Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Der DK way

I've never really been any good at pacing when I run in races or even in my tempo training runs. My first lap or first kilometre or so will see me really pushing the pace before I start to slow down and try to average out my pace. This is what I call der DK way.

Anyway this monday the same thing happenned at the KLCC track. I was planning a 8 lap tempo run in under 58 minutes. This would have required me to average a 7:15 pace per lap. My target was to start at 7:30 and slowly increase the pace by 5 secs per lap.

In the end I started too fast and clocked 6:43 in my first lap and didn't do enough to reduce the pace on the second, clocking 7:07. By then I was already tiring so what to do... but switch the plan to complete a 5 lapper. Just maintained my pace for the 3rd lap and picked up the pace on the last two to clock a personal best time of 34:43.

Yesterday I couldn't make it to KLCC as I got a last minute overseas phone call. By the time I left the office it was 7:30pm. My wife was waiting to go out for dinner when I got home, but I just had to clock some mileage or risk feeling 'empty'... so I decided on a 3 lap tempo run.

I started with a really strong pace and didn't know if I would be able to hold such a pace for the 3.4k. At the end of the first lap, my split time was 5:07. I decided to slow down a little on the second to reserve energy so I could really push on the last lap. Second lap split time was 5:23 and I had recovered a bit of wind by then.

My target was to average a 4.5min pace per kilometer, so I knew that I had to really push in the last lap. Both legs were already starting to feel the lactic build up but I kept on pushing a hard pace. With just 300m to go, I turned on my finishing kick all the way. Total time clocked for 3.4km was 15:30.20. Average pace per kilometer is 4:33, still slightly below my target.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

First Saturday LSD

It's been a very long time since I ran the 20k Hartamas route. It used to be a regular training route for me before the KLIM. Since I would rather be spending my time with my family and attending various church meetings over the weekend, I have decided to run my LSDs on Saturday mornings.

This morning I was glad to have the company of
Choi, Eugene, Wong and Geraldine most of whom I'm meeting for the first time. I had met Choi for the first time at the Mizuno run last weekend. After not being able to make it for two runs in the previous months, it was nice to finally be able to join them.

I was really feeling very strong for most parts of the run. At the beginning I was running at an easy pace with Eugene and enjoyed some good conversation with him. Learnt that he only took up running in the last 6 months, but used to keep fit by doing a lot of trekking and mountain climbing.

As we passed the mosque and were reaching the long undulating stretch at Hartamas, I picked up the pace a little. I saw Wong and Geraldine were not that far ahead. My split time when reaching the Petronas was about 63 minutes. We took a long 10 minute break at the Petronas while waiting for the others to reach before starting the run back to Bukit Aman.

This time I paced with Geraldine who could really hold a strong pace. Later on I found out from Choi that she could actually run a 10k below 50 minutes, so perhaps I had choosen a wrong pacer haha! I managed to hang on until we were approaching the traffic lights before the junction to Bank Negara and Choi had caught up by then. At that point I slowed down and was soon left behind.

After passing Bank Negara and turning onto Jalan Parliment, my legs seemed to be giving up. I've always had a problem with this stretch in most of my training runs and even races like the GE30k where I ended up walking. The final uphill stretch heading towards Bukit Aman is really demotivating but can be good to strengthen a runner mentally. Anyhow I couldn't surpass the urge to stop and walk. Overall time taken today was 2h15m32s.

This week I've managed to keep my mileage above the minimum target of 40k. Total mileage clocked for the week was 48k. I shall be doing some cross training in the swimming pool again tomorrow afternoon with
Lee. Next week I will be busy at work so I hope to still be able to keep up with the planned training program.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Fallacy or Truth?

When I first started running, one of the things which attracted me to this sport was that I didn't need to spend tons of money like I had when I had played badminton. No shuttle purchases or court rental costs, no racquet restringing costs.

Of course the other thing was that I could run whenever and almost wherever I wanted to without having to worry about whether others were going to make it in order to be able to play a game of doubles.

Today I would still generally agree that running is a very inexpensive sport, especially when one is using it as a means of getting a good workout for the lungs, heart and some muscle groups. However when one becomes a competitive runner and starts taking part in marathon running then things start to change a little.

In running and training for marathons, there are many different components that we need to look at now. Things that would not really have mattered much if we were running just to keep healthy or to watch our weight.

Our choice of shoes becomes more important now, and a good pair of shoes worthy for a serious marathoner can easily cost in the region of between RM250 to RM300. These shoes which would probably have lasted an everyday runner for over a year, might not last a runner training for a marathon more than 4 or at the most 6 months before a new pair would need to be purchased.

In the beginning, I would never have dreamt of spending more than RM15 for a pair of running socks. Today I have two pairs of running socks which cost me more than RM30 each, and they made a huge difference in my level of comfort in my training runs. They would probably make an even bigger impact in my race performances (this has yet to be tested and proven).

Marathon training can become very strenuous to our body, thus proper nutrients and supplements become essential for us to keep healthy and ensure that we replenish what the body has lost. I used to take only one multi-vitamin capsule a day, in fact I still do, but have now decided to add on Omega-3 fish oil and Cordycep capsules to my daily intake. This will burn a hole in my pocket for sure.

