.36, 3.42, 3.40, 3.40 min/km with 3mins slow jog in between. So on average, about 88secs per lap pace with equal recovery. Since I am not that fit right now, I trully hope the pace and effort required will come down in the next few weeks. (For comparison, I did 5 x 1k between 3.38-3.40 with only 2mins jog prior to my 5k PB). Due to work travel, I did the hill repeats session as part of my weekend long run (couldn't find a hill that take 1min to climb). Overall, I think it's not a bad week since I was training very sporadically in the last 1 month or so.

Is 86 a realistic goal for end-Jan? What do you guys think?

06 December 2010


Did Standard Chartered 1/2 Marathon yesterday in 93:09
Slowest HM race timing since 2005 and even a personal worst in Singapore LOL

After running almost 0 km in October and only easing back into running in November, perhaps that's the true result.


Felt good for the first 8k running in Sentosa Island, averaging 4:09 min/km despite the 'undulations' . (there were only probably 2 real slopes/hills, the rest was going and up and down car parks and tunnels). After 8k, we ran a full 1km inside an underground car park that belongs to the casino. The place was claustophobic with limited air circulation and full of exhaust fumes from tourist buses and gamblers' cars trying to find parking spaces. Struggled to breathe and my pace dropped to 5:20 min/km during that stretch.

Never recovered from that ordeal and once we leave the island, there were more ups and downs this time on an elevated highway (I am crap on hills). With longest run of 12k in last 3 weeks, I simply didn't have the stamina to conquer the hills and complete the distance at my desired pace. Tempted to DNF, but decided to carry on in order to maintain my position in my company's runners league. Ran the remainder of the course at 4:20-4:40 min/km. Finished 6 minutes slower compared to the same race last year, albeit a different route.

Anyway, this is my last HM participation because I will enter the same event next year in the full marathon . It will be my first ever hot weather marathon and as a master !!

Note: the marathon was won by Kenyans in 2:14 and 2:35 (the winning women also won the Delhi Commonweath Games marathon in October)

30 November 2010

Retiro Park

Have been slacking since returning from Madrid. It seems the 10k race took a lot out of me. My mileage nowadays is around 40k per week, and when you run 25% of it at 10k race pace, recovery was always an issue. Also, after running 3x in 5-10c temperature and in a beautiful park (see photos below), it's hard to motivate myself to pound the pavement in 30c + 90% rh condition :p

I will be running a HM this weekend, and my longest run in the last 3 weeks is 12k !!!

Anyway, some pictures from running in Retiro Park Madrid, a former retreat park for the royal family

Entrance to the Park, Madrid's answer to Central Park

Beautiful statues and landscaped gardens

Water fountains

A lake inside the park

Gravel surface + some hills, perfect for running

23 November 2010

Madrid 10K

Had a good trip to Madrid :)

Met the world's costliest soccer player, Ronaldo and got jerseys for me and Sling Jr autographed. Also watched Real Madrid trashed Bilbao 5-1 among 80,000 fans in Santiago Bernabeu stadium and did some sightseeing.

The least enjoyable thing is the customary Spanish 2-3 hour big lunch (four types of appetizers, main, dessert, copious amount of vino) and due to the group activities, we can't do siesta !

Running wise, had a reasonably good 10k race in 38:51 - more or less in line with what I expected

The Madrid Derby 10k was my first race post-injury and I only had 10 days to prepare for the race (previous 2 weeks was low key jogging, while the previous month was almost zero running). Did 4 workouts within that period, consisting of 10*400, 2x10mins tempo, 6*1k, and Mona fartlek. Based on these sessions, I'd rate myself about 40-41 minute 10k in local conditions.

Madrid morning temperature is about 6-8c which I think is worth at least 1 minute. The course is Boston-esque with downhill in early parts, some hills between 6-8k and a downhill last 2k. The course dropped over 100m for the 10k (10m per k average). But given the strategic placement of the hills (after legs got beat up with the downhills), I'd say it is worth around 1 minute on net basis. Overall, I set myself a target between 38-39 minutes.

Km 1 - out and back, up 500m and down 500m. crowded start --- 3:52 (163 bpm)
Km 2 - all downhill, running at 5k PB pace --- 3:42 (173)
Km 3 - still downhill, still feeling good --- 3:47 (176)
Km 4 - lactate flooding, never did more than 3k of continuous fast running in last 2 months --- 3:58 (177)
Km 5 - legs became hamburger from the downhill --- 4:00 (177)
Km 6 - upslope after a while, walked 10secs or so to catch breath --- 3:59 (177)
Km 7 - one good long hill --- 4:08 (178)
Km 8 - uphill then steep downhill --- 4:00 (175)
Km 9 - all downhill, running harder --- 3:42 (174)
Km 10 - a slight rise to the finish at Vicente Clarderon --- 3:43 (179)

Total 38:51 (5k splits 19:20/19:31) versus target 38-39

Did not go sub 38 or low 38 because
1) no downhill training, legs became hamburger and climbing hills in the 2nd half was a struggle (Boston-esque)
2) lack of training leads to inefficient biomechanics - couldn't get the legs turning over quick enough on the downhill
3) fitness loss - not used to running at this intensity post-rehab
4) maybe a bit of altitude impact (~750m), only ran 2 x 30mins in Madrid due to jetlag and activities
5) A couple of extra kgs from long Spanish lunches and dinners
6) bad mddle miles (km 4-7), pace slowed to 4:00s, HR 'stuck' at 177s

All things considered, I am relatively pleased with finishing about 30secs slower than my 10k PB despite very limited training. Course, weather, and the field were great on the day. We ran on wide road most of the way, passing the city centre and some of Madrid's landmarks (Puerta de Sol, Neptufe fountain, Bernabeu stadium etc). Pretty sure I'd break my PB on this course and temperature if I was fully fit :)

Some pictures from the run:

Race between Real madrid and Athletico Madrid supporters, A 10k race starting from Real's Bernabeu stadium and finishing at Athletico's Vicente Calderon

Carnival atmosphere between rival clubs supporters

Start point, different gantry for each supporters

Go !!

Full road closure, wide lanes

Passing some sights, such as fountains

13 November 2010

Just Can't Resist

Will be heading to Madrid next week - a prize from the fantasy football competition that I won in July. Will have a training session with Ronaldo, the world's most expensive soccer player and watch a La Liga game between Madrid and Bilbao. It's nice to win a an all-expense paid trip, although I am not looking forward to spend 16 hours flying there :p

Running wise, I have been sticking rigidly to the 'Road to Nowhere' training plan. Doing 30 minutes jog almost every day as part of my comeback trail from injury. My legs also seem to enjoy the natural healing process and the injury began to improve gradually. It's a different feeling running without any goals/races in the foreseeable future (actually I have a HM on 5 Dec but I don't really care about the result). No pressure to run hard, I don't have to think about workouts yada yada yada. Just put on the ipod, shoes, then run and watch the world go by.


One day I was browsing the internet for running places in Madrid and accidentally found a race calendar (oops !!). There is a 10k race during that weekend called 'el derbi de las aficiones - ­corre por tu equipo', translated as The Derby of Affection - Run for Your Team. Madrid has two soccer teams - Real and Atletico and there is intense rivalry between them (similar to AFL's West Coast vs Freo or Adelaide vs Port Adelaide) and the race is themed around that. Participants will get a shirt upon registration, either in Real or Atletico's colors and then race with their supported team shirts. The run will start from Real's home stadium - Santiago Bernabeu and finish at Atletico's stadium - Vicente Calderon.

