GCM18 Week 12 (SOS Week 7)

Monday
Menu: 8K Easy
Shoes: Zoom Span
Kept the pace very easy, averaging 6:43 pace. Took about 4.5K to wake up the legs!

Tuesday
Menu: 2K Warm Up > 2x4K @ MP-5 secs > 2K Cool Down
Shoes: Tracer
I was apprehensive going into this workout. A 94K week would be 116K over 9 days after this session. I’d to keep reminding myself to stay loose and relaxed throughout the session. For the 2nd week, I’ve weaned myself off music for these Strength Interval sessions. It was tough as it should be, but I think I successfully completed the menu.

5:06 > 4:58 > 5:05 > 4:56 > 5:01 > 5:03 > 5:12 > 5:02

First set of 4K – 20:05 (5:01 pace), second set of 4K – 20:18 (5:05 pace). Had some time on the mat stretching and massaging before bedtime so that I can sleep a little longer tomorrow.

Wednesday: Rest day. No Running.

Thursday
Menu: 2K Warm Up > 14K @ MP > 2K Cool Down
Shoes: Elite 9
Very challenging session! Started the workout slightly low in fuel (very light dinner the evening before). No problems getting the pace right after the first one but struggled to restart after a quick stop to gulp down some water and the 5:21 was pure struggle. Rallied back and needing every mind trick in the bag to not give up. A little light headed when I started my cool down and just stuck to jogging and walking the 2K. Observed that the average HR over the tempo session hovered in the 150s, which is essentially my MP HR. Not sure if this meant anything but I suppose I proved that I wasn’t sandbagging the workout.

5:22 > 5:08 > 5:06 > 5:09 > 5:12 > 5:12 > 5:14 > 5:08 > 5:21 > 5:18 > 5:14 > 5:17 > 5:14 > 5:09

Friday
Menu: 8K Easy
Shoes: Clayton 2

Saturday
Menu: 13K Easy
Shoes: Zoom Span

Sunday
Menu: 16K Long Run
Shoes: Epic React
Good run averaging 6:00 pace and an average HR of 131bpm. As usual, the legs woke up only after 3K! Weather was cool but the high humidity that we’ve been experiencing continued. The gang gave Chiam a going away breakfast at The Crusty Nest with Nick giving Chiam a customised bib.

 

The cutback week still saw 77.5K, a stingy respite before Week 13’s Hell Week 2!

GCM18: Week 11 (SOS Week 6, Hell Week 1)

Monday
Menu: 8K Easy
Shoes: Span
Thankfully recovered from yesterday’s malaise. Enjoyable and relaxed easy session.

Tuesday
Menu: 2K Warm Up > 5x2K @ 5 mins under MP > 2K Cool Down
Shoes: Tracer
Looks like I’m adapted, rested and back! Loved this morning’s workout. I started off a little intimidated but kept reminding myself to stay relaxed and that I’ve got this. The way I see it is this: All these solo running, be they at effort or easy-recovery paces are tough but success doesn’t and shouldn’t come easy. I can, and will, only make me stronger mentally. Come July 1st, I shall be rock solid.  5:02 > 5:07 > 5:04 > 5:06 > 5:01.

Wednesday: No running. 15 mins on the mat.

Thursday
Menu: 10K Easy
Shoes: Epic React
AM: Swapped the Tempo SOS with the Easy session to usher in the new day for Malaysians following the successful removal of the corrupt leadership of the country. Much remains to be done and like the marathon, it’s an on-going process of fine-tuning over many years. Still, this was a first step towards a progressive society.
PM: Upper body weights.

Friday
Menu: 2K Warm Up > 13K Tempo > 2K Cool Down
Shoes: Elite 9
Light drizzle and relatively cooling morning. It seemed that the weather had turned in line with the new direction the country has taken as well. I won’t complain at this time and found this morning’s run much easier than the past 2 weeks. A lot of marathon training deals with specificity and while I’m able to hold sub-5 min pace for 15K, there’s really no point to push things. I pulled back on the pace whenever it threatened to head to unscripted levels. The key is to get comfortable with the pace I’m going to be running on July 1.
5:18 > 5:05 > 5:14 > 5:08 > 5:14 > 5:06 > 5:07 > 5:03 > 5:07 > 5:07 > 5:10 > 4:59 > 5:07.