Having said all that, there are still many runners who do without the whims and fancies of expensive shoes, socks and supplements and would still whoop the asses of most of us runners who do spend excessively on these items. However I will use these 'add ons' for now and see if it helps me achieve my targets in my next race. The bottomline is running is still relatively an inexpensive sport!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Proper nutrition

Very often I forget the importance of getting enough nutrition as part of my training. Then when my body starts to feel tired with the daily strenuous workouts, I suddenly get into an extreme drive to nourish the body again. This time however I've decided to make it a point to get sufficient nutrition and keep the body properly hydrated at all times throughout the eight weeks of planned training. Speaking of hydration... let me grab some water before I continue.

I am generally a meat lover and hardly make it a point to eat much vegetables or fruits. I suppose it's more of a habit so I need to make a conscious effort at each meal to ensure that there is some kind of vegetable or fruit with what I eat. I've now stocked my refrigerator with fruits which has please my wife quite a bit.

Other things I like to eat are pasta, pastries and most of all not leaving out deserts of all sorts. Now come to think about it, my fridge is stocked with more chocolates than fruits... haha! But that does not happen very often though, it's just that my wife's recent trip to Australia and our family trip to Langkawi saw us picking up a whole bunch of those yummie chocs.

I do take one multivitamin tablet a day which has helped quite a bit with my poor eating habits. I don't get much 'affordable' healthy choices where I work and getting a decent lunch can become a problem sometimes. Little do we realise that the plate of fried rice or kuey teow that we normally eat has little or no nutrition in it. To compensate for a poor lunch, I've limited myself to a healthy breakfast of cereal, low fat milk, bread and fruits in spite of my regular cravings for nasi lemak.

I wonder what triathletes actually do to ensure they get enough nutrition? I would suppose their food intake would need to be much more in order to sustain their active lifestyles and it has to be expensive as well. So far I've been able to keep to my training schedule for the first week with 5 days of running, one day of swimming, and 3 days of light weight circuit training. Let's see if the next few weeks are going to take a toll on my body.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Mizuno Run 2006

This is one run I hadn't intended to take part in but was persuaded by Peter, Lee, Lim and Albert to register. With almost no regular training I was really not keen to run a hill race. As I mentioned in my previous post, I have just started a planned training for the Bidor Half race so I decided to use this run as part of my training.

The night before I managed to almost go to sleep by 11.30pm but all of a sudden my wife woke me up saying she smelt a cockroach. My wife has a sensitive nose so I turned on the lamp next to me and the next instant she was screaming and sure enough there was a big roach on the bed. By the time we had killed it, I was wide awake and could not go back to sleep.

Upon reaching the Bukit Aman car park in Peter's car, I was greeted by Jamie and Lawrence. Jamie commented that I look like I had just woken up. I suppose that could be due to me not waking up for any races or long runs for a very long time and only waking up at 8am for work each day. Good life huh? Anyway all that will come to an end with my 'planned' LSDs for the next 5 saturdays with C-Cube.

I mingled with some of the PMs before the race began and was not ready when the horn blew for us to start. I think we had more runners this time round, so I just took it easy not wanting to push my way through the crowd right at the very beginning. I guess that easy and constant pace really set in and I just maintained the pace right till we had taken the U-Turn on the Mahameru highway and was heading towards the palace.

At that point a sub one hour seemed borderline for me but I really didn't mind not clocking below 60 minutes. I was not overly tired and still kept on overtaking many runners who had run too fast from the beginning. I only picked up the pace in the last 800 meters but and overtook at least another 50 runners before crossing the finish line with a time of 61m22s, my position card showed 450.

Overall it was an enjoyable run and I did what I came to do which was to maintain a strong even pace to the end. In a training run it would have defeated the purpose for me to turbo from the beginning and start walking later, even if I had managed a sub 60min. The satisfaction in a better timing if I had walked would not have been there. My time in this same event last year was appx 59min with some walking.

This week's training mileage totals 45.5k, 1 week down with 7 weeks to go.

Monday - 10.1k
Tuesday - 10.4k
Wednesday - 8.1k
Thursday - 6.8k
Sunday - 10.1k

I am signing off now to join Lee for a swim at the Matsushita swimming complex in Shah Alam. I have a phobea in getting darker and swimming at 2pm should help me get rid of that phobea. Ah... that cool water is going to feel great in this heat!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Bidor half marathon preparation

With just 8 weeks to race day, I have started preparing for this race yesterday. I found out that my form is really out as I struggled to complete 10k in a slow 6min pace. Part of my planned race preparation are three 20k and two 25k LSD runs on Saturdays.

After doing some reading recently, I've come to the conclusion that I need to work on my upper body strength to improve my race form and running economy. This will include some light weight training with high reps and also some cross training in the swimming pool. I found out in Langkawi that my current fitness level allows me to swim much longer than I used to be able to.

Now all I need to do is ensure that all this becomes more than just a plan! Hopefully the haze and rain can stay away as well. I know it's going to be a struggle as it's back to basics again.

Langkawi 2006

I've just come back from Langkawi. We enjoyed ourselves quite a bit, especially Nick with all the swimming pool and seaside action. He's still not very comfortable in the water but doesn't mind a little action around the pool or on the beach. He did enjoy his very first rides in an airplane, cable car and even on an elephant!