Temperature in late November is around 10c, the course also has a net drop in elevation….Should be a great race to attempt a PB. The problem is right now I AM NOT FIT :(

But what the heck! I've never raced in Europe before and it will be a great experience :)

Therefore, I've upped the ante this week in order to get me half-fit for the race. Not sure it is the wisest thing to do given I just came back from injury.. My sessions this week indicated I lost a lot of fitness from 2 months month layoff. On Tuesday, I ran 10mins tempo at 4:10 pace and found it freaking hard (when I was fit, I used to run 40-50mins tempo week-in week-out). While on Thursday, I did 6x1k reps with 2mins walking breaks and I was dying (usually I could do them off 60-90secs jog)

Anyways, my 2-week training to get myself half-fit for the Madrid 10k race:

Week 1 (this week)
Mon: 7k recovery (5:40)
Tue: 13k run (av 4:50), incl 2 x 10mins tempo @ 4:10 min/km + 10x 30secs on/off
Wed: 7k recovery (5:40)
Thu: 11.5k run (4:50) incl 6 x 1k @ 3:50s with 2mins walking recovery
Fri: 6.5k recovery (5:30)
Sat: 21k run (5:00), first hour easy, last 40mins moderate at 4:40s
Sun: off

Total 66k for the week

Week 2 (taper)
Mon: easy run
Tue: fartlek
Wed: easy run, fly to Madrid via London on red eye
Thu: Jetlagged
Fri: easy run
Sat: easy run
Sun: 10k race

I think I should be ok running at 800m altitude, but interestingly, the chart below shows that running performance is negated even at moderate altitude. Time to exhaustion decreases by 20% with an increase in altitude from 300m to 800. So assuming I am in low 40s shape right now and coming from 0m altitude (sea-level), then maybe I should expect a 50minute 10k LOL


31 October 2010

The Road to Nowhere

Mon: 7k easy run (5:02 min/km) incl. 4 x 80m strides, 2 x 50m skip, 2 x 50m butt kicks
Tue: 40mins elliptical + weights
Wed: 9k easy run (5:08 min/km)  incl. 5 x 30secs fast
Thu: 8k easy run (5:10 min/km), 80 abs crunches + weights
Fri: off (hangover from last night office dinner)
Sat: 40mins elliptical + weights (rainy day)
Sun: 16k moderate (4:46 min/km) incl. 5k slow tempo (4:23) + 8 x 100m strides
Total 40k for the week

Still familiarizing with the use of orthotics. Ankle and the extensor tendon are improving to the stage that I could now dorsiflex without any issues and even do one-legged skipping drills. However, the left leg still felt shin splinty and often got inflamed after the runs. My left stride which was shorter than the right one when I was injured has also gained more stride length recently. The pod suggested me to wear the orthotics in combination with stabilty shoes, but interestingly I found that my leg feels better if I use the orthotics with neutral shoes. Sunday's run of 75 minutes was the longest run in about a month - the sad thing it was also the hardest :( Legs were a bit inflamed afterwards.

While my legs are still not 100% healed yet, but I don’t think they will stop me from running. The issue is how to stop me from ramping up too soon :p

Anyways, during the down time, I've had some thinking about my plans for the next few months. My next key race is a June/July marathon, which is 8 months away. However, there are a couple of things to navigate in the short-to-mediun term, namely 1) a HM in early December which I registered long time ago and is part of the gigantic annual Singapore Marathon festival (60,000 runners); and 2) we will be holidaying in Europe for about a month in Feb 2011. This probably will result in very little running since the bulk of time will be spent in a Mediterannean cruise ship and also traveling between cities in Italy.

For the Dec HM, I don't have any specific time goal. Anything between 90-100 mins would be great. This year's route is special because we'll start the run at Sentosa Island and include one round inside Universal Studio theme park. As this event is about 5 weeks away, my plan is to build up to 70k in the next 3 weeks. I think below 70kmpw, I will find it hard to reduce my weight. Since this race holds no importance, my training will be likely all easy miles with light workouts (like this week's) sprinkled in. My aim is simply to get back to consistent running without re-igniting the injury.

After the HM, I have two months before the long break in February. My thoughts is to do 5k training during this period to attain a different stimulus and build leg speed. I will probably try to follow Pete Magill's 5k training plan for over 40 since the program sounds less aggressive than others. At the end of January or early Feb, I plan to insert a 5k time trial on athletics track in order to make me motivated despite the inexistence of goal races or whatsoever.

So, here's the 'road to nowhere' training plan:

November: 4 weeks of easy training with light workouts (target ~70k)
5 Dec SCMS 21k
December- January: 8 weeks of 5k training
End Jan/early Feb: 5k track time trial
February: 1 month off (Europe)
March: start marathon training for Perth/Gold Coast

24 October 2010

Different Settings

Only ran two times, 6k and 9k. And the 9k felt like 30k with the current biomechanics and fitness that I am in.. Started to use orthotics, but it still gave me some shin splits. In the next coming week,  I will try to use the orthotics with other shoes in order to evaluate which one fits best. In general, the ankle (and extensor tendon) is back 80%. However, the anterior and posteriro tibialis are still giving me griefs.

Since I don't have much to write, I am putting up some photos on different training environments between Singapore and Australia.

The comparison is meant for fun only :)

a) Two minutes jog away from my in-laws' house, there is a large, smooth grassy field. The soft surface is perfect for doing recovery run!

b) Two minutes away from my apartment in Singapore,  all I can find is this concrete jungle.

a) In Australia, you can run to your office in CBD on traffic free running path. For instance, this Yarra trail in Melbourne is approx 30k long connecting the city with the eastern suburbs.

b) In Singapore, this traffic-free concrete running path to the CBD is unfortunately, only 3km long

a) In Australia, all running paths and parks have water fountains placed every couple of kms

b) In Singapore, to staisfy runners' thirst,  every couple of kms, you can find the following:

18 October 2010

39 and down

Turned 39 today...

Have been low on motivation lately. Only ran two times in the last 14 days. Normally I am very pumped up everytime we visit Melbourne - taking advantage of the conditions and traffic-free running path by doing long fast workouts at paces faster than Singapore training efforts. But this time, there was no motivation nor the urge.

Didn't feel like wanting to run at all. I am just mentally tired of running with shitty form in order to compensate my ankle and shin problems. Didn't stay in a hotel, so no gym equipment to cross train with. The only cross train I did was playing hide and seek and chasing around Sling Jr :)

Also, the weather after 10-10-10 became Melbourne-esque. Storm, hail, gusty wind and rains every single day. Didn't bother to put on my shoes and go outside.

I am even too lazy to run on my birthday :p

With very low mileage in the last 2 months due to injury and almost no exercise in last 2 weeks, my fitness level surely have gone down by several notch. I need my mojo back.

12 October 2010

Ground Zero

The 10-10-10-10 became a big 0.

So far, my leg pain was concentrated on the anle and lateral shin, but all of a sudden my posterior shin was hurting too. Tried to run on Wednesday before flying and then on Friday in Melbourne, but no good. I struggled even to hold marathon pace for 3 minutes.

Didn't feel like jogging a race. If this was a Boston, NY or Berlin which is something I won't do in life very often and costs a bomb, I might get a cortizone shot or something like that to numb the pain. I go to Melbourne twice a year and stay at the in-laws, so the only cost is frequent flyer points for the flight.

Went to MCG and watched people finishing the race from the grandstand. It hurt not being able to run.

Was estatic to see Rob getting a massive 6mins PB to finish in 2.53. Bloody awesome. 10 minutes improvement from 3.03 to 2.53 within 6 months is mighty impressive. Couldn't imagine that 5 years ago, we were doing 42-45 minutes 10k races together!

Another impressive thing was how discipline Rob was. He wasn't tempted to drink even during his own 40th birthday and then with me on Friday at the Young and Jacksons. Although he drank lots after the marathon  ;)

Good to catch up with TB after the race too.

Also went to visit a sports medical centre over here. Did some research on the web and called to get appointment with some of the country top Track & Field physios. Unfortunately, the top dogs are in Delhi for the Commonweatlh Games and they are fully booked for the next couple of months anyway. As a result, all I get was the left-overs !

Anyways, the rehab continues. Will take a sabbatical leave from running for a while.

A photo taken from the wall of the physio centre...

06 October 2010

From 10-10-10 to 0-0-0

Things are going from bad to worse. Haven't run for a few days now :(

Ankle is still very weak and doens't have much strength to toe off. I also strain my back due to overcompensation of running gait and maybe incorrect posture when doing cross training. Tried to run, but only lasted a couple of minutes. All body parts are extremely tight and I can't run with my natural movement.

At this moment, it's only 30% chance I will make it to the start.

Will try to see a sports physio when I am there. I notice some of these physios have experiences with the Australian natonal track and field team and AFL clubs. Hopefully they can fix my problem for good.

03 October 2010

Hard Times

Mon: XT - 40mins bike, easy
Tue: XT - 30mins elliptical + 30mins bike (several 30secs surges)
Wed: Run - 1k at 3:50, 2mins rec, 5k tempo 20:50 (av 4:04), 2mins rec, 1k at 3:50, 4x200m in 40secs, total 14k;
XT - 35mins bike easy
Thu: Run - 6k slow, very painful; XT: 1 hour elliptical, easy
Fri:  XT - 45mins elliptical, easy
Sat: Run - 4.5k trail race in 18:36 (av 4:04), XT : 40mins bike easy
Sun: Run - 18k easy in 92mins (av 5:05);
Total 43km of running + 5 hours XT

Did about 3.5 hours or running this week and almost 5 hours in cross training. I find XT to be a bit of chore, not utterly enjoyable. Perhaps it will take time to be comfortable with thse kind of activities, but when you are injured, do I have any choice? Still experiencing sore arse from biking and to kill boredom, I normally bring a novel or two to read. Currently doing all the cross training at easy pace (maybe equivalent slow jog effort?), but for ellipticals - I tried to average about 160-180 strides per minute. At this juncture, I cam capping  most of my XT at 40 minutes, felt like going crazy if I go longer than this. Not sure how much fitness benefits these XT sessions will bring (~40 mins XT = 20mins running ??), but at least they do burn some calories and minimize weight gain.