Saturday
Menu: 13K Easy
Shoes: Epic React
Legs were a little tired but warmed up after 5K. HR readings were excellent averaging mid 120s. My goal has been to take these easy runs as recovery and the data showed that I’m achieving that. Completed the run with some drills and strength work. Train smart, race hard!

Sunday
Menu: 27K
Shoes: Vazee Pace
I’d wanted to take this longest run as an opportunity to test out some gear – Nike top and Joma shorts, Nike compression socks (the choice of socks is just an aid for my tired legs and may not be my actual race gear) and the VF4%. But poor weather saw me ditching the VF4% for the rain-friendly Vazee Pace. The Vazee is a much firmer shoe, one that I didn’t quite like but accepted it out of necessity. It was worn less than 10 times over 6 months and today, the soles came off. Very poor quality, I’d say. I’ve always found weather resistant shoes to be a boon in a tropical country like mine. It’s not easy to find such gear, and they’re pretty expensive too. Now, I’ve to look around for a replacement – looking at some H2O Repel/Shield Nikes, and adidas Pureboost ATR All Terrain. It was great to clear today’s run, felt strong and relaxed and finished on a quicker pace after the 17K mark on a back-heavy course.

In all, the 94.5K logged over Hell Week was the highest km/week in a couple of years for me. There will be a substantial cutback to the 70s before I look Heel Week 2 in the eye.


2018 will be the 40th running of the Gold Coast Marathon (GCM). I’ll be returning for my 8th GCM and training plans have been drawn up. Won’t you join me for some Good Times? Hit the image below to get to the official Gold Coast Marathon website! Do join the Team Malaysia Facebook page to get all the local happenings, updates on training sessions, tips on travel and running the race on the Gold Coast.

GCM18: Week 10 (SOS Week 5)

Monday
Menu: 11K Easy
Shoes: Lunar Tempo
Evening on the treadmill, since the morning run was scuppered by a storm which blew down a couple of trees. Stayed relaxed and easy all the way. Legs felt great despite coming off a heavy week.

Tuesday
Menu: 2K Warm Up > 4×1,200m > 2K Cool Down
Shoes: Tracer
Can’t complain with this. Everything was within the set zone. 4:44 > 4:42 > 4:41 > 4:46

Wednesday: No running. 15 mins on the mat.

Thursday
Menu: 2K Warm Up > 13K Tempo > 2K Cool Down
Shoes: Elite 9
Meltdown! A poor dinner the night before, only 5 hours+ sleep, the usual grind of daily commute (rendered even worse by some roadworks) and a very humid morning practically ensured that from the very first steps, this would be one of the hardest 17K I’d run. As much as I want to forget about this one workout, it was one heck of a wakeup call – 1) Anything can happen in a marathon, 2) Be prepared for #1, 3) Run smart, adapt to the conditions. I’m giving my goal time plenty of respect and will take stock of where I stand come end of May before deciding if it needs some adjustments. 5:13 > 5:18 > 5:14 > 5:11 > 5:10 > 5:05 > 5:16 > 5:09 > 5:21 > 5:24 > 5:20 > 5:22 > 5:11

Friday
Menu: 8K Easy
Shoes: Lunar Tempo
Rained pretty heavily in the morning and didn’t want to risk catching a cold again. So it was the treadmill for the second time this week.

Saturday
Menu: 13K Easy
Shoes: Clifton 4
Halfway through the workout, I decided that I’ve had it up to here running around my housing block and heading out. It was a right decision as the miles passed quicker and more easily. Just glad to have wrapped up another 13K.

Sunday
Menu: 16K Easy
Shoes: Clifton 4
Terrible workout, made worse by the wrong choice of footwear. The whole body was already tired and I was carrying extra weight in the form of the the lump of brick that’s the Clifton. I should’ve gone with the Epic React. I would attribute the lethargy to poor rest. I was already carrying a sore back for 2 days and the 6-hour sleep wasn’t good enough. Typically, my legs would be great the next day, but this morning, they were still inexplicably sore. Didn’t get to nap after the morning run (watched Avengers with the son, yes finally got them tickets!) until 3pm. The strange thing was, the HR was perfectly locked on the low side. I felt far far worse than what the numbers were showing, so I don’t think I’m burning out. In fact, over the course of the training, my HR data showed that I was spending the bulk of my running at the 132 – 142 bpm range, with only a handful around the mid 150s. Even my interval recovery phase HR were good. For the time being, I’m putting today down to insufficient sleep.

Total mileage this week was 76.4K. Let me just call next week Hell Week 1.


2018 will be the 40th running of the Gold Coast Marathon (GCM). I’ll be returning for my 8th GCM and training plans have been drawn up. Won’t you join me for some Good Times? Hit the image below to get to the official Gold Coast Marathon website! Do join the Team Malaysia Facebook page to get all the local happenings, updates on training sessions, tips on travel and running the race on the Gold Coast.

GCM18: Midway Checkpoint

After yesterday’s 24K long run, and after more than 445km logged over 9 weeks, I’ve finally crossed the midpoint of the Hansons’ 18-week training program.

It’s time to take stock of how far I’ve come, how I’m feeling and the challenges to come in the final 9 weeks. I obsess in my record keeping, a habit built ever since my first sub-4 hour some years back. In order to improve, it’s necessary to have an opportunity to review past data, analyze trends and weaknesses and address them in the current marathon training cycle.

Here are some of the analysis culled from the number crunching:

  1. Prior to starting the 18-week program, I’ve averaged 35K/week mileage from November ‘17 to February ’18. 35K/week isn’t much but they’re more miles run in those 4 months compared to previous pre-training phases.
  2. I logged 165K (averaging 33K/week) in Mar ’18. Since I had a shorter training period last year – only started training in April – that’s lower compared to the same month in 2016 when I logged 181K. The positive thing this time around was the consistency and no missed days, with an ascending weekly mileage as prescribed by the Hansons Program.
  3. The consistent trend continued for Apr ’18, with 302K logged, close to 40K more than Apr ’17. This presented an average of 70K/week mileage. The weekly mileage continued to see an upward trajectory, with no cutbacks. There will be 3 weeks of cutbacks in May in between 2 high mileage weeks, so there will be some relief there. Hopefully.
  4. Saturday’s visit to the physio addressed the right calf issue which had plagued me the last 2 weeks, due to the excruciating drive to and from the office.

I’ve largely kept to the training ethos of the Hansons Marathon Method i.e. “Challenging but not Impossible”, “Don’t make it harder than it already is“, and “Don’t peak too early“. Feeling too good when running hard this early in the training may be a onset premature peaking. With each week, my body is adapting to the higher mileage and I’ve to continue to find time for prehab routines and strength training, without which the body won’t be able to take the load. All in all, I want my workouts to feel effortless from Week 16 onwards which is still 7 weeks away.

I’ve ridden a bout of flu without losing a day’s workout. My sense of resolve carried me through those few days but I’d like to think that by staying calm and weighing my options (in adjusting my workouts) as the situation develops were key to successfully navigating the week and bouncing back quickly.

Nutrition wise, I’ve supplemented my diet with protein drinks and magnesium tablets, especially after the SOS sessions. Breakfast of overnight oats are taken twice a week as are salad dinners. While I still don’t consume as much rice, I’m also fully aware of my increased need for calories. Unlike previously, I treat myself to ice-cream as rewards. Call it a more middle-ground approach and I’ve managed to keep my weight to the low 59kgs.

As usual, I rotated through my shoe inventory in training for GCM18. Most of these shoes aren’t new and have prior miles in them. I’m quite sure a few pairs will be retired by the time I toe the line on the Gold Coast. Here are the mileage logged in them, first set of numbers reflect the total run for GCM18 training while the second set, the total mileage logged.

Clayton 2 – 48.5/237
Clifton 4 – 41/90
Epic React – 70/77
Lunar Tempo – 47.6/220
Streak 6 – 13.1/111
Tracer – 43.2/191
Vaporfly 4% – 16/50 (I bought it used)
Vazee Pace – 8.2/32
Zoom Elite 9 – 44.3/208
Zoom Fly – 12/76
Zoom Span – 96.7/307

So it’s all systems go now but where I could do better is to re-establish a rigorous strength regimen in order to support and optimize my running.


2018 will be the 40th running of the Gold Coast Marathon (GCM). I’ll be returning for my 8th GCM and training plans have been drawn up. Won’t you join me for some Good Times? Hit the image below to get to the official Gold Coast Marathon website! Do join the Team Malaysia Facebook page to get all the local happenings, updates on training sessions, tips on travel and running the race on the Gold Coast.