Since I can only run a few times a week, I decided to make my running days short but with some quality included. On Wednesday, did 1k, 5k, 1k, at threshold effort and it felt hard. I think I am of those guys who lose fitness rapidly if I don't run much for an extended period of time (1 month now and counting). Also, due to inability for my left ankle to push-off, I simply had to work significantly harder to run at the same pre-injury effort.

On Saturday, along with 3 other work colleagues, I participated in Frost The Trail corporate challenge. Ran the race cautiously since the trail surface was uneven and finished the 4.5k cross country course in 18:36 (4.08 pace). Shitty time, but given this is an inter-corporate event and not a competitive race, I managed to finish 3rd fastest runner even with a bad leg. Our team ended up finsihing 2nd and we won $250 shoe voucher for each person.

After a reduced workload for the last month or so, I feel the AT tendon and lateral shins have been improving but I am probably still several weeks from full recovery. The problem is that due to over-compensation and muscle imbalance, I've been experiencing hip issues and sore lower back. Running through injury is definitely a vicious cycle.

Will arrive in Melbourne on Thursday and stay there for holiday until the following Sunday. My goal for the HM is simply to finish the race in one piece. Best of luck to Rob for his 2.50-2.55 goal and also Jon's PB attempt. See you guys next Sunday. Also, good luck to my legs :p

Photo from yesterday's Fros the Trail.  If you notice, I was racing with an ankle brace (left leg)

26 September 2010

No miracle

Mon: 4k, 3k, 2k, 1k at HM pace in 16:08, 12:03, 8:00, 3:50 with 4, 3, 2 mins walk rec. Total 16k in 72mins (av 4:30) - last chance to test the leg

Tues: 30mins elliptical + weights
Wed: 40mins easy - no watch (maybe around 5:00-5:30 pace)
Thu: OFF
Fri: 30mins run (av 5:38 min/km), painful  + 30mins elliptical
Sat: 19k easy in 97mins (av 5:10 min/km)
Sun:  10mins run. painful + 40mins very easy stationary bike
Total about 50k of running

Miracle didn't happen, so unsurprisingly, I have opted to downgrade to Half Marathon last Wednesday. Earlier in the week, I still harboured a little hope of doing the full mary and did another test in form of repeats at HM pace. While I nailed the workout and the leg pain was in general, tolerable, my heart rate data shows that I had to work significantly harder (or maybe from lost fitness due to lack of training). As the injury is the anterior tibialis area (the muscle that lifts the leg up), my foot just didn't have any strength to push off hard My running gait was also altered, and I could feel the knees had to absorb more shock than usual. As it currently stands, there is no way the leg structure can last the full marathon distance, especially at sub-3 pace attempt. Another thought was just to run the marathon at a moderate pace, say to finish in 3h:15m - for another Boston qualifier (to make it 4 times in a row). But all things considered, doing the HM is probably the best option and will give me a quicker recovery and healing time.

Even for the HM, I am not confident I can run at a decent time. As mentioned above, I just can't push off hard due to the damaged ankle extensor tendon. Consequently, my stride lengths are also getting shorter (turnover still in 170s but shorter). This means I have to work much harder in order to run at the same pace. Anyhow, we are going there primarily for holiday and to relax.

So, there is no 4x10 for me (marathon stats at 7am). This means I will have to wait for another 100 years to finish a marathon at 10 on 10-10-10, oh boy :)

Although, this is disappointing, I am actually already looking forward to train for the next marathon. We have travel plans in Dec and Feb (3 weeks holiday in Europe), so there is no chance to run marathon in the first quarter of 2011. This means that I will also miss out on my favourite marathon, Seoul International in March. Therefore, it seems my best chance to run a marathon is Gold Coast Marathon in July 2011 (would love to run Perth, but unless if I can upgrade myself from a marginal sub-3 to a 2.55 shape runner, then Perth will be a lonely tough race especially in the last 10k). With this in mind, my priority for the rest of this year is to get over the injury and do easy-to-moderate training for fitness maintenance. I also hope all the hard marathon training from the last 3-4 months will not go down the drain! Starting in March 2011, I will start to train proper for GCM - this will give me a 4 months training window for the next sub-3 assault.

This training cycle has taught me some lessons. From now on, I have to focus much, much more on muscle recovery, such as religious stretching, foam rolling, icing, massaging etc. As I am nearing 40, my muscles have a lot of their elasticity and strength. Also, my training environment isvery  unforgiving. My area (district 9) is a concrete jungle and the softest surface is asphalt and mostly cambered. I have to run 5k on concrete in order to run at a small grassy soccer field or 10k in order to run on the trail (I hate to commute in order to run). Also, the weather conditions cause the body to lose fluid and minerals rapidly (I am a heavy sweater), resulting in more frequent muscle cramping and tightening.

Another (funny) change that I will make is to limit myself to 2-3 pairs of shoes. I am currently rotating 6 pairs - all different brands and types and I had a f***ing hard time to determine which shoes that were partially responsible for the injury ! Because I rarely got injured (but when shit happens, it is nornally 1-2 months on the sideline), I became a shoe-aholic as my past experience shows that my foot is flexible enough to run with any shoes.

Anyway, the plan for next week is to combine cross training and a bit of  running. I would say that my injury probably only improved by 10% since it first occured 3 weeks ago. This is driven by the fact I am still forcing myself to perform various 'running examinations' before giving in.  This 'it aint over, until it's over' kind of thing was a gamble and at the end,  luck decided not to part on my side.  Now that the decision to pull out of the marathon is finally confirmed last Wednesday, I have virtually escaped from the 'ponderland' and can afford to forget running and focus on recovery. One thing that I need to figure out is how not to get sore arse from sitting on stationary bike !

My injury description is below and it says recovery may take a long time.

19 September 2010

21 days to go - slipping away

Mon: OFF
Tues: 45mins (av 5:30 min/km)
Wed: 60mins (av pace 5:15 min/km) - pain, pain, pain
Thu: OFF
Fri: 40mins (av 5:38 min/km)
Sat: 28k easy (av 5:05 min/km) - glute pain, over-compensate
Sun: OFF
Total 55k for the week

Not happy with how things are going at the moment - both physically and psychologically.

Went to see a sports doc early this week and after spending a couple of hours of various tests (treadmill video analysis, x-ray for stress fracture etc), he confirmed my & Epi's suspicion that the problem was anterior tibialis extensor tendonitis (left leg). As mentioned in my blog a month ago, I was having tight calf issues which affected some of my workouts, but did not cause any pain so I just ran through it. As a guy who is so damn lazy to stretch and prefer to rely on sports massage once every 1-2 weeks, I had one period where I trained hard for a full month without massage/stretching. The tight calf caused muscle imbalance and altered my biomechanics. Instead of the heel/mid-foot landing flat on the ground, the tight calf caused it to land half-tilted. As I unconsciously ran this way and continued to train hard, the tibia and extensor tendon got damaged and the pain goes all the way from ankle joint to the lateral shin since the tendon is inter-connected. The doc thinks probably it will take a few weeks of reduced running to fully heal and I might have to look at orthotics or alter my running gait to prevent it happening again.

After incorporating anti-inflammatories, massage, and ankle strengthening exercises this week, the pain seems to improve slightly by the end of the week. I decided to give myself an 'exam' in the form of long run. If I can last something around 32k, then I' rate myself  a good chance to make it to the starting line. At the end, I stopped the run at 28k which included breaks every 5k to give the leg some relief. Although, the anterior tibialis and extensor tendon issues were tolerable, but my right glute got very sore since it had to over-compensate my troubled left leg. I decided to stop due to tiredness (very warm morning) and the painful glutes.

Psychologically, I feel like Alice in a wreck land. With 5 weeks to go, I was all systems go and my body was ready to tackle 3 weeks of high mileage and sharpening workouts, followed by a 2 weeks taper. The injury changes everything and now I am looking at a premature 5 weeks taper. It is just so damn frustrating to look at my training log this week and being unable to do any runs faster than 5:00 pace. To make things worse, my last long run further than 30k was done 7 weeks ago, so unless things improve dramatically and somehow I can magically do 30k+ run in the next week or so, I would go to the start lime without any long runs in the last 2 months or so.

What's next? I just found out that although 10k and HM slots are full, but those who entered the marathon during the early bird/normal registration period can still downgrade. However, it seems there are conflicting deadline dates. In the Melbourne Marathon newsletter, it says that the last day to change event is 22 Sep (this Wednesday). On the flip side, the website says that changes are still allowed even until the race week. Will call the organizer to confirm.