GCM18: Week 9 (SOS Week 4)

Halfway point!

Monday
Menu: 8K Easy
Shoes: Span
Legs felt find after yesterday’s 15K (race report) in the Vaporfly. Amazing shoes! Took the running at a very slow pace.

Tuesday
Menu: 2K Warm Up > 5x1K > 2K Cool Down
Shoes: Tracer
It’s obvious that I tend to do better with longer intervals. Which was why I loved the Cruise Interval sessions when training for GCM17. It’s something to do with getting into the groove. 4:46 > 4:38 > 4:35 > 4:40 > 4:43

Wednesday: REST
No running but a bit of hips, glutes and legs mobility exercises. Started to feel achy, not from the strains of the workouts but from the vicious flu that’s knocked out no less than 6 persons in the office. I could hardly stay awake in the office.

Thursday
Menu: 2K Warm Up > 13K MP > 2K Cool Down
Shoes: Elite 9
It’s been said that how you react to setbacks define your path to success. Take me back 1.5 years ago and how I approached today’s workout would’ve been different. Having felt progressively worse by the minute yesterday as a result of a flu outbreak at the office, I was surprisingly calm. The Hansons program is designed in such a way that every workout is scheduled in a certain way to ensure the runner reaps the cumulative fatigue effect so desired. This morning was an SOS workout and I was down with flu. I decided last night that should I feel crappy this morning, I would swap today’s tempo with tomorrow’s easy run. With 2 days of easy running to come before Sunday’s 24K, there’s  little leeway to move some workouts. As long as they’re both not SOS.

As luck would have it, I woke up feeling not too bad and so was able to stick to the workout. Instead of MP (5:09 – 5:12), I decided to run by feel. Overall, it was a right call. I got the distance in and the average pace of 5:15 was not too far off the base:  5:24 > 5:14 > 5:28 > 5:16 > 5:19 > 5:13 > 5:14 > 5:17 > 5:12 > 5:15 > 5:14 > 5:11 > 5:07

Friday
Menu: 10K Easy
Shoes: Span
Poor run. Went to the doctor’s and got myself some meds and a rest day.

Saturday
Menu: 8K Easy
Shoes:
Body was sore all over from the flu. 8K felt like 10 and was just glad to cover it, regardless of pace. A busy day, with a major grocery shopping outing and a long-delayed session at the physio. They certainly worked by calves and quads, after which put my through the most intense quads, glutes, hams and calves strengthening routines I’ve ever done. Over 800 reps done!

Sunday
Menu: 24K Long Run with 2nd half quicker than the 1st.
Shoes: Epic React
Considering the flu that I had to deal with the last 4 days, I’d say I wrapped this week up in an epic manner. It was never going to be easy but how we deal with challenges mentally, and my pragmatic approach to the easy days ensured that I didn’t miss any session and was even to put in several clicks of surging over the later part of the run.

Total distance logged for Week 9 was 79K. Next week will see a measly cutback of 5K before making a jump into the ‘90s!

The GCM18 Early Bird entries have closed but you can still register under the normal rates.


2018 will be the 40th running of the Gold Coast Marathon (GCM). I’ll be returning for my 8th GCM and training plans have been drawn up. Won’t you join me for some Good Times? Hit the image below to get to the official Gold Coast Marathon website! Do join the Team Malaysia Facebook page to get all the local happenings, updates on training sessions, tips on travel and running the race on the Gold Coast.

GCM18: Week 8 (SOS Week 3)

What? It’s only Week 8??! I can’t even declare that I’m halfway through training!

It has been an unrelenting climb up the mileage ladder and from how I felt during the first weekday’s workout, I will need to take the easy days even easier in the coming weeks. The easy days will lean more to active recovery than mileage sessions in the coming weeks. Still, getting through those easy days won’t be exactly walks in the park due to the generally higher mileage.

Monday
Menu: 10K Easy
Shoes: Span
It may be classified an easy run, but it was just tough going. The humidity didn’t help either. But I got through it.

Tuesday
Menu: 2K Warm Up > 6 x 800m @ 10K race pace (400m recovery jog) > 2K Cool Down
Shoes: Tracer
Inspired by Desi Linden and Yuki Kawauchi’s victories at Boston, the workout wasn’t as dreadful as I feared it to be. I believe the 6.5-hour sleep (workout is more important that watching the race live) had something to do with it as well. 4:48 > 4:40 > 4:42 > 4:38 > 4:30 > 4:42

Wednesday: REST
No running, but 30 minutes of stretching, core and mobility exercises. About 67K logged, this rest day was much appreciated.

Thursday
Menu: 2K Warm Up > 10K @ Goal Marathon Pace > 2K Cool Down
Shoes: Lunar Tempo
Was totally steamrolled this morning and it was the first time I wanted to abandon a workout. I was sliding into a deeper hole by 8K and only when I pulled my focus away from the discomfort and reminded myself of the GCM objective, did I manage to rally to finish within the goal pace. My choice of socks didn’t help either as they had absolutely no grip on the sockliner, making the already challenging workout that much tougher. It was the same socks as worn with the Zoom Fly that I experienced the same sliding-around as well, so that pair will be relegated to casual wear with immediate effect. Other areas needing work – right hip flexors, right calf, both glutes and hams. A visit to the physio beckons.

5:15 > 5:13 > 5:13 > 5:12 > 5:16 > 5:09 > 5:10 > 5:14 > 5:10 > 5:08

Friday
Menu: 8K Easy
Shoes: Epic React

Saturday
Menu: 10K Easy
Shoes: Zoom Span

Sunday
Menu: 16K
Shoes: Vaporfly 4%
First run in the VF! I’ve resisted the temptation of wearing them by putting away the bloody shoes – out of sight, out of mind, you see. They were, after all, racing flats (although they don’t look anything like typical flats). So it was fortuitous that I’ve signed up for the National Geographic 15K a month ago. Parse out the 16K to a 1K warm up jog (too short, but I was just keeping to the goal distance for the day) before the actual race. It ended a little short at 14.5K over which I average 4:54 pace, good for a 5th place finish in the Men Veteran. A great outing and a encouraging progress in training. Most importantly, I remain injury-free and the legs felt fine after the heaviest week yet.

Will cover the race in a separate race report.

Week 8’s mileage stands at 69.6K!


2018 will be the 40th running of the Gold Coast Marathon (GCM). I’ll be returning for my 8th GCM and training plans have been drawn up. Won’t you join me for some Good Times? Hit the image below to get to the official Gold Coast Marathon website! Do join the Team Malaysia Facebook page to get all the local happenings, updates on training sessions, tips on travel and running the race on the Gold Coast.

National Geographic Earth Day Run Race Report

  • 15K on a 16K training day.

  • A route away from the usual ones, yet not too far away.

  • Reasonable entry fees.

What’s not to like? The 4 of us from the training group found ourselves at Kota Kemuning yesterday morning for the National Geographic Earth Day Run. Nick has kindly collected our race kits which contain, other than the usual race number and tee, collapsible water bladders. The rationale behind the inclusion of this unusual but practical item was that the water stations were of the BYO cups variety. No cups, except for 1 near the finish, were used to serve the drinks and runners were expected to fill up and drink from their own eco-friendly reusable bladders/bottles.

The drive from USJ took us less than 20 minutes and once we found a good parking spot, we got in our 1K warm up jog (too short, in hindsight) before taking the short walk to the race start. I’d earlier chewed on a nut bar just to stave off any potential hunger pangs. For this race, I debuted the Nike Vaporfly 4%, having received it last week. I reckon this morning presented the perfect opportunity to get acquainted to it. Once I get one or two more runs in them, I’ll post up my thoughts about these shoes. For hydration, I relied on plain water stored in a 500ml Salomon soft flash stashed into a Salomon belt.

Recent mornings have been very sunny and warm and this race had a 6:30am start. That presented us with a minor concern but the quicker we wrap things up, the less time we spend out there baking in the sun. 

The 15K flag off. Photo courtesy of Runwitme.

Once again, this being a training run, my goal was to maintain a marathon pace effort. This was a 70K week and with 2 more days of running before the scheduled rest, running any faster would be pointless and unnecessary in the whole scheme of things. At least that was the intention.  Because it was under 5 minutes right from the flag off! Anyways, I told myself I’ll back off if I felt I was overextending myself. At this point, Calvin and Chiam (C&C) had surged ahead. I was still able to see the leaders up ahead and a handful passed me not 1K into the race.