Downgrading to the HM is an attractive option since 1) it allows me to manage and nurse the injury, 2) even with low mileage, I think I still have a chance to run a decent time, 3) no requirement to taper until the last few days (possibly means 2.5 weeks of hard training); and 4) easy to recover and I can still train/race until year end.

On the flip side, marathon is truly something special and sub-3 is like a sub-4 mile for a guy like me who picked up running in his 30s. Prior to the injury, I'd say my training was much better than my previous prep for Gold Coast and Seoul which yielded 3.04 and 3.03 respectively. So, sub-3 was certainly a chance, especially if the weather conditions, pacing, and fueling on the day are perfect. But now, I feel that chance is slipping away. I expect my finishing time to be volatile. On a good day, I possibly still can run 3.15 and under. On a bad day or in a situation where my legs can't hold up, I might be looking at 3.30-4.00 hour marathon. At this juncture, I am in no mood to do a marathon for sight-seeing unless if it is held in the Himalayas or Santorini.

In ideal world, I would like to delay my decision as late as possible, say until the race week in order to allow myself a chance to run the marathon. If they confirm the deadline is this Wednesday, more likely than not, I will downgrade to half mary barring any miracles. There is no marathon race planned until Gold Coast 2011 - which is 9 months away.

It is just amazing what marathon training can do for you. With 5 weeks to go, I was strong as bull, then bang !! - shit happened. I then virtually lost 2 weeks worth of training time. And now there are only 3 weeks left and the worse thing is that I might not train much at all :(

12 September 2010

28 days left - what to do?

Monday (easy):
45mins easy treadmill (av 5:18 min/km)

Ran at 4% incline to reduce landing shock.

Tuesday (semi long-run):
17.5k in 1h:26m (av pace 4:55)

Trying to run close to 90mins in order to decide whether I should do the HM this weekend or not. First 20mins was terrible with the legs aching real bad. After an hour of easy running, decided to test the water a bit by running the last 4k at tempo pace, averaging 4:12 pace (just above marathon pace). Not good, but not bad either. Foot was painful for the rest of the day, especially the front ankle and the lateral shin.

Wednesday (easy):
AM: Ultrasound & shock wave treatment
PM: 35mins easy treadmill (av 5:32 min/km)

Thursday (rest):
OFF. Deep tissue massage

Friday (easy):
55mins easy (av pace 5:05 min/km)

Saturday (rest):

Sunday (race):
2.5k warmup
Safra Army Half Marathon in 89:35 (av 4:14 min/km)
Overall #122, Mens closed  # 41
3k cool down
Total 26k for the day

Was in two minds whether I should race or not given the leg injury. At the end, I decided to give it a go because I needed a 'proof of life' that my legs could tolerate sustained running at MP or faster. Started with a low expectation that if my legs went, I just shut my system down and jog to the finish point. Used my planned marathon shoe - Nike Lunar racer and popped paracetamol at the start as insurance. Started too fast due to pent-up energy resulting from the reduced mileage, including a couple of kms at 3:50s. Passed 5k in 20.15 (4:03 pace) including one 500m long hill. Began to feel the burn, I cautiously eased back into the MP territory, running the next 5k in 21:04 (4:13 pace) - cumulatively 10k in 41:19 (av 4:08 pace). Began to feel dehydrated after 10k since it was hot and humid (30c heat index at 6am) and walked at the drink station to get a drink. The split for km 11-15 was 21.43 (4:18 pace), slower than MP due to the drink stop but cumulatively I passed 15k in 63:00 mins, av 4:12 pace so still right on target. Leg tendon began to get sore and ache after this point and I simply decided to switch on the cruise control, passing km 16-20 in 22.14 (4:27 pace). I picked up the pace slightly in the last 1.1k to around 4:00 to finish in 89.35 (just under MP).

At the end, I was reasonable pleased with the result, despite all the similar story with all my HMs in Singapore. My pace always went progressively slower - on track for the 1st half before slowing down in the 2nd half. I think I am okay with running 5k-10k in Singapore, but anything beyond this (north of 40mins), my performance deteriorates sharply due to the heat and humidity effects . The only positve thing that comes out of the race is that I was able to run 21k at goal MP even with a bad leg.


70k for the week with only one workout (HM race). After some mileage reduction, physio session (ultra sound, shock wave) and massage, the legs began to feel better - at least to the point that I was able to start a race. But unfortunately, the race put me back in the square one again. Was limping all day after the race. Thinking to see a sports doctor this week to get a verdict. Heard from a friend who is being treated by a sports doc that the the only solution from injured tendon is prolonged rest.

This leaves me in a very deep shit, especially with only 4 weeks left before the marathon. The original plan pre-injury was to race hard during today's HM and train hard in the next 2 weeks before tapering. But the injury changes everything and the sub-3 dream is now becoming more remote.

Downgrading my marathon slot to HM or 10k is impossible now since both events are full. So it's either the marathon or DNS.

One thought I have to do minimal running this week in order to nurse the injury. Then I will do a reverse taper and train hard in the next 2 weeks before embarking on a 1 week taper. Don't know whether the concept of 'reverse taper' will be too risky or not.

Another tought is to mix rest/XT with running. I was thinking maybe to run just 3 times a week but all 'hard' - primarily one long run and one tempo. The other days are either total rest or non-weight bearing XT (elliptical, stationary bike). Based on my experience this week, it seems the ankle, tendon and shin splint is at their most painful after the run and the following couple of days (for example, I was able to start the race today after resting 2 out of the 3 days pre-race).

What do you guys think?

05 September 2010

Injured ! :( :(

Monday (easy):
AM: 45mins easy (av 5:08 min/km)
including 4 x 15secs barefoot strides on grass

Tuesday (threshold + hills):
3k warm up
3 x 3k HM pace, 3mins jog in between
12:15, 12:15, 12:21 - av 4:06 min/km (av HR 165)
10mins jog
4 x 40secs hill reps, walk/jog down
4 x 15secs hill reps, walk down
10mins cool down
Total 18k in 1h:27m (av pace 4:50)

The plan was to run 4 x 3k at 4:00-4:05 pace but only did 3 due to discomfort in the left ankle. Yesterday's rub mainly focused on the usual supects such as hammy, calves, glutes, quads, and ITB so the problem was undetected.. I completed the first and second reps at the slow end of my target pace but then in the third rep, the discomfort got worse and I slowed down to around 4.07 pace. Decided to skip the 4th rep and to salvage the lost quality, I did a few short hill reps (definitely not be the wisest thing to do!)
PM: 30mins slow jog treadmill (av 5:45 min/km)

Wednesday (easy):
50mins easy tradmill (av 5:26 min/km)
10mins light weights

Ankle got worse and the pain has spreaded to the lateral shin.

Thursday (threshold + reps):
20mins warm up
8k Tempo in 32:16 (av 4:02 min/km)
5 mins rest
4 x 400m in 82secs, 1min walk recovery
20mins cool down
Total 17k in 78mins (av pace 4:35)

Ankle was painful when I started and had to resort running at 6:00+ pace for the warm up. I wanted to do a continuous tempo and decided to play by the ear. If I can only last 3k, then be it! Surprisingly legs felt prety good and I completed 8k at 4:02 min/km. It was hard but not a ball-busting workout. After drink break, did 4 x 400m at 2400m pace on a marked bike path to get some running faster than HMP/MP. Unfortunately, this aggravated the foot problem and had to run very slowly for the cool down. Iced the ankle and shin and put some voltaren afterwards.

Friday (easy):
38mins easy treadmill (av pace 5:30 min/km)

Saturday (long):
24k long run in 2h:02m (av 5:02 min/km)

The plan was to do a 3 hour at easy effort, but stopped at 2 hours due to foot problems. Went through the first 90mins pretty okay, but the pain got siginificantly worse from there. The pain also has spreaded to the shin and knees. Run, stop, run, stop, run, stop for a few times before deciding to have had enough and catch a bus home.

Sunday (rest):


A crap week affected by foot injury. 90k for the week with 2 tempo sessions and a cancelled long run.. Went to the pyhsio on Saturday and he diagnosed two issues 1) damaged tendon in the ankle joint (anterior side); and 2) lateral shin splint. He didn't think that there was any stress fracture at all. Most likely the problem was due to over worked muscles. I hope it's not something serious like compartment syndrome, although Satuday's long run experience sounds like early signs of CS (after stopping, the pain dissipated but then re-appeared again).

A huge setback for me with only 5 weeks left to go to the marathon. It has been a good long streak running without any significant niggles and injuries, but suddenly shit happens. The last time I visited a physio was 18 months ago for a damaged ankle ligament on the right leg (this time is left leg) and it put me out of action for 3 months. The difference is this time I am walking without pain, so there is every chance that I can make the start line.