Traffic control was good as was the enthusiasm of the water station crews. True to Shah Alam’s design, we had to clear a number of roundabouts. They aren’t fun and I’m sure the technical teams didn’t find them easy to manage as well. Nevertheless, I found the control to be above average for the most part. Nick pulled back at one stage and we ran together, keeping one another honest to the pace. We could still maintain conversation which was a good sign. Just before the furthest u-turn, we spotted C&C chasing one another the side of the road. Adidas Sub-2s were hot on the heels of the Zoom Flys! At 8.5K, I found myself still putting in a good shift and decided to hunt for runners in front. My racing strategy has always been that of patience by letting the runners drop back to me. And when I pass a runner, I should be able to hold on to the finish. So it was 1 runner, then another and this went on until I spotted the 2nd placed woman some 300m ahead. Still, I bid my time. It was still too early to push, and they were just out of my range. By the next K, I’d dropped the 2nd woman who was clearly struggling, and was looking out for the lead woman. 

I must’ve been so intent on the game at hand that I missed acknowledging some call-outs along the way – sorry guys! Thanks for the shout out 🙂

Photo courtesy of Runwitme.
Coming through! Photo courtesy of Runwitme.
A cheery and helpful crew member helping with the refill. Photo courtesy of Runwitme.

Having dropped the lead woman not long after, it would take another good 3K before I drew up to Khay Ann and we ran for a bit, still quite comfortably, before a right turn suddenly saw me ahead. I kept the momentum up and pushed for the finish. As I crossed the line, a crew member threw a 5th placed tag on me, gave me a heavy medal and a banana. Pretty pleased with the performance definitely and proved quite a bit that training’s on the right path. I thought there would be some hamper or prize money but alas, prizes were for the top 3 of each categories only. But we were just too happy with our respective results to be too flustered about it. It was a gauge of where we stood in training, after all. My splits of 4:50 > 4:52 > 4:54 > 5:09 > 5:00 > 5:04 > 4:55 > 4:57 > 4:53 > 5:00 > 4:54 > 4:54 > 4:41 > 4:47 > 4:33 gave me a substantial PR in the distance (though a little short).

It was overall a well organized cozy little event around the Kota Kemuning neighborhood. I just love these kinds of events. Being the early ones back to the finish allowed us to check out the booths at the area, mostly exhibiting eco-friendly products and featuring such initiatives. The complimentary ice-cream scoop was heavenly and we even had our chance with vain shots at the insta photo booth.

Photo courtesy of Runwitme.

In closing, my thanks to Nick for picking up the race packs and providing us the ride to and from the race! Where stated, photos are courtesy of Runwitme.  Thanks for the use of the photos! You can get the latest updates on the local running scene and more by following Runwitme at http://www.runwitme.blogspot.com.

GCM18: Week 7 (SOS Week 2)

I was a little apprehensive about how my body would respond coming off the SCKLM 10K. The 2nd week of SOS will still include 1 Speed and 1 Tempo session. In fact, the week total will hover around Week 6’s i.e. 66K. The differences being:
1)  fewer but longer repeats (8x600m instead of the mind-numbing 12x400m)
2)  longer tempo (10K instead of 8K)
3)  longer long run (16K instead of 13K)

Monday
Menu: 7K Easy
Shoes: Clayton 2
Just some mild soreness post SCKLM 10K. The more I wear the Clayton, the more I find it mushy.

Tuesday
Menu: 2K Warm Up > 8 x 600m @ 10K race pace (400m recovery jog) > 2K Cool Down
Shoes: Tracer
800m pace/timing: 4:43/2:50 > 4:25/2:39 > 4:36/2:46 > 4:32/2:43 > 4:38/2:46 > 4:38/2:47 > 4:38/2:46 > 4:45/2:51
Pretty happy with how it went. The Tracer provided just enough snug fit without the feet sliding around. As I’m trying to wean myself off music during these speed and tempo sessions, I’m glad I was able to stick to a consistent pace throughout. It’s important to learn the art of pacing without the music keeping the tempo. Just let the body and mind synergize.

Wednesday: REST.
No running.