Will do a wait and see approach for next week. The physio's suggeston is very predictable - which is to rest fully. I might do elliptical in the gym or if things improve, I will just run through the pain and see what happens. My objective going forward is simple - to go to the marathon start line in a healthy state in 1 month time.

29 August 2010

6 weeks 2 go

Monday (threshold):
3k warm up with strides
11k In/Out Tempo Run in 45:33
av 4:09 min/km, av HR 170, high HR 184
2k cool down
Total session 16k in 72mins (av 4:31)

"In and Out" tempo run by alternating 1km at 10k pace - 3:50 min/km and floating recovery at 4:30 min/km. Splits (HR in bpm): 3:50 (158), 4:29 (158), 3:51 (166), 4:30 (163), 3:50 (170), 4:29 (165), 3:50 (172), 4:31 (170), 3:50 (175), 4:35 (171), 3:48 (179) = 11k in 45:33 (av 4:09). Legs were a bit heavy and it was a warm morning. The float recovery made me work my butt off ! Heart rates were in the 160-170s range even during the supposedly recovery section. A good change of pace workout, accumulating 6km of work at 10k pace and 5k recovery at moderate pace.

Tuesday (easy):
40mins easy treadmill (av pace 5:26)

Wednesday (long run):
25k easy-moderate in 2hrs (av 4:50 min/km)

Felt sluggish this morning. Was hoping to do some fast pick-ups at the end, but the body was simply too tired. 30mins at 5:05, 4:55, 4:45, 4:35 min/km (between 80% MP and 90% MP). At the end, I was pleased to insert a 2 hour long run on a weekday. Fly to Jakarta in the afternoon.

Thursday (fartlek):
1 hour easy run with light fartlek (av pace 4:56 min/km)
included 8 x 2mins at HM pace, 1 min jog

Ran on treadmill. To kill boredom, decided to sprinkle in 2 mins surges at HM pace, with 1mins slow jog in between.

Friday (easy):
45mins easy (av pace 5:10 min/km)
included 7 x 15-20secs strides, barefoot

Saturday (long tempo):
2k warm up
21k tempo at MP effort in 90:15 (av 4:18)
Av HR 162, high 171
7.5k cool down
Total 30.5k in 2h:20m (av 4:36 min/km)

Dead legs! My plan was to run 26k at MP effort but ended up only doing 21k. I was fine aerobically as indicated by low HR but my leg was trashed. After 13k, my calves began to tighten and the legs became heavy. My knees and ankles were aching too probably due to the jarring on the downhills. The route was undulanting again hence the reasons for uneven splits: 4:14, 4:15, 4:24, 4:16, 4:15, 4:15, 4:19, 4:24, 4:15, 4:18, 4:26, 4:14, 4:09, 3:58, 4:21, 4:33, 4:22, 4:20, 4:22, 4:15, 4:17 As you can see, I was unable to run anywhere close to my goal MP due to the tired legs hence decided to close shop at 21k. Had 3 brief drink stops during the tempo. . Did 7k cool down on fried legs to total 30k and it felt harder than the tempo session itself.

Sunday (rest):

100k for the week with 1 speed session and two long runs. The sum of quality kms were 31k at 4:10 min/km average. Began to feel the legs burning after 6 weeks of consistent training. Last 6 weeks mileage were: 89, 105, 109, 90, 90, 100 - average 97k which is high for a runner like me who only runs about 5-6x a week. I haven't got a massage in 3 weeks, which probably explain the reason why my legs are tight. The shorter than planned MP tempo run was a bummer given I was fine aerobically and I was able to run 24k at 4:16 pace a couple of weeks ago. Anyway, at least I got some goal pace running practice this week.

Two weeks left before Army HM. Have to get a racing flat soon so that I can use it in the HM and then in the marathon. My current stock unfortunately consists of lightweight trainers such as Nike Lunar Swift, Mizuno Precision, Lunar Elite etc which are a tad too heavy for racing. Currently thinking to get either Nuke Lunar Racer or Saucony Fastwitch for the marathon.

6 weeks to go now. The plan is to do workouts at HM pace next week, then slight taper and race the HM in the following week. After that I have two more weeks left for training hard before 2 weeks taper.

21 August 2010

Happy to get thru the week

Monday (easy):
30mins easy treadmill (av pace 5:30)

Tuesday (semi long run):
20k easy-moderate in 95mins (av pace 4:48)

Did the run at easy-to-moderate pace (slower than MP). First 30mins easy at 80% MP (5:05 min/km), next 30mins at 85% MP (4:50 min/km), next 30mins at 90% MP (4:38 min/km). I pulled a calf muscle from Sunday's run and the twinge got worsened today.

Wednesday (easy):
50mins easy treadmill (av 5:15 min/km)

Thursday (intervals):
10mins warm up, 3 strides
8*800 Yasso intervals, 2mins recovery
15mins cool down
Total 14k in (av 4:44 min/km)

On antibiotics due to throat infection and cough. My variation of Yasso with 2mins recovery instead of full recovery, but only did 8 reps. Done on the road and pressed the split button when Garmin showed 803-808 meters. Splits: 2.59.21, 2.57.02, 2.57.27, 2.58375, 2.59.12, 3.00.05, 2.59.47, 2.55.91 = average 2.58 per 800m. Total work 6.4k in 23:47 for an average pace of 3:43 min/km. This is not my best Yasso ever as a) recovery between reps was done very slowly at 6.20 min/km pace, and b) I was capable to do 8*800 with 75secs jog at similar pace a couple months ago. Actually not sure whether doing intervals with a sore throat was good idea either as more polluted air was sucked in.

Friday (easy):
38mins easy treadmill (av pace 5:32 min/km)

Saturday (long):
33k long run progressive in 2h:32m (av 4:37)
5k splits = 25:20, 24:25, 23:28, 22:45, 21:46, 21:15, 12:30 (last 3k)

Nice cooling weather with slight drizzle. The plan was to start easy for the first 5k, increase the pace every 5k and then finish around MP. Did the first 5k at 5:04 min/km, next 5k 4:52 min/km, next 5k 4:42min/km, next 5k at 4:34 min/km, next 5k at 4:22 min/km, next 5k 4:15 min/km, then last 3k at 4:05 pace. The pace for the last 3k was a bit overstated since I had to stop at 3 big intersections, hence it was more like 3 x 800m with break waiting to cross the road. Last 18k averaged 4:21 min/km or 3h:05m marathon pace. Was working hard but never really struggled. Total breaks were 10mins total (excluded from the timing), for drinks and stopping at various traffic lights.

Sunday (rest):


90k for the week with 1 workout and 1 long run. Basically happy to get a 'Pass' score and  complete a reasonable training week given all the circumstances - a) super duper busy at work; b) calf strain issues; and 3) throat infection/cough. Only managed to do 14k of this week's milage at race pace or faster, a significant step down from last week's 40k. On the flip side, the pace for my 2 long runs this week were faster than my customarily slog at 5:00 pace.

I looked back at my logs and compare the mileage I have done for this cycle and for my last marathon in Seoul (see chart below). I used the last 6 months data since most marathon programs are about 20 weeks long. Over 4 months period prior to the final 8 weeks, I ran a total 1340km (av 70 per week) during Seoul prep compared to 1507km (av 79) for Melbourne, which is 12% more. The week-by-week mileage fluctuates due to different races and down time done during the two cycles. But if you believe that recent mileage have more weight than the old ones, then over the last 10 weeks prior to the final 8 weeks, my mileage for Melbourne prep averages 87km as compared to Seoul's 67km, so I am running 30% more. Average pace for this period is virtually the same at around 4.55 min/km. So if intensity is roughly the same, overall mileage is higher and assuming I'll average 90k in the 8-weeks marathon specific phase, I think I might have a chance to PB.

Seven weeks left to go :(

15 August 2010

Good (training) and Bad (race) - Redux

Monday (long tempo):
2k warm up
24k long tempo run at MP in 1h:42m (av 4:16min/km)
3k cool down
Total 29k in 2h:09m (av 4:28 min/km)

A combination of empty streets due to public holiday (National Day) and cool weather (25c, 80% humidity) made it a perfect timing to do a long tempo run. Decided to run at MP 'effort', instead of sticking to a fixed pace for the whole duration of the run. I started with an open mind that even 4:30min/km is still considered as an MP effort The route is mostly flat but had a few undulations here and there, hence the reasons for uneven pace. Splits were: 4:19, 4:13, 4:17, 4:17, 4:15, 4:14, 4:17, 4:24, 4:16, 4:21, 4:09, 4:18, 4:27, 4:21, 4:15, 4:18, 4:13, 4:14, 4:14, 4:14, 4:18, 4:15, 4:11, 4:00. I was very surprised that how a conservative mindset helps me to finish strong. About half of the splits were sub or at 4:15 min/km (20ks under 4:20), with 4:27 being the slowest. Pretty much a continuous run, except for a couple of 60secs break at km 10 and 17 for gel and drinks (time excluded). Covered 57% of marathon distance at (almost) goal pace, but don't know whether I can handle another 18k. Will try another one nearer to the D-day to further hone-in goal MP.

Tuesday (rest):
OFF. Travel to Jakarta for work.

Wednesday (easy):
10k easy (av 5:10 min/km)
including 4 x 15secs uphill sprints

Felt crap. I think Monday's long MP run which was preceeded by 35k on Saturday took a lot out of me.

Thursday (semi-long run):
21k in 1h:40m (av 4:44 min/km)
consisting of 1 hour easy + light fartlek + cool down

Cool but super humid weather. Ran 12k easy in about 60mins (5:00 pace), followed by a light fartlek: 3 x (2mins @ 4:25, 4:05, 3:55) with 2mins rec, then 3k cool down. Covered 4.6k during the 19mins of fartlek work (av 4:07 pace). A nice, little way to add some quality into the medium long run without taxing the body too much.

Friday (easy):
10k easy (av pace 5:15 min/km)
including 5 strides

Saturday (rest):

Sunday (race/tempo):
3.6k warm up
12.5k Waterfront Scramble, 51:15 (av 4:05 min/km)
3.8k cool down
Total 20k in 93mins (av 4:40)

Was hoping to use the race as Army Half Marathon dress rehearsal with a target pace of 4:00 (84-85mins half), but even after the down week, legs were still not fresh. Forgot to autolap Garmin so no km splits. But from memory, my pace average 4:00 for the first 5k, then 4:02 for the 10k, then had side stitch which slowed me down in the last 3k. I wasn't tired but the legs just didn't want to move fast. Based on this result, even a sub-87min local HM is mighty hard. Ran on my own for almost the whole race since the top guys (including Kenyan couple) were so far in front of me and there was nobody running ay my pace. Finished ahead of Trudy Fawcett (2.55 marathon and represented Great Britain in World Triathlon Champs) who was on comeback trail after injury. She adviced me to improve my biomechanics since my gait is not quick & light off the ground. She could hear the sound of my footstrikes even from half a mile away :(

90k for the week (down week) in 5 runs with 1 good workout and 1 crap race. After increasing mileage to 105-109km in last 2 weeks, I decided to make this week as a recovery week. Mileage was less, but the intensity was higher - hmm..wondering whether is this a real recovery week ????

The obvious highlight is 24k tempo at 4:16 pace (with only 2x1min drink breaks). I think to have a chance for sub-3, I need to run at 4:13 pace or faster in the first half (89mins), so 4.16 for 24k without taper and the fact I wasn't wasted at the end of the run, means I still have a shot (maybe small) at it. Sunday's race turned out to be another disappointment, which further re-affirmed the fact that I am better at training. But if I think from a workout perspective, it was a decent tempo workout and I should be ready to roll again in the next couple of days. One positive thing is that 41k of my fastest miles (45%) this week averaged 4:12 min/km - which is the most I've done in this cycle.

8 weeks to go. My plan from this point is to train hard in the next 3 weeks, then run the Army Half Marathon, followed by another 2 weeks of hard training, then finally 2 weeks of taper.

08 August 2010

2 months left :(

Monday (intervals):
5k warm up to CCAB track (av 5:08)
5 x 1000m at 5-10k pace, 200m jog
4 laps of 100m fast, 100m slow
5k cool down (av 5:30)
Total 17.4k in 1h:24m (av 4:50 min/km)

My initial plan was to do 1000m repeats at 10k pace (3:50) which is akin to threshold session, but went too fast for the first 2 sets. Therefore, I just made it a threshold-cum-vo2max workout by doing 5 sets at a pace between 5k pace (3:42) and 10k pace (3:50). Splits were: 3.41.8, 3.45.2, 3.46.3, 3.44.2, 3.42.5 - average 3.44 min/km, with 200m jog recovery done in average of 75secs (1 to 3 rest-to-work ratio). Total work for 5k was 18:40. Finished the run with 4 laps of spint the straights, jog the curves. Did most of the 100m in a blazing pace 18secs, which sadly is slower than 42k pace for the Africans :) Overall, a good little session without pushing too hard (only hit 176 bpm as highest HR)

Tuesday (easy):
1 hour easy (av 5:22 min/km)
100 abs bench

Wednesday (threshold):
9k easy warm up (av 5:15)
5 x 6mins HM pace (4:05), 2 mins brisk recovery (4:40) - total 9.6k in 40mins, av HR 169
3k cool down including 4 uphill sprints
Total 21.5k in 1h:43m (av 4:48 min/km)
PM: 5k jog on treadmill (av 5:45)

So far in this cycle, I have been relatively comfortable with doing tempo run at HM pace (4:00s) for around 30-45 minutes. Decided to vary the stress, by running 9km first before embarking on the tempo session. And the long warm up really made a huge difference! Was planning to do around 50mins of tempo work, but my legs were fried and I decided to close shop at 40 minutes. was dehydrated too, only brought one water bottle. The paces were around 4.03-4:06 for the fast segments and 4:40 for the recovery, for a total of 9.6k (av 4:10). Hit 184 bpm - higher than Monday's intervals (176). After some walking, did 15mins cool down including 4 x 20secs uphill sprints (walk recovery).

Lost 3k of body weight (after factoring 600ml of fluid consumed during the run) for 100mins worth of running. This puts my sweat rate at 2.1 litres per hour, so during today's run I lost fluids equivalent to 10 cans of coke. No wonder my training/racing times suck with so much fluid lost and inability to replace it. A good reason to avoid running a local marathon, at least for a heavy sweater like me !

Thursday (easy):
1 hour easy (av 5:22 min/km)
including 4 barefoot strides on grass

Friday (easy):
40mins easy treadmill (av pace 5:25 min/km)
10mins medicine ball exercises

Saturday (long):
35k long run in 2h:52h (av 4:55min/km)

Another long run in the bag. Pace was in cruisy mode, first hour 5:05, second hour 4:55, and last 50mins or so at 4:45 min/km. Stopped for about 10mins total for drinks, which wasn't included in the time (I only logged moving time and not elapsed time). Although, I mentioned previosly that long run is my least favourite session, today was actually a pretty enjotable outing. I think the 37k run a couple of weeks ago taught my brain that long run is something that is repeatable.

Sunday (rest):
OFF. Core exercises

109k for the week with 2 workouts and a long run. Not much quality this week compared to last week. My average pace this week is 109k @ 5:05 min/km, while last week was 105k @ 4:50, so about 15secs per k slower for 100ks - which is a huge difference in terms of fitness benefits. Anyway, that's history now. For next week, I will travel to Jakarta for work again and have a tune-up race in the weekend, so mileage will be probably down by 20-30k.

I measured my weight a couple of times this week. A bit disappointing that my weight remains pretty similar at 66-67kg, although, I feel like I am getting leaner. Living in Singapore where the cuisine is a fusion of Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Western, it' is so difficult to escape from liberal use of oil, curry, pork lard, ghee, sauces etc for day-to-day diet. I think I will hide my scale in the store room for a foreseeable future.

Congrats to Clown who smashed his HM PB ftom 86 to 82. You are on fire!

No dates for the Spain football trip yet, but they said it will still be in October. I have registered for the marathon before the early bird closed last week. My registration number is 3465 and I believe it has now reached 4400+ (capped at 4500 runners based on info from the MM website).

Two months to go and I am still not so ready!

31 July 2010

10 to 10-10-10

Monday (threshold):
3.5k warm up
12mins ON, 2mins OFF, 3mins ON, 2mins OFF
9mins ON, 2mins OFF, 3mins ON, 2mins OFF
6mins ON, 2mins OFF, 3mins ON, 2mins OFF
3mins ON, 90secs OFF, 3mins ON, 90secs OFF
3mins ON
3k cool down
Total 20.5k in 93mins (av 4:33 min/km)

A varied pace Threshold session, alternating long intervals (12-9-6-3 minutes) at MP-10 secs/km and short intervals (3 minutes) at MP-20 secs/km, interspersed with 2mins jog in between. Always enjoyed this kind of session. Cumulatively, they added up to 30mins at 4:05 pace and 15mins at 3:55 pace for a total 45mins worth of Threshold work - an average of 4:00 min/km. If recovery jogs are included, the workout covered 14.1k in 60mins or an average pace of 4:15 (av HR 164, high HR 175). Very pleased with today's run considering that I did a 37k long run two days earlier.

Tuesday (easy):
60mins recovery treadmill (av 5:30 min/km)
Core work: planks, 1 set of Bataan & Myrtle

Experimenting with a longer recovery run (1 hour) instead of the normal 30-40mins. Otherwise, I will never see my mileage above 90k !!