Thursday
Menu: 2K Warm Up > 10K @ Goal Marathon Pace > 2K Cool Down
Shoes: Zoom Elite 9
Boy, was this a tough one! It was partially my own doing. I had very little to eat the night before, with just a few fish balls and soy/tofu. After an inadequate 6-hour sleep, a forced myself to chew down half an energy bar before heading out. With the accumulated miles, with no small measure of quicker running the past few days, I definitely went into the run semi-depleted. My tempo was set between 5:09 and 5:12 and the splits below showed. Instead of cutting short the workout, a bit of slowing down was the better option undertaken over Km 7 and 8. Legs weren’t that bad, just that I needed to eat and get some precious sleep! 5:17 > 5:12 > 5:16 > 5:04 > 5:08 > 5:10 > 5:11 > 5:21 > 5:18 > 5:11 for an average of 5:13.

Friday
Menu: 7K Easy
Shoes: Clifton 4
Kept it as easy as I could. The Clifton is a brick compared to the Clayton, Elite and Tracer so that pretty much ensured that I kept things on the slow burn.

Saturday
Menu: 10K Easy
Shoes: Span

Sunday
Menu: 16K Easy
Shoes: Epic React
First 10-miler in the bag! The plan was to run the second half quicker than the first, within 5:30 to 6:40. It was a cooler morning compared to the past few days.

Week 7 with 66.8K covered, legs pretty good and let’s jump into Week 8 where 70Ks of running await!


2018 will be the 40th running of the Gold Coast Marathon (GCM). I’ll be returning for my 8th GCM and training plans have been drawn up. Won’t you join me for some Good Times? Hit the image below to get to the official Gold Coast Marathon website! Do join the Team Malaysia Facebook page to get all the local happenings, updates on training sessions, tips on travel and running the race on the Gold Coast.

Standard Chartered KL Marathon (10K) Race Report

I ran the SCKLM Half Marathon in 2017 as training for my Gold Coast Marathon (GCM). I did just enough, without over-extending myself to finish the back-loaded race, where challenging climbs litter the later stages of the race. This year’s GCM training plan demands discipline not only in sticking to the prescribed training distance but also the paces and on the day of the SCKLM, the plan called for only a 13K. That pretty much determined the distance for my SCKLM participation.

But I procrastinated 15 minutes too long and all the slots were sold out. Such was the popularity of the event. SCKLM is one of the few in-country events where its popularity commensurate with the quality of organization. Fortunately, the organizers continued to have the bloggers in mind, and I managed to secure an entry!

This year’s SCKLM would be its 10th running and the entries were huge – 38,000 across all categories! With the presence of the GCM booth at the race expo, I joined Nick and the teams from TEQ and HTT in providing support over the 3 days. That meant plenty of time-on-feet, on top of Week 6 of marathon training. It was hard but rewarding to be able to help spread the word on GCM. I got off a little early on race eve and got a bit of much needed rest. I had been so busy that I was still deciding on what time I should wake up and get to the train station, but it all got sorted out easily enough.

Because it was just a 10K, I needn’t fret about what to eat or what to wear. In fact, adopting a “training run” mindset meant a simple singlet, shorts and the versatile Elite 9 (in case I decided to kick things up a little), grabbing a chilled bottle of water sans breakfast (nope, not even an energy bar) and driving to the IOI LRT station. I didn’t have to wait long for the complimentary ride and 20 minutes later, I was at Dataran Merdeka witnessing the continuous stream of Half Marathoners heading off. Promptly got down to my 3K warm up and headed into the starting pen and secured a spot 10 feet from the start gantry. Admittedly, I had my doubts about executing a sprint start, as all 10Ks demand, but decided to keep my spot. I’d decided to keep an honest effort in honour of the Dignity for Children Foundation for which I raised funds for. The plan was to run a faster 2nd half with pace ranging between 4:35 to 5:00. That was to give myself a wider window to operate.

Sharp 6:45am and the gun sounded. The course hooked an immediate right to Jalan Dang Wangi and immediately opened up, so the log-jam which I anticipated didn’t happen. Runners had ample road to run. It was years since I ran a 10K race, so I had no expectations and while I had some pace parameters, I ran according to feel. From Dang Wangi, it was a sharp left into Jalan Ampang before a right to

Jalan Sultan Ismail. By the time I got to the MAS Building, the top 3 race leaders were already on the other side. It would be suicidal to pick up the pace any further for me and I was actually enjoying the pace so much it felt rather effortless. The crew, traffic marshals and police were doing a great job and we had the roads pretty much to ourselves. I made sure I clapped back and thanked the crew whenever I could. Once I cleared Jalan P Ramlee and turned back into Jalan Ampang, I was already running alone. The pack of 4 in front was still about 150m in front of me so I bid my time.