Wednesday (semi-long run):
21k semi-long run in 1h:40m (av 4:48 min/km)

Beautiful and cool post-rain weather, with no UV at all. Ran the usual route of Chatsworth, Nassem, Cluny Park, Dempsey, and River Valley. After 4k easy miles to loosen the leg, then ran the next 17k between 4:30-4:45 min/km. Felt easy effort-wise due to the cooler weather. Could have run more miles but unfortunately, I had to go to work. I would say around 4:40s would be my normal long run pace if I still live in Aussie.

Thursday (progression):
10mins warm up
30mins progression run (av 4:10)
20 mins cool down including 6 strides
Total 13k in 59mins (av pace 4:33 min/km)

After warm up, did 10mins progressive at 4:20s-4:10s-4:00smin/km, covering 7.2k in 30mins (av 4:10 pace). A bit hard of a workout than I initially expected. Finished the run with 6 x 20secs strides.

Friday (easy):
40mins recovery on treadmill (av pace 5:32 min/km)
10mins upper body weights + sit-ups

Saturday (long):
32k long run in 2h:33h (av 4:47min/km)
consisting of 60mins easy (5:12), 2 x 5k MP, 45mins moderate (4:40)

Tired going into the run with 110k from the last 7 days in the legs. However, I decided to test the water a bit by aiming a marathon simulation run of 1 hour easy + 4 x 5k MP. My thought is that if I could ace this workout un-tapered, then sub-3 is a real possibility. However, that proved to be a wishful thinking. After 1 hour easy from home to ECP, I then did the first 5k at 4:18 pace and the second at 4:20 pace, so about 3-5 secs off pace but perhaps equivalent in effort considering the weather factor. I was completely wiped out after the second and decided to save the effort for another day. Humidiy was really high too and I was soaked. Finished the run with 45mins at moderate effort (4:40 pace) to total 32k for the day.

Sunday (rest):
105k for the week with 2 workouts, a semi-long run and a long run. An increase of almost 20% in mileage from last week and 30% higher than my average kms in last couple of months. Including last Saturday's long run, my rolling last 8 days mileage amounted to 142k (almost 18k per day). Overall, I handled the increase in mileage reasonably well. Slightly disappointed with today's planned marathon simulation run. If only I could complete the session with those kms in the legs, my confidence to do sub-3 in 10 weeks time would have sky-rocketed. Anyway, things do not always go you way. Or maybe I wasn't good enough on the day.

The plan for next week (week minus 10) is to do similar level of mileage (90-100k depending on life schedules), again focusing mainly on threshold sessions. I then plan to take a down week in week minus 9 to super compensate and do a tune-up race.

10 weeks left to 10/10/10 !!!

24 July 2010

Better Week

Monday (OFF):
Thai Food workout
3 x great food, with 4 hours recovery in between :)

Tuesday (Tempo):
2k warm up
25-20-15-10-5 minutes at MP, 5mins jog/rest in between
Total 23.2k in 102mins (av 4:24 min/km)

Last day of holiday in Phuket. Decided to do a long workout since I don't have a luxury of running on quite streets near my place in Singapore. Split times were 25+ mins at 4:15 pace, 20+ mins at 4:13 pace, 15+ mins at 4:13 pace, 10+ mins at 4:10 pace, and 5+mins at 4:03 pace. All up, 19k worth of MP work (non-continuous) in 80mins, av 4:13 min/km. A good workout to familiarize the body with MP, but the truth is I only covered about 40% of marathon distance !!! Fly back to SG in the arvo.

Wednesday (easy):
45mins recovery on treadmill (av 5:25 min/km)
60 v-ups with med ball

Thursday (fartlek):
15mins warm up
Mona fartlek
Covered 5k in 20:00 (av 4:00)
25 mins cool down
Total 12+k in 60mins (av pace 4:48 min/km)

Still not able to master Mona fartlek. Went a bit too fast in the early parts, both for the fast and float part. Unable to keep the floats during the 30s and 15s, died, and had to jog instead.

Friday (easy):
43mins recovery on treadmill (av pace 5:28 min/km)
15mins upper/lower body weights

Saturday (long):
37k long run in 3h:02h (av 4:56min/km)

Hallelujah! A long run at last. Cooler than normal weather this morning, some light cooling breeze, a bit of drizzle here and there and no sun. Was happy to run 32k, but continued on since the weather was unbelievable kind (25c, 90% humidity). First hour averaging 5:15 min/km, second hour averaging 4:50 min/km, and last hour averaging 4:40 min/km. Didn't feel as wiped out as normal long runs due to the conditions.

Sunday (rest):
OFF. Core exercises


89k for the week in 5 runs. A decent week for my standard with 2 workouts and a long run (finally !!). Since long run is my least favourite workout, I was very pleased with today's 37k run. One pin bowled, so hopefully another one or two 35k+ long runs in the remaining 10 weeks should suffice. For the rest of long runs, I am happy to keep them at the more manageable 26-30k range. In terms of quality, I did 24 km this week at a pace faster than MP. If I combine last Sunday's tempo run, my quality miles in the last seven days were 36k at an average of 4:10 min/km (out of total mileage of 106 km)

Another positive thing going forward is that my work schedule looks pretty good for the next couple of weeks, so hopefully I can capitalize on this by doing some decent sessions.

Training to date (7 weeks)
Intervals/Vo2Max: 16x300, 8x800, 5x1000, 12x400, 5k TT (18.33), Mona fartlek= 6 sessions average 5k
Tempos: 9k change of pace, 10k in intervals form, 4.4k trail race, 12k continous = 4 sessions average 9k
Long runs: 27, 31, 29k (with 2x20mins at HMP), 28k (with 90min at MP) , 37k = 6 sessions at average 30k
Semi-long runs: 24k, 24k, 23k (with 80mins MP) = 3 sessions average 24k
Mileage: 81, 89, 88, 57, 89, 77, 89 = average 81k per week

19 July 2010


By now, you would probably know about the infamous, Paul The Octopus  with oracle-like psychic ability to predict the outcome of soccer match. During the course of the World Cup, he predicted 8 out of 8 correct outcomes including the final, a 100% record or 1 in 256 chance !!

On a more humane front (literally), I managed to combine my psychic and analytical skills to win my company's Fantasy Football competition. The game entailed 'managers' to pick a team, select team formation, change/transfer players within certain budget and rules etc. Points were awarded when the players in the team scored goals, made assists, or in case of defenders, when they did not concede goals. During the course of the World Cup, I accumulated the highest points among 400 other 'football managers' from all around the globe.

For all my troubles, I won an all expense paid trip to Madrid, Spain to meet Cristiano Ronaldo in-person and watch his team, Real Madrid play in a Spanish League match. An entity of the company that I work for happens to be the sponsor of Ronaldo, the world's most expensive player (he was bought for US$132m from his previous club). So the trip probably involves some backstage access to mingle with the bloke. While I am not a fan of Ronaldo, but a free trip to Spain is too rude to pass and is a nice reward for all the sleepless nights watchng the World Cup (which sadly affected my training/racing too) and analyzing match statistics. Anyway, his autographed jersey is selling for $1k+ on internet, so if I can get him to sign a few.... haha

One issue is the trip probably will happen in October. If the chosen match falls on the 8-10 October weekend, then effectively I'll say bye-bye to Melbourne Marathon. If it is held one week earlier, I think I still can do Melbourne albeit jet lag problems from traveling between Asia-Europe-Asia-Australia. If the game is in the latter part of October, then no worries. Will get more clarity on the date in the next couple of weeks.

Anyway, 12 weeks left to Melbourne

Monday (easy):
40mins recovery on treadmill (av 5:43 min/km)
10mins upper body weights
60 v-ups

Severe DOMS and tight lower leg muscles from yesterday's race (12 up slopes and 12 down slopes, albeit mild). What annoys me is that I ran a hard effort, suffered shot calves, hammies, and quads and could only run the HM at my MP. I think 21k at MP should be a semi-hard effort and not almost a full-effort like yesterday :(

Tuesday (easy):
50mins easy (av 5:25 min/km)

Wednesday (long):
24k medium long run in 2 hours (av 5:00 min/km)

Decided to skip workouts and do an aerobic run. Legs are still affected by DOMS and I really need an endurance boost at the moment. Ran the first hour at 5:10 pace, second hour at 4:50 pace.

Thursday (fartlek):
15mins warm up
2mins 4:20s, 2mins 4:00s, 1min 3:50s, 1min jog, repeat for 6k
15mins cool down, 4 strides
Total 12+k in 56mins (av pace 4:38 min/km)

Busy day work and got stomach issues all day. Did a light fartlek at varying pace (MP, HMP,10k pace) for a bit of quality since I haven't done any workouts all week.

Friday (easy):
40mins recovery on treadmill (av pace 5:27)
60 v-ups, 60 squats, core exercises

Saturday (off):
Travel to Phuket, Thailand for holiday.

Sunday (tempo):
4k warm up
12k Tempo in 50:00 (av 4:10 min/km)
1k cool down
Total session 17k in 75mins (av 4:28 min/km)

Hard to motivate myself to wake up early during a holiday for a long run. Ran on quite road around the Phuket Laguna area. The morning weather is better than Singapore for a run - perhaps 1-2c lower temp, still humid but at least the sea breeze helped.

77k for the week. Suffered DOMS and tightness early in the week, hence only did one workout. Missed the long run again, which made it just one long run over 30k in 6 weeks.  Not good for marathon training! After today I only have 12 weeks left before Melbourne.

What keeps me sane is that my last marathon prep in Seoul was only 8-9 weeks long and I still managed to run 3.03s. But what made it worked well was that I had an uninterrupted training block without any traveling and office work was much quieter then due to festive season and Chinese new year.

Hopefully, things will enable me to train consistently in the next few weeks. It is unlikely that I could top more than 90k for weekly mileage, so I am hoping my training will have a lot of quality elements in it. Fitness wise, I am still far away from sub-3, so if I can get close to 3.00 and BQ again, then I'd call it a successful training. The marathon is also possibly at risk due to the Madrid trip, so we shall see.

11 July 2010

Good and bad

13 weeks left to Melbourne....

Monday (time trial):
5k warm up to CCAB track
5000m solo Time Trial in 18:33 (PB)
Lap splits: 87.2, 89.6, 88.9, 89.8, 89.7, 90.0, 91.2
90.9, 90.2, 90.5, 89.9, 87.4, 38.3
Av pace: 3:43 min/km, av HR 177 bpm
6k slow cool down
Total session 16k

After 3 days of not running, I decided to have a crack at my old 5k PB (18.45) from 2006. Based on my recent interval workouts, I thought 18.20 (3:40 pace or 88 per lap) would be a doable target. My plan was to cruise the first half at my old PB pace (90 per lap), then running to the barn in the second half. Unfortunately, 3 days of inactivity made me feel a bit flat (lower blood volume ?). Plus running round and round the track with nobody to chase and nothing at stake also made it a real challenge. With a target of 88 per lap, I only managed to do 2 laps <88 (first and last), with the rest at around 90.

It was a mixed feeling. Always happy to get a PB (12 secs) during training. But on the flip side, I knew that I could run faster than this. I couldn't get out of the 'locked' pace (90 secs per lap) during the middle miles, pushed the pace too late and I felt still have lots left in the tank. Since it wasn't too draining, I might do another TT instead of workouts in the near future. Anyways, Mcmillan equates today's run to 85.45 HM and 3.00.50 marathon.

Tuesday (rest):
OFF. Travel to Jakarta for work

Wednesday (easy):
60mins easy treadmill in Jakarta (av 5.02 min/km)

Thursday (medium run):
75mins moderate workout (av 4:42 min/km)
4k up, 7k MP tempo in 30mins (av 4:17), 4k down

Friday (easy):
60mins easy treadmill (av pace 5:05)

Saturday (rest):

Sunday (race):
2k warm up
Timex Tri-Run 21.4+ km in 91:02 (3rd Men Open, 5th overall)
Av pace: 4:15 min/km
5k splits: 20:23, 20:58, 21:28, 22:05, 1.4k+ in 6:07
4.6k cool down
Total 28k

Only slept for 3 hours, watched the World Cup 3rd place play-off till 4am and couldn't sleep after that. Tried to take a nap during the cab ride to the race venue, but the driver kept on talking. The route was ridiculous, 3.5k stretch of road and we ran out and back 6 times. In total, there were 12 rises (2 rises in each 3.5k course) and 5 hair-pin turns. The road was cambered too which caused some discomfort in the hips and sole of my foot. Tried to run at around 4.05 min/km and only lasted for about 7k. Then the wheels came off and it was simply a matter survival after that. After one hour, the 10k runners started their race and the 3.5k route became very messy. Passed the 21k in 89:06, so theoretically a sub-90 HM.

Totally disappointed with the race. Maybe the lack of sleep or Monday's 5k TT affected the outcome, but I really gave a hard effort today (close to 90% Max HR). Don't think I can do back-to-back 90mins HM, at least in Singapore conditions. Even after taking 2 salt tablets and 2 gels, I cramped badly during the cool down and also when collecting the prize. A bit embarassed that I laid down in the podium with calf cramps for everyone to see after collecting a Timex watch prize. The only positive thing is that everyone seems to be 2-5 mins slower today.

89k for the week with 2 rest days. One good  TT (PB) and one shitty race. Five weeks down and only 13 weeks left to the race. This week marks the conclusion of Phase 1 training where speed is the focus (4 weeks) and the beginning of Phase 2 training (5-6 weeks) where the emphasis will move to HM/threshold training. I think today's race showed that I really lacked raw endurance (evidenced by my pace's downward spirals). So far, my long runs were 27, 31, 24, 29, and 28k, so only 1 run above 30k. Other runs were mostly between 30mins to 1 hour. For the 5 weeks, my mileage averaged only around 80k (50 miles), which seems low for a sub-3 wannabe.

Gotta work much harder from now on!

01 July 2010

Short Week

Week 4 of 18 to Melbourne

An early blog since will be traveling to Indonesia for my brother's wedding, hence no running Fri-Sun.

Monday (easy):
40mins easy (av 5:05 min/km)

Tuesday (intervals):
15mins warm up to Labrador Park
12 x 400m (100m recovery)
Splits: 84.5 (29.9), 85.1 (30.9), 89.0 (29.8), 83.1 (31.3), 87.4 (31.6), 86.4 (34.2),
87.2 (34.9), 87.1 (32.1), 86.2 (34.3), 89.3 (34.5), 87.4 (31.9), 87.6 (34.2), then 200m in 42.0 to round up
20mins cool down
Total session 13.2k in 60:12 (av 4:40 min/km)

Ran on the flat road/path of Labrador Park. To reflect potential GPS over-measurement, I pressed the Garmin button at 405m (1% extra) for all the splits. Av time for the 400s were 86.70, with a total 5k worth of work in 18:03 (3:37 min/km). Including recovery jogs, the workout totalled 6.2k in 24:33 (av 3:57 min/km). Felt the legs and hearts burning in the last half as evidenced by longer time to cover the 100m jog.

Wednesday (easy):
40mins easy treadmill (av 5.25 min/km)

Thursday (long & threshold):
3k warm up
5k continuous tempo in 20:00 (av 4:00 min/km), at the Canal
10k easy (av 5:05)
4 x 1200m, 1min rest, at CCAB track
Splits: 4:45, 4:47, 4:46, 4:42 (av 3:58 min/km)
6k cool down
Total 29k in 2h:17m (av 4:45)

Because I will have total rest for the next 3 days, I decided to do a harder long run. The session is called Jack Daniel's spiced TLT sandwich, but I am not talking about Turkey-Lettuce-Tomato here. The TLT stands for tempo-long-tempo, and the original version has 10 miles long run sandwiched between 20minutes T-pace runs. I moderated it by reducing the easy filler run to 10k and doing the second tempo in 1200m batches. The latter was tough because I had 90minutes of running beforehand, hence I was pleased to complete the session. Had marathon-like cramps in the calves during cool down, decided to stop after 29k total.

Friday (rest):
OFF. In Jakarta

Saturday (rest):
OFF. Brother's wedding

Sunday (rest):

57.7k for the week with only 4 days of running. Despite the short week and lower mileage, the nice thing is that I still managed to do one good interval session and one long run. All things considered, I probably do not miss a lot. I realize that time flies really fast. I have passed 4 weeks out of 16 training weeks (+ 2 weeks taper), so about 75% of training time left. Happy with how the intervals and tempos are going, but the long runs are still on the short side (averaging 27k). Hopefully I can do at least half-a-dozen 30k+ runs in the next 10-12 weeks.

Next Sunday, I will be running the Timex 21k race. Ideally, I'd like to race a 5k/10k since I am currently in the Muscle/Speed Training phase. Moreover, I haven't done HM-specific training such as hard long runs or progression runs,which are actually in the next phase. However the beauty of doing the HM right now is that I can easily total 28-30k for the day with warm up/cool down. This means that I won't have to miss out on a long run. Timing wise, I will be happy with anything under 90 since my long runs are still too few at this stage.

Training to date (4 weeks)
Intervals: 16x300, 8x800, 5x1000, 12x400
Tempos: 9k continuous, 10k in batches, 4.4k trail race
Long runs: 27, 31, 24, 29k (with 40mins tempo)
Mileage: 81, 89, 88, 57 = average 79kper week