Crossing the wide Renaissance Hotel junction, I reeled in 3 and when I got to the Quill Mall, which was the 5K mark, I was in a loose group of 4. This would be the posse which I was glad to be drafting off. I was enjoying myself so much that not once did I peeked at the watch. Then it had to happen – the laces on my right shoe became undone along Jalan Kuching, not far from the Jalan Parlimen roundabout. That brought about some curses and I made sure I triple-knotted the laces before chasing down the pack that had drew away and had built a 100m lead on me. As we all know too well, the climb up Jalan Parlimen can be tough and my stride length and pace dropped a little. Luckily my cadence was still high and with a quick water grab, I overtook 1 tall Caucasian. Just needed to hold on to another K before a long downhill before the final approach to the finish. The Caucasian caught up and passed me but with downhill being my strength, I drew alongside and we ran together down to the National Mosque. I told him to kick for the finish and he asked me to follow. I replied that being on marathon training mode, I was as chuffed with the fact that I was running this pace for this long and urged him to go ahead.

Unwatermarked photos courtesy of Tey😁

I couldn’t catch the other 3 runners ahead but no one passed me either when I crossed the finish line. And forgot to stop the watch until 5 minutes later! Satisfied would be an understatement. While I was 6 weeks into marathon training, all but 2 workouts had been easy running. The 2 faster workouts were speed intervals (12x400m, 400 recovery, 2K warm up and 2K cool down) and a 10K tempo (at goal marathon pace, 2K warm up and 2K cool down). Back at the recovery area, I caught up with the other guys from our GCM training group who also ran some impressive timings. Then it was a quick departure back for home where family duties await.

photo courtesy Calvin

It would not be proper to not thank the generous contributors to my fund raising for Dignity for Children Foundation under the Run for a Reason initiative. The total sum collected may not be much, but it was a recognition of the Foundation’s efforts in providing hope to the underprivileged kids among many projects they undertake. To learn more and to support these wonderful folks, click on the link above.

My thanks also to the SCKLM organizers for remembering us bloggers and media reps in your annual biggie and congratulations on a job well executed! The 10th was the best yet!

To my fellow GCM training group folks, let’s keep this momentum up all the way to July 1st!

GCM18: Week 5


The end of March marks the 5-week honeymoon period of the Hansons’ 18-week program and, boy, I’m ready to have a real go at the rest of the 13 weeks.

I ran my lifetime best in 2017 on a 12-week plan which started only in April, so whatever little miles I’ve logged in March 2018 – 164K (for a weekly average of 32K) – are already better than what I’ve done the same time last year. Of course, getting fast is not only about more miles, a mistake newbies and many intermediate runners are wont to make. It’s essential that a certain number of miles are necessary to see gains in performance but also how those miles are run and stacked. This is on top of healthy eating, putting in the strength and mobility work and also the cultivation of a positive mindset. In other words, if one sets out to RACE a marathon, it’s appropriate that the runner gives the race its due respect and embraces the entire end-to-end process. The tradition and spirit of the marathon deserves that and I will continue to prepare the best I can as long as I’m striving to run my best.

Week 5 ended with the highest weekly mileage of 40K, a number I will not see, or run, until I start the next marathon training cycle! To be precise, if all goes to plan, I will not be running less than 66K per week for the remaining of the 13 weeks. It’ll be the hardest and most consistent physical work that I’ll be putting together in my life. There will be things that are beyond my control but I intend to take charge of the areas which I can.

For one, modifying my dinner time. Given the ridiculous situation at work and KL’s horrendous traffic, I often have my dinner only at 9:15pm. Not healthy, if I’m to get to bed by 10:30pm (so that I’m able to head out for my workouts at 5am the next morning). The solution would be a pre-packed dinner from home or a takeaway from lunch time.

Next thing would be the gear. Having run 90% of the early training miles in heavier shoes, it’s time to take the lighter and performance oriented ones out to play. The Streak 6, Tracer, Elite 9 and the spanking new Epic React will be handling the SOS sessions while the easy days will see the continued use of the Clayton 2 and Zoom Span

Here’s to the SOS’s!